14 Jun 2008
Pigs might fly and other political tales.
A recent story in the Herald trumpeted the “news” that Engkeylish had released a fourteen point policy platform which was a proof that National actually had substance and that pigs actually flew over Kumeu.
The platform was so apparently momentous that the Herald’s editor forgot to include it in the paper’s unpaid for pro National advertisement - the “unbiasedly” labeled “Porkometer” but then there was only one substantive policy among the 14 points - a pledge to award the American owned Telecom $NZ1.5 Billion to provide ultra fast broadband so, according to the reports from the New Plymouth papers, “people can access and download Mr. Key’s Bebo pages faster.”
Based on this rationale one would have to question the logic behind such a policy. As a Waitara High School student very perceptively pointed out “Anyone over 12 with a Bebo site is seriously lacking in judgement.” To argue, as Mr. Key reportedly did, that a $1.5 Billion grant to Telecom to facilitate such activity is certainly not a wise investment in the “knowledge economy.”
The rest of the Engkeylish policy positions were a series of snap frozen, ready prepared instant noodle “solutions” to poll driven asserted social issues. When one looks closely at the “solutions” one re-reads old policy recycled from the National Party policy pamphlets from the past 20 years which, no doubt, reflects the ages of those the Herald would picture as the “young faces of a Key lead National Party.” (Gerry, Lockwood, Hone Carter, Maurice, Tony, Bill, Nick.....who have been around the political traps so long now they qualify as historic trialers.)
Which, of course, brings one back to the waiting for evidence that there is substantive and credible policy coming from the National Party and that one doesn’t have to believe that pigs do fly over Kumeu on a regular basis.
However, it is allegedly getting more and more difficult for journalists to get access to John Key, to listen to his addresses to interest groups and to question him in any depth on policy as the spin-meisters are sealing him off from scrutiny so that his political inexperience and propensity to perform position flip-flops and other gaffes is not revealed to the public. His recent meetings with Business leaders in Dunedin were, reportedly, declared media free zones with the local press being invited to cover his spinmeister controlled walk-abouts which are designed to show John Key as a “real man of the people” who can “relate at the social interface with the working voter.” Unfortunately for the controllers these exchanges are proving to be as gaffe prone as before.
The Dunedin walk-about apparently had John, prompted by his spin-meister, front up to two young women at a cosmetics counter and engage them in a deep and meaningful conversation about their purchases only for the young women to ask the reporter covering the event, “Who was that again?” immediately John had been ushered away from the “photo opportunity.” Ah well he can, perhaps, take solace in the Herald stable-mate publication’s - North & South - headline story that he is “N.Z’s sexiest politician” with 28% of the polling group voting to award him the title.
With such an impact on the electorate no wonder that he is being sheltered and having to have all his positions explained by his controller in chief - Bill English.
Although Mr. English must be finding it hard to convince people that his protege has believability when the public hear him declare one thing on Monday and then contradict himself on the Tuesday because the audience has changed or the poll wind has blown past his office. One is forced to ask how can any National Party policy position be credible if on one day John Key says things like: “Climate Change is a complete and utter hoax.” then, on a different soap box, declare “I firmly believe in climate change and always have.” Or on Kiwisaver ( a policy initiative National voted against.) “Kiwisaver is fundamentally flawed and merely a glorified Christmas Club.” and, on a different soapbox and to a different audience, “Kiwisaver is probably gonna be successful and not too bad.” However he won’t commit himself to stating the exact policy position National will take on Kiwisaver given National could form a government under MMP. (Another issue he can’t make his mind up on - whether to retain MMP or lurch back to the arrogance enhancing FFP system.)
So, the electorate waits for the flip-flop maestro to announce clear, unequivocal policies that are unchanged from day to day, unchanged from audience to audience and remain open to full public scrutiny and a continuously unbiased analysis from release to the election day and beyond and, of course, the pigs will continue flying over Kumeu.