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Nats start the election campaign

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 pm, January 26th, 2011 - 53 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

Halfway through last year I suggested we’d see a July election as National raced to lock in a second term before their numbers fell.

At the time I said:

…Add to that the fact that a strong majority is needed by National for them to drive through their second term privatisation agenda (possibly without the help of Act party numbers) and the case for going early to lock in a second term starts to look very appealing.

And I reckon that’s exactly the strategy we’re seeing today. The tories know that their numbers are only going to go down this year as their policies bite so they’ve decided to put the pedal down. Think of it as selling your stock while it’s high.

Which means getting all of the difficult policy out now, catching Labour on the back foot and getting to polling day before all the political capital’s spent. Today it was privatisation and spending cuts, over the next few weeks it’ll be welfare reform and further cuts to work rights.

And it certainly looks like they’ve caught Labour on the back foot – despite privatisation clearly being the big issue for 2011 (so clearly Standard authors have been talking about it since the wee buggers got their clammy hands on the government benches) they’ve done no work on laying down counter-narratives and they don’t appear to have had any arguments, examples or lines prepared to deal with it. They were a mess today. Frankly that’s disgraceful.

My guess is they’ll be thinking they’ve got months and months to plan their campaign and build public dissatisfaction with National’s far-right agenda. I reckon they’ve got about six months to polling day.

53 comments on “Nats start the election campaign ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    My guess is they’ll be thinking they’ve got months and months to plan their campaign and build public dissatisfaction with National’s far-right agenda.

    Which is weird considering that they had a very good reason to set the start of campaigning as Jan 1 – because campaigning starts in January no matter when the election is set.

    • Fisiani 1.1

      Does it really matter a fig when the election is held?
      One party wants to borrow billions and bankrupt NZ again.
      One party wants to save money and make NZ strong again.
      Timing determines whether National gets 64% or just 60%

      People here seem to think that the current National polling of 55% is an extended honeymoon. It is just foreplay.


      for insightful commentary.

      • KJT 1.1.1

        I did go slumming on Kiwiblog. Just the usual idiots and a total misrepresentation of Labours position from Farrier.
        I see Key’s 10 billion sell off of income earning assets has been turned by the media into 10 billion savings. BS and spin like 1984.

      • Irascible 1.1.2

        Fizzi Fisi
        To answer you statements in order:
        Line 2: Party borrowing Billions- National under Key.
        Line 2: Party to save money & make NZ strong again – Labour under Goff.
        If the flog off the state assets is foreplay I don’t want to see the climax as I witnessed the orgasm of greed led by Fay & Richwhite when Douglas & Richardson played the asset sale cards.
        The result was a disaster for the country.

      • George.com 1.1.3

        You really think National will get to 60% or 64% by borrowing billions and bankrupting NZ again? Hmmm, well they are over 50% with those policies, so maybe.

  2. bobo 2

    How many times did an awkward looking Key say “Mum and Dad investors” on the Cambell live interview tonight… I smell a rat with a jackup here between Mark Welden , Key and perhaps an offshore hedge-fund, someones gonna make a killing out of this deal and it wont be the NZ public.. Someone should work out how much money the assets generate in revenue vs sale price over 10 years.. then Key to say the asset sale would go into roads and school buses was totally laughable , like roads is great investment… yeah right you tool.. Oh and Keys jobs summit cycleway promise of 4000 jobs, now he says he ment within 20 years or so, nice one Key! just in time for the worlds next recession. National has had its cutesy foreplay with voters now its down to business time..

    • M 2.1


      Thought Campbell did quite a good job on Key tonight especially holding his feet to the fire re 229 actual jobs being created for the cycleway construction as opposed to the 4000 promised.

      His questioning of Key as to whether or not he would stick to a 49% maximum re sell off of assets as well as the foolishness of tax cuts for the rich when Key absolutely reamed Cullen over the block of cheese tax cuts was wonderful to watch – I think Key was almost squirming 🙂

      I don’t know if this delicate flower will be on Campbell Live again and my only wish is that John Campbell had been more of a terrier with him really exposing him for the jellyfish he is.

      • interesting 2.1.1

        M in your excitment you must have missed that it was 400+ jobs that Campbell claimed were created.

        I think Key will be back, it didnt make him look too bad, but Campbell definately had him against the ropes a couple of times.

        Campbell must have decided to get tougher over the holiday break aye?

        On another note…I missed campbell live last night and also close up. Did either of them have Goff on after his speech?

        • M


          I got the 229 figure from the woman reporter who was cycling some of the tracks but if it’s around 400, my mistake, but it is still well short of the promised land.

          Missed the after news shows last night unfortunately.

    • BLiP 2.2

      then Key to say the asset sale would go into roads and school buses was totally laughable , like roads is great investment…

      Even more so when you see Tolley and English have already starting lining up PPPs for schools. Then again, Labour are rather flat footed on this issue with Cunliffe blowing off criticism of PPPs on the basis of “ideology”, and there’s his plans to mortgage state assets. At the moment, the election is looking more and more like choosing between Pepsi or Coke.

      • Lanthanide 2.2.1

        Yeah, I’ve been thinking Pepsi vs Coke too. While a lot of people are opposed to asset sales, I think National can seriously damage support for Labour with the $5,000 tax free bracket that appears to be unfunded.

        We might end up with Pepsi vs Coke and those who wanted Tea and Coffee stay home.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      The next recession would be sooner than that and we’re not out of this one yet. I’m still expecting it to drop into a depression.

      • Marty G 2.3.1

        as the cycle of oil-induced recessions continues we’ll end a major redistribution of wealth. We have about $1.5 trillion worth of assets in this country, even just household have net assets of $400 billion from memory but over half is held by 10% of the population. That’s a hell of a lot and it isn’t shared fairly at all.

        To fund the public services we need in a shrinking economy, that wealth will be needed. Selling off assets to the rich isn’t part of that formula.

  3. Olwyn 3

    I think you are right on the money Irish Bill: that bandying around of November in an interview around Christmas smelt very much like a red herring to me. It also looks as if he has his excuse in the bag, whatever it turns out to be.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      I reckon it’ll be that having the world cup will be too much of a distraction from the election campaign if they overlap.

      • Lew 3.1.1

        Not so sure, IB and Olwyn. I think there’s strong appeal in running an election campaign concurrently with hosting the Rugby World Cup, since it wouldn’t permit the opposition much media traction. However you’re right in that it doesn’t fit with the early and forthright commencement.

        One crucial thing I’ve noted is that John Key is fronting the hard-news media personally now; Morning Report and Checkpoint in particular. Next week (once January is up) I’m going to take a look at how this compares to previous years. I’m pretty sure it’s a big difference.


  4. Olwyn 4

    And that mauve tie is a dead giveaway that he’s moving into campaign mode – reflects the light nicely onto the face.

    • Anne 4.1

      And the look in his eyes were a dead giveaway too. Whenever he’s lying and up to tricky business his eyes go slanty in appearance. Tonight’s performance on Campbell Live were the ‘slantiest’ I’ve ever seen them.

      I’ll bet with anybody he’s going to go early!!! August is my pick. Not sure if Labour was caught on the back-foot though. Have noted a change in their posts on Red Alert. They’ve stepped up the pace in the past couple of weeks.

      • orange whip? 4.1.1

        Stepping up the pace on Red Alert isn’t going to win the election though Anne.

        They need to be getting the message out on tv and radio every day.

        They need to be up early anticipating the nats’ daily talking points and countering them immediately on morning report.

        I don’t see this yet and that makes me wonder what they’re waiting for.

        • Anne

          You’re right orange whip? In the past, it’s been frustrating watching Labour miss opportunity after opportunity to have a real go at the NActs. I’m just hoping that a pick up in pace on RA is a sign they are finally getting into gear.

  5. Leopold 5

    Problem with any counter-narrative is that the LP is led by a former acolyte of Rog. Douglas, and a man who would have privatised his grandmother at a word from his master. Can the leopard really change his spots and provide a convincing rebuttal?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      “I’ve learnt from the mistakes of the past, Key hasn’t.”

      Seems pretty good rebuttal.

  6. Tim 6

    Kinda hard to get cut through with the media though. The positivity of those liking the under 5K tax free zone as shown by the Herald poll was removed early today, the ‘asset sales’ have been reframed as ‘National’s positive savings’ (on both Stuff and Herald), both have positive commentaries ready to go for their business pages (note the lack of ‘man on the street’ commentary yesterday about Goff’s plans, or discussions with those that are struggling – must have missed that in the papers. Yet business leaders deserve constant pandying to?), and Garner was actually quite supportive of Key on TV 3.

    Labour can be as prepared as they want to be. I reckon the message has to almost jump past the media to get through – I don’t think the constant editorialising which has replaced journalism will allow Labour’s core messages to get through otherwise. That is why the tax free under 5K stands a chance – not complicated, does not require explaining by pundits etc. So does the line ‘selling the silver’ – the Stuff poll seems to be pointing to dissatisfaction from the public, and let’s be honest those polls are unbelievably weighted to the right.

    • Marty G 6.1

      yeah I love the weird headline stuff has put up, presumably after a call from panic-pants:

      “$10b asset sale savings”

      what the hell does that even mean? What the savings here?

  7. Wyndham 7

    The assets for sale to “Mum and Dad” investors are presently owned by the same Mums and Dads – – – – the good people of New Zealand.

  8. Bored 8

    Watched Shonkey on Campbell, what a joke he is. Key’s very selective provision of “facts” was a real classic, especially the refusal to admit that the tax cuts cost the same as the borrowing. The real biscuit was the reference to “national debt” and the possibility of a “credit rating downgrade”. These are real threats, what Key failed to mention was that in NZ the private sector (unlike Greece, Spain, Portugal) carry the vast bulk of the indebtedness, not the government. Its his very clever and profligate “business” chums who lead us there.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      And a specific subset of his profligate “business” chums: his big banking and finance chums.

  9. Salsy 9

    By the time the National-led Government came into office at the end of 2008 the economy was deep in recession, and inflation was the highest it had been in 18 years.

    How accurate is this statement from Keys state of the Nation Speech ? Ive read conflicting reports..

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      I’d take “deep in recession” with a pinch of salt, but the CPI claim is correct. Around 3% in 1990, and below that till around 06 when it hit 3 again. It’s 4% now and rising and that’s on John Boy’s watch, not Labour’s.

      • KJT 9.1.1

        Pity the price of necessities such as food and housing are not quoted separately from the current CPI so we can get an accurate indication of price inflation’s effect on most people. Not just the buyers of 100k cars and flat screen TV’s.
        That has increased a lot more recently.

    • Eddie 9.2

      inflation was high because of the oil price spike on an annual basis. on a quarterly basis there was actually deflation in the quarter that National took over because oil prices were falling. There’s plenty of statistical tricks a desperate government can play.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        What they can’t play with is how people find less and less in their shopping trolley for $200 today, right now.

  10. Drakula 10

    I have to agree with Irish Bill there may well be an early election, that means all opposition parties better start loading up the ammunition.

    If that is Key’s strategy it could well back- fire, remember when Muldoon called a snapp election?

    Mind you he was pissed at the time!!!

  11. Drakula 11

    All those who want this government out can do what I am doing I have taken a copy of articles like ‘Ministers put public land in private hands’ (I hope Edie doesn’t mind) and I am going to put it on our local notice board.

    Keep plastering those notice boards and be prepared to have them torn down so get a few prints made to replace the last ones!!!!!!!

  12. Eddie 12

    don’t mind at all -good stuff.

    I’m hoping we’ll get organised to produce an anti-asset sales leaflet for readers to print and distribute.

    • M 12.1

      Fantastic Eddie – count me in.

      I’m going to contact my Labour MP next week and make an appointment to assist in any way I can for the election as the best antidote to worry/dissatisfaction is action.

      Labour – put the screws on so that Smiley has a whole collection of Louis Vuitton under his eyes.

      • Irascible 12.1.1

        You could start by volunteering to help out in Botany. There the Key blessed Barry will be the botanical allusion that carried Pansy into the seat. Labour will need the troops on the ground to destroy the NACT claim on the electorate.

      • Deadly_NZ 12.1.2

        Dunno who is my local labour politician or where his office is. But I have seen the Nats office on the main drag.

  13. ak 13

    Wee Grinny’s been forced into this, subtle signs of the gambler throwing the towel in already. Big mistake by Big Money.

    Watch the eyes slowly freeze, as

    Hone swells

    Labour gels

    and Winebox Winnie soars.

    Epitaph to greed:

    No-friends NACT: 08-11

    fed our silver to their fat-cats

    bashed the weak and the poor

    put our kids in hock forever

    rotten mongrels to the core.

  14. bobo 14

    Was watching key make a casual remark about if he loses the election over this policy then so be it.key couldn’t have framed the election any better for winnie trying to make a comeback putting asset sales on the table.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      He’s positioning for his exit.

      If NAT loses over this policy, the corporate Right Wingers are still going to have kudos (and a fat job) waiting for him.

  15. gingercrush 15

    And Labour still think they can somehow wake up the voters and they’ll return to Labour. Honestly, could Labour and its supporters get anymore pathetic. They still carry on about how John Key does nothing and he smiles and waves and certain fuckwits are obsessed about his slanted eyes and how cringe inducing his accent etc is.

    For fuck sake wake up. New Zealanders don’t give a shit about such petty things. As with elements of the right who still to this day don’t understand why Helen Clark was so popular and so effective as a Prime Minister. So too can be said about the utter pathetic left-wing.

    Grant Robertson makes a pathetic post on Red Alert about a clear dividing line. There really isn’t one. Most New Zealanders still think you’re pathetic and while National’s support is very high and they have good approval ratings. That doesn’t stop most people in this country talking about how pathetic all politicians are.

    That is the problem with Labour and left. Most people don’t like you just as they don’t like National. Sure most elections you’ll get over 30% and in good years 40%+ and you’ll find yourself the government. That doesn’t mean people like you.

    And the left and in particular the liberal left really have no fucking clue about how society works. I was reminded of this as I read this hilarious piece at Public Address. http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/because-its-about-time-we-had-another-coffee/. 245 posts.Could the liberals be anymore pathetic. And in those 245 replies not one fucking commentator there picked up the fact that actually most New Zealanders still like their instant coffee.

    And its that very attitude displayed so evident by those commentators. You’re completely out of fucking touch. That same attitude is increasingly displayed by Labour and the Greens. Sure those MPs can and do sympathise with the poor. Just as the liberals on Public Address do.But you’re not living that situation and giving 10 dollars isn’t going to make such people smile. And I’m not sure bashing the rich do you any good. The poor actually aren’t worried about the rich. You can’t bash the rich and give small pickings and expect those low income earners will be grateful. You can’t make a speech and somehow expect things to turnaround.

    Hell I haven’t heard a peep from the Unions. Where was the praising of Goff? If you can’t get them excited you certainly aren’t going to get many excited. Of course you lot still don’t understand what you did wrong. You still believe that somehow voters were duped? Yeah that worked out well for the right who were then denied power for nine years.

    Irishbill himself believes the same thing. Its rather telling with,”The tories know that their numbers are only going to go down this year as their policies bite so they’ve decided to put the pedal down.” That’s the story you lot have been telling since National gained power. It hasn’t happened why hope that will somehow happen between now and the election?

    How about doing the unexpected and actually go the opposite direction and ask, “What can we do to defeat a popular government?” First step would be to actually acknowledge that for a government, this one is popular.

    Can’t do that then there’s no point even campaigning.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      You’re ranting. Even in the 2008 election swinging away from Labour, 1/3 of people voted for us.

      And to be clear. We don’t give a flying frak about people “liking” us. Smile and Wave is welcome to do his talk back chit chat while he sells the country out from under our feet.

      We give a frak about people deciding that we can do a better job for NZ society than John Key and Bill English and that citizens decide to help us make the change.

      First step would be to actually acknowledge that for a government, this one is popular.

      Can’t do that then there’s no point even campaigning.

      John Key is personally popular. He’s kept National on 50% or more over the last two years. OK?


  16. bobo 16

    Gingercrush you sound more and more like Chris Crocker with every passing comment. So if National did finally figure out what they did wrong all those long nine years why the hell are they about to campaign on the same old 1990s failed ideology now. Selling asset’s is not an economic policy..

  17. I thought this an opportune moment to remind you of a comment I made on the 6th of May 2008.

    I had just returned from Sydney where I had the opportunity to speak with writer and film director Edward G Griffin. His speciality is the Federal Reserve of New York and the fraudulent monopoly acquired by a small number of private citizen banksters in 1913. Their monopoly? The right to print money out of thin air.

    Watch his presentation (the same I was able to attend in Sydney) about the “Creature of Jekyll Island”.

    I asked him what he thought about John Key after I gave him his history and told him about his ambition to become our new PM.

    This is what he had to say and I re-quote the statement I posted here on the above mentioned date:

    “I spoke with mr. Griffin in person not so long ago and asked him about his opinion on John Key. He told me,”Let’s put it this way,”He is not an innocent, you don’t get this far without selling your soul, he will sell your country and throw in his mother in the deal.” When I asked him do you think he has been groomed, he smiled and answered;”It has happened before.”

    I got a lot of flack for that one amongst others from mr Genius himself; Higher standard.

    I hate to say it but I told you so and I’m not laughing. The innocence and ignorance of the average Kiwi will cost this country dear. $ 700 million a year in missed revenue from the power companies for starters and that is only the beginning.

    If John Key is voted in again all of you will be tenants in your own country and I hope like hell I don’t have a reason to dig this prediction back up in another two years.

    Captcha: seeing. I can only hope.

    • Cnr Joe 17.1

      ”He is not an innocent, you don’t get this far without selling your soul, he will sell your country and throw in his mother in the deal.”
      I heard he was keeping her for spare parts.

    • M 17.2

      ‘”He is not an innocent, you don’t get this far without selling your soul, he will sell your country and throw in his mother in the deal.” When I asked him do you think he has been groomed, he smiled and answered;”It has happened before.” ‘

      Yes indeed, this is completely right with many famous or wildly successful people – you only have to look at someone like Madonna who did everything to garner attention including producing her own book of porn. I’m not dogging on her for doing so but couldn’t believe she then turned around and was upset at the backlash after courting the publicity.

      This article shows that John Key fits a lot of the descriptions for being a sociopath – he likes to give the impression of being a jokey regular bloke when in fact he is the complete opposite:


  18. killinginthenameof 18

    Seems like Farrar has stepped up the attacks on Labour today also.

    It is about time time to decide how to play the election. National and it’s proxies have been fighting in a progresively more dirty manner for 3 elections now, I can only imagine this will be worse this year with them in government and having access to citizens personal details through govt depts.

    The left must decide if it is willing to throw ethics out the window and fight a dirty fight. As sad as it would be to see, there is no second place in elections, there is no point sitting around on the ethical high ground on the opposition benches.

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