read a good back and forth comments section between a few nats over at Blair's: Mulholland Drive: Christmas Postcard from Rodney Hide.
as another nat I will jump in. As good as Dr Brash would have been as PM or Finance minister, politically he had to go in a clean break from the past.
you are both quite wrong that the key is attacking weaknesses. look at the way swift boat tore kerry apart. that was destroying his only strength.
I completely agree that the environment is being removed as a differentiating issue by john key.
i suggest blair that you look to john keys policy detail rather than his reassurring announcements before you write him off. imagine the political gift to labour if he had come out and said he backs everything don brash did and tax cuts are the most important thing in nz politics.
on what basis does that bear any relationship to sound politics?
sandy - its so great that you are reduced to suggesting that english said something different on the radio. talk about a lame attack.
personally i do not think john key/bill english have put a foot wrong so far. the public know they are more likely to get tax cuts out of national than labour. but that platform did not win them the last election.
fwiw i also think rodney hide has spent a very sensible time outside politics completely rebuilding his public persona. he will come back to politics in 2007 refreshed and presenting a serious personable leader of the right. act will attract a lot of disaffected dry national voters which is a good thing as it will give act back a voice.
I do not think the centre right could have played their cards better to this point.
But wait for the labour honeymoon to end and they will start attacking him personally with vigour.
look for key to stay above that and keep labour on their back foot with policy positions completely at odds with previous positions. key has understood that owning the centre is critical. if that means being slagged off by libertarian ideologists unable to recognise that key is a smart operator then so be it.
aaron linked to the latest roy morgan and lookinng at the results it seemed immediately clear that winstonn has finished with parliament. his plan is to move from foriegn minister to being made ambassador to the US. whether that happens before the end of next parliament who knows. winston is smart enough to figure out that he has a had a good run but he will not get back in next time. moving to auckland means he has surrendered the seat to clarkson and he just will not get the traction for the next election.
as i said above I think acts polling will improve significantly once rodney refocuses on parliament. for him personally and professionally to make a break fromm his past persona is a sensible thing now that he is tied to an electorate. he will get the older female vote in epsom that he repelled before, and that cements him.
assuming act share remains around 2% giving 2 seats with national up at 44.5% and nzf out of parliament but taking 4% of the vote that gives a hung parliament with Maori as king makers. what is interesting is that the green vote is finally starting to reflect voters shedding labour. they seem to have resolved leadership and norman seems a sensible kind of guy who will not alienate voters. They get 11 seats according to Morgans data. that would be their best ever result. but it raises the point that Labour green support is holding at around 57-68 seats despite all the dirt surrounding labour.
I think if John Key can continue to keep Labour on the back foot and not gift positions allowing Labour to beat them over the head with mean nasty nats there is a real chance that votes will start to trickle across to national.
I have been commenting at a few of the libertarian blogs that they should not give up on john key so quickly. i admit to having been surprised at how quickly the libertarian pack have turned. even blair expressing disquiet, and he is a national member.
on what basis does anybody think that voters have endorsed or will endorse libertarian economic policy any time soon. Dr Brash came very close, but in the end enough people believed the lies from labour and voted left. John Key remains somewhat of an enigma in terms of his policy beliefs. He has clearly shown himself to be very astute strategically and pragmatic.
If I had one criticism of Dr Brash while he was leader of the reserve bank it was his willingness to stamp out growth too quickly in order to maintain inflation targets.
John key has succeeded in the biggest genuine open market of all - currency trading. sound ideology does not count. what works counts. I think he will bring that approach to bear on nz politics. he will be very open to ideas and will be quite happy to endorse policy from wherever it comes proving it helps the boat go faster. The same things apply to making money long term in currency markets as applies to running a successful economy, spotting and getting ahead of global trends. I do not expect peter cresswell to endorse john key any time soon however.
Key has endorsed Cullens super fund which is an imperfect start to answering New Zealands savings problems. Now is an opportunity for those amongst us who like to propose policy to get involved in making sure National policies appeal to enough voters to get rid of the corrupt mob we have now.
I hope everyone has a good New Year. I look forward to re-engaging on the blog in 2007. Things have improved here but I still have a few things that take priority over blogging