The anonymous editorial in the Herald this morning felt like it had been designed by committee. There were some criticisms of Key and National but the editorial tried to suggest that basically things are fine for National. And strangely it says that there will be a budget surplus announced next month, despite numerous indications to the contrary.
The writer takes the latest digipoll poll result, suggesting stability in political support for the parties, as some sort of endorsement of Key’s behaviour. Parsing increasingly small numbers and drawing conclusions not justified by ever increasing margins of error it has drawn the conclusion that everything is fine in New Zealand and no one has been disgusted or dismayed by recent revelations about Key’s behaviour. Even though half of the polling occurred before Ponygate occurred and some would have occurred during the immediate confusing aftermath the conclusion made is that no reputation damage has occurred. The writer fails to understand that polling change is rarely immediate but usually involves the gradual seeping of support as people tire of the country’s leadership and as mistake builds on top of mistake.
The editorial develops the defensive stance that National pollsters no doubt have concluded is the most likely to succeed.
[Key] probably owes his survival in the poll to his enemies. They were so quick to accuse him of bullying, harassment, physical abuse and worse, that fair-minded people came to his defence. He was guilty of being a bit goofy, they argued, nothing worse. But to tug someone’s hair repeatedly sounds worse. It sounds odd.
This is an interesting thing to say as Key’s actions have been met with almost universal condemnation. The only people I can think of who have defended him are Sean Plunkett, Mike Hosking and Bob Jones. To suggest that these are fair minded people is farcical.
The writer has a bit of a kick at academics and left wing bloggers and says this:
In the meantime, the unusually sustained popularity of the PM is causing intense frustration among his opponents, not so much in Parliament but outside it, on websites and in some academic circles where resentment has become extreme. These people are doing their cause no favours with their seething hatred of a political figure who everyone else knows to be an economic moderate and social liberal. They are not helping Labour’s recovery, still below 30 per cent in this poll, and the Greens remain around 10 per cent. Probably nothing will change until the economy turns down and so far there is no sign of it. Growth is so strong, despite low dairy prices, that the Reserve Bank cannot cut interest rates this week in line with other countries. Growth should be producing a surplus in the Budget next month.
Key is not an economic moderate. He has overseen the major transfer of wealth to the already wealthy and the selling off of as much of the state’s resources as possible.
And seething hatred? No just the insistence that as a country New Zealand could be doing way better than it is now and disbelief at the myths that have been created about Key.
The editorial refuses to accept how close the political balance is and plays up the suggestion that National is head and shoulders ahead of the rest. The reality is that things are narrowly balanced. National on the last election’s results are 2 to 3 % ahead. Small shifts could be decisive.
Whether or not Ponygate has had an effect on support will become clearer as time goes by. Concluding that it has had no effect because of part of a poll and blaming evil lefty bloggitses for this is presumptuous in the extreme.