Rodney Hide on National’s lack of principles

Rodney Hide writes at NBR: Quote:

The National Party is sleepwalking to electoral defeat. Its big problem is its smug belief that it didn’t lose the last election but rather had it stolen from it.

The failure to acknowledge the loss has meant the normal mea culpa and back-to-basics introspection has not occurred.? End quote:

This is true. We know it to be true because the president hasn’t even convened a review of the election. Of the two campaign chairs, one has quit parliament and the other is mired in a court case. Old tuskers are sitting tight hoping for the wheels to fall off the government trolley so they can slip back behind the seats of government limos. That’s why MPs like Nick Smith, Gerry Brownlee and David Carter haven’t quit.

There has been no rejuvenation. The party remains tired and listless and now without the talent and experience that made it electable or the power that made it relevant.

Leader Simon Bridges has not achieved cut-through despite the coalition government gifting oppositional opportunities day in, day out.

That should be of no surprise.?Mr Bridges had no cut through as MP or minister.?He is more Sir Jack Marshall than Sir Robert Muldoon; more Sir Wallace Rowling than David Lange.?Mr Bridges hasn?t got that indefinable ?it? factor so important to politics.

Mr Bridges also lacks experience.?This term is his first in opposition.? End quote:

That is fairly brutal. Sadly, it is also true. Quote:

If Mr Bridges stands for something, I have yet to discern it. I am sure I am not alone. I have no clue what National would do differently from the Labour-led government and, based on experience, I fear not much.

National would benefit from stating a few principles and some bottom-line policy.?That would excite the membership and core voters, which is the necessary start to winning 2020.

Winning MMP elections also requires mates and National doesn’t have any. Being Parliament’s biggest party is of little comfort in opposition.

The solution is simplicity itself: two or three National electorate MPs of free-market leanings defect to ACT.

With those electorate MPs retaining their seats for ACT, they become in addition to the MPs National wins in total.?They are an extra. It’s not trivial. One or two MPs can prove the difference between government and opposition.

The defections are strategic to the next election and beyond.?Junior partners with electorate MPs can endure the vicissitudes of the electoral cycle much easier than junior partners reliant on the party vote. In such fashion National can win the next election and build a fortress government.

That?s principles and strategy.?National also needs policy.? End quote:

Not a bad idea. The problem though might be David Seymour. He would likely have to take a back seat if senior Nats went there. Quote.

Here are three ideas: First, promise more prisons. It?s better to have empty cells than to be letting violent offenders loose for want of space.?Justice Minister Andrew Little is hellbent on making law and order a winning election issue for National. National should seize it.

Two, One Law.?That?s core National Party philosophy.?Our legislation should be blind to class, caste and race.?Period. That policy should be used to embarrass New Zealand First for its abject failure to implement its ?bottom line? promise and to knock it down below 5%.

Three, welfare reform.?It?s right and proper. With the Greens in support, the present government is overseeing an expansion of rorts and abuse.?There are plenty of hard-working Kiwis? votes to be won, exposing the rip-offs with Labour and the Greens defending them as policy.

There is no shortage of opportunity.?There?s just a lack of ability to exploit it. End quote:

Spot on Rodney. Those three policy ideas are enough to win an election and suck middle New Zealand votes off both Labour and NZ First.

A good column from Rodney Hide.