With everything else gong on in this Reality TV election campaign, what Don Brash finds most depressing is that the man named after a concrete block will almost certainly end up holding the balance of power – with the baubles waved under the concrete block’s nose likely to be the deciding factor in which way he swings.
Yes, I find this perhaps the most depressing aspect of the campaign. Winston, the man whose policy promises are so outrageously expensive that NZ First policies are the only ones which Dr Michael Dunn (on behalf of the Taxpayers’ Union, and for 12 years the man responsible within the IRD for costing political promises) can’t put a price tag on.
He was the man, you’ll recall, who held up a big sign saying “NO” when he should have said “yes”, he had received funding from Owen Glenn.
He’s the man who campaigns about the need to change the Reserve Bank Act, as he did in the 1996 election campaign – and nobody asks him why, when he was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in 1997 and 1998 (and therefore the minister responsible for the Reserve Bank Act) he made not the slightest attempt to change that Act.
On balance, I think he is more likely to go with National than Labour because (a) he would not enjoy playing third fiddle to the Greens in a Labour-led government, and (b) he went with Labour in 2005, and won’t want to be seen as locked in to Labour. But at the end of the day, he will also be influenced by what is in it for Winston, as he was in 2005.
That’s a revealing answer about Peters and I think it’s also revealing about yourself. It’s a bitter reply.
Yes, as some of your readers will know from the last chapter of my book, I’m quite deeply pessimistic about the future of democracy, and this election campaign illustrates my concerns rather well. There is a huge bidding campaign going on, with virtually no party putting forward policies which would actually deal with some of the fundamental issues facing the country. Some parties are being more responsible than others, but almost all are offering extremely expensive policies that the economy has little ability to pay for…
On his Facebook page he lashes the media circus:
I’ve always been reluctant to believe in media conspiracies, but having watched the way in which Radio New Zealand and TVNZ have been covering this election campaign I have to conclude that those driving the election coverage on those channels are either wildly Left-wing or plain ignorant, and I’m genuinely not sure which explanation is the more plausible.
The media have almost entirely ignored what ACT has been saying, even when Jamie Whyte drives a horse and cart through the economic policies of other parties. They give only minimal coverage to what the Taxpayers’ Union is saying about the cost of the political promises made by most parties, even though those comments are based on the research of an economist who did the costing of election promises for the Inland Revenue Department for a number of years.
The media give extensive coverage to the comments of Winston Peters, even though his promises are so outrageous that the policies of New Zealand First are the only ones which the Taxpayers’ Union has been unable to put a dollar cost on – they are extremely vague and very expensive….
Yesterday, Radio New Zealand’s coverage of some of Labour’s promises took the cake for me. Every time I turned on the radio to hear the news, the bulletin seemed to be led by the story that Labour would introduce a “Kiwi Share” to prevent future governments from ever selling government-owned businesses.
Apart from being a seriously stupid policy even if it could be implemented, a future Labour-led Government could not actually stop future governments from doing anything!
What Parliament can do, a future Parliament can as easily undo. But nowhere did I hear a voice of scepticism expressed – Mr Cunliffe’s “promise” to stop future asset sales for all time was breathlessly reported as if it had some relevance.
I’m pretty critical of the John Key Government, as anybody who has read my book Incredible Luck will know. But with a few ACT MPs to help drag them back to the values set out so clearly in the National Party’s own constitution, a John Key-led Government is vastly to be preferred to a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First-Internet Mana combination, and it angers the hell out of me that even the media funded by me and other taxpayers makes not the slightest attempt to cover the election campaign with even a modicum of detachment and objectivity.