If National had not won

November 26th, 2008 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

The wrote an article in advance for their 9th of November edition. It was the one they would run if John Key had not won on the night. Normally these would never see the light of day, but they accidentally filed it , it seems. So here is what you would have read the day after the election if National had not won:

SO SURE OF AN OUTRIGHT WIN WERE NATIONAL STALWARTS LIKE FORMER MP THAT SHE REFUSED TO COMMENT LAST WEEK ON THE POSSIBILITY OF KEY NOT BECOMING PRIME MINISTER “BECAUSE IT’S JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN”
865 words
Nov 9th 2008 12:30pm Newspapers/Nz Herald

On page: 26

IT WASN’T meant to happen this way. So sure was John Key that he had this one in the box that he didn’t have an option two.

So sure of an outright win were National stalwarts like former MP Katherine Rich that she refused to comment last week on the possibility of Key not becoming prime minister “because it’s just not going to happen”.

Now Key has fluffed his big chance, not by losing outright but by allowing Helen Clark enough room to stick a Labour toe in a door that he was supposed to have slammed shut.

Now the voters can do nothing but wait while the negotiators do the deals that will ultimately decide who governs. While Key is a master dealer when it comes to investment banking, it is Clark who has an extraordinary ability to negotiate coalitions, partnerships and support agreements that most people wouldn’t have thought possible. If the Maori Party emerges as the kingmaker, punters are predicting Clark will have the upper hand.

Now the Dream Team, Key and his sidekick Bill English, face another three years in Opposition, another three years before the ambitious 47-year-old leader of the National Party gets another crack at what has been a lifelong dream.

And have another crack, he will.

Broadcaster and political commentator Bill Ralston predicts Key will be “pissed off to hell” with the loss but will treat it as a setback rather than a failure. He would use the next three years to hone his skills, Ralston said. “This is a guy who has never failed at anything.”

Party insiders doubt there is a chance Key will spit his dummy, quit politics and go back to the lucrative investment banking career that made him a very rich man.

That there will be no leadership challenge is in little doubt. “There is no question he will remain a strong uncontested leader of the Opposition,” MP Murray McCully said. “He will be unrivalled, unchallenged.”

He, like others, doubts Key had thought about a Plan B.

“He’s always been the sort of guy who from the time he thought he might take the job on has only ever had one scenario in mind.”

That innate confidence grew more evident as the campaign progressed, as Key’s media training paid off and as he took more risks _ like discounting a union with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters outright.

Ralston said the only way the National Party would lose Key now was if Caucus voted him out. “And I don’t think they have another alternative leader there. Bill English might think he is but the Caucus are aware that Key is the man.”

One National MP said he had never seen a more disciplined and unified caucus.

Whether English would even want the job is up for discussion. A source close to the inner circle doubted English would make a run for the leadership.

“He’s got the best of both worlds. He’s a family man, a committed Catholic with a busy working wife. He’s got plenty of power and influence without carrying the top dog title.”

And despite this loss, National’s polling leaves the party as a strong Opposition, a position Key is credited with achieving. In the next three years Key would have “more mana and authority than any leader of the National Party going back a long way,” one insider said.

Yesterday’s achievement in terms of the party vote would be recognised as being “substantially the result of his [Key’s] leadership”, he said.

“His stocks are very high. He’ll have a good deal of authority.”

He predicted he would be a “powerful and untouchable leader of the Opposition.”

Observers say Key will waste no time in reshaping the National Party, purging the old guard in the process. Ralston expects to see a new lineup which includes younger faces and a more diverse mix in terms of gender and ethnicity before long. Many of the old guard will “take the hint and the nudge”.

“I think he will very quickly take a knife to the party… that’s going to be a risky process because at the same time you destabilise your Caucus support.”

That he’s capable of the hard decisions is unquestioned. Back in the 90s, Key earned the nickname “smiling assassin” after implementing mass sackings for Merrill Lynch.

Ralston expects heavy scrutiny by Key of what went wrong in the campaign because there was “no shortage of money this time round”.

That would include looking at what tactics didn’t work, the party marketing and organisation, and the billboards and television ads.

The “Mr Nice Guy” strategy would be called into question, he said, and whether the party should have used “attack” advertising and Key should have come across as more assertive.

Blogger Russell Brown of Public Address described the Labour victory as a “bugger the pollsters” moment. “In the end people have responded to the trust message. Maybe in the end they didn’t trust John Key enough.”

Ralston predicted that Key would spend the next three years making sure he earned that trust.
Source: Herald On Sunday
Credit: Herald On Sunday

Katherine was very smart in refusing to comment in advance on the possibility of National not winning. I presume all the other people quoted in the article did comment hypothetically.

Incidentally congrats to Katherine for her appointment as CEO of the NZ . The FGC represents $15 billion of sales and $3.5 billion of exports, and Katherine’s background in agri-business make it a great role for her.

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26 Responses to “If National had not won”

  1. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    We won you lost eat that.

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  2. kisekiman (219 comments) says:

    Jesus, giving the HOS oxygen for the shit they write about actual events is bad enough but for pre-packed conjecture about an event that never occurred is too much. You really must be bored DPF.

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  3. Turpin (342 comments) says:

    Good for Katherine Rich.
    Let’s hope Katherine can do the right thing in respect of “country of origin ” labeling.
    namely get business to change their attitude towards it and do it.
    listing all the countries on the label where ingredients come from ranked in order of volume.
    We have a right to know where the stuff we eat comes from.
    Business can’t be trusted without oversight and oversea business even more so.

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  4. jacob van hartog (300 comments) says:

    This gets the biggest laugh..

    ..Broadcaster and political commentator Bill Ralston predicts Key will be “pissed off ..

    So Bill ‘predicted’ something that didnt happen, well he does just make it up anyway so no change there.

    Remember all the wailing of teeth about ‘useless MMP’ from this site, that overhang which will defeat the views of the electorate!.
    And the Maori party which saved the Maori seats but will destroy itself in the process

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  5. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Yes it is a bit extraordinary that this “alternate reality” column includes after-the-fact quotations from Bill Ralston and Russell Brown!

    I wonder if the entire mainstream media gets together and co-ordinates its two alternative post-election stories in advance? Or did the HoS just “make up” those quotes from Ralston & Brown???

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,914 comments) says:

    Accidentally filed?

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  7. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    >it is Clark who has an extraordinary ability to negotiate coalitions, partnerships and support agreements that most people wouldn’t have thought possible

    Translated: John Key has put together the most solid and inclusive coalition in MMP history, and he did it in days. Whereas Clark took weeks to put together an agreement with NZ First, even tho they hate Asian people and are taking money for favours from the racing industry, and even tho Peters used his last 6 months in power shitting all over Clark’s credibility.

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  8. calendar girl (1,262 comments) says:

    JVH: “… all the wailing of teeth …”? What’s that about?

    As for the HoS non-story itself, pre-prepared conjecture by journalists too lazy to work overnight on facts? (They seem to write accounts of rugby internationals the same way.)

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  9. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    davidp, if Key had had to deal with Winston, do you think it still would’ve only taken a few days? I…don’t.

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  10. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Can’t wait for them to write multiple articles on “Climate Change” is a huge fallacy and scam.

    You know just in case this settled science is debunked for the Myth that it actually is!

    Enron, Russia, UN, Hedge Funds, No Grants or tax refunds, only TAX!

    Bastards!

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  11. Tauhei Notts (1,746 comments) says:

    When reading that I thought what would have happened if the Krauts had won the Battle of Britain.
    Like the Herald article, it is a possibility that is too dreadful to think about.

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  12. wikiriwhis business (4,115 comments) says:

    Just for a moment liarbour had a glimmer of confidence from the polls

    then they dived

    Fantastically, there was no comment from the mother dragon

    Like…. “Bugger the polls,” or ” We got him where we want him!”

    One thing I’ll say about Helen, she never says anything that makes her sound like a wanker. (A liar yes, but not like a wanker male)

    Don’t think anyone would be as gracious as Jeanette Fitzsimons . She would probably have us all in tears around our TV’s with her congratulations speech for the winner if she was in that position.

    I loath the Greens, but Fitzgerald is a classy act.

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  13. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    Didn’t you see the buttons, wiki?

    The Green girls only date people who vote Green. Your Fitzsimons wet dream will have to wait.

    the rest of the time they’re screwing everybody.

    (Wait a sec, now you say Fitzgerald? He’s dead. …why you goddamn deviant liberal!)

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Would be interesting to see the sickly shit that had being prepared in case the evil empire was returned to power. I bet it was gushing in it’s praise for the Dear Leader and the accompanying arse licking would be enough to have half the country vomiting but the article would probably insuring the press was kept in the good books for at least the next year.

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  15. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    gee. i’d love to know who wrote that…

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  16. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Dire story. A lead in to a leftie press righteouness frenzy.

    And Russell Brown, “bugger the pollsters” – no, bugger off, Labour got creamed.

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  17. peterwn (3,300 comments) says:

    Newspapers often keep a file of obituaries for prominent people (eg the Pope, the Queen etc) and occasionally one is published by accident – a bit like Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral after it was assumed that he had drowned in the Mississippi River and listening to the eulogies indicating that he was not such a bad boy after all.

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  18. james88 (19 comments) says:

    What did Katherine Rich do when she was in the National party, oh yes, she threw hissy fits when she could’nt get her own way, did not believe in team work, and resigned. A great achievement? Hope she can drive an organisation?

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  19. V (745 comments) says:

    +1 to list of reasons not to spend money on bullshit NZ journalism.

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  20. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    How embarrassing for the Leftie commentators to have their totally off the mark comments aired in public. It just heaps humiliation upon humiliation for them.

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  21. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,753 comments) says:

    The mood for change was too great. Nothing could stop the shining.

    As long as the Left fail learn and accept why they lost they will continue to occupy the opposition benches. All the better for New Zealand to have a National/ACT Government that will stay in power for at least the next 9 years.

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  22. Inventory2 (10,407 comments) says:

    jacob van hartog said “Remember all the wailing of teeth about ‘useless MMP’ from this site, that overhang which will defeat the views of the electorate!.”

    You’re mixing your metaphors jvh – try “Gnashing of teeth” – still, all this action from Key & co must be a bit hard for you to take, so we’ll excuse your confusion!!

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  23. Brian Smaller (4,024 comments) says:

    The quotes that you read in this type of article are surely just made up. What politician will agree to a “what if” interview before an election?

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  24. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Is this the by-product of a sub-editor getting the office lefties out from underfoot and working where they can do the least damage?

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  25. jacob van hartog (300 comments) says:

    Since national have been so kind to get sworn in so quickly Im over the election loss allready and its sooner to 2011 than you think.

    Why even JK was saying in London that NZ ‘was in better shape than most countries’- thank you DR Cullen

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  26. wikiriwhis business (4,115 comments) says:

    “(Wait a sec, now you say Fitzgerald? He’s dead. …why you goddamn deviant liberal!)”

    That statement is so bizzarre I loved ma guts out.

    If I ever see you at back benchers I’ll buy you a beer.

    You’ll recognise me if Rodney is there, I’ll be shouting him all night!

    Haha.

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