Don Brash, the Leader of the Opposition, has resigned, and favoured to replace him—as has been speculated for years—is Shadow Finance Minister John Key.
The reasons Dr Brash cites are reasonably coherent and logical, though it’s clear he has taken a beating this year, ﬁrst over his alleged extramarital affair, and now the publication of a book, The Hollow Men, critical of his party’s election campaigning.
It matters little whether Key is competent or not at this point, in my view. New Zealanders tend to vote out governments rather than vote any in with passion, and as long as Key presents an image of a credible alternative, then National has a chance.
It will depend on policy. For starters, I do not know what this guy looks like, and I live here. There are no pics of him in Flickr (as far as I can tell). He has marginally more Google references than me, though I imagine this will increase as of today. And when he had been interviewed on the radio, he wasn’t exactly charismatic, though he is an improvement on Brash.
Being from the ﬁnance and capital worlds, Key may ﬁnd it natural to side with big business, but that does not really contrast him. Under Labour, big business has found it far easier to seep into ordinary New Zealanders’ lives, with small and medium-sized enterprises facing extreme difﬁculty under its employment law and other legislative régimes.
Should Key wish to win favour among New Zealanders, and present a ﬁnancially sound policy for the country that could lead to a 2008 election victory, then a common-sense, fair approach to business might just work.
But what I want to see is recognition of everyday New Zealanders’ hard work and contributions, something that the 1999 Bright Future programme his party initiated was meant to do.
By championing the best talent, the innovative thinkers that New Zealand is so good at generating—and often losing to foreign nations—might just think twice about staying and beneﬁting their nation.
Labour, by contrast, has done a lot to damage that drive, with government departments that are far from useful in encouraging trade and enterprise, and policies that have plenty of ﬂash and little substance. Design and export programmes have the right buzzwords but litle follow-through.
At the end of the day, I do not care which party begins delivering common-sense policies—only that they emerge. But Labour has had since 1999 to do this, and shows no signs of making the shift. Posted by Jack Yan, 03:36
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