The Northland By-Election – The Beginning Of The End For A Racist National Party

The Northland By-Election

The Beginning Of The End For A Racist National Party?

Prime Minister John Key, second left, and National candidate Mark Osborne in Northland on 26 March 2015. Photo: RNZ / Benedict Collins

The much touted electoral appeal of John Key – or, to be more precise, that contrived perma-smile of John Key – has carried National to three undeserved election victories. But, as was so spectacularly shown in the Northland by-election, the Key train is now falling off the rails.

Despite the nakedly pork barrel politics of offering ten new bridges and Key rushing back from Korea to imprint his own so-called invincible personality on the contest, Winston Peters won this long held, safe National seat by more than 4,000 votes.

At long last, perhaps the voters have seen through the fraud of Key? From here on, it will all be downhill because John Key, like Tony Blair in Britain, is not and never was anything other than a PR/media creation. This man will fly from Dargaville to Invercargill just to oblige the press by wearing a funny hat for a photo opportunity. But when has he ever put in a full day’s work in Wellington on serious matters that affect the country?

When Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, paid a brief (about 24 hours) visit to New Zealand on her way to a recent conference in Brisbane, she was whisked off to some island in the Hauraki Gulf so that she could have her photo taken holding a kiwi with a smiling John Key looking on, as well as other inane photo opportunities. And she doesn’t even like touching animals! This was at the height of the Ukraine crisis and Merkel was the Western leader who had the most contact with Putin.

Besides having one of the world’s strongest and most influential economies, Germany is at the heart of Europe. Any hosting Prime Minister with a work ethic, or any substance or patriotism, would have utilised the small amount of time that this important and useful person had in New Zealand to extract the maximum from the visit. Briefing Cabinet, officials and even the Opposition instead of swanning off to islands for contrived and staged photo ops would have been a so much more productive and wiser thing to do.

Like Tony Blair, John Key is lacking in character, substance or even patriotism (e.g. his expensive attempt to destroy our nation’s flag). When the PR bubble finally bursts, there is nothing else for such types to fall back on with the result that their descent becomes almost vertical. It happened with Blair in Britain – propped up by the media for so long because he was young and smiling but, when that image snapped, there was nothing else to hold him up and today he is one of the most widely reviled men in England.

So, the Key bubble has been popped and even the unflappable Steven Joyce, whose candidate management skills were thought to be infallible, has now been exposed as a tin god. What other campaign manager would have allowed a candidate to appear in such scruffy clothes as Mark Osborne?

With as little as Tony Blair had to prop him up, from now on Key will be battling as the mask of invincibility has so effectively been wiped off his face by Winston Peters. And, with Key’s unpatriotic and ham fisted attempt to change the nation’s flag, he is in for some pretty rough times.

However delighted one might be to see National’s defeat in Northland, one should not expect too much from Peters’ victory. That old and largely empty warhorse spent about five weeks making speeches every day in every town square and kauri grove and yet never once was it reported that he spoke out in support of the principle of One Law For All despite that issue currently being terribly important in Northland.

This is in line with New Zealand First’s retreat on this important policy that it once had, but seems to have dropped. About a year ago New Zealand First distributed a brochure to Tauranga letter boxes entitled “15 Fundamental Principles.” The principle of One Law For All was neither mentioned nor even implied. This shows how vital it is for 1Law4All to succeed, as we can not rely on any of the other parties to drive this all-important issue.

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