The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

National cuddles up to the sidestream vote

So John Key is off to Ratana today, and was making nice noises toward Maori on Morning Report earlier. And Jackie Blue's positive comments about Tariana Turia in the Herald yesterday have been posted by David Farrar.

Anyone else smell a charm offensive?

Key knows he has a lot of work to do to mend the bridges razed to the ground under Don Brash's leadership. I'm pretty sure I heard him say something in the media recently about the need for National to make it clear they will work with groups that don't vote for them if/when they win a term in the Beehive.* Not only is he correct about this in the sense of a functioning democracy, it's also good strategy for moderating the public perception of his party.

In some ways the timing of Key's ascension has been very bad for Labour - the Xmas break has allowed him to appear brand spanking new, and shiny with it, for 2007.

IMHO the media is being quite soft on him and he is encouraging it by being very careful with his tone and words, focusing on coming across as someone who hasn't made up their mind yet about various matters and is still considering. It will be interesting to see how long he will be given to put his stakes in the sand. Giving a big interview to Investigate was a clever tactic - National strategists must know that the hard right will read it but "mainstream" NZ is unlikely to.

I look forward to Key's plays for voter groups formerly written off by National; women, non-Pakeha, union members, non-heteros, etc. I doubt however that National's policies will change much to reflect the friendlier shop window.

* New blogger Carl from Single Malt Social Democrat thinks it unlikely Labour will be turfed out next time, in an interesting post about the possibilities for the 2008 election.

1 comment:

Gerrit said...

Co-leader Tariana Turia said this week her party was "very keen to have a look at the whole benefit system. We don't like our people being on a benefit ... we don't think it's healthy for them to be beneficiaries of the state."

With statements like this the Maori party is aligning itself closer to National than to Labour. National doesn't have to realign to get closer to the Maori party, they are on a natural convergence cource, having strong beliefs in property rights and individual responsibility.

Pita Sharples has made the statement that "Work for The Dole Schemes" should be compulsory.

Off concern to Labour?