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Nats’ backers tire of do-nothing Key

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, November 28th, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: john key, national/act government - Tags:

Reading Fran O’Sullivan is always interesting because she provides an insight into the thinking of the business elite who fund National, and who expect it to govern for them.

A lot of her article today is devoted to calling for radical reforms that obviously aren’t politically viable for Key to do, but one paragraph in particular stood out:

Will he be cocksure enough to entreat with vested interests, like the five Maori iwi with whom he made a sweetheart deal to get National’s signature emissions trading scheme through Parliament, but wilfully blind to the fact that this scheme will not make many inroads into reducing New Zealand’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and just throw the bill to subsequent generations?

Even the far-right think this deal stinks. Both the Left and the principled Right can agree that the cost of pollution ought to lie with the polluter – it’s good economics and it’s good for the environment – but Key would rather load the cost on to the taxpayer.

Later in the article O’Sullivan makes veiled threats that reveal National’s backers are as dissatisfied with this do nothing government as the Left is (of course, what we want it to do are very different things):

When Brash took the stage on Thursday [at a speech Bill English had been due to give but was unable to] he quipped, “I think this is the second time I’ve taken Bill English’s place.”

The sly reference to the 2003 coup he mounted to oust English from the National Party’s leadership wasn’t lost on his audience.

If Key and English do not rise to the challenges the taskforce will pose on Monday, it will not be long before a groundswell gets under way to get another straight-shooter back into Parliament to chart the way.

O’Sullivan isn’t referencing the Brash coup for nothing. That was entirely a product of the wealthy contributors to National demanding brash replace English, whom they saw as timid, even ‘do-nothing’. ‘No Brash, No Cash’ was the message then and business got what they wanted. Now, the same message is being given, loud and clear, to Key – PM is no place for a guy who “doesn’t do anything”, sharpen up or they’ll roll you.

44 comments on “Nats’ backers tire of do-nothing Key ”

  1. Tim Ellis 1

    It’s always good on a Saturday morning to get a glimpse of the strange world that left wing activists live in Eddie.

    1. Bill English was rolled after he took National to its lowest level of support ever.
    2. John Key leads the National Party when it is at its highest level of support ever.

  2. This post has little to do with National’s leadership problems more to provide a distraction for Goff. It wasn’t long ago that eddie was pumping Goff as the second coming (that phrase doesn’t read all that well I know) but his flip flops and clangers make National look good.

    And there in lies Labour’s problem. The Nats may be poor, badly organised, lacking in policy, and inadequate in many ways. But there doesn’t appear to be a credible alternative as much as many here would like us to believe.

    Until the left provides a credible alternative, this will contain to be the way things are.

    • felix 2.1

      Until the left provides a credible alternative, this will contain to be the way things are.

      Perhaps you didn’t have time to read the post, but Fran seems to think the right may have to provide that “credible alternative”.

    • Eddie 2.2

      “This post has little to do with National’s leadership problems more to provide a distraction for Goff.”

      you credit me with far too much tactical thinking. What really happened was I read O’Sullivan and commented on her piece, which I think one of us does at least half the time either pro or anti.

      ” It wasn’t long ago that eddie was pumping Goff as the second coming”

      well, i don’t remember that but if it fits your narrative it must be true. I still think Goff is the right man to lead Labour and the best hope for victory in 2011. Is that hope large? Well, it’s getting larger every day Key sits on his arse while his ministers screw up.

      • Daveski 2.2.1

        Let’s put it another way then.

        Many here have despairingly wailed about the inadequacies of the Govt yet can’t believe that 1. they getting away with it 2. the honeymoon continues largely unabated.

        With respect – I don’t personally dislike Goff at all – but the reason why National is getting away with murder is the credibility of the opposition.

        • andy

          but the reason why National is getting away with murder is the credibility of the opposition.

          To a degree yes, the opposition (Labour) is weak. I would also say the credibility of our professional political commutariat in this country has also taken a big hit. Teh Herald wound up the anti nanny state wahwah democracy under attack lines up til the election. Arguably they have been silent as the new government has been as shambolic and nanny statish as the third term of Labour.

          Just read Armstrong today and all he has to say on the ETS, nothing. Zero. Colin Espiner has had a hissy fit cause he pays too much tax, I suspect it because he did not get on the Trinidad junket.

          The absolute dearth of analysis on ACC, ETS and education standards is eye popping.

          It sounds trite but if Labour tried to pull half the new police powers or no cellphones driving stuff, all hell would have broken lose.

          • Swampy

            Or it could just be that these stories are no longer newsworthy. Doesn’t take much to see past the vested interest sector groups on certain issues, doesn it?

      • gitmo 2.2.2

        “I still think Goff is the right man to lead Labour and the best hope for victory in 2011. Is that hope large? Well, it’s getting larger every day Key sits on his arse while his ministers screw up.”

        You do know how the public approach voting in NZ don’t you ?

        They tend only to vote against things not for them – hence if Key continues to be Mr Bland he’ll walk in next time around…. it takes at least two terms before the public work up reasonable head of steam to remove a party from power.

        • felix

          They tend only to vote against things not for them hence if Key continues to be Mr Bland he’ll walk in next time around .

          Unless people vote against bland, according to your premise.

          Also, what do you think about Fran’s column? She seems to be saying Mr Bland won’t last long enough to run again if he doesn’t start doing what the hard right want.

          Any thoughts on that?

      • Tim Ellis 2.2.3

        It seems to me Eddie that many in Labour think Goff is the best man to take the fall for Labour in 2011.

        • andy

          You drink the bong water again Tim?

          Who will replace Key? Simon Bridges, Nikki Kaye or crusher? Looks like the Epsom mafia are setting up Key for a fall in 2010..

  3. Galeandra 3

    And murmur of nat-picking seeps through the media and blogsphere.
    Are you perfectly content with “progress” to date, then?

  4. For whom is Ms O’Sullivan speaking? I think that that’s an interesting question.

    • felix 4.1

      Indeed. The BRT? ACT? The hard right of the Nats? Brash and his taskforce?

      Oh hang on, they’re all the same people more or less…

    • andy 4.2


    • BLiP 4.3

      For whom is Ms O’Sullivan speaking?

      White mofos.

    • Silly question if you have met the woman.

      Fran O’Sullivan speaks for and only Fran O’Sullivan

      • Ms Cactus spins. Ms O’Sullivan is independent in one sense, but she also sits as the voice of a particular project within National and beyond, and within certain pro-neo liberal networks, primarily within Auckland. She is not their paid lackey, and believes in the extremist model that she argues for in her critique of ‘do-nothing’ John. But she is the regular journalistic expression of that project and can be relied on to use her opinion piece regularly in its support. Yesterday would be the fourth or fifth statement of the project and the need for Mr Key to pull finger in the last six months. If one studies her critique of the previous three governments, that same project becomes more explicit over the ’99-’08 period. In a different, less connected, way, Mr Hickey performs the same function.

  5. felix 5

    Daveski: Any thoughts on Fran’s column or do you just want to talk about Goff? Cos there’s an open mike thread every day for talking about whatever’s on your mind.

    Just sayin…

  6. vto 6

    Maybe you have a point mr eddie. But it could also be that Key, who I would think would have already considered O’Sullivan’s point, has decided that the Nats future does not in fact lie with ‘rich prick backers’ but rather with the middle NZ that has been perceived as abandoned by them over recent years. As such he is looking at a different future for the Nats. One not centred around the few rich, but rather around the massive middle. Another example of this being taking the Maori party into govt. Perhaps it is those ‘rich’ who are not yet up to speed and about to be rolled – perhaps it is O’Sullivan who needs to wake up..

    • andy 6.1

      I think Fran was reminding Key “who pays the bills around here!”, because with party politics that is the man behind the curtain.

    • felix 6.2

      I think you’re right, vto, that Key sees his future in appealing to the massive middle but it’s only a matter of time until the massive middle realise they’re not getting anything out of it.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 6.3

      The massive middle (or which is a lot less in number in NZ than Australia for eg) want secure employment, jobs, a decent wage, good schools- which they don’t have to pay for. they also want a government thats supports their local community its facilities- libraries, good sports grounds for their kids to play on, support for their local shopping retailers and they want a clean environment to bring their kids up in- not polluted streams and rivers where sediments and nitrogen get dumped at will in defiance of weak enviromental controls.
      If they vote on the basis of an unbuilt cycleway, a Queens wharf competition, gang patch bans, anti-boy racer bravado and their love of privatised water and prison providers National are in with a good chance. If they vote on the basis of the former things- it should be an interesting election.

  7. Herodotus 7

    I think everyone within NZ would agree that Phil is a very nice chap, not too distant in personnality for anyone within NZ to approach him. He lacks something that the other nice man John K has, some jen se quoi. I think it is his advisors who are really letting him and labour down. It is all attacking on the peripheral or issues that do not tickle everyday kiwis, or the way they are handled leads to some mis/interpretation. First the S&F was a mistake now it is not. Labour got a warning shot in 05 election(One that they should have lost) but did not head the warning, & just continuing on in its merry way.
    Things were a week or so ago appeared that they were turning. What is it lately everytime the tide begins to turn someone within labour stuffs it up. There will be a time when the Nats do not make themselfs easy targets. They have done all the unpalitable stuff (Like Lab 99/00) and will position themself for the ’11 election (perhaps on the back of a RWC victory).
    Viewing from afar what has happened internally since about 2005 something within the structure has gone missing.

    • andy 7.1

      Thats nice, but what do you think about Fran O’Sullivans comments on Key’s leadership?

      • Herodotus 7.1.1

        From this article you would be hard pressed to say that the nats are led by the rich and powerful. Something that has be thrown at them over many years. Yet again it displays that John K cannot be pigeon holed. Something for the Lab think tank top ponder. There is no way that Key will get rolled within the next few years. You do not think that with his business skills there is not a plan? (and no superficial left wing shallowness on him)
        His do nothing appearance, he is certainly getting alot of potential negative stuff out of the way early, just following Lab 99 govt template

        • andy

          Who contributes to the Waitemata Trust?

          His do nothing appearance, he is certainly getting alot of potential negative stuff out of the way early, just following Lab 99 govt template

          Problem with what is going on now, is the ramifications will only be hitting home by the next election. People stuffed by ETS and ACC.

          So what is the positive stuff to come? Mining in the Doc estate? His magical plan with unicorns that will get us up to speed with Aussie, which is so super double cone of silence secret that he can’t tell us what it is?

          His CV will look choice if he gets rolled and he can say ‘meh, thats politics’ and move on and not have to deal with any legacy. Kind of like how Shipley’s 18mths as PM overshadowed the later years of Bolger.

          • Herodotus

            Lab may find this out in 2011. When you are govt the need for 3rd party financial support is not so great. When you are in opp this form of support is so much more essential. Anyway there are always cake stalls to help raise $$. We also have the Gen Y all me who currently I think are drawn in by Nats and a young almost attractive leader who they can semi relate to. New forms of media and getting to grips with the Internet & such like with Gen Y support may make $ less important than a few wizz kids in the IT/ new mass media.
            I think Jonhs real weakness is Afgan, if god forbid a few body bags start returning to NZ. I think currently he is safe as he can follow the line of answering the Noble Peace winners request. Who would argue with Obama currently he is currently the boy wonder.

            • Zaphod Beeblebrox

              His real weakness is his weakness and inability to impose any unified control over what each minister is doing. Witness the Maori TV World Cup rugby debacle. Hide alluded to this in his off the cuff remarks

              He likes leaving his ministers to do their own thing which will be accepted whilst the poll numbers are good, but means that ministers like Tolley and Smith seem to be digging deeper and deeper holes for themselves at present.

              When things start to go bad, however there will be the potential for some spectacular feuds between the different factions of the coalition.

  8. PT 8

    If they roll key who shall take his place? There are a few people who could be mean enough – Tolley could always go in – after all, shes a good puppet with an arrogant and aggresive approach – shame people hate her.

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    Whilst some people (including Eddie, it seems) perceive the evil, invisible hand of the market trying to manipulate the PM in Fran’s column, I’m more inclined to view it through the prism of what’s happening to other right parties – notably the Liberals here in Australia.

    Malcolm Turnbull (a small-l liberal if ever there was) took over from John Howard (a template for the conservative politician) and things have been going to hell ever since. Because Howard had such a long time in the leadership, and exercised Muldoon-like control over every selection, every appointment, every decision, the Liberal Party became a beacon to, and a home for, conservatives.

    Former leaders like Malcolm Fraser were quietly appalled, and Fraser even teamed up with Gough Whitlam on issues such as republicanism.

    Under Turnbull, it’s doing radical, crazy* stuff like negotiating on an ETS rather than rejecting it outright. The conservatives are up in arms and it looks likely that conservative Christian Tony Abbott will roll Turnbull on Tuesday.

    Most parties of the right are an uncomfortable coalition of liberals and conservatives, and the problem is compounded by the fact that both groups are fairly evenly balanced in terms of numbers and resources.

    And unlike the left, where people appear willing to take their policies and go form an Alliance or spend their days thrusting copies of the Socialist Worker at commuters, the right seem desperately afraid of a split.

    [Act, I suspect, wouldn’t exist if Douglas had joined National rather than Labour. He’d still be there now, perhaps having fulfilled the role Don Brash was destined to play].

    There have been a couple of recent attempts in NZ to form a liberal party – Gilbert Myle’s and Hamish McIntyre’s eponymous try and to some extent NZ First in the early days (though it became utterly conservative after the Lhaws-induced schism of 1996) – but nothing has really got off the ground.

    It’s also the reason Kiwiblog’s comments so often degenerate into a sewer — while the rebuttals to “lefties” can get heated, it’s when a liberal “righty” speaks out that the venom flows in a way that’d be recognised by the Judean People’s Front.

    If the right allowed itself to split into two there’d be a lot less disappointment all round, methinks, but for some reason both sides seem to want to cling together, even if it means they both drown.

    * from a conservative perspective.

  10. Herodotus 10

    More importantly the left should be worried, for how about this rejuvenation.
    Phil does his best, unfortunately the electrate is deaf to him. As the election approaches, factions appear and position themselfs for the post election power struggle. The factions turn septic costing another 3 years, the Greens mirrow Act/NZ1/UF in 2002 by acquiring Lab support allowing (Split Enz prophesy) history to repeat itself and we wait until 2017 (Election to be called by the PM Tim Grosser) when lab have finally become co-hesive again to take the treasury benches. As they finaally have realsied what Lab stands for and reconnects to their trad support base.
    Thus John K dispays that he has a plan and things are being done the easy fruit has been picked (e.g. legal aid) that does connect with the electrate.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1

      “Thus John K displays that he has a plan…..”

      I guess it is a bit too much to expect your PM to have some ideas.

  11. Swampy 11

    Key has about as much chance of being rolled out of National, as Andrew Little has of being the next leader of the Labour Party. One vested interest sector group is much like another, isn’t it? And both would be seen as a narrow part of the electoral support and not likely to carry as much political weight as they would like to think.

  12. Swampy 12

    English was rolled because of many things – including the 2002 election result which was a total disaster for National.

  13. Santi 13

    Fran is correct. The cowards within the National Party should hurry up and replace the gutless and useless dilettante John Key with a true leader.

    Now it is time to start undoing the damage Clark and Cullen did to NZ over the last nine years. A drastic move to the right is needed.

    • I concur whole-heartedly with the first paragraph of Santi’s comment even if I don’t agree with the second.

      With the World’s financial system staggering from crisis to crisis, the global environment starting a slide to disaster, intolerant and violent religious fundamentalism or simple racism rearing its ugly head in many places and a great deal of quiet digging of ‘me-first-and-only’ safe-rooms going on we need a leader of any political persuasion with vision, direction and a message all of which John Key patently lacks, tho’ I’ve no doubt his personal safe-room is already dug and well stocked.

    • ParkDrive 13.2

      and what drastic damage is this Santi?

      Is this the positioning of NZ for future burden aka kiwisaver and NZSF?
      Is this the repayment of the oodles of debt that was run up in the 90’s under National? Remember that there was no debt in 2008. Absolutely no government debt what so ever..

      None. Zip. Zilch Nada. The cupboard was not bare, it was balanced.

      What else did Clark and Cullen do Santi? Oh yes, of course. They cut taxes in October 2008 to the lower income families who needed it the most. They bought in interest free student loans, keeping many more graduates home in NZ. They repealed the victorian ECA and replaced it with the edwardian ERA.

      Yes, please outline the damage they caused. I’m looking forward to hearing your views.

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