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Robson-On-Politics - 5 October 2006

Robson On

Robson-On-Politics - 5 October 2006

Don will probably go sooner rather than later

Don Brash's extraordinary attack on the competence, impartiality and integrity of the Police Force at first doesn't make sense.

Conservative political leaders do not, on principle, issue Media Statements about, nor write letters to, the Force writing it off as a failure and as incompetent: That is an iron rule of Nature, as certain as the sun rising tomorrow morning.


There is no reason to take such risks for leader of party ahead in the polls

There is no logical reason for the leader of a political party which is ahead in the opinion polls to take such big risks with such a strategy.

No matter how genuinely upset National may be about the Police's handling of its complaint about Labour's use of its parliamentary funds for its 2005 Election Pledge Card, there is just no case for a National Party leader, on this issue, to so publicly attempt to humiliate the Police and therefore undermine public confidence in the Force.

National, since its birth in 1936, has always donned the mantle of the "Law and Order Party". There is no rational reason for National's leader to now risk hurting the Police, no rational or understandable reason except one: Dr Brash's hold on the leadership is under serious threat and he is lashing out in all directions to try and divert attention away from issues that he does not want in the public arena.

It is a strategy by which the National leader attempts to create diversionary and sensationalist headlines, bitter public rows, and reap in return support within National around his own leadership during his very public fights: Against "Corruption"; Against Maori; Against Anyone - even the Police.

For the record: Progressive was disappointed by lack of Police action too

For the record, Progressive was the target by a certain church of an expensive dirty tricks leafleting and advertising campaign against Jim Anderton in the Wigram electorate in the final 48 hours of last year's election campaign.

The costly campaign of misinformation, which included ads in the Christchurch Star, must have been paid for but the address of the person who authorized the ads was an empty house. It is illegal to defame competitors in an electoral contest and the law requires all political ads which are designed to influence voters' intentions to clearly identify who authorized the campaign and what organization the person is affiliated to.

Progressive was also disappointed that the Police did not take legal action. But we did not try and undermine public confidence in the Police Force just because we disagreed with Police inaction on what we believed was a cut and dried breach of electoral law.


Some good may come out of Brash's desperation

Still, some good may yet come out of Brash's campaign against the inevitable.

National has done some polling. It has found that its policy last election, to deny there was sufficient evidence to link human activity-induced greenhouse gas emissions with global climate change, was a voter turnoff.

So National is now going to abandon its previous, deeply anti-empirical and anti-science position in favour of an increased role for central government to promote policies, and provide incentives, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

National's position should be welcomed: It will in turn provide a new impetus to the Lab-Progressive government's own response to the public's demand that New Zealand play its part in adopting environmental policies that are in the economic, environmental and social long-term interests of us all.


Next election, Nats' anti-Maori position will sink it

The Auditor-General is soon going to release his final report into parliamentary parties' spending of their leaders' budgets ahead of the last election. Thank goodness for that.Having bits and pieces of the "draft" report leaked to the media for months has been totally destructive to the political process. Politics has been through one of its very lowest points in living memory, and the sooner this period is over the better for the body politic.

Political parties have to accept the consequences of the Auditor-General’s report, adjust and get over it. For the sake of New Zealand, and the prospects for a 4th term centre-left coalition, including the Greens and the Maori Party next time, I hope that all parties do accept the final report with a lot more grace than Brash is showing in accepting the Police's lack of action over Labour’s spending of public money in the last election.

Once this issue is behind us New Zealanders will have plenty of time to contemplate the implications for social harmony that would arise from any future National-led government.

National decided in the 2002 election, and again with its latest leader in Election 2005, that it has its mind fixed on a never-ending war of public insults designed to inflame Maori and designed also, no doubt, to incite strong, public reactions from Maori.

Over the next two years, a majority of Kiwis will contemplate the division and crisis that a National-led government would deliver to our society and, in 2008, will reject National yet again - even with its new leadership team under John Key.



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