Sunday, May 1, 2011
Mike Butler: Glad Brash is back
Brash’s hostile takeover of the ACT Party had the potential of raising the eyebrows of political commentators around the world since it was unusual and unexpected. But such a takeover was made possible by the failures of ACT Party leader Rodney Hide AND National Party leader John Key.
Hide’s brand was tarnished, according to Brash. Hide, the former perk buster attracted a storm of criticism when he took his then girlfriend on a taxpayer-funded overseas trip. That was one of a number of highly publicized failures. Yet his biggest failures were that under his leadership ACT went off message and ACT MPs publicly fought each other while the government’s other main supporter, the Maori Party, was relentlessly on-message and won a series of public concessions before MP Hone Harawira turned septic.
The National Party’s failure is, as Brash says, that the government is borrowing $300-million a week while failing get rid of some of the weighty, costly bureaucracy that is slowly sinking our ship of state.
The current National Party is led by a person whose life ambition was to be prime minister but once there seemed to lack any clear idea of where he wants to lead the nation. As a smile-and-wave all-things-to-all-people kind of guy, he is unequipped to deal with the swirling whirlpool of self-interest that exists at Wellington’s Bowen triangle.
The current government is incapable of making a decision on the facts placed before it. For instance, the Key government implemented the emissions trading scheme despite expert advice that the scheme would have virtually no impact on reducing global emissions. The Key government was also advised that the whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. We are paying more for petrol and electricity to subsidise a handful of foresters.
For anyone who may think the current bunch of Nats are a tad Muldoonist, Key, like former National Party leader and prime minister Sir Robert Muldoon, does not listen to advice. He has Roger Douglas as a coalition partner yet systematically ignores everything Douglas has to say on the economy. As finance minister during the 1980s, Douglas dealt with the economic chaos wrought by Muldoon. You would think that at a time of economic crisis, like now, a wise prime minister would consult widely with an open mind. Not John Key.
Moving along, I am glad also that Hone Harawira is out on his own leading well-known self-loathing left-wing activists to the polls so that everyone will be able to see the exact amount of support they actually have.
The Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, who split from the Maori Party ostensibly over differences on the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act, gives the appearance of representing his electorate to his party and parliament. However, his new status as the biggest parliamentary spender on travel, and his recent comments that he didn’t like the office or seat in the House that was given to him, shows that he has an ego as big as the open air, and his new Mana Party is really about Hone’s mana.
Harawira’s egotistical campaign against his former colleagues in the Maori Party blinds him to the reality that if he takes Te Tai Tokerau he will return to parliament as the Hone Harawira party of one. He would be able to continue to rail against the evils of colonialism while picking up the perks that colonialism has brought. Hypocrite!
The Maori Party’s battle has become more difficult, and after the election, since co-leader Pita Sharples faces a challenge from Labour’s Shane Jones for Tamaki Makaurau, and the Maori Party’s founding MP Tariana Turia plans to retire, the party will have fewer MPs.
While Harawira may present his victory in Te Tai Tokerau as a given, other parties should contest that seat vigorously to give the Maori voters up there a real choice.
at 11:26 AM