I suspected, reading the Bill English transcript, that this was not some conversation picked up accidentially between a delgate and Bill. It seemed to me the person he was talking to was most likely to have been the one doing the recording – ie someone fraudulently posing as a National Party delegate asked him questions, while secretly taping him.
This was confirmed with the release of recordings with Lockwood Smith. So my suspicions were correct. I am not terribly shocked – in fact I had predicted such tactics in presentations I have done to the Chamber of Commerce etc. We have seen similar in the US.
This will to some degree set off a race to the bottom as secret tape recordings become a standard tactic in politics.
Anyway let us go to what Lockwood said, according to NZ Herald:
There’s some bloody dead fish you have to swallow … to get into Government to do the kinds of things you want to do … and you have to balance up what really matters.
Heh the term is dead rats. This part is just the obvious. You drop unpopular policies in the areas that do not matter so much so you get to do work in the areas that matter most. This is for example why Labour finally gacve in on tax cuts – to get a fourth term.
If you try to do everything differently you’ll scare the horses and under MMP it’s very hard to win.
Again nothing unusual there.
Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things.
This is in fact the exact opposite of having a secret agenda. I have said much the same on this blog – you gain confidence by keeping your promises, not breaking them, and establishing good faith with the electorate. If National, for examples, serves a first term without selling any state assets, then it means if they campaign in 2011 to consider selling (for example) 25% of Solid Energy, people will trust National that they would only sell those assets it says it will, and not sell everything. You do not gain confidence to break it – you gain it, to keep faith with it. Otherwise you get thrown out.
We may be able to do some things we believe we need to do, perhaps go through a discussion document process … you wouldn’t be able to do them straight off … I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way that may not be policy right now.
And again here he is talking good faith again – talking about having a public discussion process on proposed policies.
Labour are desperate to work up the fear of broken promises and secret agendas, because once National is in office – and does keep its promises, they will never have that weapon again. Anyone who thinks John Key is going to break his election commitments does not know the man well. My prediction is he will have a big wall chart of all the election commitments and have monthly progress reports on how things are going towards implementing them. There will in fact be a zealousness about making sure that in 2011, no-one can seriously claim National broke its word.