This was my second ever post on KP and a direct response to my first where some people had accused me of shilling for National by pointing out the issues in Labour.
As for the post itself not much has changed except one teeny tiny thing: John Key is no longer PM.
Of course I am being facetious as a lot has changed in some ways and in others nothing has changed.
Obviously Key leaving is a a big thing and the fact that he left out of the blue shows that even with victory in sight in 2017 it was not enough for him to stay. So he went and National almost immediately lurched to the Right as soon as summer recess was over.
The things that have not changed are those minions he left behind.
English is back on the throne for now and all the rest now sit around the cabinet table and pretend its the same as it was when Johnny Boy was calling the shots but its not.
Between when I first posted this and now we have also had the Serco/Fight Club Scandal, The MPI scandal, The Panama Papers scandal, The SFO investigation into corruption in CERA scandal (didn't her about that one: Google is your friend), Clean water issues, Superannuation and a whole lot more of other niggles which are going to come back to haunt National come election day.
The two most pertinent points in this post are a) Who will swing the club that all Nationals bad behavior has given to the opposition; and b) the levels of public indifference and apathy which were mollified by Key for so long which are now starting to show signs of coming to the boil.
And these two factors are inextricably linked as public apathy remains a factor as long as the opposition is seen as not being willing (or able) to swing the club against the shambling Zombie that National has reverted back to.
And if you want to see what the future of National is without Key go read Nicky Hagar's - The Hollow Men to get an idea of whats around the corner, as Nationals sudden right wing lurch is starting to reveal.
So If Labour is a party devoid of any real personality and seemingly unable to gather momentum, even when it needs to, for the 2017 election then National is a party full of grotesque personalities which are toxic to the party and its survival but who, like all good parasites, will kill the host before they cease doing what they do.
Key's mana still sustains English and Co but not for long, the cracks are already starting to show and rot within is oozing out as the family friendly centrist glamour that Key draped over party is now fading and the ugly beasts and creepy minds that infest it are starting to be, once again like in 1999, be revealed.
I got bagged last week by some who knew me and read my post about Andrew
Little and Labour as I appeared to them (and not all of them would fit into the
mold of Left or Liberal) as a closet or crypto sympathizer for National and
John Key and all they stand for.
This of course would be far from the truth, as on the political spectrum, I
consider myself a fascist anarchist and in no way supportive of National. But
as I said last week I am no fan of Labour but some took my last post as a clear
vote for the Senor Key and Co. So to keep the karmic balance this post will
peel away the blue on National corpse and see what lies underneath (I was
planning to write about the security services in NZ but c’est la vie).
The difference between my analysis of Labour and National is that while my
focus on Labour was on the failures of the party over the failures of
individuals, National is the opposite it’s the failures of individuals that
dominates the party and has done so for over a decade now.
To start John Key has been very successful as a politician, so successful in
fact that it would be easier to call National the “John Key Party” than refer
to them as National. But Keys success as Politician has come at a cost, to both
himself and the John Key Party.
Firstly Keys success as politician does not translate well into actual
leadership, legacy or being remembered as PM. The multitude of screw ups,
gaffs, scandals, dodgy behavior, greedy and corrupt behavior by Keys minions is
legion which shows that despite his high polling he has been unable to keep his
employees from running amok when his eyes are not directly on them.
This is because that Key has his own version of the Fuhrerprinzip
(leadership principle) in play here. He may not have started out as the
dictator of National but as the success of the party rests entirely on his
ongoing popularity it’s become his show and his show only and much like other
dictators Key keeps those under him busy squabbling for power so that they
don’t have time to unite against him or do too much damage.
Unfortunately political golems that comprise the party, such as the
reptilian Judith Collins, failed Wagnerian/Faustian Jerry Brownlee and power
hungry Steven Joyce, feature regularly in the press but rarely for good
Collins misdeeds are numerous and not even worth mentioning here except that
it’s clear that Key brought her back into cabinet after the scandal of Dirty
Politics and who she was dining with in China under the old adage of ‘keep your
friends close and your enemies closer’. The smiling assassin wants to see the
blade coming and by keeping Collins on a short leash and continuing to utilize
her attack dog qualities he keeps her occupied and not with no further time to
plot his overthrow, as had been rumored.
Brownlee also has been a useful tool to Key as flak catcher for the growing
disquiet around the Christchurch Rebuild (nepotism, shoddy work practices and
questionable dealings) but Brownlee is really known for little but his
escapades in the media where he tried to start a war with Finland, Flouted
Civil Aviation Authority rules and has demonstrated that his mouth is not
connected to his brain. Also his placement as Minister of Defense, while
seeming important, is actually a demotion to a backwater government department
as a way of keeping him busy and out of trouble (much in the same vein that
Murray Mcully’s appointment to the Foreign Affairs kept him out of the way by
keeping him out of the country as much as possible) with all those “important”
Meanwhile Steven Joyce oversaw his Frankenstein creation of MBIE (among
other misdeeds), cobbling together disparate ministries and sections of
government into an unholy (and unworkable) creation, staffed at senior levels
with barely competent DCEs and then jammed into a chicken coop of a building
complete with opulent surrounds at taxpayer expense. It was a power grab pure
and simple and much in the vein of the SS in Germany capturing police and
security functions under the banner of “centralization” but it’s become a
bloated sagging beast with a toxic work culture and extremely high union
But it’s not only the senior ministers that have appeared in the media as
creatures that you’d rather not sit next to on the bus. Arron Gilmore will be
forever remembered as for his arrogant outburst regarding who he was in regards
to his membership in the John Key Party and current troubles with Todd
Barclay’s staff show that the newer members of the party won’t be lax when it
comes to acting like they are to the manor born.
And these are just examples that I am pulling off the top of my head. There
are so many more that it does seem at times that the New Zealand political
press are running a concerted campaign to discredit the Senor Key Party by
publishing only the bad news but the truth is that the behavior of the members
of the party has long been grossly out of touch with expected standards of
decency and behavior. The short lived political career of Pansy Wong springs to
mind or the highly inappropriate behavior of Maurice Williamson in calling the
police when a rich “friend” was in trouble for are just a few more that freely
spring to mind.
But there is a method to my madness in cataloging these examples of nether-spawn
here and it’s to place the popularity of Key in clear contrast to the Party
(and its dismal inhabitants) he fronts.
Key is the Golden Boy, popular in the polls and able to appear in public
during daylight hours. But the shadow he casts is long and dark and it’s in the
darkness that things grow and thrive, things which cannot go into the light
lest they die from exposure.
This is a tale of horror and dark deeds, of human sacrifice and blood, of a
pact with demons, a deal with the devil.
Our tale begins in 1999, after nine years in government (and the last three
at the behest of Winston Peters) Jenny Shipley (now being sued as a former
director of Mainzeal) steered the party onto the rocks of Defeat and Helen
Clark led Labour into power. Nationals performance in 1999 was dismal but was
nothing to the beating it got in 2002 (20%; it’s lowest ever election result
and a nadir even lower than anything achieved by Labour at the polls).
Then several strange things happened but to sum it up simply the party was
taken over/bought out in aggressive coup by right-wing interests fronted by Don
Brash and the Business Roundtable (Now known as the New Zealand Initiative in
an attempt to re-brand its tarnished image). Bill English (possibly the last
real link to National of the past times) was sacrificed publicly and painfully
on the altar of political convenience and John Key entered the party (or if
rumors are to be believed he was aggressively recruited due to his wealth and
Weather Brash had sold his soul to get the leadership or was a patsy may
never be known but it’s around this time that the remaining country elements of
the party were being cleared out and put off to pasture (no pun intended). Dark
words and incantations had been whispered and evil things summoned and now the
life that flowed through the party was no human blood but a mix of money,
religion and spin.
Shortly after Brash self-destructed in an orgy of greasy stories about his
sex life and revelations from Nicky Hagar’s Hollow Men showed that the party
was not only beholden to larger business interests but also rapidly becoming a
vehicle for money and religion in ways that mirror the strange nexus of
religion and power in US evangelicals. Stepping into the breach in 2006 at this
time was John Key and the party’s fortunes mysteriously began to rise (to be
fair Brash’s infamous Orewa speech had helped to raise the party’s fortunes but
his own personal culpability was still poison to the party).
And rise they have but only in relation to Keys personal popularity and when
he falls the party will fall with him.
By listing only some of the stains found on the scaly carcass of the party
it’s clear that the John Key Party is not only wholly corrupt but incapable of
behaving in any manner that requires honesty, decency or integrity and that
without the magic of John Key National would have either self-destructed (ala
Labour with endless power struggles and coup attempts) or faded into electoral
irrelevance by now.
So what’s the plan in the post Key environment for the misanthropes of
National? Which of the shambling horrors currently prowling the halls of the
Beehive would the average Kiwi voter go for?
The first (and only) name that springs to my mind is Simon Powers. He was
being groomed for the role by being chief whip and had the looks, and ability
to speak without putting his foot in his mouth but Powers left after two terms
(perhaps sensing the poison in the chalice being offered to him) for greener
pastures (Run Simon, run!).
Other than that it’s difficult if not impossible to imagine anyone of the
current crop of National MPs now sitting at the top level being able to either
lead the party without its descending into a hellish power struggle or elicit
any positive reaction in the polls to the grotesque suggestion that they may be
likable or have any human feelings (or perhaps are even human). Further with
the junior ranks either imploding due to swollen hubris or simply because so
many National MPs (like Labour’s middle and bottom tiers) are just seat
fillers, cautious drones taking their nice salary and doing little for their
electorates, no voter in their right mind would be ticking their name on the
ballot form either.
A clear example of this hideous electoral dislocation is Winston Peter’s
astounding win in the Northland by-election. In what was supposed to be a safe
National seat (until Mike Sabine was found to be under investigation by the
Police for Assault in another instance of reprehensible behavior) Winston took
his traveling medicine show out on the hustings and reaped the spoils of
Nationals arrogance and terrible treatment of the electorate.
And if your still reading at this point you may be getting the picture.
National is a party that is on life support and that life support is John Key.
As soon as he leaves or no longer has the magic touch in the polls the party
will be a shambling corpse, an undead husk full of nothing but vile waste and
No one is going to vote for Judith Collins, Jerry Brownlee or any of the others
grim specters as leader or as PM and the desperate reliance on dirty
tricks and heavily manufactured (official and unofficial) spin has left the
party desperately hyping and protecting its one and only political life line,
But zombie parties do not die, they have to be killed and the question is
who will do the killing? Vernon Small pointed out in today’s media that John
Keys current position in the wake of Panama Papers (the usual Key safe, clean
and neat statements) is effectively “handing a cudgel” to the opposition. But
who will swing it? Who has the strength?
The Greens and NZ First most certainly have the will but not the strength to
really kill National. Labour has the strength but is unable to get its house in
order and remains timidly cowering in the corner (in the tradition of many
classic horror movies) paralyzed with fear while the beast runs amok among
Possibly in combination could these three, like some sort of political
transforming robot, combine their powers to take out National but that is
unlikely (an issue to be explored at a later date) and the odds that come
November 2017 we will either see John Key lead his party into a fourth term or
a Coalition Government with Labour, NZ First and the Greens in uneasy
coexistence are high.
If National is defeated in 2017 then it’s the end of Key, he won’t hang
around and will go off to reap the rewards promised by his backers way back in
2002. If National makes a fourth term then all bets are off and Key will rule
as long as his popularity lasts.
And that is the final key (no pun intended) to the puzzle, his popularity.
As Phil F pointed out in the comments to my last post (and is echoed by the
folks over at Redline Blog), a large section of the New Zealand electorate has
been docile and passive in the face of the Machiavellian antics of Key and Co.
Voter apathy in the wake of endless scandals by the National party and John
Key means that where acts which would have people out in the streets or at
least an uproar in other countries have been met with large doses of
indifference and ignorance, which are fuel for the polling engine that drives
Team Key. Part of the blame lies with the mainstream media but the other with
the general public themselves (again fodder for future posts) and it’s rapidly
becomes a chicken or egg argument in determining which causes which.
So to end what has again been a long post (I do apologize for the length)
it’s worth summing things up. National is a dead party walking as soon as it no
longer has John key to prop it up (be it in person or popularity); it’s filled
with corrupt individuals and backed by larger business interest for said
interests. Its policy is a mild brand of conservatism, watered down to enable
it to hold the middle ground and engineered in-line with failed and discredited
This is a party fighting a holding action to enable those who currently
benefit from 30 years of rapacious public policy to consolidate their gains and
maintain their lifestyles. The fact that National is literally rotting away
before the nations eyes and lead by a necromancer king has yet to generate the
fear and loathing that it should in this climate of change shows that we are
either under Keys spell or things will remain as they are until history does
the job for us and removes the horror for us.
In times like this a heroine or hero is required, or the peoples will must
be manifest, both of which have their dangers but it’s clear that the beehive
is now more akin to Dracula’s castle looming over the peasant village below and
at nights dark and monstrous shapes can be seen in the windows.
Who will be that Hero?
Original post here.