Monday, 12 December 2016 07:54

NZ National Government new Co-Leaders Curb Rebels

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Day one of the Dream Team means coping with problems before they become bigger problems and in politics this means people which is what the word politics actually means.


Top priority is hardly surprisingly Mrs Judith Collins MP, minister of police.

The new team knows that Mrs Collins must be kept in the tent and also kept busy, very busy.

Mrs Collins demonstrated her determination of purpose when she reached for the top job and did so without any support from the National government’s king-makers, people such as Murray McCully MP or of enforcers such as Steven Joyce MP, the new minister of finance.

She compounded this by mooting that she was the one, the match maker, within the National government to bring into the fold permanent stormy petrel Winston Peters MP of New Zealand First Party.

She might just as well have offered her colleagues a cup of tractor sump oil.

Mrs Collins is the National Government MP who most equates to Margaret Thatcher, also a tax lawyer.

So as today draws on and the coronation caucus smiles however insincere, along with the sound of clinking glasses recede into the evening the new premier Bill English MP and his deputy Paula Bennett MP will crystalise their thoughts on Mrs Collins.

They will do so in concert with solving another problem..

It is one to which long running National governments have found themselves in the quite recent past to be prone.

This is of the seemingly spontaneous but in fact carefully orchestrated advent of a middle class revolt.

It is currently a low-level threat in the form of a peoples’ party currently being nurtured by pop-economist Gareth Morgan.

Mr Morgan’s movement centres on the need for an asset tax .

This it is claimed is required to cope with the problem of the well-off sidestepping paying tax.

Voiders and evaders alike slide past it by a process of expensing blended with the advantages presented by the much storied absence of a capital gains tax..

Enter now the solution to be seen to be at least facing the problem.

It is Mrs Judith Collins MP.

But now with a new title.

That of revenue minister..

Now to the other rebel Mr Simon Bridges MP, minister of transport.

He is a good-looking boyish chap.

He is of a definable National Party type which is known and categorised as being too clever by half.

The new leadership duo by nature are conciliatory. They will be tempted by inclination to overlook his premature and youthful power grab..

Then as the evening wears on and the Beehive cat has been put out, they will remind themselves of the first rule of being in power.

It is that once you have power then you must use it.

As the sun begins to set they will remind themselves of the second rule.

You must also be seen to be using it.

Cohesion, or at least the external perception of it, is central to the National Party

So it is now that Mr Bridges will find himself confronting a tour on the back benches where his presence will be a highly visible example to anyone else in the National government contemplating breaking the ranks.

The National Party though believes in second chances and thus in redemption.

So as 2017 advances and the general election looms so will the need to attend with still greater intensity to electoral window dressing, of the type that requires a 40 year old mediagenic type such as Mr Bridges.

With his international legal qualifications who better pre-election than Mr Bridges to take over the always troublesomely delicate portfolio of minister of police?