As I pointed out earlier this year, National Party strategists are giving up attacking Jacinda directly because you never win when attacking a pregnant woman, and are turning instead to pick fights with organisations voters identify with Labour, and those organisations are Unions.
Here was my run down in January...
Equity NZ: The hammer will fall hardest here. For Key’s Government, the manufactured crisis at the Hobbit was a political and cultural gold mine. By manipulating NZers love of LOTR, the Government whipped up sentiment that the Union was threatening the making of the Hobbit film here. The anti-Union backlash was apocalyptic and not even Helen Kelly rushing to the defence of Jennifer Ward-Lealand could help in the end. By painting himself into a corner to gain a political victory over the Union movement and the wider Left, Key had to agree to giving Warner Bros more corporate welfare plus re-wrote employment law for the benefit of Corporate Hollywood. This time around National already has agents in the field whipping up the usual Weta workshop technical elites and will look to once again manufacture the collapse of a current film project and lay the blame at the feet of Labour for attempting to unpick the ridiculous labour law National put into effect. With Amazon announcing the new TV series of Lord of the Rings with New Line Cinema involved (they are a division of Warner Bros who made the film with Peter Jackson), the most likely attack line will be to suggest the TV series will be filmed here and use the attempted passing of the Hobbit Law to manufacture the supposed uncertainty. Expect to hear a lot of ‘Australian Union’ rhetoric and ‘greedy actor’ statements. If National can force Labour to walk away from the law or blame the new Government for the TV series going somewhere else (even if it was never going to be filmed here in the first place) it will be an enormous political victory that will perpetrate all the negative stereotypes about Labour in the thrall of the Unions. Expect to hear about the LOTR TV series possibly being filmed here a couple of weeks before the new Government starts to look at officially changing the law.
PPTA/NZEI: The public hate teachers and any time the Right can hold up a teacher who has assaulted or sexually harassed a student to make the point that being a ‘registered teacher’ meant nothing for the safety of the student, they will. This matters because only registered teachers can teach and what the Right wanted to do with Charter Schools was side step employing registered teachers so they could lower staffing costs. The money to back this reform is still there from the private education industry so expect any case of a teacher abusing a student to be magnified and amplified with brutal skill.
All public transport and Port Unions: National in opposition will push ahead with any campaign that has money backing it and that’s the explanation behind their inane roads every where campaign. National will want and will actively promote strikes in public transport or Ports because they want industrial action that creates wide spread disruption, especially if it grinds traffic to a halt. Expect to see a lot of public transport companies become incredibly unreasonable all of a sudden.
Public Service leaks: After 9 years in power, most public service is dominated by right wing goons who fully approve of the draconian welfare state created by National. As Labour attempt to change this culture of abuse, expect to see huge leaks highlighting the worst cases of welfare fraud and people who are difficult to find any sympathy for.
…the sudden leadership battle within National put most of these machinations on hold, although there were agents for the Right in the field as early as December starting to sow the seeds of industrial discontent.
The Right will wait for the Hobbit Law to start its journey through Parliament before lighting that fuse, and PPTA/NZEI are facing a sustained attack from private education trying to save their Charter School experiment, but it’s public transport that National sees having real voter appeal.
Already we are starting to see Public Transport Companies suddenly becoming very aggressive with the Unions in the hope of triggering Industrial disruption, here…
Talks to resolve Auckland’s rail strike were due to start at 9am on Wednesday — but the mediator’s train was late.
Industrial action by the Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMTU), announced on Saturday, is affecting some peak train services on Auckland’s southern, western and eastern lines.
Commuters have experienced hour-long delays amid the start of universities’ semester one this week.
…with Hooton in charge of the dark arts over at the House of Slytherin that is National, the focus on starting fights with the Unions will begin with speed.
National can’t hit Jacinda, but they can sell a narrative that Labour’s Union mates are holding the country to ransom. Hooton is well versed in these tactics and as motorists get stuck in longer and longer traffic jams during industrial action, he quietly siphons off more voters for National.
I pointed out in January that the Unions had to work together to form a better communications strategy to counter these moves because without that, Hooton is going to have a field day painting them as the problem.