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Comment: Yeah But No But Nat But

Mon 15 Jan 2007 In: Comment

In the absence of curiously quiet godbots, I have no choice but to review the content of the tragic tabloid gutter glossy. Fortunately, it did raise some useful questions for a change. For example, John Key was evasive about citizens initiated referenda, stating that he didn't think that they should be held for 'everything,' but remained vague about what 'everything' meant. Bill English pontificated about 'social engineering', arguing that there'd been a public backlash related to prostitution law reform and civil unions. Uh yes, but given the polls at the time, it was against the National Party's stance on civil unions, which saw the Brash Maori-bashing Orewa speech lead evaporate. And related to Brethrengate, which similarly ate into last year's smear campaign derived lead over the Clark administration. Now, this could be two different elements of the same party with honest divergences of opinion over social issues. I can see why Key might want to be evasive, given that anti-tax populism has played well in California's citizens referenda campaigns, although the few nonbinding New Zealand referenda to make it to the ballot box seemed to be more focused on criminal justice issues, parliamentary representation or social services, as opposed to the Christian Right's pet obsessions. Moreover, the anti-sexworker CIR proposal fell short of its repeal goals and didn't reach the required threshold of petition signatures to achieve its objectives. Key is still too soft and mushy on issues outside finance. English is still a forthright social conservative, which means that Key needs to counter the existing impression that National panders to unrepresentative groups of right-wing ideologues within tiny or shrinking organisations. If I were Labour, I'd take advantage of the hazy spin cloud that still surrounds our new Leader of the Opposition. Not Recommended: Craig Young - 15th January 2007    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 15th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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