The far left progressive who has become Australia’s latest PM wasted no time in declaring his admiration for NZ PM John Key. As a result of this, blogger and pollster David Farrar was asked to write an article for the Australian Financial Review.
In the article Mr. Farrar makes a good fist of explaining how John Key has remained popular with voters, who are desperately short of any real political alternative to the National Party.
Mr. Farrar states with a surprising degree of frankness that Key “governs more from the center than from the right”. The problem he has is that the center in NZ today has slid far left of what it was in the early nineties, when NZ was internationally acclaimed as an economically reformist country.
Strangely, it was the Labour govt of 1984 to 1990 who implemented most of the reforms (Rogernomics) that give rise to NZ’s global regard as a free market economy. However the Labour party eventually became internally riven by these reforms and National won the next election. A Pyrrhic victory that signalled the gradual collapse of the National Party as a right wing or Conservative force in NZ politics.
Although Finance Minister Ruth Richardson attempted to continue the work of Roger Douglas, she was betrayed by PM Bolger and sacked. Bolger drifted further left, and was replaced by school teacher Jenny Shipley who continued the slide. National introduced MMP, a disastrous decision which allowed the left power and influence they would never have otherwise obtained.
Labour won the 1999 election under the far left leadership of Helen Clark, a Fabian style socialist whose true far left ideology was masked by an intent to retain the vote of the center. The country continued to drift left for the 9 years Helen Clark was PM.
John Key won the 2008 election and has been PM since. Prior to the election, Key presented himself as a reformer who held right wing views on Maori, global warming, taxation and many other issues. However even though elected with a considerable majority Key has turned his back on what he said was important before the election, and has been happy to continue the same steady incremental slide to the left as occurred under Bolger, Shipley and Clark.
So when Mr. Farrar says John Key governs from the center, he’s talking about a center that is in real terms far further left than the center of two decades ago.
“You have to be able to bring people with you” (like John Key) says Malcolm Turnbull. In fact Mr Key has not brought anyone with him. He has governed by means of polls, articulated no good arguments against the left wing status quo, and has consequently converted the National Party into a political force far further to the left than the Labour govt of 1984.
Turnbull says further “”John Key has been able to achieve very significant economic reforms in New Zealand by explaining complex issues and then making the case for them.”
In fact there have been no significant reforms, and Key has not explained anything because he hasn’t had to. Key has been happy to do as Bolger, Shipley and Clark did, and continue the same slow but steady erosion all of the good that came from the 1984 reforms. If Labour ever get their act together and form a govt, they will find Key has merely kept the bedsheets warm, and they will be able to slip straight into those sheets and continue warm and comfortable with their far left socialist plans.
NZ’s weak economy has been boosted by an influx of migrants, the false impact of the Christchurch rebuild, and billions of dollars of black money from Communist China being laundered in Auckland real estate. None of this is an initiative of John Key, its rather just a series of events he has presided over.
While in the short term the immigrant/ black money influx provides a buffer to ever rising debt and ever increasing govt spending, it has resulted in massive changes to NZ’s cultural landscape. Unpopular with all but the political class, this cultural assault cannot be countered by ballot as unfortunately voters do not have any responsible opposition to give their support to on this issue.
Along side this attack on NZ culture, nothing that was important has been done, due to Key’s weak dependence upon polling and his inability to argue articulate and lead. The one issue Key has attempted, the abandonment of NZ’s traditional flag for a business logo, has turned into a farce.
Key’s campaign to change the NZ flag has seem him tour the country with speeches and arguments. He has made videos and campaigned with exceptional vigour to bring about the change. All to no avail. The majority voice of the country remains implacably opposed to flag change.
We have seen once again that John Key has no ability at all to sway the NZ voters to a point of view. Turnbull too is such a hollow man. Its therefore no wonder he sees Key as an ally.
There is a stark difference between Australia and NZ, and that is that the right wing in the former is still a force to be reckoned with. I predict Turnbull will not last. He will soon be seen by Australians for what he is, a far left pretender, a deceitful self promoting narcissist who believes in nothing other than his own self promotion. The manner of his seizing of power will damage him so badly he will never recover.
However John Key could quite well continue his poll driven domination of NZ politics for some time, given that the old saying “you can fool some of the people for all of the time, and all of the people for some of the time, but you can never fool all the people for all of the time”, seems a fair way yet from ascending to reality in NZ politics.
Reference reading- Closing the gap with Australia: only the OECD seems to think so