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The NZ National Party is the Wizard of Oz

Written By: - Date published: 2:57 pm, February 16th, 2019 - 32 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, journalism, leadership, making shit up, Media, national, political parties, politicans, Politics, rumour, same old national, Simon Bridges, vision - Tags: , , , ,

John Armstrong has once more dished up one of his opinion pieces and once again, he has done us a disservice. His main failing is to conflate the current turmoil in the National Party with that of perceived (!) weak leadership by Simon Bridges and some kind of popularity contest between Bridges and Collins; no other National MP gets a mention.

It is interesting that Armstrong feels the need to defend Bridges but fails to see that he [Armstrong] is the other side of the coin. I have made the same argument before, which is that when politicians do not do their job properly they create a vacuum that will be filled with speculation, fake news, biased opinion and wild accusations by MSM and ‘pundits’. Their motivation usually is to lure visitors to their sites by laying click-bait and applying other trickery; they are doing their job.

The point is that National is not mounting a convincing defence of itself and its leadership in the same way as they fail in their role as the main (by far!) opposition party in holding this Government to account.

Can Bridges’ survive? It would help his cause considerably if he could land a major hit on the Prime Minister, rather than just the occasional pinprick.

No, Mr Armstrong, you are confusing scrutinising the Government with landing cheap shots on a Government Minister or the PM and lazy political point scoring. Irrespective, National and its leader fail miserably at both, that much is true.

His ability to make an impact is in part down to a dilemma he faces. To be seen to be making a difference, he needs to come up with something different and distinctive policy-wise.

Correct! Instead of barking at every car and screaming that they will repeal just about every decision this Government makes they must present a viable alternative and act like a government-in-waiting and Bridges needs to look Prime Ministerial.

Any divergence, however, from the centrist ethos of the John Key-Bill English era risks alienating the many “soft” National voters who were drawn to the party by the pragmatism and relative moderation exhibited by Bridges’ two immediate predecessors.

This points to a number of problems endemic in the National Party. Their lack of vision for the future of Aotearoa – New Zealand is evident as is the dearth of transformative policy (e.g. to tackle climate change). Their political ‘philosophy’ of pragmatism is masking this lack of vision; pragmatism is loosely defined as acting sensible, practical, and realistic and is often accompanied by and associated with the heuristic “common sense”. The reality is that pragmatism is a euphemism for short-term vision, ad hoc decision-making, and reductionist narrow thinking by people with an arrogant silo mentality.

However, Armstrong again fails to draw his writing to the logical conclusion: so-called “soft” National voters do not want change, they want to maintain status quo.

National are incapacitated now and as a result the MSM ‘fights their battles’ for (and against!) them. National can only muster cringe worthy ads fronted by a stereotypical wide-eyed fake blond and a stereotypical wannabe hipster whom no mother would chose as her son-in-law. Oh, it was meant to be humorous and become a talking point. Yeah, nah!

National rather spread fake news and start rumours that could be damaging to the booming tourism industry to deflect attention away from their own abysmal performance and to score political points.

They rather play silly buggers with Select Committees and make silly threats that they will not accept any proposed new electorate boundaries based on Census 2018. They have tantrums, they spit the dummy, and they behave like a political toddler.

The carefully built myth of National being a united well-disciplined team with loads of worldly (read: mostly law, corporate business & farming) experience as astute managers of the economy has long been torn to shreds. The curtain has been lifted and most of us are gobsmacked to see a sad, confused, slightly dazed white old man behind it.

The contrast between reality and myth could not be any starker. Teams are built on trust, they work together, they watch each other’s backs, and they take one for the team. Within the National Party trust is like a South Island glacier, rapidly melting away, retreating, and disappearing. They do not trust each other, they leak & cheat, and they do not share internal polling, for example.

This begs the question whether we, the voting public, can have trust in the National Party? The answer is no, we cannot and will not until National sorts out their shit and let’s hope for the sake of this country that they won’t take a full nine years to accomplish this.

32 comments on “The NZ National Party is the Wizard of Oz ”

  1. greywarshark 1

    I’m getting anxious about the left and it’s ability to turn things around. There seems much interest in others mistakes. Let us not make the mistake of concentrating on the clowns and missing the actual show.

    I am trying to reach thinking lefties. If there are any of the ts community who want to help me by giving me their opinions please would you. I’ve tried on Open Mike but I have to go to each post I think, begging for crumbs.

    Who in the Labour-Greens-NZF is practically interested in advancing NZ by applying green solutions to farming and the environment to advance our enterprises and our land resources so we bring new ways to protect against climate extremes?

    I see Eugenie Sage has just stopped land tenure rorts on high country.
    Now what about day to day practical things with vision, on low-country, farming and horticulture relating to water – irrigation and droughts, fire prevention. Who are the stand out MPs in thinking plus doing here? What has he achieved as example?

    Damien O’Connor? Min of Agriculture
    David Parker? Min of Economic Development and Min. of Environment and Min of
    Trade as well. He should be good value but is he a talk person mainly.
    James Shaw? Min of Climate Change – He is new to executive status.
    ? Anyone else.

    I’d like to know you views soon so would appreciate a quick setting down of them.

    • veutoviper 1.1

      OK, grey I will give you my views.

      What does your comment above have to do with Incognito’s post?

      Nothing that I can see, It is a diversion from the topic of the post and the very first response to it at that. As such, IMO it is an insult to Incognito and the time they have put into writing their post and should be moved to OM.

      Alternatively why don’t you ask for your comment to be put up as a Guest Post? Or rather, as you already have the “How to get there?” Sunday posts, post it as one of the first comments on there tomorrow morning?

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        I am trying to do something quickly and the calm procedural way that you like to do things is not what we NZs can afford with CC and other trouble coming. I said at the beginning that I was trying to get some information from lefties and quickly.

        This is what I said.
        I am trying to reach thinking lefties. If there are any of the ts community who want to help me by giving me their opinions please would you. I’ve tried on Open Mike but I have to go to each post I think, begging for crumbs.

        Incognito will possibly, even probably understand anyway I hope.

        Thank you for nothing but a lecture. I am not in school any more. I am an old experienced person looking with horror on the way of the world and the reluctance to actually get off our fannies and do things, discuss and action things about NZ with further delays while we follow proper procedure.

        • left_forward

          greyshark, vv has a point – you have hijacked this post, just as you have other posts with this curious and seemingly anxious request. Its not about being a naughty schoolboy/girl but about respect.
          In regard to your request for lefty advice – dropping the ego and developing compassion and love for each other, animals and nature seems to be the the way forward, don’t you think?

    • Mister Smokey 1.2

      greywarshark, great to read of your vision. Go well.

      Kieran McAnulty, new Labour list, would be my pick to approach. What I’ve seen of him in the house impresses me: Young, positive, lively, staunch with the interjection mob. Deputy Chair on the Primary Production Select Committee, so I think he’d be interested in a yarn at least. Could have some useful progressive contacts in the Wairarapa farm community.

      Another good ‘un might be Matt Lawrey. Stood for the Greens in Nelson 2017. Did well. He’s a councillor there and you could get his contact details from the NCC site.

      I think running your ideas past the Greens would be a good move. Someone wanting to work with or communicate with you could pipe-up and so it goes. Give them the chance to back you. At the least, they’ll likely have contacts of similar-minded people working out in the community you may not be aware of.

      Obviously we need leadership and action on the CC front. Seems slow to come as the implications hit ever harder and faster. So I’m glad of you and the many good ‘uns active on The Standard. Comes action. There’s hope.

      greywarshark, here’s my crusts. All the best

  2. Anne 2

    Marvellous to read an intelligent, rational post and so well put together… as opposed to the predominating garbage we have to put up with from MSM commentators.

    Thanks Incognito.

    • tc 2.1

      It’s Armstrong…..what else can you expect aside from the national party sycophancy he’s relied on to produce.

  3. left_forward 3

    Thanks Incog, I agreed with everything but the last bit:
    ‘let’s hope for the sake of this country that they won’t take a full nine years to accomplish this.’
    I hope for the sake of the country that they never recover. Lets hope for a full shift of the political centre towards social justice; a more caring and democratically equal society, and put to bed the dirty politic, and the horror politic of neo-liberalism.

  4. SHG 4

    They rather play silly buggers with Select Committees and make silly threats that they will not accept any proposed new electorate boundaries based on Census 2018.

    That’s called being an Opposition, and it is the Opposition’s responsibility to hold the Government to account and have it demonstrate that it can actually govern like grownups. The Govt not having members in Parliament to legislate and not having members arrive on time for select committees is amateur stuff, and everyone knows it. Including the PM.

    • dv 4.1

      SO Wont accept the new electorate boundaries.
      SO cancel the 2020 election, run a new census, and run the next election in 2023!!

    • Gabby 4.2

      You don’t think gnashnil would’ve garnered more credit if they had stayed in the meeting and used that to show how much more reliable they are than those feckless labour lie-abeds who can’t even organise a sick note shggy?

    • cleangreen 4.3

      Troll watch here;

      Another National stymie to deal with here now in SHG.

      So take his/hers number and watch the increased activity from these trolls.

    • Craig H 4.4

      The Opposition should oppose where appropriate, but Parliamentary Select Committees and Electoral Commission boundary redrawing are not supposed to be party political affairs, especially the work on electorate boundaries, so would have thought that the Opposition might have preferred to act constructively rather than destructively.

  5. Frankie and Benjie 5

    Yes I agree. The National party “invincibility” that I despaired about for nine years was propped up by a curtain hiding the truth.
    But the “Oz” got me thinking about the other Oz and that they remind me of the Australian cricket team. Great at sledging, check. Seemingly invincible at times but the JLR and Bridges tapes makes me think of them getting caught with sandpaper and their wins might have resulted from previous (unseen) cheating.
    Appealing to the umpires every chance they get.
    They simply don’t have the class of Jacinda, as she elegantly dispatching their googlies to the boundary.

    • cleangreen 5.1

      Frankie and Benjie,

      You hit the spot there 100%.

      These national trolls are just attempting again to muddy the waters so Labour cannot easily hold clear discussions on Incognito’s blog site that greywarshark requested we all place input into.

      Best ignore these ‘troll bugs’ and they will just go away to some dump where they belong.

  6. Muttonbird 6

    What a stupid old bastard!

    He says:

    It is not fussy about where it feeds. It is not fussy whether the victim comes with a blue or a red tag. If you doubt that just ask Andrew Little.

    Armstrong was front and centre in that attack.

    • tc 6.1

      Yup and with dirty politics v2.0 they just keep dishing it up over and over knowing there’s a gullible electorate out there swallowing the bait.

      You’ll not stop this shit without legislation to prosecute the deliberte smears and lies these opinionators disseminate from their paid soapboxes.

      Fine the outlet that published not the opinionator fronting the meme.

  7. Dan 7

    “a stereotypical wannabe hipster whom no mother would chose as her son-in-law. ”

    Looked like a clone of Thompson & Clark spy Nick Tapp to me.

    • Ralf 7.1

      Ah the Tapp brothers whose father was MFAT or something? Inside on Greens, Greenpeace, Occupy, you name it for many years!

  8. Gosman 8

    Any political party that is in opposition after being in power for 9 years will struggle to find it’s feet for a few years. It certainly happened with Labour after 2008. Admittedly Simon Bridges leadership is not hrping their cause.

    What I’m curious about is what people think a right leaning opposition should focus on given they aren’t going to be attacking the Government from the left.

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      The problem with contemporary National is they refuse to address any of the issues that got them thrown out. Of these, lying is certainly the biggest. National lied about everything – instead of delivering services they destroyed that capacity as far as possible, which is why Twyford’s lamentable housing results thus far are still infinitely better than the Gnats. Much of Christchurch is still in ruins, with claims underpaid and remedial work not done or not done anywhere near up to spec – no amount of lies will persuade the people who know about this criminal failure to govern.

      To move forward National need to come up with a few credible policies. Choose a less than stellar coalition policy (and they’re not all racehorses) and do enough real work on it to come up with a genuinely better alternative. In the absence of a few policies like these, National is rightly seen as just a pack of whiney losers.

    • left_forward 8.2

      Ditch the neo-liberal bullshit that only favours a tiny undeserving minority, and start caring for people and environment again. Adopt kinder conservative politics to articulate a more cautious ‘don’t throw the baby out…’ or ‘if it ain’t broke…’ role within a Parliament that collectively knows it has to make change for the better for all of us.

      • That_guy 8.2.1

        That’s what they should do, but if they do, there’s not much to differentiate themselves from labour. Assuming you accept the premise that neoliberalism does not work, they are stuffed. The choice is: stick with the ideology that doesn’t work but does clearly differentiate them, or accept reality and become some kind of pastel version of Labour.

    • cleangreen 8.3


      Just stick to the questions greywarshark asked please in 1.

      Question; – from greywarshark; on 1

      “Who in the Labour-Greens-NZF is practically interested in advancing NZ by applying green solutions to farming and the environment to advance our enterprises and our land resources so we bring new ways to protect against climate extremes?”

      I bet you were just as vacant at school too Gosman.

      I reckon James Shaw is the main one that is raising the Climate Change issues and very few others are presently Greywarshark so I am worried to.

      I have not been a green party member for 17 yrs now and backed Winston because he had some very good CC policies, like bring back rail, and put wool carpeting in every government building, and get power prices down again and do not use all privateer’s run our state owned “essential services like water, air, electricity and transport. just for a start.

  9. OnceWasTim 9

    IMHO, an excellent post @Incognito.
    Perhaps the best paragraph is this:
    “This points to a number of problems endemic in the National Party. Their lack of vision for the future of Aotearoa – New Zealand is evident as is the dearth of transformative policy (e.g. to tackle climate change). Their political ‘philosophy’ of pragmatism is masking this lack of vision; pragmatism is loosely defined as acting sensible, practical, and realistic and is often accompanied by and associated with the heuristic “common sense”. The reality is that pragmatism is a euphemism for short-term vision, ad hoc decision-making, and reductionist narrow thinking by people with an arrogant silo mentality”.
    Pragmatism and heuristics have a place in dealing with crisis situations such as the triage emergency room – hospital A & E’s, Fire and Emergency, even temporary accommodation needed as a result of the housing crisis,
    But unless they’re accompanied with a view to the future and longer term thinking, all we’ll ever get is more of the same.
    All of which is why one of the things that needs to change and that is ripe for reform is our Public Service at both local and central government levels. In many cases, it’s in the PS interests to preserve the status quo and operate with ‘silo’ thinking. I think even Hipkins recognised this after having children.
    And there have been many instances where there’s been a masked kind of ‘push back’ against what the coalition’s intentions are.
    Thankfully there are signs of change – such as with in the Reserve Bank, or the establishment of a Maori Policy Unit within MFAT. There is also a degree of re-arranging the deckchairs in some Ministries and Department elsewhere.
    It’s not a new phenomenon but sure as shit it has been compounded by the culture and ideology that goes with the neo-liberal built up over the past 30+ years

  10. feijoa 10

    The Nats are only pragmatists in the sense they will do what they can get away with. Their corporate masters that want all the benefits of having a friendly party in power versus what the populace will let them get away with.
    It is astounding what they got away with in those 9 years- selling off land, selling the power companies, blaming beneficiaries for their lot, etc
    The National Party are a bunch of weasels out to screw ordinary people any chance they get for the benefit of the rich

    • greywarshark 10.1

      You have delivered the best summary of the National Party and we have had too much time to judge them; there is no chance that we can be wrong. We’ve seen it all, the barefaced traducers of a society that was trying to be worthy of the name ‘civilised’.

  11. vto 11

    “The curtain has been lifted and most of us are gobsmacked to see a sad, confused, slightly dazed white old man behind it.”

    Every day this racism, sexism and ageism is exhibited by the left.

    How do you even get to that statement, when Bridges is young and brown, the other character Collins in the story is a woman, Amy Adams is always in the background, and the deputy is female, none of them old? Why do you then characterize it as ‘old white man’? What is going on inside your head to leap to that sentence, out of those facts and circumstances?

    You’re just another fucking bigot, as bad as the ones at the other end of the spectrum.

    • peterlepaysan 11.1

      Have you ever entertained logical critical thinking?

      • vto 11.1.1

        You should put that to the author of this post, because the logic here is that it is in fact the young, brown and female that is “sad, confused, slightly dazed” and not the old, white and male

        • ropata

          Was a bit weird on light of the fact that Bridges is a young brown dude. But the point is that National is not the home of diversity or energy, it’s a vehicle of wealthy business and managerial cliques, which is indeed comprised of Orewa Rotary Club and similar.

          Traditionally National is the party of middle aged, upper middle class white men. But that’s not the worry any more – it’s their collaboration with foreign money and power against the best interests of NZ that I find appalling

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