Some interesting takes on the Nats’ conference.
The DomPost’s Tracy Watkin’s writes Inside the Beltway about National’s weird (my word) line-up of “new” candidates:
“Do the names Terry Heffernen, Marc Alexander and Stephen Franks mean anything to you? They are the latest political refugees to find a haven in National, joining Tau Henare who has made a successful political come-back with National after an obligatory period in the wilderness post-NZ First.”
A strange collection of political butterflies.
Heffernen’s been most places bar Labour: Social Credit, Democrats, the Alliance, NZ First and now National. Henare went from Mana Motuhake to NZ First to Mauri Pacific to National. Alexander is ex-United Future. Former ACT MP Franks “went to Mao’s China in 1976 to try to experience life on a commune”, but claims to have detested Communists all along. Go figure.
Franks looks distinctly out of place in the concertedly centrist National Party of 2008. He’s really a bit of an ideological anachronism. How this far-right purist fares with the bureaucrats of Wellington Central will be interesting, as they are probably the most politically attuned voters in the country.
Audrey Young blogs about “strange forces at work at Nats Party Conference.” As well as resurrecting old-fashioned Keynesian economics, the Nats have been beating the centrist drum hard, hoping to drown out any echoes of the neo-liberalism of recent times. Thus Katherine Rich, the Nats’ retiring social conscience, endorsed Key in cloying terms:
“I’d like to thank you, John, for pragmatic leadership, your genuine centre-right leadership, and also your social conscience. I know from the way you conduct yourself in the House that that strong social conscience is very much part of your signature and no Kiwi will be left behind.”
Bill English stressed how, “we can afford to protect the vulnerable and maintain vital social services.”
I wonder if Stephen Franks clapped that line?
Perhaps the Nats should adopt the butterfly as their new political logo.
Tags: National Party