Oh to be a fly on the wall at National’s next Caucus meeting.[audio:http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20150504-0711-prime_minister_regrets_misreading_ponytail_saga-048.mp3]
John Key was interviewed by Guyon Espiner this morning on morning report. Gone was the cocksure arrogant Prime Minister who has with a huge amount of teflon coating avoided scandal and problems for the past seven years. Crosby Textor’s framing him as a financial genius you would like to have a beer with and a State House kid who has amassed huge wealth through his innate abilities is finally being scraped off.
Key has been successful because on occasions he gives the perception of being liberal and ordinary. But the reality is that behind that carefully crafted veneer is a politician who in economic terms is certainly to the right.
The most startling admissions were that Key had taken legal advice on Graeme McCready’s private prosecution and that he does not rule out standing down as Prime Minister if the prosecution reached fruition.
To add to his problems Judith Collins is clearly positioning herself for a return to Cabinet if not a tilt at the leadership.
She recently hired a Public Relations staffer readying herself no doubt for some change. She was the first National MP as far as I am aware of who publicly criticised Key after ponygate broke. As reported by Radio New Zealand two weeks ago:
Ms Collins said many women would find having their hair pulled inappropriate.
“It hasn’t happened to me, but I guess some people just have their quirky little mannerisms and what they might see as a joke, sometimes can fall flat in that the recipient doesn’t find it funny.”
“I know the Prime Minister so well, he would not have been thinking that he was going to upset anybody.”
But Mr Key had apologised and that was the right thing to do, she said.
She tiptoed right up to the edge of what was appropriate with those comments.
And yesterday she appeared on Q&A brandishing her feminist qualities.
The narrative will be that as Collins was cleared by the Chisholm Report there is nothing to stop her return to cabinet. But the failure of the report writer to interview most of the important players in that rather sordid episode means that its conclusions must be treated circumspectly. And in most functioning democracies Collins’ behaviour in relation to Oravida would mean that she would never be considered for a return to Cabinet.
The most peculiar recent activity by Collins was giving a Young National calendar to reporter Tova O’Brien. The calendar included a picture of young women with rather long hair and dressed somewhat inappropriately. The subsequent social media blaze will, shall we say, not be helpful for Key. It is unfortunate for National that Judith did not foresee the possible consequences of this.
Full disclosure: Received 2 gifts from politicians today. Young Nats calendar xCollins & kiddie cone vouchers xPeters pic.twitter.com/xRqUYPzZWe
— Tova O'Brien (@TovaOBrien) May 3, 2015