The pile on has begun | The Jackal

31 Aug 2017

The pile on has begun

You know the National party is in real trouble when ardent right wing propagandists like Matthew Hooton and Mike Hosking start criticising Bill English’s policy announcements.

Hooton and Hosking are perhaps the biggest National party apologists around. Their bias is legendary.

So when they turn against their party this close to an election you know the tide has definitely turned. Not wanting to be the last rocks standing, the pile on has begun, and if National isn’t careful they will be swept out forever with a growing tide of populist support for Labour’s Jacinda Ardern.

Here’s Hooton commenting on the leak of Winston Peters’ private pension details, which almost certainly came from someone high up in the National party.

On Tuesday, Bryce Edwards tweeted:

Pretty strong words there from a right wing hack! But he’s not the only ardent John Key fanboy to voice a negative opinion about the National party recently.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Mike Hosking: I feel used and want to take a shower

National's parental leave deal yesterday to me smacks of cold, hard bribery. National has been dragged kicking and screaming into this debate. They have not been willing participants.

Every move they have made has been a result of private member's bills and/or opposition pressure and promises. This is not a natural policy for them, like tax cuts or roading infrastructure or paying debt or creating jobs. And yet there they are handing it out like candy.

All of a sudden with the polls tightening, and their prospects on a knife edge - nothing is out of bounds.

I have to disagree with Hosking about National creating jobs and paying down debt. They’ve also taken tax cuts off the table because of a slowing economy. But otherwise his rant is pretty spot-on.

Policy should at least in part be driven by genuine belief and desire, not a corrupt retail exchange. I know I sound like someone who's just emerged from a cave - where the hell have I been? This is politics and these are politicians.

But it's just this time it seems or feels like any decorum, any philosophical standing and belief is out the window and replaced by Voter Idol and prizes for anyone with a hand out.

The problem for National is that they haven’t released any detail about how they intend to pay for their lolly scramble. I hate to admit it but Hosking is right, English is on the back foot and announcing policy willy-nilly in order to attract swing voters. In doing so National look terribly desperate!

Bill English’s current schedule seems more governed by what the media is currently focused on, what Labour has announced and what they think will gain public support rather than any concrete belief in their policy ideas. That lack of conviction will likely mean the National party won’t actually enact many of their policy promises if allowed a fourth term in government.

The fact that National is embroiled in another scandal and making unaffordable promises off the cuff makes it clear to even their core supporters that the writing is on the wall.

With the Labour and Green parties presenting better social and economic policy initiatives, that are actually affordable, there really isn’t any other choice but to change the government at this election.