Vance on Lusk

Andrea Vance profiles Simon Lusk:

is one of the most intriguing figures in politics. The arch political fixer shuns the limelight, rarely venturing from his home in Havelock North to Wellington. He maintains a strict silence about his clients – mostly wannabe National MPs. …

Certainly, Labour are fixated on this Right-wing bogeyman. Last year, the party’s chief whip Chris Hipkins lodged 259 written questions of ministers, asking about their communication with Mr Lusk.

And what were the results of that great fishing expedition? Nothing. What a waste of money.

Some believe he is a Whaleoil alter-ego – regularly penning posts for Cameron Slater’s Right-wing blog. Others say he is close to Cabinet minister Judith Collins, and the pillar of a triumvirate of Nasty Nats, including Slater and pollster and Kiwiblog founder David Farrar.

Woo hoo, we are a triumvirate. Are we based on the first triumvirate or the second triumvirate? I’m not sure which one I’d prefer – probably the second as they got to proscribe their enemies 🙂

In the flesh, Mr Lusk, 40, is disappointingly un-evil. There’s no maniacal laugh or sophisticated spinning, just a man who drives a ute and dotes on his three dogs, Bruce, Lucy and Mabo. He is punctilious and very serious, absorbed with politics and fixated on going fishing and hunting.

Mr Lusk doesn’t make his money through politics – but is reluctant to say what he actually does.

“I contract part-time to a number of long-term clients . . . my background is strategy and marketing.”

One such firm is based in the British Virgin Islands. Friends say he works odd hours, so that he can devote large amounts of his spare time to his two passions: politics and hunting.

He spends “two to three hours” a day reading political literature from the US “looking for knowledge that can be applied here”.

Simon is very focused, and more so on fishing and hunting.

“Political parties always need people who are willing to upset the status quo . . . As to nastiness, I am temperamentally unable to be as nasty as some of the Labour Party.”

Heh, a great quote – and so true.

“Currently, I am not doing anything for National, but pragmatism dictates if they were to ask I would likely accept contracts where I could be useful.”

He says he prefers to work for individuals – and only those on the Centre-Right.

“Many on the Left lack grace and I find it hard to deal with people who lack grace.”

And some tips:

He won’t divulge details but Simon Lusk is said to have won four electorate campaign races in 2008, and three in 2011. Some of his tips include:

“Start with a good candidate. Politics is hard enough without a good candidate . . . Preparation is crucial and the best candidate [is] willing to do the most work.”

“I am thorough in documenting every campaign and the lessons learned . . . Predicting trends is a crucial part of my business.”

“The simple rule is that it is possible to overturn a majority of about 6500 in a single election, although this is entirely dependent on having a good candidate.”

“Local government is a fine training ground for candidates, and is used very effectively by National’s opponents.”

The entire article is an interesting read.

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