Internal tensions

David Fisher at HoS reports:

Leaked documents written by a political strategist who has trained MPs set out a vision for taking the party to the right of the political spectrum, tripling donations to $6 million a year and using donations and government jobs as inducements to control MPs.

Written by political strategist , the papers were leaked by a “senior National Party source” to theWeekend Herald, TV3’s The Nation and Fairfax.

I’d never seen the papers before this week.

The message was also important – “dominate the media by controlling the message through credible right wing blogs”. Mr Lusk also said there needed to be a focus on “taking over the public sector” to create a pool of fiscal conservatives who would work with politicians.

I’d  rather shrink the public sector than take it over 🙂

He urged those reading it to “stop donating to the current government”. “They have not listened and will not listen.”

Not surprisingly, a strategy of urging people not to donate to the party doesn’t meet universal popularity.

Incidentally National disclosed donations of $773,000 last year. That doesn’t include donations of under $1,500 which can also account for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr Lusk’s briefing came at a time when he was organising training sessions for potential National Party candidates. Disgraced MP Aaron Gilmore was among those keen to attend but was rejected after he failed to meet the fees charged.

As far as I know, the training sessions were free to attend, but invite only.

Longtime National Party member David Farrar, who runs Kiwiblog, was listed as a speaker at a February 2012 session at the Kauri Glen Lodge in Puhoi, north of Auckland, where the session was held. He pulled out.

“I was asked not to,” he said, saying “party hierarchy” made the request. “It would look as if it were officially sanctioned,” he said. He stayed for the social aspect – Mr Slater posted on his Whaleoil blog a photograph of Mr Farrar’s rental car reversed over a wall – before leaving.

Whale loves posting that photo.

The National Party is a broad church, with many factions. They include:

Blue Greens

They’re National but they’re conservationists. Nick Smith is the greenest blue in the party.

Blue Liberals

National with a heart – Katherine Rich showed her liberal streak when she rejected Don Brash’s social welfare plans.

Fiscal Conservatives

Small government, big business. Former party leader Don Brash later ran Act.


The overseas wing of the party. Prime Minister John Key is the ultimate homecoming story.

Young Nats

The path to the party from an early age. Nikki Kaye is currently the youngest minister in the House.


The superannuitant wing. Dr Paul Hutchison has just picked up his Gold Card.

I wouldn’t really call them factions. Most “factions” in National are personality based rather than policy based.

Also the Blue Liberals are not wets, they are classical liberals who tend to be “fiscal conservatives” and social liberals – ie people who think the Government should but out of both business and our private lives.

In a related story, David Fisher writes:

A political strategist who has trained National Party MPs says the Ports of Auckland colluded with right wing bloggers to undermine industrial action against the Ports of Auckland.

The claim is in a leaked document written by controversial strategist Simon Lusk – and hotly denied by the publicly-owned port company. …

“The case in point is the way the Maritime Union have received huge negative publicity about their salaries, based on POAL (Ports of Auckland Limited) working with certain bloggers to control the story. Financial support for these bloggers will enable them to build their credibility and readership.”

I was asked about this. I have never had any communication or contact with Ports of Auckland, or anyone acting on their behalf, with regards to this issue. Off memory the only time I’ve had contact with them if when I blogged they should be shifted to Manukau Harbour! They are not keen on my proposal!

Mr Slater said he covered the strike as other media outlets did. He said there was no arrangement with the port to do so and he had not discussed it with Mr Lusk.

He said yesterday he had never actually been paid although believed he should be. On the port, he said: “I hate unions pathologically. I’ve hated them since I was 15 years old and I would do it for free.

“I have never been paid for any posts about unions, ever.”

Some things are just a pleasure!

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