Nats try to warn off Brash

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, April 24th, 2011 - 79 comments
Categories: act, election 2011, labour - Tags:

Tweedledum and Tweedledee were a bit slow off the mark responding to the news that Don Brash is looking to take over ACT. Took the Nats a while to get their lines together but have decided, on balance, they want ACT dead. And that will be a lot easier to achieve if Brash isn’t in charge.

David Farrar lists the arguments that he and other senior Nats have no doubt been advancing to Brash over the past two days:

– Key wouldn’t let him be a minister if he wins the election

A rather silly argument. It would be unprecendented if an MMP support party’s leader wasn’t a minister. If National gets less than 50% and ACT is back under Brash then Key will need him. Does Brash strike you as the kind of guy who would have his party support Key while simultaneously being humiliated by not getting a senior financial portfolio?.

Make no mistake. If Brash becomes leader, then a vote for a National-led government will be a vote for Brash in his government.

– ACT’s internal politics is nasty

Well, Brash became leader of National only after Key promised then leader Bill English that he would vote for him in the coup, then switched to Brash. (Farrar will remember this, he did English’s numbers and there’s footage of him celebrating with English’s mates the night before the vote). Then, Key spent a year undermining Brash and took over when National’s polling was already in a winning position. I think Brash knows something about nasty internal politics.

– Key will move to the centre and rule policies out if Brash is in charge of ACT

So, if Brash doesn’t lead then Key will be able to get out of ruling things out ahead of the election and smash through an extreme rightwing agenda if he gets a second term? As scary as we might find that, I doubt Brash finds it satisfactory.

– Brash is so old he would only be a temporary leader

More temporary than Hide? Under Hide the ACT party is dead in seven months.

– Brash is a convenient target for the Left

Hard to argue with that 🙂 .

The fact that Farrar decided to do an actual analytical post rather than his usual cut and paste is a sign of itself how seriously National takes this. They’re scared that Brash will grab 5% back from National, leaving National in the mid-40s and clearly dependent on Brash to govern – which would send more voters Left.

There’s another scenario. If Brash does take the leadership and stands in Epsom, he will force the Nats into standing a real candidate against him and campaigning for the candidate vote. Now, Brash has a terrible record as an electorate candidate – he lost the National-held seat of North Shore to Social Credit’s Gary Knapp in 1980 and again in 1981. He could well win a three or four-way fight in Epsom leaving ACT with, say, 4% of the party vote but no seats. That many wasted right-wing votes could be pivotal.

Whether or not a Brash-led ACT makes it back into Parliament, it’s bad news for National’s dreams of a majority government. All in all, the Nats have every reason to want Brash to go back into his dotage and for ACT to die this election.

79 comments on “Nats try to warn off Brash ”

  1. dc_red 1

    They’re scared that Brash will grab 5% back from National, leaving National in the mid-50s.

    Sadly, this may not be far from the truth. But I think you meant “mid-40s”

  2. PeteG 2

    I wonder if the currently publicity is a move by Brash or a move by Act. If Act had any sense of survival they would be trying to warn off Brash.
     
    If it happens it will be a case of an out of touch bunch of old men fast tracking an out of touch old man to head an increasingly out of touch old party.

    But this could be a master stroke of deception – generate a Brash Act story, and then anything they actually do will seem smart in comparison.

    • Methinks there has been a recent unexpected decision.  

      Firstly National was going to stand someone credible and Act would then be doomed.  Then Key made his comment about how they would campaign for the party vote and the electorate would decide on their representative.  Then Dawn of the Living Dead II appears as a potential leader and suddenly National wants to win the seat.  

      Maybe Banks was going to challenge but then decided to pull out.  And maybe the mythical Conservative Party is going to remain just that.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1.1

        If your theory is correct (and the timing fits) Key only has himself to blame if he cops Brash.

        I’d like to know though, why Key believes Rodney is worth saving. The stupidity of his decision to back Hide will  cost National thousands of votes on both the left and right not to mention the effect amongst female voters. The Maori Party will presumably suffer as well. 

        And the commentators dump on labour for their political stupidity!

    • Rob Carr 2.2

      I don’t think they would willingly bring up issues of the competence of their own leader like that.

  3. IrishBill 3

    Clearly Brash is good for ACT but I’m not so sure he’s bad for National. For me the question is whether a better outcome for Brash to lead ACT or for ACT to disappear. On the balance I think I’d prefer to see Hide lead the party into oblivion and to take the chance of a National majority government (I’ve a gut feeling they won’t make it to 50%).

    Wasn’t it cute to see the old fella wearing his ACT colours tie? I get the feeling he didn’t come up with that by himself – it would be very interesting to know who is lining up the cash and providing the advice on this play.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    ACT and National- they believe the same things. Whats the difference? Now they look like having interchangeable leaders.

  5. Carol 5

    On Qu & A today, Brash floated that one possibility would be for an Act party led by him, to sit on the cross benches.  Also, he suggested maybe Banks would be part of his Act party, and that Banks might stand in Epsom.

    Are we now going to see a run of media headlines about NAct being in disarray, and Key’s leadership capabilities being questioned?

    PS: And it’s looking a little like some tensions within National between Key & English, resurfacing with Brash’s bid…. headlines we won’t see In-fighting threatens to spilt National & Key’s leadership .

  6. gobsmacked 6

    The Brash fans and their ACT co-conspirators miss the fundamental point:

    Hide damages ACT’s brand, out on the fringe. But Brash damages National’s brand, in the centre. Or more accurately, Key’s brand.

    Brash’s return makes it more likely that National will end up needing the Maori Party … i.e. the opposite of what the Brash/ACT people want. And if the Maori Party have to choose between Labour/Greens and National/Brash, even Tariana Turia might be put off by Orewa Don.

    Still, if the Right want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, why stop them?

    We want Don, we want Don!

    • Campbell Larsen 6.1

      However – Brash jumping to ACT makes National look more centre-right and allows the Gnats to grudgingly (not) accept extremist policies from them while avoiding the flack. Bling boy Banks cant be discounted either – despite an obnoxious personality and an ever expanding sense of self worth and entitlement Mr Banks is a political chameleon who history has shown to be capable of comeback after comeback, because people are stupid enough to assume that a nice suit = competence.
      Quite frankly I wish that Brash would just crawl back to Mordor and die – he is still a very dangerous man despite being in his dotage.

      • gobsmacked 6.1.1

        @Campbell

        Yes, National want to “accept extremist policies from them while avoiding the flack” – that’s true. But they want to adopt those policies after they’ve got the election safely won.

        Key’s strategy is smart and simple: keep all those voters who like him but don’t like the hard right. They are his majority.

        Goff & Cunliffe & co shouting “Look out! Hard Right!” has achieved nothing in two years. Brash might just do it for them.

    • RobertM 6.2

      I partly agree. Banks lost the greater Auckland mayoralty, partly because he had little appeal to West and South Auckland but also because of his hostility to heavy and light rail extension. Even in Epsom and Remuera there is substantial support for public transport development, no one could be more hostile than Brash and his roundtable and former treasury mates, Kerr and Scott to public transport.
      The Brash revival will damage National and will be giving the brat pack nightmares.
      Labour should oppose Brash and Banks strongly.
      Act has never been  a legitimate political party. Reagan, Thatcher and Hawke were in the final analysis politicians who recognised limits and did not operate beyond the limits of the political consensus. Thatcher left welfare and the NHS alone and spent much of her time restraining the far more radical Lawson and Hurd. Reagan was determined old age entitlements never be touched.
      Richardson, Douglas, Brash and Prebble simply refused to recognise the political process their process was ignoring politics and consensus.
      Much of Acts support and money has also come from relatively hardline prodefence and pro nuclear rhetoric. This has never had much real credibility as Act and Brash are the last people who want to spend money on high tech defence hardware or any independent defence capability. The Quigley Act defence committee of the late l990s provided a platform for pro army, anti frigate and coastguard advocates and that was how it was reported- but in fact Quigley and the actual reports were fanatically pro Anzus and advocated a navy of 2 Anzac frigates and 2 logistics ships rebuilt to maximum Anzus missile capability and totally rejected the development of a project protector type Navy. Act were in reality totally hostile to any independent defence capability and their support for the Skyhawks and F-l6s was purely phoney political posturing and positioning

  7. Jim Nald 7

    Bring back Brash
    and Nats will crash

  8. felix 8

    If I were an ACT supporter I’d definitely want Brash leading the party.
     
    He’s a liar, a cheat, a racist, a megalomaniac, a totally delusional narcissist, completely out of touch with ordinary people and he’s never done a day’s work in his life.
     
    Just like every ACT supporter I’ve ever met.

    • Alwyn 8.1

      What a wonderful second paragraph Felix.
      I read it and realised that you have just given a perfect description of Trevor Mallard.
      Absolutely spot on. DB for that man.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        A former teacher who’s never done a day’s work in their life? The suggestion of such a mythical beast implies you are delusional.
        Your use of DB as a reward confirms you as a warped personality.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    “ACT’s basic values are totally consistent with those of the National Party”

    Quote from Don Brash, on TVNZ this morning:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/don-brash-questions-hide-s-leadership-4139330
    Please, please let this be the National-ACT campaign slogan.
    We want Don, we want Don!

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      “Does John Key agree with the former party leader whom he helped into the leadership that ACT’s basic values are totally consistent with those of the National Party?”

  10. ZeeBop 10

    Brash is boring. The goal is to create momentum. The numbers are counted and National loses with Hide still around. So just like the shitty right they turd out Brash to create a change of scene even if the backlot is exactly the same. Luckily for the right there’s a blog called The Standard where all the lefties can run around scared of what would happen with Brash and so create yet another rallying point for a segment of the right. The group of right wingers who want to stomp on the left at any cost because they are too stupid to realize its not the left that makes our bad economic times. So they roll out the game changer, and then the left blow the game changer out of proportion.
     
    Geez, the left won’t win whining about what the right are doing. They will just give the right the platform to get the rightwing message across. Geez, already. Its like Holmes, why the hell would anyone who whines about the bias against the left in the newsmedia watch Holmes and give him viewers to justify his program slot. The left is its own worse enemy.
    Sure Labour are happy that they got bad publicity, stayed in the eye of the public who will forget the details and see Labour as being competitive, but why would The Standard want to raise a right wing turd ball to do the same. Hide is the head of ACT, attack Hide, re-iterate why Hide is loathed because Hide is gone, and the longer Hide is around the more Nat-ACT look dithering and out of touch, then use that to introduce the left wing platform, asset sales, poor economic leadership, oh the stinking costly milk prices.
     
     

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1

      Thanks for elevating the Standard’s numbers. I’m sure Kiwiblog is equally grateful for the numbers of lefties on its blog as well.

    • felix 10.2

      “run around scared of what would happen with Brash”?
       
      Far as I can tell most of the lefties here would be pretty stoked to have Brash to kick around.

  11. freedom 11

    Why do i get the feeling that someone got a bit pissed at dinner last week, said some silly things to the wrong person, now has to back up their bravado and this whole thing has become a runaway train that they haven’t got a clue how to stop.  There are of course a lot of reasons why they can’t stop it, the primary being they have no frikken idea what track it is on!

    disclaimer: the above is simple conjecture with no substance or source, but still…. you gotta wonder eh ?

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Brash was not happy his potential role in the top echelons of Government was cut short.
     
    He’s been pondering this for a while – since ACT began to self destruct in a big way last year, I suspect.
     
    Not only that, but its quite likely that ACT insiders approached him initially, not the other way around.  Which means he has solid internal support from some quarters of ACT.
     
    Enough to make him think that he can pull this off and move a Key Government rightwards after the election.

    The year is not over yet, not by a long shot.

    • Anne 12.1

      …it’s quite likely that ACT insiders approached him initally,

      What is even more likely: the big business financial backers of National and Act approached him initially. And I’m talking about the really big boys… many of whom reside off-shore much of the time, but they still want to be in charge of the running of this country.

      • higherstandard 12.1.1

        Like Owen Glenn ?

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1

          Last time I looked, Owen Glenn didn’t have a say in running the country. Didn’t even attempt to. Whereas, on the right, giving money to a political party is buying influence.

          • higherstandard 12.1.1.1.1

            Does the union movement give money to the Labour party to buy influence ?

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.1

              “I like your policies – I will give you money”
               
              “I want you to change your policies to this – so I will give you money to do it”
               
              Subtle difference.

      • handle 12.1.2

        They are the same Hollow Men who also backed John Banks to drag Auckland to the right, and no doubt with the same scum as middlemen. Anyone know where Brian Nicolle’s grubby hands are these days? Or Catherine Judd? Or Michelle Boag?

        • Anne 12.1.2.1

          To be fair, Michelle Boag was never a member of the ACT Party. At least, not as far as I know.

          Which brings me to an interesting point about ACT. I don’t know if it is still part of their ‘constitution’, but an ACT member was allowed to belong to another political party as well. Mind you, I don’t know whether that included Labour, Greens and NZ First :wink:.

          • handle 12.1.2.1.1

            Who said anything about being a member of the party?

            • Anne 12.1.2.1.1.1

              Sorry handle. Made an assumption. Brian Nicolle and Catherine Judd were – and no doubt still are – members of ACT.

              Another interesting point: one of those big business men (Alan Gibbs) was responsible for placing Rodney Hide in a full time position inside ACT at the time it was formed back in the mid-Nineties.

    • rosy 12.2

      Act leader Rodney Hide’s brand is “toxic” and “people don’t like him”, says the man who wants his job – his old mate Don Brash.

      Pot, kettle, much?

  13. M 13

    This is a right bag of rattlesnakes with bile to spare.

    Brash pissed at being rolled by Key may exact revenge by fronting ACT. Should the right win and coalition talks include ACT I’d buy tickets to that meeting.

    Also I’m sure that English still burns daylight about being usurped by Brash and Brash by Key. English being the bridesmaid rather than the bride in the party must gnaw away at him also. It’s a very nasty political love triangle.

    If Key wants that nice warm glow he’s certainly got it – it’s called the hot set – wonder how much imploring he’s doing at the altar of ‘Please don’t let Brash be head of ACT’.

    Key will need to be wearing his anti barbed wire undies as he tries to straddle this new development. 

  14. Carol 14

    This has all the ingredients of a very intriguing political thriller.  I’m curious to see how it plays out.  Meanwhile, I’m stocking up on pop-corn.

    • rosy 14.1

      I find I really interesting that it’s come up when Key is out of the country. Was he baulking on heading further right-ward, knowing he was having problems with getting the public on board?  The money-men can’t ditch a popular leader, but can make him reflect their real values by giving him a bit of a warning in the return of the living dead.

      • Carol 14.1.1

        I’m unsure how much the Nats have been manipulating the Act scenario, and how much is being improvised: eg Brash taking a swipe at Key on Qu & A today.  But I am interested in how much political activity there has been this holiday weekend.
         
        After parliament closed for the break, a load of SFC documents were dumped in public, maybe thinking no one would be paying attention.  Yet we’ve got all these political developments around Act…. Qu & A, whale oil Kiwiblog, and Red Alert MPs posting a load of stuff, Winston on the Queen & protocol around alections.
         
        It’s all going off all over the place.
         
        And maybe Key was thinking it’d just be about him at a foreign wedding?

  15. ak 15

    Looks like Hooters was right.  They did decide to slough ACT a fortnight ago, and now a hasty look at the numbers for DONACT has confirmed that a GERIACT tail-wagger is even more electorally toxic.  

    Confirms the suspicion that the Horizon poll more accurately reflects their internals – and what we see on the street.   And that they know a Maori bloc will fuse in a flash on Nov 27.

    Chuck that bloc onto the Left bloc, brothers and sisters, let Phil down off your cross, and enjoy the resurrection. 

  16. McFlock 16

    The other point is that Brash is another stroke in the conflict within ACT – the unprincipled vs the unelectable.
     
    Several years ago ACT realised their core policies were not attractive to 99% of the electorate, so they sold out. They pushed the “crime” and “perkbluster” messages, and did a deal with garth mcvictim to get the paranoid moron vote. They sidelined their initial 0% income tax and similar policies. And they still only kept their head above water, with floatation provided by National shafting its own electorate candidates in favour of the ACT leader.
     
    But the state of affairs never suited the true believers in ACT – the belief equivalent of the Khmer Rouge, Nepalese Maoists or Algerian AQ-aligned terrorists. These are the folk who believe that ACT is low in the polls because it isn’t right-wing enough. The supported Roy, but now realise that the key to ACT leadership is an electorate. They also know that an internal squabble in an electorate committee would do them no favours, but if an anointed one can wander into the party, show them the way, gracefully take an electorate candidacy from hide – well, it looks like hide is the petulant one refusing to share his toys.
    In their minds, anyway. Everyone else just sees a bloated hypocrite being usurped by an insane fossil.

    • terryg 16.1

      “Garth McVictim” – I LOVE IT! not as much as your last sentence though 🙂

  17. Julian Haworth 17

    Brash quotes from Q and A today “the government is clearly off track…I personally am very disappointed [in Key]”

    Will we have headlines on TVNZ news tonight “National Party infighting escalates as Brash slams Key”. Don’t hold your breath

  18. ak 18

    First attempt at this linky thingo… good analysis if it works, otherwise go to voxy and Chris Ford’s latest

  19. Dan 19

    Some wonderful theatre due this week with Wodney in a starring role.  And I don’t think Key’s greenstone suit will take the attention away from the bride, but I guess its worth a shot if he can get a photo or two.

    I am fascinated at MSM ignoring the elephant in the room: Winnie out to 7% and the Greens doing very well.

    Some idle Easter Sunday meanderings after a pleasant afternoon at the beach at New Brighton. Great to see the crowds out again!

    Forward, the NACT Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismay’d?
    Not tho’ the public knew
    Some one had blunder’d.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Debt
    Rode those that plundered.

    Don Brash to right of them,
    Winnie to left of them,
    Labour in front of them
    Key waved and then chundered;
    Storm’d at by Textor and Dipton,
    Worried that Rodney might’ve slipped in,
    So into laws by stealth,
    To support those of wealth
    Rode those who plundered. 

    When can their deception fade?
    All the wild charges they made!
    All the world wonder’d.
    Dishonour the tax changes they made!
    Dishonour the NACT Brigade,
    “Out in November!”NZ thundered.

  20. Dan 20

    Some wonderful theatre due this week with Wodney in a starring role.  And I don’t think Key’s greenstone suit will take the attention away from the bride, but I guess its worth a shot if he can get a photo or two.

    I am fascinated at MSM ignoring the elephant in the room: Winnie out to 7% and the Greens doing very well.

    Some idle Easter Sunday meanderings after a pleasant afternoon at the beach at New Brighton. Great to see the crowds out again!

    Forward, the NACT Brigade!”
    Was there a man dismay’d?
    Not tho’ the public knew
    Some one had blunder’d.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.
    Into the valley of Debt
    Rode those that plundered.

    Don Brash to right of them,
    Winnie to left of them,
    Labour in front of them
    Key waved and then chundered;
    Storm’d at by Textor and Dipton,
    Worried that Rodney might’ve slipped in,
    So into laws by stealth,
    To support those of wealth
    Rode those who plundered. 

    When can their deception fade?
    All the wild charges they made!
    All the world wonder’d.
    Dishonour the tax changes they made!
    Dishonour the NACT Brigade,
    “Out in November!”NZ thundered.
     

  21. Tanz 21

    Go Don, I am cheering you on. You have my vote, because, personally, I’m more than disappointed, I am really really unhappy with Key and his ilk.

    They betrayed their voters, and are just so frigging bland. All smiles, no grit. No spine at all, and Key playing celebrity, where on earth is the Statesman, and the ideas? He’s popular yes, but then he’s basically holding all the cards as well. Naked emperor? No substance to Key, he acts as though he’s the country’s most eligible bachelor. Nats? Sellouts.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      They betrayed their voters,

      Hahahahahaha  No, they did as they had to to get voted in. Doing as they and their hard core voters want will get them kicked out. In NZ most voters are socialists and don’t support the right at all.

      • V 21.1.1

        Mmm socialism is great until you run out of other peoples money.

        • Draco T Bastard 21.1.1.1

          The only thing that has built the economy over the last two centuries has been socialism. The people using other peoples money are the wealthy.

        • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.2

          Money is not a resource. You can make an infinite amount of it.
           
          Most of the money in existence today was not created by any link to any real physical resource or value. It was basically magicked into existence ex nihilo.
           
          It really is worthless funny money of the highest order.

  22. While we’re speculating how about this?

    John Key is happy to have Brash lead ACT but he has to be presented as being disturbed by Brash leading ACT to reinforce his centrist image (hence DPF, Whaleoil, etc. talking about Brash leading ACT being manna from heaven for the left).

    Key’s announcement that National will only go for the party vote in Epsom a mere few days before Brash’s leadership tilt announcement allows Key to claim that he was not aiming to aid Brash (but, inexplicably, he was aiming to help Rodney whose chances are known to be very poor). He was.

    Combine this with National’s current polling and the view probably held by many New Zealanders (especially those who see themselves in the ‘centre’) that Labour has no chance. That means the main choice comes down to being between a National outright majority and a coalition between National and ACT. The centre, under that scenario, moves to shore up the more ‘moderate’ of those two options – i.e., they vote for National to shore up National’s/Key’s vote.

    This move towards National by ‘centrists’ allows more of National’s hard right supporters to move to a Brash-led ACT. As a result the ‘centre’ voters facilitate in ensuring a hard right ACT-National government after the election (that is, they ensure the option they were trying to avoid).

    Brash and ACT get sufficient seats that Brash can demand the Deputy PM position or a major finance portfolio (or both). Key and Brash can justify this by the amazing mandate they have won – i.e., this is what New Zealand voted for.

    For this scenario to play out, Key needs to continue to be portrayed as a ‘centrist’ who has no truck with the more ‘radical’ ideas of ACT (look how he left Douglas out in the cold).

    New Zealand’s hard right therefore get what they started to plan pre-2005: A hard right government involving Brash and Key (both helicoptered into the Nat list with Boag’s support – as Hager said, Key was the hard right’s fall back position.)

    If I’m correct, what should the left’s strategy be? There’s always ‘sticking to your knitting’, of course. But there also needs to be a well-thought through response to this realignment on the right.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      That’s about how I read it. Brash going for leadership of Act is being done in collusion with National and not against their wishes.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        Yep. National still need a hard right party in the mix which will show how “moderate” National is even as they are implementing a right wing agenda.
         
        That the best they could come up with is Brash is symptomatic of how devoid of new talent the Right Wing is today.
         
        But who needs talent? Brash will simply be a front man, like Key is.

        • Anne 22.1.1.1

          I have to wonder sometimes whether those who are really holding the power in this country are themselves puppets of an even more powerful off-shore ‘conglomerate’. After all the truth is often stranger than fiction.

          • Tanz 22.1.1.1.1

            Good point, Anne. I’ve wondered the same for years, as those in charge seem to have an agenda that is completely disengaged from the wishes of the general electorate. Funny how referendums and the like have completely faded from view…(or get totally ignored)…strange things indeed…anything is possible.

          • neoleftie 22.1.1.1.2

            simply the capitalist system and its new speculative wealth creation model – Those who control the post modern capitalistic system are now expanding their reach and control either through the connectiveness of glabalisation and the breakdown of any or all societal anchors. long live Pax America.

          • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1.3

            After all the truth is often stranger than fiction.

            Indeed. Consider that the entire NZ economy is effectively controlled and run by approximately 3,000-4,000 people. Roughly the population of a town like Carterton, but with many of the individuals based overseas with very little day to day contact with NZ and NZ life.
             
            This number includes the very few crucial decision makers at Treasury, the Reserve bank etc. Key and English, their henchmen. The major shareholders and directors of our largest corporations. Around a hundred major CEOs and their 2IC’s. Even a large outfit like Westpac Bank only has maybe 20-30 people at most who essentially make all the big calls.
             
            Then there are the 100-200 richest people/families in NZ. Between them they control personal wealth of nearly $100B (at a guess). That’s more than the bottom 2.5 million NZ’ers own in total assets.
             
            To say it simply – the NZ economy is directed, run and controlled by just a few thousand people. And being “concerned with the electorate” is simply not what they do.

      • Puddleglum 22.1.2

        It’s also not that long ago that almost 40% of New Zealanders voted for Brash (as their choice for PM). So I’m not completely convinced that, since that time, he has become electorate poison (large portions of the voting public will not turn around so quickly and, in effect, admit that they were that wrong about Brash). New Zealanders would be far more ok about Key coalescing with an ACT led by Brash than with one led, for example, by Douglas.

        Ever since Key ruled out NZF I’ve always thought National were taking an incredibly high stakes, all-or-nothing gamble – to the point where I thought they must have something already lined up on Winston to take him out of the game.

        But I thought that on the assumption that Hide and ACT would continue to be in the electoral doldrums and potentially not be there at all by the end of the year. If Brash rolls Hide, and if some scenario involving a change of leadership has been around for most of the year, then Key’s ruling out of NZF starts to look more like a calculated gamble than a high stakes risk (I’ve never thought Key was a risk-taker).

        The ‘narrative’ that this year’s election is all about what kind of National-led government we will have has to be avoided/undermined at all costs for the left. That narrative will be very tempting for the media because none of them will want to claim that they think a Labour-led government is a possibility worth entertaining for very long.

        Under that narrative, many ‘apolitical centrist’ voters will vote National to strengthen it in any coalition with ACT (even hope they will be able to give National an outright majority). Ironically, the higher ACT’s vote goes in the polls the more those ‘apolitical centrists’ will think they have to vote for Key/National to moderate ACT. They will think that a vote for Labour, Greens and NZF – paradoxically – would end up being a vote to strengthen ACT’s role in any coalition/arrangement – because, as I’ve said, the only question in their minds will be what kind of National-led government we will have.

        antispam: disturbs

    • gobsmacked 22.2

      No, sometimes a conspiracy theory just doesn’t fit.
      Key doesn’t want this. He’s doing just fine without Brash, and he doesn’t need any excuse to implement a right-wing agenda in the second term.
      All Key needs is the votes. He’s got them now, he might lose them if Brash/ACT go feral.
      Why tear up the “smile and wave” strategy when it’s working? Brash wants to talk about policy – and policy isn’t the reason people like John Key.

      • Jim Nald 22.2.1

        that sounds persuasive
        key has been putting votes ahead of policy

      • Puddleglum 22.2.2

        I hope you’re right gobsmacked.

        But I suppose I don’t think that Key thinks he (i.e., National alone) has the votes. Polling just over 50% this far out from an election is actually not that strong a position when you have no obvious partner on the right to add to your seats.

        It’s not that Key so much ‘needs an excuse’ to implement a right-wing agenda in the second term. That’s just the icing on the cake. What is needed to enact a right wing agenda is more than half the seats in Parliament being ok about going along with that agenda. Only ACT provide that level of ‘ok’.

        Also, during the election campaign Key can talk about how he has all sorts of options (e.g., didn’t I come to an agreement with UF and the MP?) and also keep saying, ‘Well, if people don’t want ACT all they have to do is vote National and give us the mandate. I’m campaigning simply to get as many votes for National as possible. People know what I stand for.’ So, if Brash/ACT “go feral” it’s by no means certain that that will damage ‘brand Key’ – quite the opposite. I actually expect that, far from “tearing up” the smile and wave strategy, it will become turbo-charged.

        The only reason National would not wish Brash to lead ACT would be if they did not wish to implement a right-wing agenda. (Their actions in the first term suggest that they do so wish.) Just as it’s in Labour’s interests to have a Green presence in parliament (to help it enact more left-leaning policies while still trying to occupy the mythical ‘centre’, in terms of voter support), it’s in National’s interests to have ACT there.

        As for conspiracy, I think two members of the same political party who have known each other well for some time (Key and Brash) talking to each other about their political intentions and opportunities, and what that might mean electorally, is bog-standard political strategising. It doesn’t need to be characterised as some dark (hence unlikely) ‘conspiracy’.

        As I said, it’s speculation at the end of the day. I don’t have any special insight – just surmising what I can on the basis of a few assumptions (which could be incorrect).

      • Campbell Larsen 22.2.3

        I cant agree Gobsmacked (though we don’have to) ACT was doomed with Rodney – under that scenario Nats then get 1 seat instead of ACTs several (to control in coalition) if they win – not as good as getting their buddy the Brash one to stand and perhaps win and bring in the extra ACT MPs – any illusion of discord between Brash and Banks and Key is just smoke and mirrors – they are all muppets dancing to the same tune. Smile and wave has already failed – policy ‘talk’ (or as it is otherwise known – promises I never mean to keep) is strategy #2 – wait as Shonky has pre-scripted answers ready to answer every accusation- I can hear the tires being kicked even as we speak

      • Tanz 22.2.4

        You make us sound like a bunch of dim-witted sheeple. The smile and wave act is wearing thin fast…or it should be by now! Too many reality TV shows, too much dumbing down…suits the govt, the people sidep-tracked by gossip…etc. Sad, really!

    • handle 22.3

      Very astute, Puddleglum. One can only hope Labour and the Greens pull finger and counter this as smartly.

  23. ACT is critical as a coalition partner, as National cannot rely on getting enough votes to ‘govern alone’.
    But – the Botany by-election result (the only poll that counts) showed that ACT’s electorate vote collapsed.
    The ACT candidate with both Roger Douglas and the ACT election machine(?) behind her got only 547 more votes than my 124!
    http://www.elections.org.nz/study/news/botany-by-election-preliminary-results.html

    Botany by-election preliminary results

    The Electoral Commission has released the preliminary results for the 5 March Parliamentary by-election in the electorate of Botany.

    2011 Botany By-Election Preliminary Results

    Candidate       Party   Number of Votes

    AL-SAADY, Hussain       Pirate Party of New Zealand           28
    BIGGS, Leo        Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party             58
    BRIGHT, Penny   Independent                                        124
    CAITHNESS, Robin        Join Australia Movement Party       45
    GOH, Robert     Independent                                            31

    MURPHY, Lyn     ACT New Zealand                             671

    ROSS, Jami-Lee  National Party                                     8150
    WOOD, Michael   Labour Party                                       4154
    YOUNG, Paul     New Citizen Party                                  1572
    YOUNG, Wayne    Independent                                         55

    Those who live in the wealthier electorates – like Epsom will be particularly allergic to rates increases, which should help make significant numbers of them not want to vote for Rodney .
    Not when the Auckland ‘$upercity’ proposed  4.9% rates increase will hit them hard in their back pocket.
    Epsom National voters voted for Rodney Hide (ACT) in 2008, order to help National get a coalition partner.
    But if these (former?) National Party voters don’t think National is working for them (ie: the Auckland $upercity is going to cost them money – when they were led to believe the opposite would happen) – then why would they vote for either National or a future National coalition partner?
    How many of those Epsom  National voters who voted for Rodney Hide (ACT) in order to get  a National Government, didn’t actually expect to get more ACT Rogernomic$ policies – including the  Rogernomic$ ‘blitzkreig – rush through Parliament  under urgency’ style of work?

    How many of those Epsom  National voters who voted for Rodney Hide (ACT) in order to get  a National Government, would actually vote for ACT, and ACT policies in their own right?

    So – will  these National voters of Epsom – who voted for ACT in order to get  a National Government – be happy with the ACT policies that they have ended up with?

    How many of these National voters of Epsom – who voted for ACT in order to get  a National Government – will be happy with the track record which proves how much the ACT tail appeared to wag the National dog?
    So – if Rodney can’t win Epsom for ACT – and it does look unlikely – what to do?
    If Don Brash takes over the leadership of ACT – people like myself will have a field day – using this to confirm that this ‘revolving door’ between National and ACT just proves that there is no real difference between their policies.
    How many Epsom voters will have the political stomach big enough to swallow ‘dead rats’ the size of elephants – particularly when the ‘$upercity’ which was railroaded through without their consent, is now going to potentially cost them dearly?
    How many of those Epsom  National voters who voted for Rodney Hide (ACT) in order to get  a National Government, didn’t actually expect to get more ACT Rogernomic$ policies – including the  Rogernomic$ ‘blitzkreig – rush through Parliament  under urgency’ style of work?

    How many of those Epsom  National voters who voted for Rodney Hide (ACT) in order to get  a National Government, would actually vote for ACT, and ACT policies in their own right?

    So – will  these National voters of Epsom – who voted for ACT in order to get  a National Government – be happy with the ACT policies that they have ended up with?

    How many of these National voters of Epsom – who voted for ACT in order to get  a National Government – will be happy with the track record which proves how much the ACT tail appeared to wag the National dog?
    As Labour’s anti-asset sale campaign continues to grow, I predict the more support that they will get.
    Likewise – I predict that NZ First will get growing support – especially from disaffected (former) National Party voters who do NOT want more asset sales, and in Auckland are will be opposed to the proposed $upercity 4.9% rates increases.
    You see – the sad fact for ACT party supporters is that because ACT policies arguably don’t work for the benefit of the majority of the voting public – in my considered opinion, it is unrealistic to expect much mainstream electoral support for ACT.
    In my view – whether it is Rodney Hide or Don Brash leading ACT – it seems unlikely that ACT will retain Epsom in 2011.
    Of course, if Don Brash spits the dummy if NOT getting selected to lead ACT, and keeps his word about forming another ‘right wing’ party – that will obviously just split the right wing’ vote and cause even more splits and divisions than undoubtedly there are already?
    (I could be wrong – but the above-mentioned Botany by-election ACT (electorate) vote, must be quite a worry.)
    Yep – a week is indeed a LONG time in politics……..
    Penny Bright
    http://waterpressure.wordpress.com
     
     

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      And if Winston were to run in Epsom…

    • Campbell Larsen 23.2

      I’d vote for you Penny – I wrote the following in Oct 09 – its old news and slightly off topic (sorry Lynn) but the issues haven’t gone away:

      Local Government minister Rodney Hide is preparing to throw the bathwater out with the baby with the announcement that water and waste water services will now be able to be to be sold to private companies. Not content with this radical and controversial step, Mr Hide goes even further in extending the length of water service contracts to a staggering 35 years – meaning the opportunity for competitors to enter the market will only occur twice in the average lifetime.
      In attempting to justify the changes Mr Hide said the changes were aimed at small councils that needed to invest in water and wastewater plants and were interested in a public-private partnership – however just as with Kate Wilkinson’s slave labour law the numbers of people affected, probably adversely, by the law vastly outnumber the handful that will supposedly benefit.
      The yellow clown of corporatisation has failed to convince anyone save himself and his cronies in the National party that it is a good idea – what is most disturbing is that he does not feel he has to. The proposed changes will have serious implications on the cost of living and effectively will force ratepayers to line the pockets of companies, some of them foreign, for many years to come.
      Green Party local government spokeswoman Sue Kedgley said “This has the potential to be hugely harmful to the public,” adding “This theft of the public’s assets is alarming and dangerous.” Water campaigner Penny Bright cut straight to the heart of the matter saying ‘Affordable water is a basic human right’ and ‘water services should never be run to make a profit.’
      The one Australian water company already in operation in New Zealand – United Water – provides us a glimpse of what we can look forward to – it is currently being sued by the Australian government for fraudulent charges.
      There is much to learn from the past – even a fictional past or future as it were – and we would be wise to remember the example of Tank Girl who when she was not championing short shorts and tight tops fought tirelessly against the forces of water tyranny – and won…

  24. Rodel 24

    How about:
    Don rolls Rodney
    Rodney, pissed off, leaves ACT
    Rodney is confirmed as National candidate for Epsom.
    Epsom voters, sick of being played around with, vote for Winston
    Nah..probably not
     

  25. Carol 25

    Timeline: On Tuesday 19th Key announces that National will be going for the party vote in Epsom & in Dunne’s electorate.  Tuesday afternoon, Campbell Live promo says there will be an item on Hide & Epsom.  It isn’t shown, apparently due to lack of time.  But it still hasn’t been shown.  On Qu & A Brash claims he was offered the co-leadership of Act, and a story appeared in the Dom Post yesterday about it, in which he said he’d rejected co-leadership, but would take the leadership if offered.
     
    I expect Brash is more likely to stand in Dunne’s electorate for Act, while Banks is being lined up for Epsom.

  26. A conspiracy theory, if ACT implodes does this give Key justification to bring the election date forward?

    • Tanz 26.1

      Isn’t it wrong in itself that the incumbent PM of the day gets to set the election date? Too much power, I would’ve thought!

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