Thursday, November 23, 2006



Hager gets the scalp

Scoop is reporting that Don Brash has called a press conference to announce that he is stepping down as leader of the National Party. I guess Nicky Hager really did have the goods.

So, who will take his place? Will it be John Key, or will there be enough in The Hollow Men to sink him too?

62 comments:

I'm glad he is gone. But it is nonetheless a sad day. It punctuates the descent of NZ democracy that has been going on for the last year. But I don't think it will stop it. Pandora's box is open.

We are now in the age of "what you can get away with". Principles are dead. Welcome to the world of rorts, lies, arrogance, smears, secret societies and abuse of power. And yes I am blaming all sides.

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 01:35:00 PM

DON BRASH RESIGNS! - He wasn't gone by lunchtime, he was gone at lunchtime!

Posted by bomber : 11/23/2006 01:36:00 PM

kiwi_donkey: I don't see it as sad at all. Quite apart from my dislike of his policies, he pursued a strategy of deceit and calculatedly pandering to the worst parts of the New Zealand psyche and was caught. And hopefully now National will learn its lesson: don't try and lie your way into office, and don't try and whip up racism for votes.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/23/2006 01:39:00 PM

Really? In Brash's position, I'd probably have said 'fuck it, I'm off' months back, and given that Hager's record of 'explosive revelations' that turn out to be damp squibs is down there with Messers Wishart and Peters, I don't think John Key should be losing too much sleep.

Yet - because if he seriously wants to become leader of the National Party, he better get used to the reality that his media honeymoon ended about half an hour ago.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 01:42:00 PM

I/S wrote:
And hopefully now National will learn its lesson: don't try and lie your way into office, and don't try and whip up racism for votes.

And hopefully now Labour hasn't learned the lesson that the politics of sleaze, personal destruction and pandering to xenophobia, lying about costings of your major policy planks and your electioneering pledge card work, so it's business as usual. Won't hold my breath, though...

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 01:46:00 PM

Sad, because it reinforces Labour's strategies. They have largely got away with their own rorts, while also gleefully participating in the demolition of Brash.

That will inevitably lead to worse and worse behavior by Labour. Who will hold them to account?

As I said, I am otherwise glad Brash is gone.

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 01:47:00 PM

the big question: will Key go too? If not then, come next election, this may have helped National afterall. If so then, presumably, that would mean English resurgent. Quite an achievement.

kiwi donk - to the contrary, if Brash has genuinely resigned because Hager had unearthed undemocratic practices on his behalf (as opposed to him resigning due to exposed personal acts) then what we have is a step back in the right direction.

Posted by terence : 11/23/2006 01:50:00 PM

Given what I've been told about what's in Hager's book, the emails aren't the half of it. It sounds like there's a huge amount of correspondence amongst the party's top ranks, involving many people.

So there's a ton of evidence - it just remains to see what it's actually evidence of. The proximity or otherwise of John Key will be an interesting issue.

Posted by Russell Brown : 11/23/2006 01:59:00 PM

kiwi_donkey: well, it was Brash's own colleagues who ultimately did him in with leaks and whispers. All Labour had to do was sit back and wait for ambition to take its natural course.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/23/2006 02:04:00 PM

Russell Brown wrote:
So there's a ton of evidence - it just remains to see what it's actually evidence of.

Well, yes... the problem is, to quote Helen Clark, it always helps to under- promise and over-deliver. Mr Hagar, like Messers Wishart and Peters on the rabid right, has a tendency to promise explosive revelations that more resemble sneaky farts under examination. As I said, John Key has bigger worries than Nicky Hagar preaching to the choir who already think John Key is Satan incarnate.

And the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Brash and (counter-intuitively) Labour are the big winners out of the timing. If Labour are smart about this, then I'd expect the crocodile tears about poor Don, felled by a dagger through the arras by his own team. to be flowing through the start of the silly season.

Here's the real risk for National: If Labour manages to get traction for the meme (fair or not) that a party that cluster-fucks its own leadership can't be trusted to run the country. And you know something: I think there's something in it. Voters don't reward in-fighting, even if they're broadly supportive of the party's policies: Just look at the ALP, the British Tories and even the GOP. I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that the Democrats made gains when they realised it was time to stop fighting each other, and turn their guns on the Republicans. Whoever the next leader of the National Party is, they better come into the new year with a strategy to counter that.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 02:17:00 PM

I cant believe some of the sanctimonious romantic old crap written here. Politcs has always and will always be a dirty game. In my view Brash should have been history the moment the alleged affair issue broke and I find it shocking that the media in this country didn't push him harder over it, especially as Brash and National made morality an issue at the last election. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say. The reason Clarke endures is that there is no one in NZ politics fit to lick her boots. She has endured smears and baseless frothy attacks ever since she took power and she still stands head and shoulders above the political minnows in her midst. Its not the mud slinging that never sticks, but the truth that usually does for politicians as Brash has just found out.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 02:19:00 PM

Craig: Take. A. Deep. Breath. Things can't be that bad. Can they?

Posted by terence : 11/23/2006 02:23:00 PM

Here's the real risk for National: If Labour manages to get traction for the meme (fair or not) that a party that cluster-fucks its own leadership can't be trusted to run the country.

She's just said roughly that to Newstalk ZB: fifth leader in nine years, chronically unstable, etc.

How terrifying to think that Helen Clark might be chanelling you Craig ;-)

I must say, I've been happy for Key to get a shot for some time, just to see whether he can haul the party back from where it got to. I hated the Brash National Party, but I don't think a completely buggered Opposition is a good thing either.

Posted by Russell Brown : 11/23/2006 02:25:00 PM

Sad, because it reinforces Labour's strategies. They have largely got away with their own rorts, while also gleefully participating in the demolition of Brash.

Ah, I'm sorry, but it's National that's been gleefully screaming corruption all year. If Hager's book says what he claims it does, the Parliamentary party's conduct is going to look pretty foul.

Posted by Russell Brown : 11/23/2006 02:29:00 PM

Thanks Anonymous. You have completed proved my point.

Attention: Anybody with troublesome memories - just see Anonymous, who can erase them for you no trouble. Wholesale rates apply to large groups.

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 02:31:00 PM

Russell,

What evidence do you have that Key is any more moderate than Brash? (the Cullen fund perhaps, but that wasn't a strictly l-r issue, unlike: tax cuts, market rentals and all the other policies he seemed very comfortable with).

Likewise, up until two days ago it was pretty hard to claim that NZ was a country with a non-existent opposition (National probably ahead in the poles etc).

True it was an opposition lorded over by “Hollow Men” but, if only Brash goes, do you think this will really have changed? And how much of Brash’s – alleged – mist-deeds could have Key really been unaware of?

Posted by terence : 11/23/2006 02:37:00 PM

We need an effective Opposition.

Posted by MERC : 11/23/2006 02:44:00 PM

Perhaps the Nats should go the whole hog and have a bit of a spring clean. I mean, of course, the appearance of one only. I can't imagine the backroom boys (or the spooky hollow men) would stand for too much skelton clearing.

But just imagine a reborn Nats, squeaky-ish clean, and ready to confront the VLWC with their own dirty laundry...

Nah...never gonna happen..

Posted by citizen : 11/23/2006 02:48:00 PM

Interesting questions, terence. And we all remember what happened last time a glorified accountant took over the national party. ;-)

Posted by dc_red : 11/23/2006 02:48:00 PM

citizen - a new broom perhaps? nah, they tried that already.

Posted by dc_red : 11/23/2006 02:49:00 PM

Helen Clark was Labour's fourth leader in four years. Whoopdy shit.

Labour set out to destroy Don Brash using every dirty tactic imaginable. In the end, he chose to leave himself, rather than continue to subject himself and his family to the worst kind of gutter politics we have seen in recent New Zealand politics.

Muldoon did the same to Rowling and Moyle; in stepped Lange to give Muldoon a hiding.

As much as you like to villify the National Party, Idiot, you're seriously testing the bounds of sanity to suggest that National's internal workings are somehow corrupt, yet Labour's are squeaky clean.

Don Brash is a very fine man, who should never have had to suffer the personal smears that Labour have launched at him since he entered Parliament. Brash was good enough for Labour to have confidence in him as reserve bank governor for fourteen years; it was only when he threatened to take away their ministerial limos by making the National Party far more popular than Labour that they turned on him.

Bring on John Key. You pinko fuckers are in for the high-jump.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 11/23/2006 03:22:00 PM

Russell wrote:

She's just said roughly that to Newstalk ZB: fifth leader in nine years, chronically unstable, etc.

How terrifying to think that Helen Clark might be chanelling you Craig ;-)

It will take days to defrost my icebound bladder, and my invoice is in the mail. :) Still, National has a way to go to match three Prime Ministers in fourteen months, and Clark becoming the Labour Party's fourth leader in four years. I remember when plenty of folks in National circles were predicting she'd be a one-term opposition leader, and didn't they get that wrong. At the time, I remember Clark saying she didn't really give a fig what anyone in National said about her because they didn't have votes where it counted. She was totally right then, and I'd respectfully suggest that the reverse is equally true now.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 03:28:00 PM

"Helen Clark was Labour's fourth leader in four years. Whoopdy shit."

HC is also the fourth Labour leader since 1983, I make that 23 years, Prick.

What she is/was able to do is pull all the competing strands within her party/caucus and create a party capable of governing. Bolger did the same thing. The incompetents that the Nats have been lumbered with since 1998 have failed to do that

Posted by Pablo : 11/23/2006 04:00:00 PM

Craig, "she said she didn't give a fig because they did not have the votes where it counted ... she was right then and respectfully the same is true in reverse"

Fair enough, but MMP has changed the landscape, the traditional lines are not as clear as even five years ago.

NZ First will take the far right idiot votes off key or English, when Peters launches his pre-election position, yuk. And there are already no votes left up for grabs in the center, things look bleak for National, their dizzy heights have past and no baubles.

Posted by james cairney : 11/23/2006 04:08:00 PM

Pablo:

I know this is going to upset some folks, but Helen's not going to last forever - and I very much doubt she'd want to hang around if she doesn't get her fourth term. If National's polling doesn't collapse PDQ, it should be fun to see who starts positioning themselves for a run at the leadership. I'd put odds on Goff myself, but Mallard will definitely be back in the hunt if the stadium doesn't go totally FUBAR on his watch...

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 04:13:00 PM

Goff. But how will Key fare against Helen without Dr Cullen?

Cullen has Key's measure. The only effective opposition MP is English, but he's too poor, and honest.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 04:21:00 PM

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0611/S00414.htm

Brash's responses will have a major impact as he is admitting he knew so much more about the EBs campaign and he should have signed it off and included the money spent in his campaign returns.

Frankly, this will make pledge card issues seem like chicken feed.

"Stolen election" indeed.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 04:23:00 PM

James Cairney wrote:
NZ First will take the far right idiot votes off key or English, when Peters launches his pre-election position, yuk. And there are already no votes left up for grabs in the center, things look bleak for National, their dizzy heights have past and no baubles.

The short answer: Let's see, because I think you're making two pretty big assumptions. That Winston's usual bag of tricks (find some pretext to withdraw from the government and go back on the populist bandwagon) is going to work again. The problem this time is he (and more importantly his personality cult pretending to be a party) doesn't have the safety net of Tauranga, and he's tainted his reputation by accepting the 'baubles of power' he so loudly disdained before the election. As for "no votes left up for grabs in the center", well I don't particularly like the (to coin a phrase) born to rule arrogance implicit in statements like that. I'm sure Labour will try to paint the next leader of the National Party as a far-right Amerikkan gove-puppet with uranium on his breath, but I wouldn't assume that game is going to work twice.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 04:26:00 PM

Craig, I would agree with you for the most part. Like ALex Ferguson at Manchester United, HC knows there is no-one in her Cabinet capable of doing a better job than she can. No matter who leads them, the Labour Party is unlikely to be the government in 2009, no matter who is the leader.

Frankly, I can't see an enduring leader in the ranks, but I'm sure they said that of Muldoon's cabinet in the early 1980s.

As I was a student in 1989 I'll never expect much of Phil Goff. Mallard is this decade's Richard Prebble and Mahary just seems too vanilla. Perhaps that is why Nats supporters want Key? He is the only candidate with a bit of vigour about him (except for Gerry, see my comment about Mallard, but without the brains).

Posted by Pablo : 11/23/2006 04:44:00 PM

Craig: Helen's not going to last forever

For some reason, this makes me think of an undead Helen, kept alive by technological necromancy to lead the Labour Party for its thousnad (or at least twenty) year reich.

Or maybe I've just been reading the wrong sorts of books recently.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/23/2006 04:53:00 PM

"Frankly, this will make pledge card issues seem like chicken feed.

"Stolen election" indeed. "
Theres one big difference. Who funded the Exclusive Brethren leaflets? They did, out of their own pockets. No taxpayers money ionvolved.
Who funded the Pledge cards? The taxpayer did, not the Labour party. While they have promised to pay it back they have also changed the law so they can't be prosecuted. Secondly the pledge cards were prtomoting one party- Labour. The Brethren did not campainged against Labour and the Greens rather than for National. The most they said about National was "use your party vote to change the government". Not "Vote National".

Posted by Nicholas O'Kane : 11/23/2006 05:03:00 PM

Russell,

By your equation, National's had five leaders in twenty years, or seven leaders in thirty-two years, or nine leaders in fifty years. We can play this game ad infinitum, or at least back to Adam Hamilton.

But you can't get away with that revisionist view of Helen Clark's achievements. She did not pull together competing strands within the Labour Party. She hounded out all the right wingers, and fashioned the Party in her own image.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 11/23/2006 05:06:00 PM

Well, there are times when I expect Margaret Wilson to forget herself and bark, "No Great Cuthulu, that's not a point of order. Yog-Sothoth, this better be a new matter... No? Then Shub-Niggurath has three minutes remaining on It's speech before the Elder Gods break to spread desolation and horror across the face of the earth."

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/23/2006 05:13:00 PM

There once was a leader called Don
For whom things went awfully wrong
So now we have Key
Sitting pretty - agreed
But the question remains-for how long?

Posted by SolaceInPoetry : 11/23/2006 05:14:00 PM

Nice one I/S.

I can see that airbrushed picture looming over us in giant form at every intersection, while somewhere in the bowels of the Beehive there is whirring and clicking and flashing lights, blood pumps through transparent tubes, and the 17th Clone of Heather Simpson cranes her head to hear the latest policy initiative. Meanwhile, the last vestiges of the National party scurry through the ceiling spaces of deserted provincial shopping centres, and coal plants belch forth green smoke, and somebody in the Chathams is reported to have won Lotto - but in the Chathams, they report a win in Auckland!

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 05:19:00 PM

But you can't get away with that revisionist view of Helen Clark's achievements. She did not pull together competing strands within the Labour Party. She hounded out all the right wingers, and fashioned the Party in her own image.

..and it worked. It turned a rather wishywashy-almost-right Labour party into something that people wanted to vote for, something very different from National. On the other hand National seems to have poisoned itself trying to re-establish itself trying to do the same thing, but I've never actually thought that the "Leader" of the National Party caucus was actually in charge, there was always this ever present sense of something happening in the background. Helen is most certainly In Charge and when a Leader leads, as opposed to being lead, that's got a lot to go towards the public's confidence in them.

National's new leader has to do more than be a 'new broom' he's going to have to be reformist and change the way the whole party works, not just the bit in parliament.

Posted by J4LC3 Bedford : 11/23/2006 05:30:00 PM

kiwi_donkey: I was thinking either Herbert West's reanimation fluid, or the sort of aparatus used in "cool air". That is if they don't just resurrect her from her essential salts (being careful not to muck it up - otherwise she'd get to live for eternity as Ye Liveliest Awfulness... assuming that hasn't happened already).

Craig: Excuse me while I fail my SAN check on that. Ia! Ia! Brownlee ftaghn!

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/23/2006 05:30:00 PM

Strange. This morning all the dead man walking talk made me wonder if Don Brash was already some kind of zombie, or possibly, given the success with the ladies, vampire.

I can imagine that might be a precondition of being governor of the reserve bank.

Posted by Lyndon : 11/23/2006 05:41:00 PM

Who funded the Pledge cards? The taxpayer did, not the Labour party.

A well o'kane, my fine friend. This is what I think you will now find...National, we already know, spent all the tax payer dollars it had allocated to it, whether from PS funds or other public funds.

These were deliberately (and smartly) spent just outside the 3 month election cut of period in, it would now seem the full knowledge that outside parties would then finance the rest of the campaign.

If they had this knowledge of third party spending and did not declare it in their election returns then they are in very deep shit.

I would be interested in Graeme the legal one's view on what the election act has to say about fraudulent returns, because, for all the other parties faults, they have been very upfront about who spent what and from what funds.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 05:55:00 PM

John Key had a career as a succesful broker in London. It strikes me that he wouldn't have got through that without pissing numerous people off and leaving a trail of skeletons.

Even if all his deals were completely legal, I'm sure he's done quite a few things that could be presented to the NZ public as dodgy dealing, given the right spin.

Posted by Rich : 11/23/2006 07:14:00 PM

A well o'kane, my fine friend. This is what I think you will now find...National, we already know, spent all the tax payer dollars it had allocated to it, whether from PS funds or other public funds.

Anon, would you be able to provide any more information on this? Sources etc?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 07:18:00 PM

For what, their spending of PS funds? It's public record that they spent their full allowance.

As far as the other stuff goes, I will leave you with this quote from Hager:

Hager believed Dr Brash would have had to quit immediately on the book's release.

"Even in the last few days he's continued to say things about his links with the Brethren which are totally and decisively contradicted by the documentary evidence in the book."


Hager is opening himself to serious slander charges if these claims are not true. Follow the resignation, if you will.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 07:26:00 PM

Rich,
I don’t even think people need to dig that up (although it might help). John key has an image that appeals to the right but is easy for the middle and the left to hate.
The labour party has made a good start calling him hollow, they can follow up with, as Craig notes, some work in the infighting - I presume painting him as the sort of guy who will stab you in the back if you look the wrong way. Then a little work on him being the rich slick guy who is just laughing at us inferior people and you have a person who certain key groups just cannot vote for. Unlike brash who you could hate, and still vote for.

National with him as leader may well find itself in trouble and not entirely understand why (with key raiting pretty well amongst hard core national supporters as a perfered PM).

Posted by Genius : 11/23/2006 09:29:00 PM

Hi Craig, you are right that I am making assumptions, yet assumptions are inherent in any future prediction (predictions aren't normally my thing but I've had such a fun day I'm splashing out). One by one you critiqued them as:

1. "Winston's bag of right wing tricks again", you state that he does not have the safety net of Tauranga, which in my books means that he has little option but to look to the bag of tricks as the status quo is going to see him retired. Also, "his reputation is down", correct, but given the IQ (and memory) of those who vote for him, and the yo-yo nature of his popularity I don't think that means much two years out. I am old enough to know this guy is good at one thing, politics and survival (shit that's two, oh well), I expect something from him, and the right wing scare mongering over pinko's/asians/arabs/commies just seems obvious. Time will tell however.

2. "born to rule arrogance of no votes in the center", yes, it was wasn't it, maybe slightly over-confident in the middle of a good political day, that one I retract, sorry.

So, as for point 2 I should say instead, I do not believe that National will conquer that (middle) ground with rhetoric along the lines of the Maori/beneficiary attacks of the Orewa speeches. I believe such rhetoric helped drive the left leaning masses to the polls in record numbers election, and there were still too many non-voters in South Auckland (versus the East Auckland turnout), the resource is 'untapped' so to say. That is National's catch 22, lose votes to Winnie the Peters on the right, or defend those votes and face oblivion on the other side. Solve that, and baubles baubles and more baubles.

National need a dis-interested electorate, so to say, and that ain't gunna happen if they compete with Winnie for the nutters.

cheers.

Just to clarify, by middle I guess I don't mean 'centrist' as such, rather I mean the "i don't give a shit vote".

Posted by james cairney : 11/23/2006 10:16:00 PM

Genius "National with Key as leader may find itself in trouble and not understand why", well put.

Posted by james cairney : 11/23/2006 10:19:00 PM

So Labour's strategy is ignore policy and attack the man? And you wonder why people get upset?

Mind boggling. Is there anything that is not okay? Anything at all? Or is getting caught the only sin?

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 10:23:00 PM

"Is there anything that is not okay? Anything at all?"

Rubber underpants is wrong. If you're really that strapped for moral guidance, ask Ian Wishart.
Go on, it'll only cost you a dollar.

Posted by woppo : 11/23/2006 10:31:00 PM

Around the blogs, Key appears to have few friends on the libertarian right. For example:

http://freestudents.blogspot.com/

Peron seems to think ACT will benefit from Brash's demotion within National. Ever the utopian...

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 10:41:00 PM

Phew! Thanks woppo!

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 11/23/2006 10:43:00 PM

Surely, that's 'rubber underpants are wrong', not 'rubber underpants is wrong'?

Posted by Anonymous : 11/23/2006 10:46:00 PM

"Surely, that's 'rubber underpants are wrong', not 'rubber underpants is wrong'?"

Are you Ian Wishart?
If so, you're right & I claim my 50 lashes.

Posted by woppo : 11/23/2006 11:11:00 PM

James Cairney wrote:
One by one you critiqued them as:

1. "Winston's bag of right wing tricks again"...

No I didn't James, and I'd thank you in future to either quote me accurately or not distort my meaning in a paraphrase that bears little, if any, relationship to what I wrote. Seriously, how the hell did you arrive at what you wrote from (and I quote), That Winston's usual bag of tricks (find some pretext to withdraw from the government and go back on the populist bandwagon) is going to work again.

I didn't write any such thing as "Winston's bag of right wing tricks again" - not least because his brand of populist hucksterism and necrotic xenophobia is just as common on the loony left as it is on the rabid right. I'm far from the only National Party member who was happy to see the back of Winston Peters, and who thought (accurately as it turned out) that no good was going to come from going into coalition with NZ First.

If Winston Peters is finally done and dusted next election, I'll be celebrating no matter who wins the Treasury Benches. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think he's backed himself into a corner he can't bluster his way out of - and I sure can't see why Labour will give him a hand. AFAIC, if NZ First goes down the toilet any political party that panders to the Peters Fan Club is foolish. It's no great loss to the body politic if they stay home, and if they vote for any other party it shouldn't be on their terms.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/24/2006 12:15:00 AM

When Key was asked how 'safe' he felt about Hagar's book yesterday he had a very careful answer. Decoded it sounds like he is safe from Bretheren associations but left open the possibility that he was not safe from close association with other 'events'

Posted by Anonymous : 11/24/2006 09:39:00 AM

Craig, firstly, apologies for the miss quote, I was trying to summarise your argument rather than quote you, so I should have stated that.

My reasons for the summary were that you followed that line with the fact that he does not have the safety net of Tauranga. Now, I cannot see how his not holding Tauranga is in any way relevant to whether his populist bull-shit would work for the party vote?, so I took you to mean that he would be less likely to try it (incorrectly it seems), as well as it being unlikely to work if he did (correctly), sorry.

However, please explain the relevance of him not holding Tauranga for the effectiveness of his xenophobic crap (if I have indeed got your point this time).

Posted by james cairney : 11/24/2006 10:18:00 AM

In Key's defence, he *does* have a (mostly) socially liberal voting record. Hopefully, this may presage the Cameronisation of the Nats, so that they do become a more mainstream centre-right party and can actually, honestly win the next general election, unlike last year.

Craig

Posted by Anonymous : 11/24/2006 10:29:00 AM

heh.

I'm no fan of National.

But Keys came out of a top job in the dealing rooms of a global bank. Having a host of colleagues after his job will be no change for him.

He's not an ex-accountant - he's an ex-dealer. In wholesale banking terms he's a front office man, not a back office man. His role was wheeling and dealing and taking the main chance to earn the fat bucks off any sucker he could. It's the back office that keeps an eye on things and making sure it's all above board.

Still, he could end up with two ex-leaders on his front bench. Wouldn't _that_ be fun.

Posted by Icehawk : 11/24/2006 10:34:00 AM

Even if all his deals were completely legal, I'm sure he's done quite a few things that could be presented to the NZ public as dodgy dealing, given the right spin.

Doubtful. Forex is simply by banking standards, but it's still complex enough that people just won't get it.

Around the blogs, Key appears to have few friends on the libertarian right.

That's because libertarians mistakenly believe that anyone who makes lots of money in the markets must want to remove govt regulation of markets. And Brash was obviously evil because the Reserve Bank interferes with the divine perfection of the market.

Posted by Icehawk : 11/24/2006 10:41:00 AM

James:

Fair enough. Thank you for the apology and the clarification, both of which I appreciate.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/24/2006 11:10:00 AM

Craig: In Key's defence, he *does* have a (mostly) socially liberal voting record.

That's what I thought too; then I looked He's voted the wrong way on each of three of the four key conscience votes this term (civil unions, prostitution reform, manukau prostitution), and recently he seems to have been drinking Brethren Kool-Aid (while Brash interestingly seems to have stopped drinking it and rediscovered his liberal conscience).

The upshot is that shiny boy is just as "flexible" as Brash at tailoring his votes to pander to conservative elements - and no real friend of liberals.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/24/2006 11:18:00 AM

Hmmm. He also voted against Copeland's same-sex marriage ban bill, and indicated his willingness to support LGBT adoption reforms in Maxim's 2005
nzvotes.org MP questionnaire. But he also voted for Judith Collins'
bloody awful anti-abortion private members bill. So, a mixed record.

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/24/2006 11:56:00 AM

[Key]'s voted the wrong way on each of three of the four key conscience votes this term . . .

Interesting way to put it . . .

Posted by danyl : 11/24/2006 12:15:00 PM

Funny thing is, I/S, I would have voted against the Civil Union Bill because I think one unintended consequence of the bill is that it's going to take genuine equality before the law for gay and lesbian citizens off the agenda for a very long time, if not permanently.

Now, you can disagree with me for all kinds of reasons, but would that make me a morally conservative quaffer of 'Brethren Kool Aid'?

And I certainly wouldn't vote for a poorly drafted, or one with obnoxious ammendments shoved in at the select committee stage, just because you think the intention is a good one. One very recent example: I'm a (qualified) supporter of the repeal of S. 59 of the Crimes Act, but I have my doubt whether passing the version of the Bradford Bill that came out of select committee is even worse than the status quo.

Again, you can disagree with my position but I could sleep well at night being on the 'wrong side' of that vote in your book.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 11/24/2006 07:17:00 PM