National is hoping and praying that the damage caused by Jami-Lee Ross is now over. Fat chance.
Each day new revelations serve to undermine Simon Bridges’ leadership and National’s reputation.
Take for instance the latest evidence of Ross’s attacking and harassing women. National has known for some time about at least two of the allegations. Then reconcile this with the original reason advanced by Simon Bridges for Ross taking time out or even with Paula Bennett claiming that the issues had nothing to do with harassment, but were about inappropriate behaviour from Ross as a “married Member of Parliament”.
With the benefit of hindsight their descriptions are difficult to reconcile with what was happening.
As part of his jihad Jami-Lee Ross has released texts between him and National General Secretary Greg Hamilton. The release was met with large amounts of meh but for me they do cause some interest. National is obligated to report on donations made up of contributions and in this case on the face of it they have not.
The other aspect that will be hurting is National’s use of ethnic candidates and communities as cash flow machines.
As there is focussed interest on National’s ethnic campaigns I thought I would cut and paste something I wrote 18 months ago which I believe is still very relevant. Here it is or at least the first part …
I hear that local National members in New Lynn are upset at the person selected as their candidate. He is Paulo Garcia, a member of the Philippine community and a local lawyer.
He is clearly part of National’s ethnic strategy. They have made an art form of getting away from the old perception that they are a bunch of bigoted anti diversity conservatives. The loss in 2005 when Don Brash talked about Mainstream New Zealanders and confirmed that this group did not include people who were not white or were born overseas showed how important the strategy is.
Since then National has been very careful to cultivate ethnic candidates and have sent them out to spread the word. Candidates such as Melissa Lee, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Jian Yang, and Alfred Ngaro have done the job for National.
If you look at National’s list from last election the strategy is clear. Slots 31 to 34 were reserved for ethnic candidates. Neo conservatives no longer care about race. The only battle they are worried about is the battle between the top 1% and the rest of us. Every other dividing line, gender, sexual preference or ethnic origin is irrelevant.
I can’t blame National for targeting the Philippine community. I have had quite a bit to deal with them recently and they are very decent and very social people as well as being very well networked. The Catholic religion dominates. As a born and bred although lapsed Catholic I understand their commitment. They are big on new testament virtues such as loving each other, looking after the poor and making sure that money dealers are excluded from the temple. Call me biased but I think that progressive Catholic beliefs and Labour Party values have much in common.
I also hear that Garcia will be given a good list placement, presumably in the safe ethnic bracket, so his path to Parliament appears to be very likely…
National is claiming they are now on top of things. The reality is they are wounded and are losing all the credit built up over a decade of careful political management.