Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Frank Newman: National's worst nightmare

When prime minister Key returned home from smoodging and rubbing shoulders with the world’s royalty and social elite he found a very changed political landscape by brash acts to his right and left.

If National MPs are not worried, they should be. And they have only themselves to blame. Political arrogance has once again come at a price.

Don Brash’s assassination of Rodney Hide came easily when ACT’s MPs got used to the fact that Brash was a lifeline to their tenuous political careers. No doubt Brash will want to use Rodney’s hide to erase ACT’s inauspicious past, and may even go as far as renaming the party. No doubt he will refresh the party’s list, while rewarding those who assisted in the coup.

A Brash led ACT presents a problem for National on many counts, not least is the fact that its votes will come almost entirely from National.

Brash’s one-law-for-all reputation will be welcomed by the many National supporters who rebelled against National’s affair with the Maori Party and in particular the astounding deceit and half-truths that surrounded the passing of the foreshore and seabed legislation. National’s MPs will now start counting the cost for voting for legislation many condemned in private or shrugged off as a reality of MMP.

Brash’s stand on race relations alone is likely to the transfer of enough votes to take National’s support below 50% and ACT closer to 10% than 2%. That means National can no longer harbour dreams of gaining an absolute majority to govern alone.

Secondly the emergence of Brash on the extreme right and Mana on the extreme left will define the media agenda of the election. The inflammable mix of Brash’s uncompromising stance on Maori issues and Harawira’s warrior style will no doubt be the medias focus , making it very hard for Key to play out the smiley presidential campaign he would have planned in the brief election window between the end of the Rugby World Cup and election day.

Thirdly, National will for the first time have to defend its right flank from one of its own. Brash will no doubt want to revive the Iwi Kiwi attack style campaign he used in 2005, but this time targeting John Key and National. That will leave the left (middle) flank open to Labour, but National is fortunate that for this election anyway Labour is still burdened by a gay/unionist image too scary for middle NZ.

The Mana Party on the other hand poses a problem for National in that while ACT is gaining strength, its other coalition partner, the Maori Party, is likely to be weakened and provide a nil return for the costly concessions made to it in the hope of retaining its favour. It is likely the Maori Party will be returned with only 2 or 3 MPs as it and Mana fight over the Maori activist vote, and in any case ACT is unlikely to support National if the Maori Party is part of the coalition.

National will therefore be left dealing with a demanding and focused Don Brash, quite the opposite of the born-again lamb-like Rodney Hide who made no secret of his admiration for the Prime Minister.


Anonymous said...

National has been a disaster for the country as far as race relations is concerned and Don Brash will be good for the country because he will pull them back into line. Meanwhile the Maori Party will be weakened like you say by Hone Harawira and also a stronger performance by Labour in the Maori seats - which will also be good for the country. But what we need is a strong movement to get rid of those racist seats. In a modern democracy race has absolutely no place.

Anonymous said...

I share your perspective about National blithely assuming their traditional supporters had nowhere else to go. I'm sure the passing of the Marine and Coastal Areas Act was absolutely the last straw for many voters.

However while the Prime Minister and his Party Bosses must take the prime blame for the inevitable loss of support I also blame the compliance and cowardice of National MPs who knew that their constituents did not want this Bill but who nevertheless put their own jobs and prospects ahead of their moral duty to truly represent their people.

What we've had in fact over the last decade is a pretend democracy where deals are struck and laws are imposed irrespective of the wishes and concerns of the citizens. A real Lord of the Manor keeping the peasants in line scenario.

Well I say it's time for a Peasants' Revolt and I hope enough of us will show our anger at the next election.

Our current political system is corrupt. I suggest what we need to do is adopt Swiss style Direct Democracy where citizens, under certain conditions, can initiate or block legislation. Surely this could be the "strong movement" which the previous writer suggested we need.

Most of us in this country pay our taxes, obey the laws, keep the peace and try to construct a better future for our children. We deserve better than an inadequate political system which allows Party Bosses to effectively govern without our consent.

Anonymous said...

Brash is a godsend for National
National use to be known as broad spectrum party.
Those days have gone.
Key is doing a great job as PM.
But The righties and the libertarians are very likely not to vote.
Labour in coalition with the great unwashed could gain ground by default.
(Will it want be for ability.)
Labour did it alone in 1984.
Fortunately Brash is now leading ACT
Act will sop up the righties and the libertarians it will even take a few from National.
National are far better to lose a few vote to Act. Then having their supporters not vote.

Jens Meder said...

The vote with the best prospect of doing away with the Maori seats is the centrist vote for Winston Peters - NZ First would vote for it even if not in Government.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments Frank and I'm very pleased to see that oaf Harawira has resigned and will seek a mandate from his people. I don't actually think he has a great deal of support and will not get the mandate he seeks. If he does though, it will weaken the Maori Party and thus make National far more dependent on ACT under Brash. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Which "Nationals"?

Anonymous said...

Very good article... right on the mark.

Anonymous said...

Most of us in this country pay our taxes, obey the laws, keep the peace and try to construct a better future for our children

If only that were true! Actually only about 5% of Kiwis make a net positive contribution to the economy - and by their taxes pay for everything and everyone else

The rot has to stop and it has to stop Now!

An ACT Party with 15% (indicative polling shows they will get at least that much, maybe more, of the party vote) will force Key to have Brash as minister of finance - there are more than enough National backbenchers & electorate chairs & party members who are sick of Key keeping every single one of Labour's policies!

So this week's budget frankly doesn't matter. Brash's emergency budget after the election, in November, is the only one that matters: and as NZ's situation is at least twice as bad as it was in 1984 and 1991 combined so must the remedy be

We have one chance to end bludgerism, leftism, socialism, unionism in NZ

electorate vote National: Party Vote ACT

Michael Bostock said...

I have already written to our Napier M.P., Chris Tremain,telling him that although a long time N.P.voter, I shall be working to unseat him come election time because of his pusillanimous stance on the F.S.&S.B. issue, and shall divide my two votes between ACT and L.P.

Anonymous said...

Go John Key and the National Party