Thursday, October 16, 2003


National is upset by the latest poll:

The Herald poll hit National MPs like a bombshell, especially as a number of them had believed they had put in several months of solid slog to drag the party's ratings up.

One colleague described Mr English yesterday as shattered.

The thing that National can't get into its head is that people don't have to vote for it anymore. Under MMP, people have other choices, and so National can no longer just rely on people voting for it by default. It is no longer the "natural party of government", or even of opposition. You actually have to convince people to vote for you now!

The other problem is that National doesn't have a clear political niche beyond "we're not Labour". They refuse to say what they stand for. Their competition OTOH are quite clear about what they stand for. ACT stands for crushing the poor and making rich wankers richer. NZ First stands for Winston Peters, with a side dish of xenophobia. United Future stands for common-sense, motherhood and apple pie. What does National stand for?

Most of the individual MPs (and the finance spokesman in particular) seem to stand for the same things as ACT. But those policies are popular with about 5% of the population on a good day, and have been resoundingly rejected in the last three elections. Which leaves National in a pretty pickle - if they tell people what they stand for, they get screwed; if they try and lie, people will point at Don Brash and they'll get screwed; and if they continue to try to hide it, they'll suffer a long, slow and drawn-out death.

Either way, I'm enjoying their suffering.