Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Let's be hearing it

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  • Che Tibby,

    not so sure about key. something tells me he's not the kind of guy you'd want to cross. enough said.

    as for farrar now, i'm sure he'll be on the airphone to a colleague to send in a conciliatory blogpost any minute now!

    he just freaking loved that big skinny man.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    I am pleased to see him go. He made me feel sorry for him a couple of times and after Orewa1 that was not a good feeling for me.
    Brownlee would be worse and I almost automatically dislike Key who is just another smooth suit but I suppose that is who they will go to.
    Or maybe the EB's have someone lined up...a messiah?

    Since Nov 2006 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Brash's leadership was over a while ago; doubts about Key's political skills must surely be confirmed by his inability to bring the matter to a head.

    The next two parliamentary weeks will be fascinating - any honeymoon Key might have hoped for has been eroded by his inaction (Craig's point is well made) - he's going to struggle.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Key seems far more electable to fence-sitting voters as far as I can see?

    But he may then lose the more extreme elements whose ears pricked up at Brash's dog-whistles. Bill English just seemed too reasonable and moderate to give National a recognisable point of difference, which is what Brash gave them. But then he went too far for the middle ground.

    Which raises the question: is it possible to attract both? If National slides back to the middle, will the smaller parties on the right pick up the pieces and surge ahead? For example, Act stops dancing around on the fringes and gets the pseudo-libertarian populist vote; and/or Destiny or United Future solidify the religious conservative vote?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Personally I hope Key - or whomever else takes over - makes a good fist of things. I'd like to be able to see National as a party I could actually vote for instead of the somewhat sinister, reactionary party we currently know and fear.

    That's pretty much my view too. I wouldn't be too likely to vote National, but at some point they'll be in government.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    [Key] may then lose the more extreme elements whose ears pricked up at Brash's dog-whistles.

    But (and I'm not sure Dr Brash ever grasped this) those votes go to your coalition partners while you pick up center votes off your main opponent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    There's something not quite right about this.

    Firstly, Brash resurrected National's fortunes, not Key. Aren't National still ahead in the polls?

    Secondly, there is something I don't trust about Key that I can't put my finger on. My problem with Brash was the sense he was projecting a moderate image in order to ultimately enact an 80's style laissez-faire/privatisation agenda. Is this any less of a danger with Key? I know Key is the MP for Helensville, that he was formerly an investment banker, and that he comes across as a jerk on TV, thats pretty much it.

    I guess I would have liked to have known what was in this book before people resigned because of it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 602 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Firstly, Brash resurrected National's fortunes, not Key. Aren't National still ahead in the polls?

    There's a perception on both sides of the divide that that's more the result of the recent bad publicity for Labour than for anything National or Brash have done.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I agree with the desire to see a more moderate and credible opposition.

    The recent polarisation of NZ politics is against the trend of the last 15 years - both parties need to represent their members and interests however it all appeared to be getting out of hand.

    Brash will cop more than his fair share of blame for this however, a change of leadership gives National, at least, the opportunity to recalibrate.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Wammo,

    Granted I've never run John over hot coals but he has shown an ability to give an opinion on a wide range of topics:

    John Key audio

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • James Doleman,

    Brash is no great shakes as a politician, all he had was the "honest Don" image, if the emails destroy that (and by all accounts they do) he has nothing left.

    So who is next?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I think so. But I also hope he can craft a National Party I can live with.

    I don't know, Russell, because I think Labour will have looked at the ALP, the Republicans and the British Tories and realised this: centerist/swing voters are very reluctant to reward parties tagged (fairly or not) as dominated by in-fighting and disloyalty. While I'm no fan of Helen Clark, you've got to give her credit for dragging back together a badly divided party and imposing a pretty ferocious level of discipline that put it in a position to exploit an increasingly messy Government.

    It's not a big ticket policy issue like Health or Education or Law & Order, but as our politics become more and more 'presidential' it is relevant. And if Labour are smart,they'll want to stick the next Nat leader (whoever he is) with the 'if Don couldn't trust him, why should you' tag hard and fast. And nobody is going to get a honeymoon from either the media, the party or the electorate at large if he (or she, let's not be sexist) doesn't build on National's current polling PDQ.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    As usual, the comments threads at Sir Humphreys inject a little mirth into the issue:

    I think the New Zealand media can feel proud. Through months of rhetoric, one sided reporting and so forth they have forced the Gentleman's Politician to resign. A victory for the small mindset and those blinded to the truth . . . And now we've lost the last politician with at least a tiny shred of integrity.

    Hang your head in shame New Zealand, you have allowed evil to triumph over good.

    National doesn't need another liberal laissez-faire globalist. It needs the heart of bill English with the guts of Gerald Brownlee.

    The last one is my favourite.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The recent polarisation of NZ politics is against the trend of the last 15 years -

    Paul, to be quite honest I thought most of the hand-wringing about how 'polarised' the electorate had become at the last election was real put-rubber-sheets-on-the-bed stuff, which said more about the media than the electorate. FFS, we had a free, fair and peaceful election where the results where finely balanced between the center-left and the center-right. Enraged boozed Tories didn't torch the Wellington CBD, we determined our legislature at the ballot box not through the courts, and we weren't wondering which way the armed forces were going to jump.

    We also have an MMP electoral system. I thought it was meant to deliver this kind of result as opposed to the 'elected dictatorship' of FPP where there was an effective Labour/National duopoly on power, and it was possible to effectively ram though your agenda on the most spurious of mandates, and with no real restraint.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Muriel Lockheed,

    I am not sorry to see Brash go! I am no fan of Key though, he comes over real smarmy at times. I hate that perpetual smirk!

    I don't think he has the experience and frankly if he does not get up to speed quickly Helen will have him for toast in any debate outside of finance. But, maybe he won't get it either, maybe there is more to come out of this whole affair yet. English?

    Brash is at pains to point out his resignation is not connected with the emails and the Hager book, but hell, that has to be the conclusion that most will draw from it happening today. Must have been an interesting caucus meeting.

    Kiwiblog is ripping itself apart about the Investigate report/slime.

    Wellywood • Since Nov 2006 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "[Key] may then lose the more extreme elements whose ears pricked up at Brash's dog-whistles."

    But (and I'm not sure Dr Brash ever grasped this) those votes go to your coalition partners while you pick up center votes off your main opponent.

    Yes, if they can form a coalition, and if those coalition parties can get across the threshold, and if the prospect of a coalition with them doesn't scare off the moderate voters, and if they don't lose credibility through the actions of their politicians. Imagine if National had had to rely on Christian Heritage as a coalition partner!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Craig, peaceable and fair elections they might have been, it was the positions advocated and the language used that I referred to. Perhaps my perspective is too heavily influenced by the blogs I read, to make up for being offshore, however NZ politics seems to have become unecessarily vitriolic and personal of late.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    thought most of the hand-wringing about how 'polarised' the electorate had become at the last election was real put-rubber-sheets-on-the-bed stuff, which said more about the media than the electorate.

    I really don't know about that. You've got a section of the community that believes firmly that Maori are vastly, unfairly priveliged, that immigrants (specifically non-English speaking non-Europeans) are tearing our country apart, that we are one of the highest taxed, high crime countries in the world, that our economy and legislation is "Third World" and that the government its departments are infested with man-hating lesbians, overpaid tohunga consultants and PC-gone-mad lefty academics with no experience of the real world.

    Then you've got people like me, who thinks that's all utter nonsense and that things are mostly fine.

    There is a real, genuine conceptual divide in New Zealand that manifested itself strongly at the last election. It's not neatly aligned with the urban/rural split, or with rich middle aged white men vs everyone else, but it's very much there and it's something that threatens our tradition of polite, rational political dialogue simply because you're talking about two groups of people who see reality in such starkly different terms.

    Certainly, that sort of extreme contrarianism is an inevitable result of the emotions an election stirs, but it's not all just rhetoric. I run into both "camps" of people day in and day out, and sometimes I find wondering how that conceptual divide happened, and whether there can ever really be some sort of compromise between the two groups.

    Outside of a Dave Dobbyn song, anyway.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Imagine if National had had to rely on Christian Heritage as a coalition partner!

    Yes, Tom, and imagine if Helen Clark appinted as Foreign Affairs Minister a man she'd spent fifteen years codemning as an unprincipled and loathesome bigot who wasn't fit to be in Parliament, let alone a Minister of the Crown... Oh, that's right, you don't have to imagine. (She also seems to have quelled her loathing for the 'haters and wreckers' in the Maori Party and the 'extremist' Greens.)

    And I don't think Christian Heritage are going to be in coalition with anyone, as I believe the party no longer exists.

    The simple truth is, Tom, Helen Clark can count how many votes she requires for confidence and supply, while everything else is up for negotiation. The minor parties have to think very carefully how to maximise their influence, without over-playing their hand - something I think the Maori Party and Greens have done fairly well, while NZ First, ACT and United Future have made a bit of a hash of it. I don't see why it should be any different if National is the largest party in the next Parliament - I expect some hard negotiating to go on on all sides. And that's probably not a bad thing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • James Doleman,

    "I really don't know about that. You've got a section of the community that believes firmly that Maori are vastly, unfairly priveliged, that immigrants (specifically non-English speaking non-Europeans) are tearing our country apart, that we are one of the highest taxed, high crime countries in the world, that our economy and legislation is "Third World" and that the government its departments are infested with man-hating lesbians, overpaid tohunga consultants and PC-gone-mad lefty academics with no experience of the real world."

    True but they are a tiny, tiny minority

    You also have to be aware that people say things on the internet behind aliases they would never ever say in real life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    True but they are a tiny, tiny minority

    You also have to be aware that people say things on the internet behind aliases they would never ever say in real life.

    That's what I'm not so sure about. Perhaps I attract them, but there are a half dozen of them sitting within 50 feet of me here at work. I also spend my day talking to people over the phone who express similar sentiments (any sort of call centre is highly instructive for that sort of thing.)

    There will always be individual extremists, and I don't want to give the impression I'm talking about someone quite like your stereotypical straw man/boogeyman. These are ordinary people who really do believe New Zealand is a hellhole, and only radical political invervention can save us.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 862 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I wonder how Act feels about this? With Donny gone the Nats may move to the Centre, but how many votes will fall back in Act's lap?

    The National Party will have more success if it has a viable coalition partner on its right.

    As for all the bullshit about Brash resurrecting the National Party's fortunes, what crapola. Brian Easton once wrote that the Drover's Dog could have won the 1999 election if it had been representing the left. Don fucked National's chances by nearly doing away with Act altogether and leaving it no natural coalition partners. Without him/McCully they would have/should have won it.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Yes, Tom, and imagine if Helen Clark appinted as Foreign Affairs Minister a man ...

    You don't have to tell me how crazy that seems! :-)

    I was just pointing out that it's tricky for any party or stable coalition to cover a wide enough spectrum to get elected these days. National tested the waters by going from centre-right to fairly solidly right, thus succesfully defining themselves as a conservative party while outflanking Act and sucking up some of the conservative Christian vote. It was almost enough to get elected, but they drove away enough centrists (and economically dry but socially liberal voters) not to win. If they go centre-right again, then to cover the further right end of the spectrum, they wil have to rely on a motley collection of small parties who could easily self destruct. Not that that couldn't happen to the left...

    And my remark about Graham Capill wasn't a reference to the CHP per se, just to suggest that small extremist parties are vulnerable to the peccadilloes of individuals. That's not to say that all of the Christian right are kiddly fiddlers...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    "You also have to be aware that people say things on the internet behind aliases they would never ever say in real life."

    That's true.... but it doesnt mean it's not what they actually think.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The ideological divide in New Zealand is as much between those who primarily see N.Z. as a place to do business and those who see N.Z. primarily as a place where they live as anything else. There has always been these two camps, and conflict between them occasionally erupts - 1951, 1981 - into violence. Don Brash sought to poke a dangerous sleeping dog for short term political expediency. I never saw him as "honest Don." I saw him as a technocrat lacking in the broad political and community experience required in a party leader. His hierarchical and autocratic corporate background made him ill-equipped to deal with the multi faceted nuances of modern New Zealand and was the source of his constant gaffes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

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