Exclusive Brethren at it again

There’s a certain irony in that while papers in New Zealand devote their first few pages to the demise of Don, across the Tasman the Melbourne Age leads with a story about Exclusive Brethren involvement in the Victoria state elections.

It’s the same old stuff. The EBs have taken out advertising in the Age and the Herald Sun attacking the Greens.

So what is the problem with the Exclusive Brethren campaigning against political parties? As far as the Greens are concerned – nothing – as long as they don’t do it in secret and don’t try to hide the fact that there is a coordinated worldwide campaign to support conservative parties.

As far as I am concerned it is unacceptable for the Exclusive Brethren, or any other group, to secretly try to discredit a political party. It’s also unacceptable for another party to be in on the plan.

Personally, I am looking forward to Monday to get my pads on a copy of Nicky Hager’s book. Having been around here when the Green’s first exposed the Exclusive Brethren as being behind the pamphlets, I am keen to see what Don, Key and cronies such as Joyce and Richard Long were actually up to.

I also have to admit some curiosity at the extent of the involvement of Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor in the Nat’s campaign.

While the Greens have to wait till Monday, Michael Cullen has a copy. He’s a pretty speedy reader too. Just two hours and 45 minutes after the injunction was lifted Dr Cullen had found a copy of the book, read the first chapter and written and published a press release slamming John Key ;-).

53 Comments Posted

  1. big bruv asks: “Why should landlords pay rates for services on a property that he does not use?”

    The answer is that the title is in his/her name, as is the obligation.

    But you know that, don’t you, big bruv?

  2. Jing

    Why should landlords pay rates for services on a property that he does not use? why should I subsidise state house tenants anymore than I already do?

    I will always maintain that a poll tax is the fairest way.

  3. Dear Big Bruv, you say :BJ

    “Terence is right, I do believe in a poll tax as apposed to rates, quite why those who own property have to subsidise those who do not is confusing.
    We all use the services therefore we should ALL pay. ”

    Umm, so tell me again why tenants pay rent?
    Do you mean to say that rent isn’t used to pay rates? It would be a rather silly landlord who paid the rates out of their own pocket now wouldn’t it?

  4. Toad – Thanks for pointing out the problem at the bottom of the scale as well…. I am not familiar with that end of things, but there’s no doubt at all that the way taxes and benefits are organized here needs way more change than the Minister’s office is willing to undertake…

    Lower the top rate? Nope… but smoothing out the progression and the benefit structure is necessary. The top effective marginal rate of someone who is trying to claw his/her way out of poverty, or someone who is finally making enough to qualify for a mortgage should not be higher than the rate on the guy who is trying to claw his way to the top of the “rich list”. It should sure as hell not be twice as high…. and that is what we see here in NZ.

    It’s a simple iterative adjustment analysis. After 100K of income a rate of 50% and after 400K make it 60% and then go back to the benefits and business taxes and work out how to balance things. Then adjust and repeat until the system yields a monotonically increasing effective marginal rate but doesn’t collect any more in tax. The economic and mal-investment problems in NZ are sourced in our tax and benefits structure and the intransigence of the ministers in charge of money has a lot more to do with the money of their mates than with the health of the national economy.


  5. Hey BJ,
    yep, do love the oneliners (back-tracking up the blog comments a bit)

    So, Stuey, can u fix it so that we can search the blog by commenters’ handles?

    So much easier to find BJ’s bon-mots thusly. And think of the fun we could have correlating what David Farrar said on any given adjacent days… or Craig Ranapia, for that matter.

    Who needs conspiracy theorists when you’ve got a good search engine, and unix-geeks to run it 😀

    And for the mysogynist deluded out there: I’m not misandrist, there ARE men I like (intellectually and otherwise), I just don’t appreciate abuse and ignorance dressed up as opinion or political comment.

    Women who have stood in your shadows all their lives will rejoice to come out into the sunshine, and I will joy in their awakening whever I meet such women. I work for the day when I can truthfully say that half the world are effectively represented in the policies of the whole world; that is womenkind, who are silenced in so many countries, and would be silenced here if there hadn’t been strong women to stand up for the rights of all women.

  6. bjchip said:
    it is the benefit reduction on top of the tax that yields the effective 90% marginal rate

    Actually, it is an effective marginal tax rate of more than 90%. Here’s how it works. Let’s assume I’m on an unemployment benefit, with a partner, but (just to keep the calculations simple) no kids.

    Net unemployment benefit abates at a rate of $0.70 for every $1.00 of gross earnings above $80.00. But the unemployment benefit is considered the primary income, so earnings from employment have tax deducted not at the lowest rate of 19.5%, but at the secondary tax rate of 21.0%. Add to this the ACC earner levy of 1.3%.

    So that’s an effective marginal tax rate of 70.0+21.0+1.3 = 92.3%.

    Given that the net rate of unemployment benefit before abatement for a couple is $289.84 per week, the 92.3% effective marginal tax rate operates from $80.00 per week gross earnings to $494.06 per week gross earnings, which is the level of income at which the unemployment benefit is fully abated.

    So, if my partner and I between us earn $80.00 per week gross per week, we’ll have $369.84 in the hand each week. But if we get some extra work and earn $494.06 gross per week, we’ll have $383.88 in the hand per week. The additional $14.84 probably won’t even pay for the cost of getting to the extra work.

    So next time you hear of a beneficiary avoiding work, or working “under the table?, this might give some idea why. If the system is unfair, and is perceived as unfair, those affected are likely to seek to avoid or evade it.

  7. Yes Prim… it is the benefit reduction on top of the tax that yields the effective 90% marginal rate. This is also what I am talking about with respect to Sweden.

    Working for families was revised partly behind the idea of changing the result a bit, remains to be seen how much of a change has been managed… my problem with the result is that while the hump can be less abrupt, there is a clear reduction as one gets firmly into the upper bracket… I may pay an effective 90% but someone on 120K pays an effective 39%. In Sweden they’d pay 56% and the emr on 60-80K would never be higher than that.

    My point is that it can be fixed. Nobody in Labour or National has the slightest interest in fixing it.


  8. BJ – perhaps the 90% figure takes benefits into account … I am not familiar with the working for families package or other benefits. Perhaps you can briefly enlighten such types as myself on this tax issue …

  9. BJ – how did you get the figure 90%?

    My understanding is 19% on personal income up to a first threshold, then 33% on every dollar after that up to the next threshold, then 39% above that. These are marginal tax rates.

    I think that the system used to be the way you describe, some years ago. People did complain about getting less net income after moving up to a new tax bracket.

  10. BB – you’re right – different ways of looking at things and viewing life. We all have to choose what ultimately brings us happiness eh – we all work hard at one thing or another (whether for money or something else) in order to facilitate doign the things we enjoy – whatever they are.
    Anyway, best wishes,
    Ecomonkey 🙂

  11. Eco

    I just do not accept that argument (leaving aside the FEW genuine cases) there are far to many people in NZ who just cannot be bothered trying to better themselves, it is far easier for them to bludge of the likes of me.

    I chose to work hard as I want to enjoy the better things in life, I also want the satisfaction of knowing that I earned those things.

    I guess it is just different from the way that you look at things and that is not to say that one of us is right and one is wrong.

  12. bj

    Personally I quite enjoy Rugby and have a real passion for Cricket but I am not prepared to pay for a stadium when we have so many other things we could spend that money on.

  13. Big Bruv

    I didn’t say I got real answers from them. All they said to me was that taxes are “too hard to fix”. No interest in Rugby… or stadiums.


  14. Hi Big Bruv

    “How much is enough?…”

    I would think ‘Enough’ is enough to be able to feed oneself healthily, keep a roof over one’s head and have enough left over to enjoy life ie to travel, be sociable etc

    “those who work hard and earn reasonable money (note i did say reasonable) already pay an exorbitant amount of money in taxes that “help out?.”

    Maybe it will help to bear in mind that many people work hard and yet do not earn ‘reasonable’ money – ie they struggle to cover basic needs. Life is unfair where money is concerned – it is perhaps the nature of the beast – but it could be worse, right?

    “It seems to me that the more I work the more I am asked to help out those who are to bloody lazy to do it for themselves. ”

    I’m sorry you feel this way – yes, the system can be unfair to those who earn little as well as those who earn more. Please note that not everyone is too lazy to earn enough to not need handouts in one way or another. Many, through no fault of their own, simple cannot earn enough – again because the system is unfair.
    Rather than blame/feel badly towards those who you think are causing you to work harder, you could perhaps change your own working lifestyle? If you don’t think you are getting back what you deserve from your hard work, you could work less, earn only enough for you to get by perhaps and have more time to spend on things that bring you more significant happiness.
    Despite what we are force-fed by our governments, media, social peers, corporate advertising etc, earning money is not the reason we are on the planet! I know it sounds too simple, but if you don’t like the system, then change it, starting with yourself!
    Sorry of this sounds a little patronising, it’s not meant to. Trying to be helpful 🙂

  15. BJ

    Given that you talk to this government more than I do, can you tell me just what they plan to do with the 11 Billion surplus now that the Waterfront Stadium is a dead duck (and thank god for that)
    Because if they have any of my money floating around I would quite like it back.

  16. Big Bruv

    Overall, it isn’t the more you work, it is the more you earn, and the problem is here in NZ, that there is a whacking great disconnect between the earnings and the tax..

    Again, the issue is the “marginal tax” on income (including benefits), and it fails the test of fairness in that it rises from 30% or so to 90% where the income is between roughly 50 and 80K and then it drops back to 40% …

    This is the most egregious bast@rdization of tax & benefit structures I have ever seen, and this government has told me it’s “too hard” to fix.

    Sweden, not known for low taxes, manages to create a structure that is monotonically increasing with a higher top rate that applies to the highest earners. Here the game is PURELY “sock it to the middle class”, with a double whammy if you aren’t invested in real-estate.


  17. ecomonkey

    How much is enough?…those who work hard and earn reasonable money (note i did say reasonable) already pay an exorbitant amount of money in taxes that “help out”.

    It seems to me that the more I work the more I am asked to help out those who are to bloody lazy to do it for themselves.

  18. Big Bruv said:
    Why should income be taken into account when deciding the level of council tax?

    I didn’t say it should. I’m not defending property rating system which, like the council tax, can produce some very unfair outcomes. But both are preferrable to a regressive poll tax that takes no account of a person’s ability to pay.

    As a general rule, I think axes designed to raise revenue should be progressive, but taxes designed to modify behaviour (such as eco-taxes and the tax on booze and fags you mention) should be regressive. GST, which is the only tax on the meat and groceries you mention, is not as regressive as some claim, since poor people spend most of their income on financial services and/or rent, which are not subject to GST. And we do actually have subsidised meat and groceries for poor people – that’s what income-tested benefits and Family Assistance are all about.

  19. Hi there,
    – just throwing a somewhat random spanner in the works:

    “…we don’t have subsidised meat or groceries, we don’t have subsidised booze or fags…”

    Actually we do, in the UK subsidised meat, groceries & booze can be found at Tesco sold under the Tesco Value label!! Not sure what the equivalent is over here…

    More seriously tho, I know we’re being hypothetical but that elderly person sounds like they may have options about where and how they live given that she/he can afford to pay $4000 council tax. Whereas the family of six or seven, who I’m assuming are somewhat less well off, as they do not pay any council tax probably have a reduced list of options in terms of where and how they live.

    It makes sense to me that the more money one earns, the more one should give back to help out those who aren’t able to earn as much for whatever reason. Is that terribly socialist! 🙂

  20. Toad

    Why should income be taken into account when deciding the level of council tax?
    If we all use the services we should all pay, we don’t have subsidised meat or groceries, we don’t have subsidised booze or fags why the hell should I subsidise others given that a ridiculous amount of the money I earn is stolen from me and poured into the social welfare black hole as it is.

    How is it that an elderly person who lives alone in a home may face a rates bill of $4000 and over yet a family of six or seven living in a state house pays nothing?

    Any rating system needs to be fair and equitable, the current system is neither.

  21. Fair enough, BB – Major replaced the Poll Tax (it’s official name was the Community Charge, Terrence) with the Council Tax, rather than reverting to rates.

    But the Council Tax that Major introduced to replace the Poll Tax (in Scotland, England and Wales – rates are still levied in Northern Ireland – even Thatcher didn’t dare introduce a Poll tax there) isn’t as sharply regressive as the Poll Tax was. While neither took into account income, the Council Tax, unlike the Poll Tax, is based on the capital value of the property you live in, rather than being a flat per-person rate. Given that poorer people are likely to live in properties with lower capital value, the Council Tax takes at least some account of a person’s means to pay.

  22. OK — All I was getting at is that I meant something significantly different from the culture here means. I have to watch this, I like stuffed Turkey and we all root for our teams in the USA as well.

    Discussing rates and subsidies Big Bruv,

    I would not support changing the one side without changing the vastly larger other side. Those owners who rent out property, which is a hell of a lot of them, deduct mortgage interest and every other expense. As a result a lot of them get a whacking good deal on their “investments”, so good that they bid up the price on houses, because no matter WHAT they pay it is deductible and transferred directly from the taxpayers of New Zealand to the banks. I suspect that rather than a poll tax a locally graduated income tax would be more fair though, and I surely dislike the fact that after I’ve paid the tax (rates), I get taxed again on the money I’ve had to pay.


    So yeah, there are rates and they’re a problem, but there are related problems that damage the body politik and I have been more than a little outspoken about them. I’ve written to Cullen and I’ve written to the Newspapers and I’ve written here… I seldom let anybody out of any conversation without dragging this issue into it… and you’re just my latest “volunteer” 🙂


  23. Toad

    That is not quite correct, I lived in the UK for quite some time, during my stay I (along with every other resident of the Town I lived in) paid council tax.
    It is a much fairer way of doing things and ensues that every body pays their share.

  24. Big Bruv, those who own property are not subsidising those who do not through their obligation to pay rates. Rates are passed on to both commercial and residential tenants as a component of the rental.

    New Zealand’s only experience with a poll tax was a blatantly racist one. Under the Chinese Immigrants Act 1881, Chinese nationals migrating to New Zealand were required to pay a poll tax of 10 pounds. This was lifted to 100 pounds in 1896, and it was not finally abolished until 1944. It was part of the unofficial White New Zealand policy that also included overtly assimilationist policies towards Maori, such as corporal punishment for Maori children who spoke Te Reo at school.

    Margaret Thatcher’s Poll Tax resulted in widespread civil unrest, mobilising with the slogan “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay”, and is generally considered to be the policy that, more than any other, led to her downfall as British Prime Minister. As soon as she was succeeded by John Major, he abolished it.

    It would be political suicide for any political party to support implementing one here. Fancy being a Poll Tax collector in Clendon or Flaxmere or Wainuiomata, Bruv?

  25. BJ

    Terence is right, I do believe in a poll tax as apposed to rates, quite why those who own property have to subsidise those who do not is confusing.

    We all use the services therefore we should ALL pay.

  26. BJ Chip,

    To the extent that BB is referring to anything, he is probably referring to the Poll Tax that Margaret Thatcher enacted. This tax IIRC was a lump-sum tax on households which saw them being charged a set amount – say $25 – for every resident at that address. It wasn’t at all proportional to the amount of money one earned or what a property was worth. It wasn’t proportional to the amount of services – water, electricity etc. – that you used or received either.

    In short, it was insanely regressive. And very unpopular; leading to huge riots in parts of England.


    Terence (ps the name Poll Tax wasn’t Thatcher’s. It was, I think, made up by the proposal’s critics, who linked it to the sort of wealth-favouring taxes of the middle ages.)

  27. Katie –

    Well done. I think I appreciate where you are coming from. There is a lot of evil cr*p going on out there, and women are at the receiving end of a lot of it. It’s not just the physical abuse. All sorts of mindblowingly evil stuff happens in workplaces. In my life, I have come across what seems like quite a few women who have opted out of the system for that reason. Sometimes I wonder whether women might one day take a “passive resistance” stance. If all the army of low-paid underpromoted women refused to go to work, I wonder how all the fat cats at the top would make their millions.

    And I note further that a prominent male lawyer has expressed very similar views.

    “Exclusive Brethren” – to my mind, that describes the modus operandi of much of the economic activity in NZ that I have seen.


  28. Maybe we’re talking ’bout two different things. I was being sarcastic. I do not believe the size of a man’s wallet determines the worth of his ideas.

    A “poll tax” to an American, will refer to a particular form of discrimination common in the South, in which you basically had to pay in order to vote. This of course, systematically excluded the poor from having any voice and was declared unconstitutional way before I was born. I seem to recollect it having some other meaning here, but I don’t know.

    Anyone have a little help on what “Poll-Tax” means here in NZ?

    The other thing that IMHO is done correctly in the States is that “rates” are deductible. Double taxation does not arise as an issue.


  29. BJ

    I agree with a lot of what you have written, if it is good enough to raise concerns about the EB or big business then it is good enough to ask the same questions about the unions.

    Just to make myself clear, I was not having a crack at the Greens over the election overspend, they did the honorable thing and “fessed up” early in the piece, that earned a lot of brownie points in my book.

    Now if you fancy having a chat about poll tax then I am all ears, given the extortionate increase in rates I believe that a poll tax is a much better option.

  30. Big Bruv

    If the public “falls for” the idea that there should be a difference between having money and having political power that would be a good thing IMAO.

    Letting labour off the hook for their actions around the last election is a different issue from that, and I doubt that they will get a pass. To be fair, it would be wrong to lay it all at labour’s door, there was more than a little uncertainty around what was permitted and what wasn’t. Greens got bitten on a newsletter that is sent out election or no, but which was interpreted as an election expense only because one was released in the lead up to the vote. That sort of thing happened alongside the “pledge card” thing and to label it all theft is a rather broad brush to wield.

    Whatever, we are paying it back.

    The point that I was making is that the limits only apply to the parties. The limits have to sit on everyone. We’re electing parties, the parties have to speak for themselves.

    I’d warrant that TV advertisement time would have to be held at zero for the period, and the leaflets and public statements too, would need to be limited.

    Individuals might express themselves on blogs, or in letters to the editor… perhaps a larger public forum for personal debate, but I want to hear what each party has to say, not what the EB or the unions or the business council are able to create in terms of slick one-liners and spin doctoring.

    That IS a big ask. It isn’t easy to combine democracy and capitalism and have both operate fairly without interference. Up to now it has been Capitalism dominant… I’d like democracy to have a better shot.

    Besides, a philosophy that doesn’t fit easily on a bumper sticker will be an incentive to everyone to think a bit harder about their votes. This is almost as good as demanding a poll tax.


  31. BJ

    Ha ha….do you mean “educate” or brainwash?.

    I know what you mean though, however I seriously doubt that the public will fall for that, most of the people I am friendly with are socialists or rampant Labour party fanatics , almost to a man they are either embarrassed or disgusted by the way Labour had to be shamed into promising to pay back the stolen money.

    As long as there are limits on what political parties can spend then I see no problem where the money comes from, any party that pushes for full tax payer funding of election campaigns will pay at the ballot box.

  32. Big Bruv – Not political parties, elections and campaigns. The funding would almost certainly come with restrictions on private advertisements and an overall reduction in costs.

    You may be right about what the public will “wear” , and it is a different issue from this. I speak of what must be done in a capitalist society to ensure that the idea rather than the income, wins the day.

    As for who gets to vote here? I don’t make that rule. That again, is a different issue than funding for election campaigns.

    If the public perception is shaped by National, then you will be correct, but there’s a fair bit of time from now to then, and if Labour has 3 working brain cells it will work at educating the public as to the need to create a difference between having money and having political power.


  33. BJ

    The public will not wear the funding of political parties, Labour (and the left in general) have badly misjudged the level of anger surrounding the election over spending issue and the theft of public funds, at the next election the public will remind them that the money they stole does not belong to them it belongs to the tax payers.

    If I had my way only tax payers and those receiving the pension would be eligible to vote, it annoys the hell out of me that those on the dole have a say in how my tax dollars are being spent, surely to have a say you must be contributing to the tax take.

  34. I dunno… I like the idea of separating church and state.

    I like the idea so much that I am willing to ban private financing from elections and have the campaign funding managed by the state… even with all the problems that entails. This is the only way to ensure that the campaign is run more on the worthiness of ideas than the net worth of their supporters.

    The US model is so broken.


    [I sure hope that someone in the party is collecting these little one-liners I craft. The next election is only a year and a half out. ]

  35. katie said: “(women often get the 1-2pm lunch hour, ”

    i’m sorry, which fantasy land do you live in?
    is this an example of what they are telling you in women’s studies?

  36. Of the quotes from the book I’ve seen reported so far, my favourite (very difficult to choose when faced with such a profusion of riches) is from Peter Keenan, Brash’s policy adviser and speechwriter, who describes core National supporters as “almost barking mad”.

  37. Well, it’s a valid question, I suppose, on the face of it. Does Katie hate Dr Brash because he’s a man, or because he’s not a socialist? I think it’s pretty clear that she detests his attitude towards women – and I agree. More to the point, women all over NZ, including those who don’t go on marches or study Women’s Studies at university felt exactly the same way – Brash has been a turn-off for women (and voters in urban areas) in general.

  38. no tom..leave him..

    he is an idiot…

    and his own words indict all he says…

    (i really don’t think he’s in danger of influencing anyone to his warped ideas..eh..?.)


  39. “Having just read your post I can now understand why the EB do not let woman speak.”

    someone ban this guy, please…

  40. Katie

    Having just read your post I can now understand why the EB do not let woman speak.
    Do you hate Dr Brash because he is a man or because he is not a socialist?

  41. Sorry friends, been a little busy this week, this has been my first chance to drop by…

    On Thursday afternoon, I happened to be in a class which had the priviledge of a presentation from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. We all agreed that it was a victory for the women of Aotearoa/NZ that not only was Brash “gone by lunchtime” (women often get the 1-2pm lunch hour, so we felt it was still appropriate..), but also that we in Women’s Studies and the MWA were there to see it happen. Strike one up to us 😀

    Then on Thursday night, I participated in a march to reclaim our streets from violence to women, children, lesbians, gay, transgendered and intersexed people; another issue which was to have been “gone by lunchtime”, the community groups who pick up the pieces of such violence to have been closed down, as government would not fund such agencies under Dr Brash.
    We yelled and cheered in the wind and mist, all the way down through the clubs and bars of Courtney Place & Cuba St, and partied late in our own private function, at “Our Bar”. Strike two up to us 🙂

    Whoever ends up running National, after the fallout from Nicky Hagar’s book, which I beleive the Vic Uni Bookshop will also be selling (shameful, that’s two plugs in one comment, not my usual…), I’m sure the faction that has pushed the Bluegreen vision will be back-pedalling frantically on the misogynistic pronouncements made by Dr Brash during his tenure of the leadership. There are still good men out there, I doubt it not, and they will be guided by their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters – even in the National Party. That in itself was a problem Dr Brash did not address.

    The Exclusive Bretheren, of course, don’t let their women speak, so his opinion about the relevance of Women’s Policy seems to have a strong corollory with that position.
    The Bretheren don’t vote, don’t get elected, and don’t end up as Ministers in the National Caucus or the Cabinet either, facts that I’m sure Dr Brash will explore the meaning of at his leisure over the next few weeks. With whomever of his female companions that are still on speaking terms with him.

    The ability of men with money to assume that they have the “God-given” right to control others is not exclusive to the Bretheren; it is just that they have chosen to excercise that assumption in a very damaging and inconscient way, and they have been publicly exposed for the manipulative and politically naive morons that they are.

    But I seriously doubt that they will learn from this experience, as they refuse to partake of the news media’s output, thus they will not acknowledge what the rest of the country has come to understand over the past 18 months or so – that power corrupts, that once corrupted, you’re a long time on the bench before anyone else is going to give you another chance to corrupt the process.

    It’s up to the rest of us, who have become enlightened by this carry-on, to refuse to play their game any more. No means no, where ever we stay, where ever we go. (A handy slogan from the feminist non-violence movement, ready for re-application, enjoy..! )

  42. boot, thanks for the interesting insight into the merchant banking world !

    ” I just hope John Key eventually gets to understand the correlation between economics & the environment. Growth for growth’s sake at the expense of the planet, no planet=no economy etc…”

    Yes! Perhaps the more moderate elements in the National Party will get him to “understand” this, but frankly I doubt he has the vision/ imagination to cope.

    Greens are (demonstrably) willing to work cooperatively with others in areas where the aims of both are similar.

    (However, visitors on frogblog who believe in expedient compromise, and thus relentlessly advocate the abandonment of Green Social Policies to do so, completely miss the point of what the Greens believe and therefore stand for … Check out our Core Principles in the Green Charter http://www.greens.org.nz/about/charter.htm )

  43. I doub’t John Key will be gone by lunchtime, he is an extremely savvy operator and will likely be a force to be reckoned with for many years. I’d bet on him being next PM. Anyone who can rise through the ranks as quick as he did in the nasty world of investment banking parasites, will be very well trained for the job. I worked 10yrs at these firms, and believe me the knifes don’t come out any sharper…I just hope John Key eventually gets to understand the correlation between economics & the environment. Growth for growth’s sake at the expense of the planet, no planet=no economy etc…Nick Smith is starting to get the joke, but most of his colleagues don’t. I agree with Gerrit, the Greens should start thinking of how to work best with Nat’l, and visa versa, as I’m convinced both the Greens & National are going to get their best ever results at the next election. Policies on climate change and the environment will have a big impact on the party vote, and about time to.

  44. I totally agree Gerrit, for the greens to be involved in the next government (which will be National led) they need to decide what is more important to them, Social policy or the Environment.

    I believe that the Nats could deal with the Greens on an environmental basis, however the people of NZ are sick and tired of this corrupt socialist regime and as such National will not agree to any increase in our already ridiculous social welfare spending.

  45. Just a cautionary word. Politics as in sport has winners and losers. Just now National is on a losing streak, Labour on a winning one. However this will change as the losers regroup, review and relaunch.

    Just as no sports team wins forever, neither will a political party.

    With Labour tending towards autocratic rule (as witnessed by the Stadium fiasco and their desire to overide the RMA) their demise is not far away. If not 2008 then 2011.

    If the Greens want to remain as a polical entity in government (as opposed to sitting in the opposition) a working relationship with National will need to be forged. If this is polically beyond the Greens on ideological grounds be prepared for a spell on oppostion benches.

  46. I have formed the opinion that John Key may be a ‘one trick pony’ and his lack of political experience may be his eventual downfall.

    Thank you Frog for affirming that it is the EB’s secrecy that is the problem. Unions who support Labour do so openly. I have wearied of Nat supporting and christian groups trying to defend the EB’s involvement by quoting union support to the centre left.

    If the EB’s really want to get down and dirty with politics they should be honest and put their name to their ravings. Joy.

    P.S. I thank Don Brash for the ‘Gone by lunch time’ quote. It is neat.

  47. Reading Scoop’s write-up of the “smoking gun” email, where the Exclusive Bruvvers propose a million-dollar campaign to help National get elected.

    Scoop talk about Don Brash’s erstwhile successor John Key

    Radio New Zealand is now reporting that Mr Key says that he may have received the email but not opened it.

    Cue Tui!

    I mean, get a new spam filter John!

    A man with a brilliant political future behind him?

  48. Damn. My dream scenario is broken :
    Key gets elected on Monday…
    The book comes out on Tuesday morning…
    Key gone by lunchtime.

    So the book came out today? According to the Herald anyway.

    I was intrigued by this bit in the Herald’s review :
    Hager devotes a chapter in the book to the strategies behind the January 2004 “Orewa speech” held at the Orewa Rotary Club – Dr Brash’s first major speech as leader.

    According to Hager the speech was written by a small group of close brash allies including Brash’s chief strategist Peter Keenan, with input from National MP Murray McCully.

    Hager says the speech was then passed to Michael Bassett “who had long held bitter and angry views about Maori history and treaty issues, which he wove into the speech”.

    That venomous old snake Mike Basset… horrid fellow.

    Any speed readers want to offer a review of the book?

  49. The departure of Don Brash and the rise of soon-to-be-tarred John Key leave me asking one question. Could a rapid shift in the polls to Labour’s advantage precipitate an early election? Would Helen risk it in order to score that elusive fourth term victory? Could the Greens be ready when everyone else except Labour would be in disarray? I’m just musing really, but what a thought.

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