The attempt by Maurice to jump to ACT is driven by machinations inside National from the backbench orchestrated by the hard right of the Party who are frustrated that Key isn’t spending enough of his political capital to implement harder right wing policy.
Those who claim National are no longer neoliberal are simply projecting their own privilege because the poor on the bottom of the heap know just how draconian this Government are. Key has mastered the art of continuing with middle class tax cuts to make his policy platform of social welfare privatisation by stealth look ‘moderate’, this slow progression however is angering the rump of National who are hell bent on forcing through much harsher change.
Things have come to a head over the new health and safety legislation which was a response to the horrific abdication of responsibility that saw 29 men die at Pike River Mine. Our safety standards are some of the worst in the developed world and bosses have been able to escape real regulation and it is seeing more and more working NZers going home after work in a coffin. The legislation finally demands some accountability and this is spooking farmers who are making their anger plain to their local National Party MP. This backlash is giving Collins and Co the perfect momentum for a challenge against Key.
Slater is sowing the seeds against Key for Collins while Hooton is sowing the seeds against Key for Simon Bridges, which explains why both of them have been calling Key left wing of late.
The moment Key’s stratospheric ratings start dropping, expect challenges.