Sunday, December 30, 2012

John Key finished?

That's what Matt McCarten says in his Herald column today:

This year has finished him. His evasiveness over Kim Dotcom, his shonkiness over the SkyCity casino deal to give more pokies for a convention centre, his weakness managing his ministers and his forgetfulness on details of his job is starting to form real doubts that he's on top of his job. We like nice guys but we expect them to know what they're doing. This is the year he became a two-term prime minister.

All this prediction  reveals is McCarten's  left bias and according wishfulness. Let's try and analyse Key's chances objectively.

1/ Who else? 

Like it or not most New Zealanders are middle-of-the-road moderates. When it comes to matters political, they think at a superficial level employing emotion over reason. But occasionally the 'wisdom of the masses' asserts itself as when Green co-leader Russell Norman suggested printing money. Without understanding economics too deeply people just instinctively knew this was a stupid idea. Sometimes good ideas are the most simple ones - but not in this case. And people aren't going to accept a leader with radical ideas, even sound ones. That's why Key doesn't do radical.

Neither will people accept a leader with NO ideas. Well, to be fair, no new ideas. And anyway, Labour is too ramshackle at present to give swing-voters any confidence that they can govern.

2/ Better the devil you know. Key is still in this ballpark. When Clark went, she'd stepped outside it. People were saying any devil is better than her. National has upset large  groups of people. Teachers for example. But mainly they have upset the leftists which is their job.

They have pissed off people like me in many ways BUT not enough that I would vote for more redistribution of wealth from the productive to the non-productive; more punishment of effort and reward for fecklessness; more economic regulation and welfare reform reversal.

3/ Key appeals to both males and females. That sort of appeal is reasonably rare.

4/ Key is still looking like a solid family man. Also reasonably rare and something we admire I think.

5/ Key has a winning leadership style. While McCarten says Key is weak at managing his ministers, the other side is, he doesn't over-manage.  My preference is for the second style. Most of us want a boss who gives us space and respect.

So barring startling developments - Labour recruiting Richie McCaw as a potential future leader - voters are going to go into the 2014 election prepared to accept the status quo. The reality is most people's lives are ticking over satisfactorily despite the recession and they will entrust another three years of management to National.


thor42 said...

Good column, Lindsay, and I hope you're right in saying that the Nats will get a third term.

I'm hoping that the welfare reforms will show big drops in the benefit numbers soon (especially the DPB which I don't think has ever dropped in significant numbers).

Mark Hubbard said...

I fear for 2014. With ACT having destroyed itself, and there being no viable classical liberal/libertarian party in prospect, so no coalition partner, unfortunately, I don't see how National can form a government in 2014.

And I also think with the prospect of a Labour/Greens government that will pull the remnants of what free market we have left apart, that 2014 will be the most important loss to prosperity and, more importantly, the final destruction of 'freedom', which is all I care about, and thus the biggest win for what is now a rampant statism, for the decade either side of that election.

For what will be left of my lifetime, there is no possibility of the free, voluntary society, and I will be forced to pay more and more for a vicious state I have no agreement with. Although I am already trying to organise my life, financially, so I can largely opt out. Once your responsibilities are catered for (or responsible for themselves) you don't need a lot of money to live on.

... bit depressing wasn't it. All the best for the New Year Lindsay. I love your blog because it sticks to ideas, and not boring gossipy bric a brac of idiot personality politics and gamesmanship which is utterly pointless. The free West was lost, because it was not fought for on the only level it could have been kept: ideas).

KiwiGirl said...

I'm in agreement with your post, Mark. In my process of opting out, I'm deleting all my links to news and blogs, except this one. The world seems to be existing on half-truths and salacious gossip - truth and ideas have gone out the window. I'm currently planning all the delightful things I can do to fill up the once wasted hours.

Kiwiwit said...

Thomas Jefferson said, "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants".

The free West is not lost unless we are not prepared to fight for it.

Mark Hubbard said...


(Shameless self-promotion coming) ... don't forget the second best classical liberal blog outside this one: Life Behind the IRon Drape :)

Redbaiter said...

"Like it or not most New Zealanders are middle-of-the-road moderates."

That may or may not be so, but what we are witnessing in NZ right now is a political battle between the extreme left, (McCarten/ Labour faction) and the far left (John Key faction).

I don't think overall there are that many NZers happy about this circumstance, especially given that so many of them have left or are leaving the country.

Leaving behind a stodgy mass of braindead socialists with no ability to see further than the next government handout or intervention.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Thank you guys for the kind comments. After 7 years blogging it gets to be a chore from time to time and the positive feedback gives me a boost.

Paulus said...

Sadly under MMP created by the Greenpeace over 20 years ago their ambition is coming home and they know it.
Simply less than a 2% swing will not let National & ors have a majority.
So it will fall to the next largest party to form a Government. Labour cannot do this on their own whatsoever so they will turn to the Greenpeace.
You can already bet that Commie Norman and his McGillicuddy mate and their latte friends to allow Labour to theoretically lead but giving Greenpeace enough power to stymie whatever labour wants.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not most New Zealanders are middle-of-the-road moderates.

crap. have to be with Red on this. Remember ACT is far, far to the left of Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and, on almost all policies except taxation, to the left of Fran├žois Hollande. Hell even Julia Gillard is to the right of ACT. As for National (Mensheviks), Labour (Bolsheviks) and Greens (Trotskites), far to the left of ACT.

All "KIwis" with any get-up-and-go have got up and gone. So it's no surprise almost everyone left is a bludger.

ACT's long soap-opera is finally over. Key's only chance is to drop the threshold to 4% (or better still 3%) and hope the Conservatives carry him across the line.

Johnny said...

Well, another boost from me Lindsay. I don't post often, but like my cat, I have my daily rounds, rounds which always include a look in here. Thanks Lindsay.