Tane’s made the point before but it’s worth making again: National may have a new frontman but at its core is largely unchanged – and since being ousted nearly a decade ago, members of the National Party Old Boys’ Club have been plotting their return to power.
Political reporter Dene Mackenzie notes today in the ODT:
Nine members of former prime minister Jenny Shipley’s 1999 cabinet – including Mr English and Dr Smith – remain in John Key’s caucus, and the weekend’s revelations are sure to fuel speculation that they may not have entirely left that era’s ideology behind.
Some may find it difficult to imagine, for example, that people like Mr English, Murray McCully, Maurice Williamson, Dr Smith and David Carter are no longer supporters of the privatisation that was a core policy when the party was led by Jim Bolger, and MPs like Sir William Birch, Ruth Richardson and Mrs Shipley.
Some of the nine MPs still in Mr Key’s caucus were acolytes of Miss Richardson – committed to private enterprise and individual liberty – and they were promoters of the free market and small government.
They were part of a government that established Crown Health Enterprises (where you paid to go to a hospital), the sale of New Zealand Rail, and the Bank of New Zealand…
Following the weekend’s revelations from Mr English and Mr Smith – however they were ascertained – voters have at least two more legitimate reasons to press National on what it intends to do with legislation such as the minimum wage, four weeks’ leave, and accident insurance; and ownership of KiwiSaver, Kiwibank, KiwiRail, Air New Zealand and the state-owned energy companies.