I’m a little re-created – some mysteriousness with my profile means I am re-defined “similar but different” for the time being. But I haven’t stopped reading and I thought these were an interesting series of observations on the current state of play:
Colin Espiner: This is, without a doubt, National’s worst week in government. And it’s only Thursday…For unless Lee pulls off a remarkable reversal in her fortunes, she is set to bomb so badly in Mt Albert that it could damage any future ministerial hopes she may have. I also doubt she can count on much help from the Beehive from here on in. Partly this will be her own fault. But it’s partly National’s, too. It should have been more protective of one of its rising stars, rather than needlessly throwing her to the lions.
Gordon Campbell: Melissa Lee’s emergence as the poster child of the Key government is so apt, it makes the process of politics seem karmically ordained. It is rare indeed to find arrogance and ignorance combined so exquisitely in the one harsh and clanging package, and the P.R. crew down at National party head office must be thinking that polling day in Mt Albert just can’t come soon enough, to get her off the front pages. Talk about himbos leading bimbos. The image of Lee’s ministerial mentor Jonathan Coleman silently mouthing instructions for her to say ‘I don’t know’ at last night’s election meeting, and then to have Lee dutifully repeating ‘I don’t know’ to a questioner only seconds later, was an example of political post-modernism to treasure for the ages.
Vernon Small: …for the first time since the election, there was evidence that the Cabinet is, intentionally or otherwise, starting to splurge some of that political capital for the first time. The decision to scrap Auckland’s Waterview Connection tunnel may be fiscally prudent, but it is a fair bet the tears will be hotter for those displaced from their homes – something anyone, anywhere can sympathise with – than for the alternative; an extra billion of debt. The rush to change the structure of Auckland local government may also prove costly, though the need for change is well made and accepted. But exhibit one was the decision to appoint Christine Rankin to the Families Commission. On any objective assessment, it is political lunacy. If the answer was Ms Rankin, it is anyone’s guess what the question was.
Audrey Young: Dear oh dear oh dear. Can things get any worse for National this week? There have been so many cock-ups it’s hard to know where to start. It’s as though the Government training manual only lasted to the end of April. Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today that his Govt will spend $50 million over the next three years on the cycleway completely contradicts what Finance Minister Bill English said on national television on April 5.
John Armstrong: Reinstated on Labour’s front bench last week, the long-serving Hutt South MP, former Cabinet minister and current education spokesman is certainly making his presence felt in Parliament once more – but not in the manner expected….National MPs know they will have to just grin and bear it. For Mallard will be back trying to get under their skins when the House sits today. And the next day it sits. And the next …
Actually similar but different is a good description of this week so far. National – a popular government but I sense something just turning in the wind….