Election 2017: No Country For Old Men

By   /   August 12, 2017  /   40 Comments

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How are Bill English and Steven Joyce supposed to defeat a young woman who can set the cold, cold heart of Paddy Gower aflame? How do a couple of guys on the wrong side of 50 fight a social-media phenomenon? Sure, they can say that elections are about policies – not personalities – but, after ten years of relying on John Key’s winning personality, who’s going to believe them?

THE NATIONAL PARTY’S BIG PROBLEM in 2017 is that Jacinda Ardern cannot be relied upon to deliver it a fourth consecutive term in government. As anticipated, Phil Goff and David Cunliffe proved to be extremely reliable self-saboteurs – albeit for very different reasons. David Shearer’s challenge to National was real enough – that damn back-story! – but only for a while. The UN trouble-shooter realised pretty early on that he and the Labour Party were never going to be friends and wisely took himself out of play. Andrew Little desperately wanted to be Labour’s next PM, but didn’t know how. Confronted with a guy who couldn’t seem to get out of his own way, National must have thought its fourth consecutive term was in the bag.

Not anymore.

How are Bill English and Steven Joyce supposed to defeat a young woman who can set the cold, cold heart of Paddy Gower aflame? How do a couple of guys on the wrong side of 50 fight a social-media phenomenon? Sure, they can say that elections are about policies – not personalities – but, after ten years of relying on John Key’s winning personality, who’s going to believe them?

Besides, when it comes to policy, National’s bill-of-fare just isn’t that appetising. English’s great achievement, as John Key’s Finance Minister, was to impose an austerity regime upon New Zealand’s public sector without the voters noticing. Now that he’s Prime Minister, however, the consequences of nearly a decade of underfunded social services and insufficient infrastructural spending are hitting the electorate hard where it hurts. Promising to put right your own deliberate “mistakes” isn’t all that likely to make the voters feel better.

You have to hand it to Key – he sure knew when to quit!

And this time National can’t even fight dirty. In 2014, Kim Dotcom and David Cunliffe may, between them, have rescued National from the consequences of its own spectacular political sinning. But, National can’t rely upon the “Moment of Truth” of an overweight deus ex machina to save them a second time. And Jacinda Ardern sure as hell ain’t going to apologise for being a woman!

Not even the media is to be relied upon anymore. Oh sure, the dear old NZ Herald will continue to plod on ahead of the National Party, striking out predictably at all the usual left-wing suspects. In 2017, however, the Government must do without John Armstrong. Yes, Audrey Young and Claire Trevett are still there, but do either of these two women journalists any longer have a dog in National’s electoral fight? Does “More of the same” really beat “Let’s do this!”?

As for the rest of the news media: well, National can pretty much forget about it. With the obvious exceptions of Mike Hosking and Leighton Smith, the inhabitants of the news media’s Olympian heights are bored with the status quo. If “Jacindamania” didn’t already exist, they would have felt obliged to invent it. Moreover, thanks to Metiria Turei’s reckless gamble (heroic sacrifice?) the blood-lust of the press corps’ most ferocious predators has been pretty well satisfied. (Some of them, one suspects, may even be feeling a little bit guilty!) Destroying one young woman politician might be passed-off as an unfortunate necessity; but destroying two begins to look like sadism.

And then there’s Winston. (There’s always Winston!) That old dog still has a good nose for what’s coming down the road – especially if that road’s in Northland. Like the hapless Green Party, he’s watching his supporters pass him by. He knows where they’re headed and what it means. Come election night, the winds of change will be blowing hard and he knows better than to steer NZ First’s ship into the teeth of a howling gale. Even if he was able to, somehow, reach the good ship National, Peters knows that all he can expect to do in 2020 is be dragged under with it – along with his political legacy.

Winston understands that, in 2017, New Zealand is no country for old men who attempt to stand in the way of young women.

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40 Comments

  1. bert says:

    “How are Bill English and Steven Joyce supposed to defeat a young woman who can set the cold, cold heart of Paddy Gower aflame”

    Steven Joyce has created two adverts attacking Labours policies.

    “National has produced a new digital attack ad on Twitter and Facebook suggesting Labour’s slogan should be “Let’s Tax This” instead of “Let’s Do This.”

    Hey dildo Joyce, I can think of at least $28 million that was wasted on a vanity flag project that could have contributed to, that could have been spent on a water levy, so you created this situation.

    It’s still interests me that Simon “pursed lips” Bridges can’t give an answer as to where the money will come from , to his several overspends on roading and transport. One can rightly claim that National are hypocrites.

  2. Grant says:

    A fair and accurate assessment of where things are at.
    My Extrapolated A,ssessment Poll, or GEA Poll as it is known, is showing that National is actually in for a thrashing and everyone I talk to Left or Right just yawns when Bill English’s name is mentioned.
    Like the Tories in the U.K their policies of more tax cuts etc look like they belong in Jurassic Park.
    Expect them to wheel out the old hackneyed ‘Labour’s Money Tree’ line which failed to resonate in the U.K…..yep ,old and hackneyed….sums up the National Party….out of the ideas that they never had…

    GEA Poll prediction for election night.

    Labour 42%

    National 35%

    Margin of Era 0.5%

  3. Mike the Lefty says:

    Want something to make you laugh?
    How about this opinion piece published in stuff a couple of days ago bemoaning how politics is now about personalities rather than policies.
    It is so funny because stuff has been one of the chief instigators behind making John Key into a personality cult figure over the last nine years. They have done more than any other media source to turn politics into personality wars.
    And now Harry Walsh is sick of it?
    Well Harry,
    you reap what you sow.
    I suspect your real beef is that you don’t have your little performing circus clown John Key around to keep you amused this time around.
    Might have to look at policies instead of who has the nicest smile.
    Ain’t life a bitch, Harry?

    • Glenn says:

      I and probably another few million would love to know why JK chucked it when he did. So suddenly.

      My National farmer friend who has always supported JK thinks Bill is a drip and his line up has no one outstanding. He will still vote National however it is the first time that he has misgivings. Surprisingly he supports Labours water tax idea.
      And he thinks Jacinda is a cracker!

      • Mike the Lefty says:

        Interesting that FF are very silent about National’s admission that they too have a water charging scheme they are considering.
        Their details are infinitely more vague than Labour’s but nobody in the MSM appears to have noticed.
        Funny that!

      • blueyed1 says:

        [Comment declined for publication. Possibly defamatory, but definitely of a low standard such as ‘Whaleoil’. Submissions must not make allegations without supporting evidence. – ScarletMod]

      • bert says:

        Well, English has a front row of Bennett, Brownlee and Joyce, oops sorry, I meant front bench!

      • Pete says:

        When the tick goes on the paper that’s it.

        In the 7th minute of extra time, when all the officials have lost their clocks as well as their minds, and after four obvious easy to see knock ons, you score a try to win the World Rugby Cup by one point. It’s in the board, it’s in the book, how you got there doesn’t count.

        Your National farmer friend can have a gazillion misgivings but his mark counts exactly the same as that of the most sane and the most irrational. Misgivings don’t count one iota.

  4. Nicke says:

    This is why a balance must be found between bemoaning Metiria Turei’s outrageous fortune and allowing Jacinda’s positive message to predominate.

    The motivated campaign to mobilise the disadvantage may work, but it may not.

    Who really knows what is needed to mobilise the “missing million”?

    However, the Jacinda effect has been seen to be real.

    To overplay Turei’s problems might just mobilise the comfy middle against the “undeserving poor” to no electoral advantage.

    A social media push to get out the beneficiary-sympathetic vote could be useful, but the time to redress the balance will ultimately be after winning in September, by reorganizing WINZ to make them a REAL helping agency, not just Government’s arm in protecting itself from poor people.

  5. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    “Destroying one young woman politician might be passed-off as an unfortunate necessity; but destroying two begins to look like sadism.”

    Call it for what it is, Trotter:

    MISOGYNY

    Using gentle adjectives such as “sadism” merely places you in collaboration with the forces of patriarchal oppression.

    Choose better words or risk being misinterpreted…

  6. AB says:

    Chris – you don’t look like a tattered coat upon a stick. Am I hearing your soul clap its hands and sing?

  7. WILD KATIPO says:

    Its a Labour led govt , folks !

    🙂

  8. bert says:

    So let us look at this closer.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/95700006/government-announces-revised-transport-plans-for-auckland

    “With $20bn already committed, Bridges said the remaining $5.9bn will be sourced from the Government, Auckland Council and private sector.”

    When Jacinda stated a regional tax to pay for rail in Auckland, Bridges attacked Jacinda and Labour for more taxes.

    So can someone explain to me what “$5.9bn will be sourced from the Government, Auckland Council and private sector.” means. Does this mean Auckland council will require raising taxes for this?

  9. Kim dandy says:

    With old, greedy, boring men at the helm New Zealand has become the same. Time for a change… If abiet slightly better.

  10. esoteric pineapples says:

    I feel like Chris is spinning two messages at the same time in regards to Metiria Turei. Some of his columns have lauded her admission as a circuit breaker for the Left, challenging Labour to up the ante as well. Other times he sees it as reckess foolhardiness. But points of view could be seen as fair, but coming from the same person?

  11. Dave says:

    I really wonder what has gotinto the head of Labour. They have pissed off Aucklanders with a proposed petrol tax, anyone that has anything to do with water, and proposed a capital gains tax. The Maori party seemed
    quite sensible tonight I must sat though. The Nats in their of 1 in 3 govt cars being electric soon will help the common man with the dissociated infrastructure (charging stations) quite green really although the cost of the cars would need to reduce.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      The Rogernomes said there ” will be a lot of pain but then you will see the benefits ” ,… well then ,… its been 33 years and there hasn’t been any ‘ benefits’.

      Its just been a ruse for 33 years of theft and abuse.

      No ones going to fall for that bullshit anymore.

      Neo liberals can get fucked. And yes. I am bloody angry about what they did to this once prosperous country.

      And so I say to the neo liberals, … in time , – and as more and more people get shitted off with the lies and avarice of the neo liberal elite there will be a move back to social democracy – and invariably , – a modified form of Keyneianism.

      And we can then say to the neo liberals,… ” there will be some pain at first , – but then you will see the benefits”.

      Expect major changes to be happening in the Labour party over the next few years.

      They are coming home.

      And the Greens are showing them how.

  12. HC says:

    It can certainly not be ruled out, that we will get a youth and female voter quake, lifting Jacinda Ardern into the position of Prime Minister this election, albeit it will not be as easy as some may think.

    The government and their backers will point to her age of 37 years, saying she would be too young to run a government, and to negotiate with such old horses as Winston Peters. They will of course try to say, the leaders may have changed, but is the same old party, with the same old policies.

    But others have done it, even though a little bit older, and of different political persuasion:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Trudeau
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmanuel_Macron

    Internationally young leaders seem more common in less democratic or dynasty like systems and states:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_youngest_state_leaders_since_1900

    The girl from Morrinsville has big shoes to fill, despite of her background:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacinda_Ardern

    Perhaps she will get only close this time, but will get there in 2020, we will know more in a few weeks time.

    Personally I would have liked a more policy focused, genuine candidate, with a bit more real life experience, and not just having served for others like Tony Blair, Phil Goff and so.

    • garibaldi says:

      Good point HC. We had such a candidate in David Cunliffe, but the neolib machine made mincemeat of him.
      The apparent acceptance of Ardern/Davis as “their” candidates now is a little worrying for any Progressive.

  13. Destroying one young woman politician might be passed-off as an unfortunate necessity; but destroying two begins to look like sadism.

    Indeed,

    Door knocking yesterday revealed two strands of commentary from the public;

    1. the Green party handling of Ms Turei’s disclosures seemed to them to be “inept”,

    2. There was an undercurrent of sympathy for her – even from her critics.

    If the mainstream media elite tried to pull a second stunt like that (and then blame it on the Labour Party), they’d be in for a rough time. It may be the first time that msm offices are daubed with blood red paint demanding “Hands off Jacinda you Hyenas!”.

  14. kappanz says:

    Interesting last line. I hope it proves true, if Jacinda needs them at all. There is more steel in her backbone than in any of the current old men and women of the right-wing.

  15. Jack Ramaka says:

    Still waiting for Roger Douglas’s Magical Benefits, the Neoliberal Experiment was one Ginormous F$%k U* ?

    • countryboy says:

      @ JM.
      ‘ rogernomics and the neoliberal experiment’ wasn’t a ‘Ginormous fuck up’. It was hugely successful.
      For them.
      We’re fucked but they made billions from the sale and exploitation of what was ours. We’re lying in the gutters, but they fly to Mercury Island in private helicopters or have narcissistic sculpture parks on their vast lands.
      They managed to carry off precisely what they planned. They didn’t see the internet coming of course and that’s their problem now.
      If any political party hopeful doesn’t admit we were swindled and promises to work towards getting our assets, amenities and cash back are bullshitters. They’re the problem. Not the solution.
      The solution is simple.
      Get our shit back and then we can talk/vote. Then we can talk about ‘ jobs’ and ‘equal pay’ and ‘ a minimum wage’. Until then, it’s all bullshit and high wankery. Until that happens I’m voting for my penis this election. It makes more sense than any of them and it’s just crazy.

    • Lila Richards says:

      No, no. It’s achieved exactly what was intended, i.e. to drive down wages, move more money into the hands of the wealthy, and create an impoverished underclass that can be blamed for all society’s ills. 🙁

  16. mary_a says:

    Speaking of stale rotting male corpses still hanging in there, I see a Ohariu poll has Peter Dunne on 34%, behind Labour’s Greg O’Connor who is on 48%!

    It’s not looking good for Natz. Good.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Shit I thought that was satire over at The Standard… so busy and not keeping up with whats happening…

      Dunne down?

      Dirty deeds and they’re Dunne dirt cheap !!!!

      Piss off Dunne,- you’re Dunne for and bloody good riddance!!!

      Family bloody values, my arse !!!

      Dunne the HYPOCRITE !!!

    • Jono says:

      Dunne is gone burger…