What the 2018 National Party Conference tells us


John Key warps time, space and fashion 

It’s been an interesting conference and I think some of the surface headlines suggest deeper moves we aren’t picking up on.

National supporters go into this conference incandescent with self-aggrieved fury. There is a deep seated resentment that they were somehow tricked and cheated by MMP out of a victory, the fact the Party continues to poll at stratospheric levels only feeds this misplaced anger.

Here were the issues that stuck out for me.

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John Howard’s claim National was cheated – It was important no National Party MP said this because it would make them look like they don’t understand MMP and because openly questioning the legitimacy of a Government is actually an incredibly dangerous thing to do because it can lead to your followers seeing that as a green light for far more militant responses that can’t be controlled. Howard was the perfect fit of critical neighbour mixed with folksy racist to bait rump National supporters and appeal to the sense of grievance.

Charter Schools – There can be no clearer signal that National intend to embark upon a mass privatisation of public education in NZ than their promise to re-introduce Charter Schools. National see this as a means to slash education costs by introducing non-registered teachers across the education system. Having the Conference opened by a choir from a Charter School really hammers home National’s need to use Māori under achievement as a means to gut public education.

Paula Bennett attacking gender equality – This was framed by Paula as a promotion of meritocracy by attacking gender balance on boards (despite Paula crowing about lifting those rates when she was in power), of course what it really served to do was dog whistle to those men (and women) who find the current focus on womens rights as a personal affront to them. A wolf whistle more than a dog whistle.

John Key’s warning on the economy – It was interesting to hear that Key is seeing the economic slow down and is a warning to the new Government that the global market crash they’ve been fearing is still very much on the cards. The fiscal breathing space that Grant Robertson has gained from the budget controls could end up saving not only the new Government but the country as well.

Attacking Winston Peters – The brutal attack on Winston spells out that National are clearly not looking to NZ First as a possible coalition partner. This is the clearest signal yet that National intend to help create an entirely new political party to contest 2020 and join them as a coalition partner. Money is still on Mark Mitchell stepping down as a National MP to suddenly become leader of the new conservative Party and get a free run in Rodney.

Simon’s promises – The class reduction promise will translate as more Charter Schools, not more unionised teachers in public schools, attacks on prison and welfare are just raw meat bennie and prisoner bashing and not letting Australia ‘beat us’ was clever marketing. The most interesting bit was Simon’s claim that he didn’t want to win 2020 because Labour were incompetent,  he wanted to win because National’s ideas were better.

This last bit gives you an insight into how National will play the next 2 years in Opposition. The new Government didn’t expect to win, and as such didn’t come into power with a clear direction much less a clear philosophy. That means everything they announce is wishy washy and based around pending reports and inquiries. As National showed with their own Medicinal Cannabis Bill, National will exploit this lack of firm detail from the Government by proposing their own detailed policy and come across as firmer and more ready to lead.

Much has been made by some on the Left of Bridges low preferred PM polling as some type of indicator for the 2020 election which seems a tad disingenuous. The preferred PM is always the sitting PM, holding up a poor performance by the Opposition Leader might make us on the Left feel better, but it doesn’t mean we are all romping home for Term 2 of Jacinda’s Government.

This Conference should dispel any complacency on the Left, National mean to win 2020 and they have the tricks up their sleeves to do that.

John Key arrives at the Conference from the seventh dimension of Hell.



  1. Of course National intend to win, does a bear shit in the woods?

    John Howard, that horrible little lying creep, the same odious arse who disenfranchised Aussie Kiwi tax payers, who reduced New Zealanders to some special category low lifes all to win another term. Why the fuck would National want that prick associated with their brand?

    I suppose given the sub humans the National Party are, he and they go well together!

    • Ya. The Nats need has been torries and deserting Key to salvage them.The present bunch of Nats are running out of ideas.Simon should join a brass band to trumpet………..

    • John Howard, that horrible little lying creep, the same odious arse who disenfranchised Aussie Kiwi tax payers, who reduced New Zealanders to some special category low lifes all to win another term.

      You missed “a war criminal who illegally invaded a sovereign nation”.

    • Absolutely agree Xray. Add this…Having the Conference opened by a choir from a Charter School sing Hallelujah confused me. Should it not have been “Bridges Over Troubled Waters”

      As for Peter Goodfella’s attack on Winston , appalling. The following gives you an idea of Peter Goodfellow…http://www.kiwisfirst.com/goodfella-judges/

      Note the influence of Attorney General (and National Party MP) Chris Finlayson in this case. Disgusting!

  2. Simon Bridges headline policy of smaller class sizes is really sad. Actually, it is only trumped by the collection of gold-plated creeps he gathered with at Nationals conference!

    But anyway, Simon is a learned man, apparently, the Leader of the Opposition, a position with researchers and a budget. A man who spent a decade in parliament and several years as a minister. And yet Simon is oblivious to the facts that schools are unable to find teachers in Auckland thanks to a near decade of frozen salaries to satisfy tax cuts and Bill and Johns questionable surpluses along with an ever-increasing workload and the unaffordability of accommodation in Auckland.

    This all came under former Minister Bridges governments watch and yet this old bullshit chestnut is the best he can come up with.

    Perhaps what he is not saying is as per the profit-driven Charter Schools is, unregistered teachers, immigrant derived cheap teachers and private schools set up in old commercial premises, funded by the taxpayer will underpin this initative!

    • More teachers after 9 years of undermining our teachers, no one wants to be a bloody teacher thanks to the tories policy of privatising public education. He must think we are all stupid, my thoughts are after a few more wonky polls he will be gone and the next mug can come in and have a go. I’d say they will go through a few before they find someone half decent and that may take sometime.

  3. “This Conference should dispel any complacency on the Left, National mean to win 2020 and they have the tricks up their sleeves to do that.”

    Yes, andwittering on about two Canadian neofascists is a pointless distraction we surely do not need at this time!!

  4. The hypocrisy if the Nats leaves them wide open to ridicule and criticism. THAT is what we should be focused on.

  5. they look like a shoulder sagging, balding , eyes close together , ears low down on the face, grim mouthed , defeated pack of crooks

  6. God with this pathetic line up of policy and ideas you wonder how anybody wants to vote for the Natz …

    then we get those in Labour who get excited with the ease of extra taxes to ordinary folks, (note to Labour, $180k is what they consider for AFFORDABLE housing incomes so what is that saying about those on $20 p/h or less and those in between and who is rich these days. Also those that come to NZ, enjoy the benefits like a beautiful house and free healthcare or eduction, but then don’t seem to work here or pay any taxes but still are permanent residents or dual citizens and have the rest of the county supporting them?

    Labour need to wake up to all the rips offs, councils, power, water, transport costs, parking, selling of 2/3 state land for Kiwibuild, sell off of high land tenures and doing very little about affordable rentals, immigration or low wages, high living costs…

    Natz are so awful that it should be easy for Labour to win another term, but it won’t be unless they start to address issues properly without the hype and faking to themselves their own policy outcomes. Get better people, get people who don’t believe in ideology for a start and can add.

    Labour need to concentrate on making people’s lives better… they are doing that in many small ways but their ‘big’ policies like TPPA and housing aint going to deliver to most people.

    Greens also need to really wake up they are missing in action on “main stream” aka allowing the consenting of the bottled water while being against it, is a case in point. Green did better when they focused on food labelling, buy NZ made to create jobs and prosperity in NZ, cleaning up the pollution, no TPPA they did a lot better…

    I also think NZ first might die next election if Winston leaves. If they got Tracy in there as party leader after Winston they have a better chance as at least she is relatable, sorry not many only relate to defence spending aka Ron Mark’s area of expertise! Teaching and kids is more on the money as would be a bit more concern about immigration routs that NZ First used to be known for?

  7. Can Simon do it in 2020? Report card for Simon.
    Working hard. Desperate to appeal-drags the kids out on stage (my teenagers observation.) Speech -a little slow and slurred. Persona-a little geeky and nerdy like Key. Terrible hair cut with a greasy look.
    trying very hard to connect but not gaining traction.
    Ideas-not so much. His religious conservatism bit off-putting to new voters.
    Overall I think Simon is toast-he’s not a guy you would invite to a barbecue. Whereas Key you would so you could take the piss out of someone.
    The real threat is undoubtedly Nikki Kay-perhaps the only threat?Bennett/Collins-lack broad appeal. Nikki has it all-perhaps her only problem being she has too much empathy for National’s cruel policy?

  8. Two points:


    The data shows that they are (were?) uplifting kids coming from poor areas and giving them an education the state system wasn’t delivering.
    So the Left is in a pickle here: On the one hand it claims to support the poor but when faced with an opportunity to do just that, it would rather back entrenched unions that aren’t performing.

    Shame on you all!


    What woman wants to be appointed to a managerial position just because of the shape of her reproductive anatomy? To become a box ticking token along with a brown person. How much self esteem would she have? And what would more competent men lower down the ranks say behind her back? And how would that affect the performance of the company?

    I’m all for women having the opportunity to advance their careers but not at the expense of meritocracy.

    • Russel Coutts is running successful yacht racing classes out of Whangaparoa just north of Auckland with out any government assistance just fine. If you want to start a school, no one is stopping you. Private sector gets shit done my boy.

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