Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: I have aspirations going forward

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  • Rob Hosking,

    I thought the original post showed a degree of partisanship I wasn't expecting, as well as having just too many cheap shots.

    You would not expect detailed policy just yet. That would be very bad process in a new leader.

    You do though need to set a tone, with vision statements and the like. Any new leader of any organisaiton needs to do this sort of thing.

    Clark did NOT do this when she took over Labour in 1993, and it was a huge mistake. Back then she scorned this sort of thing. She really did need to do that, as she'd just knifed Mike Moore and was seen as this humourless party apparatchik with a suspiciously deep voice.

    Her first few years as Labour leader were pretty hellish - despite the unpopularity of the Bolger govt.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Rob said:

    You do though need to set a tone, with vision statements and the like. Any new leader of any organisaiton needs to do this sort of thing.

    Clark did NOT do this when she took over Labour in 1993, and it was a huge mistake. Back then she scorned this sort of thing. She really did need to do that, as she'd just knifed Mike Moore and was seen as this humourless party apparatchik with a suspiciously deep voice.

    Her first few years as Labour leader were pretty hellish - despite the unpopularity of the Bolger govt.

    The comparison with Clark is an interesting one: I recall (admittedly a distant memory) her being harrangued by the media over the leadership coup, and subject to intensive questioing about what made her think she was suitable for the job, and what she would do differently from Mike Moore. As you suggest, she didn't do a particularly good job of answering these questions, and the reception for her was indeed "pretty hellish." No honeymoon.

    But Key should have learnt from this ... he's had a long time to think about why he wants to be leader, and what he'd do differently, and it's not too much for the public to expect him to tell us these things.

    Of course we don't want to read too much into one speech, but someone should be asking the guy serious questions, because we know next to nothing about him. He could be an "empty suit" - who knows?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    You would not expect detailed policy just yet. That would be very bad process in a new leader.
    You do though need to set a tone, with vision statements and the like. Any new leader of any organisation needs to do this sort of thing.

    Rob, I don't disagree. But this was the equivalent of a new boss declaring that he believes in profits, reward for effort, and career opportunities for the staff. It's reassuring to know the new boss has good intentions, but does it give us any sense of what's going to happen to the business in the next year?

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    A bit off topic, but does anyone else wonder why the government has never had to go on strike to demand a payrise in line with inflation to keep them up with the cost of living?
    And if they did, would people be suggesting a law change to forbid them from striking?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    He's done more than that though. You don't think a different approach to relations with the small parties, race relations, and a radically different attitude to climate change, aren't substantial? I do. This is a radically different approach to the Brash years.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Oh, I've known him a few years now and always found him very charitable, especially in the matter of buying one lunch

    I agree - I owe a lunch, coffee & several beers to the guy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    You don't think a different approach to relations with the small parties, race relations, and a radically different attitude to climate change, aren't substantial? I do. This is a radically different approach to the Brash years.

    Yes I would, if that's what the broad expressions of good intention mean, but that's my beef: it's so vague it could mean a great deal or not very much at all.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    David Slack wrote:
    But this was the equivalent of a new boss declaring that he believes in profits, reward for effort, and career opportunities for the staff. It's reassuring to know the new boss has good intentions, but does it give us any sense of what's going to happen to the business in the next year?

    Fair question, but while we're using the business analogy there's also (__quack!__) siginificant downsides to musing about the 'future direction' of your organisation in speech notes - especially when that involves laying off people who may not consider that (__quack! quack!__) a less than entirely constructive way to initiate dialogue. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yes I would, if that's what the broad expressions of good intention mean, but that's my beef: it's so vague it could mean a great deal or not very much at all.

    I was listening to him being questioned on morning report this morning on climate change. His argument seemed to be:

    Key: There is a major problem with climate change, I am convinced!

    MR: You and your party weren't convinced a year when you said that the evidence was unclear.

    Key: I was sticking to my party line then, you can understand that.

    MR: Ah. So no independent thought entered your brain then?

    Key: We need to be able to trade carbon credits!

    MR: Like, the Kyoto Protocol, which your party is opposed to?

    Key: Well the problem with the Kyoto Protocol is that major countries like USA and Australia aren't signed up to it.

    MR: Ah, so the problem with a tradeable carbon credits scheme is that major carbon polluters haven't signed up to it. However if we have a tradeable carbon credits scheme suggested by national, then that would fix the world?

    Key: Exactly!

    OK, so I'm misquoting and paraphrasing horrendously. But the whole, "Oh my god, I've just learnt there's a climate problem in the world, let's re-brand the solution we argued against last year and say it'll now fix the problem..." What sort of political advisor came up with that quickstep? Is anyone going to be suckered in by his new green suit?

    I'd have some respect for the new national party leadership if they admitted that they got it wrong and 'greenies' have actually been right for... I dunno, a couple of decades now... and maybe they'll start to fall into line with the solutions that people have been working on for ages now.

    If parties like National had figured this stuff out ages ago, maybe the solutions would be better and be further down the track to a solution already.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Glaister,

    eh? if you want to criticise David's tongue-in-cheek parsing of Key's oratorical style, be our guest. but the above criticism doesn't really cut it IMHO because you seem to have imgained something that is not there.

    OK, maybe, but I think you're being naive. Partisan advantage is a long game...and part of that long game, sadly, is subtlely undermining people. I was delighted earlier to kill off the "Key talks about himself in the third person" idea/niggle that Slack tried to get started (and which was otherwise starting to be picked up by others, e.g. the fifth comment here). In my last little note I tried to give a few examples of the broader propagandistic patterns at work in what Slack had said. You reject those. And others here dodge those points with equivocations (charity in interpretation esp. to those with whom one disagrees vs. charity=generosity to friends and colleagues). I can only lead people to the water...

    Completely changing topic: Jon Chait in the LA Times just called for the US to reinstall Saddam as dictator in Iraq. Has to be read to be believed here (free reg may be required).

    Since Nov 2006 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    This latest speech to the Foreign Affairs & Defence Seminar has a reasonable content-to-word ratio. It's not a policy, or anything, but considering the past policy round such as it was happened, what, a week before the election, he seems to be doing okay.

    I understood David's basic point to be that there wasn't anything much in the speech to get excited about. Or not, depending on how tangible you like your politics.

    It was also, like many posts on Public Address, an opinion piece. And consequently, opinionated. I'd have said 'propoganda' is a bit strong.

    Incidentally, David, the duckspeak machine appear to frown on things like, well, prepositions.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Then the message gets muddled by the curse of the typo:

    "National would not sent troops to Iraq although Mr Key defended the right of the United States and its allies to have invaded the country." (newswire/NBR)

    A missing auxiliary verb or the wrong final letter? Makes a pretty big difference ... :)

    And John, you might want to ditch the "although" bit in future. Not many votes there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    "... Mr Key defended the right of the United States and its allies to have invaded the country."

    on the grounds that the US has the right to trash any coutry it feels like?

    is this an example of the core National values Key says he stands for?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    Ah, it's a cruel business, this politics thing, isn't it? The difference between how we treat the old feller with glasses and the boy-next-door on his honeymoon.

    Try saying the John Key quotes below out loud, in a Don Brash voice (add "er ... frankly" or something). Then imagine the resulting media coverage:

    From Stuff.co.nz, Ian Llewellyn:

    "Quizzed on National's position on the invasion of Iraq, Mr Key said National had never supported the inclusion of New Zealand troops on the invasion.

    "That was not the National Party position. The National Party position was to support America and the coalition of the willing's right to go into Iraq."

    He said at the time National had believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    Dr Brash had expressed a personal view about the invasion of Iraq before he became a leader, Mr Key said.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    So far everything I have heard Key say is basically what Labour have been saying and doing for years so it's good to see they have his firm support. I assume he will be voting for them in the next election.

    Supports social welfare, wouldn't have sent troops, global warming is happening and mad respect to the Greens for saying so for so long, anti-nukes, repect the tangata whenua...

    If I'd known he was such a solid centre left bloke I may have voted for him in Helensville last time out.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    So far everything I have heard Key say is basically what Labour have been saying and doing for years

    Quick, someone hit that weasel word on the head with a stick! 'Basically', Yanis? Perhaps you could point me to a policy or manifesto statement - no 'hidden agenda' balls, please - where the National Party has ever suggested abolishing 'social welfare'? I guess National and Labour are 'basically' the same on industrial relations, because neither party is proposing legalising child labour, slavery or using bullwhips to increase productivity. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    Perhaps we should try out that bull-whip idea in parliament, they didn't get sweet FA done this year.

    Whaing─üroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Craig, you seem overly sensitive to my observations thus far of Key differing from Brash to the point of being closer to Labour on the aforementioned issues by a) being nice to maori, b) coming out firmly on climate change, c) saying nice things about the importance of our welfare system, d) being CLEARLY anti-nuke, e) CLEARLY stating National would not have supported troops going to Iraq. Quite why it took this long to clarify "e)" says a hell of a lot about Brash's dithering on the topic really.

    Of course National aren't proposing abolishing social welfare. That's a no brainer (I would have thought), but it was (as far as I'm aware) one of the first things he commented on and more than a throw away line which I found telling since it was coming from the supposed right ;)

    Brash and the opposition in general have spent years slagging Labours every move which is hardly surprising as that seems to be what politics is all about. It has nearly worked but I think National about bottomed out with its current level of support and now it's about getting the right face out front and engaging brain ona few issues. I have found it refreshing thus far for sensible ideas and actions to be repeated by both sides of the fence. Maybe it is a sign of the future like somebody suggested earlier about the 'end' to 'ideology' and now government will be more about pragmatism and managing things issue by issue in a more measured way.

    Mind you if that happens we will end up with a 'super' party in the middle winning 60-80% of the votes and little 'extreme' groups on the fringes of the spectrum tugging here and there for the other 20%.

    Ah buggered if I know, I'm tired.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Gets me thinking actually (I don't often because it hurts). Would people agree that there is less of a gap between Labour and National than between Labour and say the Alliance or Progressives or Greens, or between National and ACT ? I really don't study policy that closely because it's about as fun as running a cheese grater down your face (or my face, I'm not proposing anybody lets me run a cheese grater down their face).

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

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