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September 10, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

Why have the Nats been leaking?

Things do not look good for the National party, Trevor Mallard has released three National policies over the last week. That’s not a good look at all. It’s very untidy. It’s also pretty unprecedented. No longer can the Nats claim to have just left things on cafe tables. Its pretty obvious that things are being leaked. But why?

There are probably three reasons why these leaks are occuring, and im yet to decide which one is the most convincing.

Option A: Internal Party struggles

The framing of the National Party election strategy is to offer John Key as the inevitable succesor to Helen Clark’s nine year term. Therefore John Key is central to thier election platform. He’s everywhere, on Stephen Franks’ billboards, all over the National Party’s website, and on most party literature. The benefit of this is that all things National become all things John Key by extension – and vice versa. However, this can have the unintended effect of tarring Key with the National Party’s fuck ups. When the Nats take a hit, so does Key.

Why is this interesting? It’s interesting because the leaks could be the concerted campaign of a few anti Key campaigners within the National Party caucus. It must be remembered that the National front bench is a tight knit and long suffering crew. They are the same bunch that were active in the 90’s. Key wasn’t part of that crowd and there’s room for speculation that he is not yet accepted by the inner circle. So the continued leak of policies harms Key’s image. But the leaks are not so damaging as to scuttle the Party’s electoral chances. Is the pressure being put on Key already? Is Bill frothing at the bit for another bite at the apple?

Option 2: Dirty Tricks

The Nats were able to largely mitigate the fallout of the leak at the National Part conference by claiming that it was part of a dirty tricks campaign. It was the same response that they used after Nick Hager was leaked emails from Don Brash’s office. And it resonated with certain aspects of the NZ polity. Perhaps by intentionally leaking policies to Mallard the Nats are expecting to gain more legitimacy with their dirty tricks line. No one likes politicians ‘stealing’ policies from the other side, and part of that attack is the perception of Mallard being nasty and Machiavellian. Perhaps the Nats are trying to frame the issue in this light – by leaking minor policies to Mallard.

Option 3: Pure Human Error

The Nats so far have been a little “exuberant” and have “not chosen their words well”. They havent been able to maintian the slick political machine image they might have wished for. Perhaps these leaks are the result of human error. Extraordinarily three different policies my have been left lying around Wellington by accident. It’s unlikely, but we can’t rule it out entirely. But I’d be very surprised if it was the case.


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (6)

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  1. Jeeves says:

    For all the bad things you could say about Bil (red neck, conservative, anti-choice etc) the Nats would surely never make him leader, and Bill must know that, hence his recent statement that he will never challenge John Key – he may as well just working on being a fab deputy. I agree the Nats are barking up the wrong tree with option 2. Silly tories. But, being dopey tories, of course it’s possible someone left a batch of policies in the cafe. Wouldn’t be the first time. And if you belive the Nats, the policies were in one “batch” so its not really three separate leaks, which is convenient for their argument, but not unreasonable when you think about it.

  2. ticketyboo says:

    “the Nats would surely never make him leader”

    They did. He was leader from 2001 – 2003. Troglodyte.

  3. Jeeves says:

    Yeah…I meant “again”. He is unlikely to be leader again following the 21% election result he got last time. I thought “again” was implicit. But maybe not.

    Anyhow I was also thinking that the Nats can obviously tell which policies are going to be leaked (hence they are rushing to release health), which tends to affirm the idea that the policies were in one batch. It is possible that the leak was still deliberate, but it wasn’t systematic – it was only one leak. To my mind this increases the possibility that John Key is telling the truth this time.

  4. Nick Smith leaked the Environment policy to me in an interview about three days before it was released, then said “oops I’ve just leaked stuff don’t tell anyone until Saturday”. So I think they’re doing it on purpose, but the question is, are they doing it on purpose to undermine Key, or are they doing it on purpose just to get people talking and create excitement about each policy release in the preceding days? Since undermining Key in the lead-up to the election DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, I’m going to have to go with the excitement-building option.

  5. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Why have the Nats been leaking?

    Because they have weak pelvic floor muscles.

    Tee hee hee hee

  6. John "Moist Pants" Key says:

    I wear Huggies to help combat my leakage problem. I have also stopped drinking so much water.

    It could be worse however, we unlike Labour, do not suffer from rear leakage. (oh that is funny on so many different levels.. aha ha ha ha aha ha.)

    Mummy wow! I’m a big kid now.

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