Why didn’t Kate know Nats’ Kiwisaver policy?

Written By: - Date published: 12:48 pm, May 29th, 2008 - 33 comments
Categories: kremlinology, national - Tags: , ,

The most surprising thing to come of the National’s Kiwisaver fiasco is not that they want to undermine the scheme and get employers out of paying their part (this is the party of big business, after all). No, the real shock is to learn that Kate Wilkinson, National’s Industrial Relations spokesperson, is not involved in developing National’s policy on the biggest new work rights issue of the past year and ‘ignorant’, in Key’s words, of the policy.

This is just incredible: National spokespeople not developing policy in the major issues under their portfolio and not even informed by the leadership of what that policy is. It fits though, with what a couple of drunk National backbenchers told a reader one night ‘John doesn’t really know what he wants to do if (when, hah!) he becomes Prime Minister and he certainly hasn’t told us!’

Policy development is in the hands of a few senior Nats (assuming that someone is developing National policy). The fact that National is not sharing the load as normal can only have one explanation the leadership does not trust the caucus because the caucus is opposed to Key’s policy direction. That certainly meshes with the stories of internal ructions we keep hearing. Like the Rogernome faction that controlled Labour in the 1980s, a small band within National is controlling policy, keeping the rest of the party and the country in the dark.

The results of such cabal politics were disastrous for Labour in the 1980s, and it looks like it’s starting to damage National too.

[incidentally, what a world where a party is scared to announce its own policy and its opposition is keen for it to see the public light. Both National and its opponents believe that if people know what National wants to do in government it will cost the party support]

33 comments on “Why didn’t Kate know Nats’ Kiwisaver policy?”

  1. Tane 1

    It’s interesting that for all National’s empty promises about closing the wage gap they don’t even have a proper spokesperson for industrial relations.

    Wages are hugely affected by industrial relations legislation and this is a policy area where National has said it will be making changes. What the hell is going on, and who’s setting their wage policies?

    If the Dom Post this morning is anything to go by the employer lobby certainly has some ideas, and they don’t involve lifting wages…

    “We’d want to ensure employers could take co-contributions into account in pay negotiations to sensibly manage wage and salary costs.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpost/4563922a23917.html

  2. Tamaki Resident 2

    I can understand why National doesn’t want to release policy in areas where it thinks that Labour may copy it’s policies (e.g Student Loans), but the Kiwisaver case is not like this at all. It seems to be simply because they know that their policy will be unpopular with the voters, so the less air-time the better.

    I am also deeply suspicious that a lot of National’s policy (if we do actually see something substantive) will morph into something quite different should they get into power. Fortunately they can no longer use the excuse “the books were in a worse state that the previous Govt let on”, but that won’t stand in the way of McCully & Co. pushing their agenda.

    As has been stated elsewhere, where was the alternative budget? Not just the Nats version of tax-cuts, but the expenditure side as well. I remember the days when the Opposition spokesman was called the ‘Shadow Minister” (and they were all men in those days!) – at the moment they’re all very faint shadows.

  3. Joker 3

    The reality is that all the National MP’s know the Party’s position on most policy. What they might not know completely is where the dead rats are that they will have to swallow.

  4. darryl p 4

    Kate Wilkinson, not told what to say by her leader so says the wrong thing.

    Maryanne Street, told exactly what to say by her leader and says the wrong thing.

    Women. You can’t trust them to do anything.

    🙂

    Post all Feminist rants to:
    Dr Darryl P
    PO Box 156-027
    Ponsonby
    Auckland

  5. roger nome 5

    Indeed, this is very revealing. My opinion is that the policy has probably been looked at a lot and that National isn’t just making things up as they go along.

    So if indeed there is a “kitchen cabinet” (so small all its members could fit in a kitchen) within National, who are in it?

    I guess we have Key and English. Surely the incompetent McCully is out of the loop. Perhaps others may include Ryall, Brownlee and on the outer circle Nick Smith, Simon Power and Judith Collins?

  6. Roger – I think you might want to expand that to Ruth Richardson, Roger Kerr, the Insurance Council and possibly big-oil oh, and federated farmers (amongst others). Of course I could be being cynical, I mean things have changed since the Brash days. Just look at all those new front-bench faces…

    Cap: “hurt starts” – do you think it means for John? Or for… me?!

  7. Steve Pierson: this post is an excellent example of spreading Fear Uncertainty and Doubt : -) Well done!!! I guess time will tell if it is a strategy that works.

  8. Joker 8

    The endless call for National policy details here is actually getting tedious.

    It is like critising a team who is winning by a handsome margin for their defensive tactics. Why do you need to run the ball when your opposition keep knocking it on and giving away penalties.

    The fact is that it is you lefties presently in power. So instead of wasting time casting aspursions about what your opponents might or might not do why dont you get on with running the country well, bringing out your own dynamic policy and live or die on the results. Though I suspect that is your problem.

    Recently this blog has been sounding like the left are already in opposition.

  9. higherstandard 9

    Robinsod

    Are you trying to cue a post by Travellereve ??

    Captcha Siagon principles …. pity would have been good for the previous post.

    On the lack of policy Key pretty much summed it up that they’re going to do very little until an election date is announced and even then I expect them to wait until the last possible moment and keep it wafer thin if the polls stay where they are.

  10. r0b 10

    Policy development is in the hands of a few senior Nats

    Is it? I thought National developed policy by auction.

    Just kidding.

    At least, I hope I’m just kidding. But post Hollow Men you do have to wonder.

  11. Tane 11

    get on with running the country well bringing out your own dynamic policy and live on the results

    The Standard doesn’t run the country, much as we’d like to. All we can do is report, analyse and critique.

    It is like critising a team who is winning by a handsome margin for their defensive tactics.

    The problem is National haven’t even stepped onto the field yet. But I guess that’s where the metaphor falls down.

    Captcha: ‘tackles again’

  12. Joker: good point. I guess National and John Key’s consistent rise in the polls is an indication that ‘keeping quiet’ is working.

    [there no rise in the polls for National. The gap is slightly down after peaking 4-8 months ago, check the Roy Morgan tracking. Get the little things wrong and you end up with the big picture totally out of whack. And, like I say, it’s extraordinary that a party has to hide its policy to be successful? Even more extraordinary, its backers support being kept in ignorance – ignorance is strength after all? SP]

  13. Matthew Pilott 13

    Mmm good point joker, any old fool would think there’s an election on.

  14. andy 14

    Joker,

    I just genuinely want to know the Nats policies so I can make a reasoned voting decision. This is not saturday afternoon footy, there will be real winners and losers.

    Nationals only policy so far is more expensive doctor visits and the ‘same, same’ no nuke, no asset sales 1st term.

    I am sorry if its tedious that I ask for a small return on my tax money from Nationals front, ahem, bench! Cause right know I don’t understand why I am paying them as they seem to be the same as Labour on most issues.

  15. darryl p 15

    National = same as Labour but cheaper and more economical to run.

  16. Joker 16

    Steve, Andy,

    Even though your crew pushed out the electoral campaign spending limit to a year an election has not been called yet.

    I fully expect National will divulge all policy detail in the run up to the election and hope that it lines up with my expectations. If not I wont vote for them.

    All this fretting that National will sneak/trick their way into power shows a real lack of faith in the inteligence of the NZ public.

    Captcha: Newlywed Hockey – Is that anything like a Cleveland steamer?

  17. andy 17

    All this fretting that National will sneak/trick their way into power shows a real lack of faith in the inteligence of the NZ public.

    not the NZ public, our political masters lack of faith in our intelligence (both side of the house)!

    A consequence of a spin/sound bite culture! And some of Us remember the years of policy announcements then direction switches after elections. MMP was a result because the electorate said ‘never again’, but it feels like we are back there again with the Nats policy vacuum.

  18. Rex Widerstrom 18

    There’s a certain irony about all this crowing over the “mis-steps” of Kate Wilkinson and Maryann Street.

    Both expressed an opinion – Wilkinson on Kiwisaver and Street on the cost and location of a conference. So happens I disagree with both opinions, but that’s not the point… I’d actually like my 120 employees to have an independent thought or two, and to operate in an environment where the expression of such thoughts was encouraged.

    Shock horror, I’d even prefer it if they consulted their employers as to their wishes occasionally, and made some effort to reflect that in their work.

    But as soon as an MP says something and then gets soundly spanked by their leader, folks on the opposing side start crowing.

    “Oooo look, someone has disconnected from the hive mind! Quick, contact the Borg Queen (or King, as the case may be) and have them reconnected to the matrix”.

    Yes, I’m mixing my sci-fi metaphors. The point is, I now have a better idea of how Kate Wilkinson and Maryann Street think, and thus a better idea of their suitability as my employees. Their leaders, however, have proven themselves yet again to be bereft of the courage of any convictions whatsoever.

  19. all_your_base 19

    Joker, I suspect you’re going to be disappointed unless by “policy” you mean “focus group tested bullet points”. National’s playing ‘small target’ politics which by definition means going policy light.

    It’s often said that the best indicator of someone’s future behaviour is their past behaviour. Had National not, for example, cut superannuation in the past perhaps there would be less suspicion that they’ll do it again – particularly given Bill English’s recent statement that the current scheme is “overly generous”.

  20. Rex, it’s not about an MP expressing an opinion or making a mistake. It’s about how National is going about policy development and control, and why.

  21. andy 21

    Rex

    I think the Borg mind is supposed to be on show when talking up your team (staying on message), independent thinking should be done behind closed doors in caucus?

    But get your point and sci-fi metaphors..

  22. Draco TB 22

    National = same as Labour but cheaper and more economical to run.

    hahhaha

    That is so funny.

    The reason I dislike working for big business and usually get round to telling them to go fuck themselves is because they do everything on the cheap. The machinery that’s broken but kinda working stays there and doesn’t get fixed and ends up costing more in time, financial cost and frustration.

  23. Rex Widerstrom 23

    andy, you’re dead right… disagreements are ‘supposed’ to be had behind closed doors (where the leadership can make threats about people’s Ministerial prospects / tenure and list rankings; and the wishes of the electorate, other than as may be expressed via focus groups, can be safely ignored or suitable spin concocted to assuage their concerns).

    And then everyone troops out and says they agree even though they’d been threatening to slit their wrists a minute ago (witness the hilarious pirouettes currently being performed by Australian Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull over Brendan Nelson’s proposal to slash 5c off a litre of petrol).

    And Parliament is nothing more than window dressing for decisions made elsewhere. All parties do it that way, of course. It’s just not my idea of democracy, and nor does it serve the people well, if indeed it can be said to serve them at all.

    Steve, with respect I think it’s about both things. Wilkinson should have been able to defend herself by saying “that’s my opinion, it’s what I believe and I’d be happy to debate that with my colleagues”. As should Street. But both their leaders came charging out, focus group polling in hand, and battered them round their respective ears.

  24. sean14 24

    How many Labour MPs were in on the policy development around KiwiSaver?

  25. Ari 25

    Kate didn’t know for one of two reasons: either the policy wasn’t concrete (see policy-light/small target) and she didn’t do enough work avoiding the issue, or National is an undemocratic boys’ club and most if not all of their women are regularly cut out of the leadership circles, where all the policy is made unilaterally. (see the “merit-based decisions” dogwhistle that they trumpet so proudly)

    There’s good evidence for both positions, so it’s not exactly an eithor-or situation, I think. I’m surprised that there’s actually so much discussion on this, but apparently some people aren’t up to connecting the dots.

  26. Lew 26

    darryl p: “National = same as Labour but cheaper and more economical to run.”

    Cleverest line I’ve seen all day, thanks.

    Rex: “I’d actually like my 120 employees to have an independent thought or two, and to operate in an environment where the expression of such thoughts was encouraged.”

    Bloody oath.

    Ari: “There’s good evidence for both positions”

    I don’t think there’s good evidence for the latter position. I think there’s a common perception of how National is run like the Business Roundtable, but that’s not evidence.

    Which is not to say I don’t think it’s the case, just that I recognise it is somewhat speculative.

    L

  27. Dan 27

    One of the problems of a political party that depends on focus groups and one liners for policy is that they miss out on a feeling for the overall gut reaction. They miss out on the unity of a guiding philosophy. Key’s slipperiness and ability to do a 180 turn on policy is totally understandable: just say what you have to to get into power and then bring out the policy. The spokespeople are tokens, in fact liabilities.
    The overall reaction by NZers when they realise that the Nats are following the Douglas prescription of keeping 99% of NZers uninformed of their intentions will be blunt. That the Nats could not offer an alternative budget says it all and is helping a mist of suspicion creep into the the average Kiwi that John boy is not all he cracks himself up to be.

  28. Tane 28

    Sean, I couln’t tell you for sure, but I can guarantee the Minister of Labour was involved.

  29. Alan 29

    Talking of not knowing policy the Herald on Sunday had an interesting side bar story concerning the antics of a Mr. David Bennett of Pacific Helmets who has been so upset about the tax cuts offered in the budget that he is going to pay all his workers the extra $14.00 a week they will receive from the changes in tax Michael Cullen announced from now until October the 1st when he will cut their pay as the tax system will make up the short fall.
    The Irascible Curmudgeon has an interesting blog about this bit of Tory sophistry which puts Mr. Bennett’s actions into a clearer light than the Herald on Sunday reported.
    Perhaps Mr. Bennett’s announcement is another leak of the hidden National Party policies – this time on workers’ rights?

  30. Lyn 30

    Darryl P – a belated feminist response to your initial comment on this thread: you appear to be a witless tw*t and I, for one, will be reading any of your future comments with this in mind. Cheers

  31. higherstandard 31

    Lyn

    You appear to be a humourless tw*t. Get over yourself.

  32. Lyn 32

    Well, it’s an alternative to getting over you I suppose. Sexism is still mildly funny, even to me, but I try to keep a non-tolerance policy, just on principle. Happy Sunday evening HS.

  33. Jum 33

    darrylp
    Unfortunately, you can always trust women to trust men.

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  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

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