Young on National Party Conference

Audrey Young at NZ Herald writes:

Party president Peter Goodfellow wants members to change their wills to make bequests to the Foundation, the party’s new investment vehicle. The wealthy businessman will do so, as will leader John Key, but both are thought to give fairly handsomely already.

That may encourage assassination attempts 🙂

Nick Smith suggested a Government had not been in such good shape five years in since the Holyoake years. Sir Robert Muldoon had been contending with Derek Quigley and the Springbok tour, David Lange was at war with his Finance Minister Roger Douglas, Jim Bolger had fallen out with his Finance Minister Ruth Richardson and 11 members of caucus had changed parties. And under Helen Clark the foreshore and seabed issue had split the country and one of her MPs had left to form the Maori Party. All unhappy times.

His point was well made. Despite some failures of political management, most recently over the GCSB spy legislation, the National Party is travelling well in its fifth year in government.

It’s a good point Nick makes. Since polling started, no Government has been so strong in year 5. Kirk did not get a second term. Muldoon in August 1980 was at 41%. In August 1989 Labour was 36%.

In August 1995, National was at 42%. In August 2004, Labour were at 43%.

In July 2013, National is averaging 49%.

Only nine policy remits were debated by rank-and-file members. At least National’s remit debates were open to the media, unlike the Green Party, who would rather hold debates on democratic reforms and other such policy in closed sessions.

The Young Nationals got unanimous support for the Government to pick up Jami-Lee Ross’ private member’s bill that would allow employers to hire casual labour during strikes, but that was about an existing idea. Trade Minister Tim Groser had very strong views on modesty – more precisely why he thinks businesses need a few lessons on modesty in dealing with overseas clients.

I suspect I’m not the only one amused by Tim talking about modesty 🙂

The fact the conference unanimously backed the Young Nats remit, will add pressure to the Government to keep backing Jami-Lee’s bill.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson played a YouTube clip of a top-quality, 30-storey hotel in China being built in 15 days. (He said he’d like to post a video of the BNZ Wellington building: 15 storeys in 30 years.)

I recall those days!

The biggest idea was when the prime minister told the Nelson magazine Wild Tomato that if there was any policy he could change overnight, it would be to change the New Zealand flag to the silver fern.

He was happy to talk about Fonterra, even the GCSB through gritted teeth. But he did not want the flag story to fly when the media seized on it.

Key has said this before, so it is not new. And any decision would be one for the public. I, for one, support adopting the silver fern as our national flag. Within a year everyone will be asking why didn’t we do this 20 years ago – as the Canadians now say about the maple leaf flag. I note that already more and more Kiwis travelling overseas use the silver fern to identify themselves as Kiwis – it has the advantage of not looking like the Australian flag from a distance.

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