The Hidden Agenda of the Hollow Men?

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English is suggesting, in a grovelling apology, that his “off the record” comments re selling Kiwibank and “sorting out” Working for Families have caused “confusion and concern”, and that the National Party will be true to its word to retain Working for Families and retain Kiwibank in public ownership.

John Key stood cheerfully grinning by English’s side, as his Deputy ate humble pie, despite English having seriously questioned Key’s (and Don Brash’s) grasp of the economy. Yes, it all looked like National Party Happy Families, with English acknowledging and apologising for “loose talk”.

I’m afraid that I have a far more sinister take on it. Nicky Hager revealed in The Hollow Men that the National Party was in 2005 still running a hidden agenda. Bill English’s revelations remind me of the darkest days of FPP, when both Labour and National implemented hidden agendas that were far from what they had campaigned on. Maybe he thinks that National’s polling in recent months around the 50% mark means they can get away with running hidden agendas even today. Well, that didn’t work for Labour in 2002 when they were polling similarly – as we roll on to election day and policies come under increased voter scrutiny, polling advantages of that magnitude rapidly erode. National will inevitably require the support of other Parties in Parliament after the election if it is to form a Government.

Whatever English thinks, his “foot in mouth” is cause for voters to have serious concerns about how much National can be trusted. Do they want to sell Kiwibank, or don’t they? Will they cut Working for Families entitlements or won’t they? Does English really think Key is economically illiterate, and if so, what are the implications of this for a future National-led government (Douglas thought that of Lange, was proved correct, and look at the damage that caused)?

Now as for us in the Greens, we have not yet made a decision about what Parties we may want to have a formal relationship with after the next election. That will be based on party policies and programme. The Green Door is still ajar for National, but their bumbling efforts over the weekend are, at least for me, rapidly closing it. And for the Greens, any deal on confidence and supply has to be endorsed by a Special General Meeting of the Green Party. So offering MPs the baubles of power won’t cut it, as it did with Labour and Winston, not that the Green MPs would run with that anyway! The Green membership won’t want any sort of relationship with a duplicitous Party that campaigns on one thing, but has a hidden agenda to do the opposite.

5 thoughts on “The Hidden Agenda of the Hollow Men?

  1. Required reading, the Hollow Men. Nothing new under the sun. When the mask slips, the bones show through the drawn skin especially when the face is that of Lockwood Smith. Nasty.

  2. Thanks Cam. As I was writing my above post yesterday evening, I was unaware that Lockwood Smith, another Hollow Man, had also contributed to the revelation of a hidden National Party agenda through another recorded conversation. Here’s what Lockwood had to say (source TV3):

    “There’s some bloody dead fish you have to swallow … to get into Government to do the kinds of things you want to do … and you have to balance up what really matters.

    If you try to do everything differently you’ll scare the horses and under MMP it’s very hard to win.

    Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things.

    We may be able to do some things we believe we need to do, perhaps go through a discussion document process … you wouldn’t be able to do them straight off … I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way that may not be policy right now.

    Then, of course, there were the preludes from Kate Wilkinson and Shane Ardern on Kiwisaver and Tony Ryall on doctors’ fees.

    Is anyone else starting to see a pattern emerging here? To me, the National Party of today is starting to look more and more like Labour in 1984 – a popular and populist Leader lacking substance but winning the votes, while the real agenda of supporting vested wealthy interests is being quietly carried forward behind the scenes. Just that National are starting to get caught out.

  3. Is the author of this thread the same Toad that writes over at frogblog?

    If so then it seems he/she is also a fully paid up member of the Labour party.

  4. I am indeed the same Toad who writes on frogblog, and on a number of other blogs.

    I am not, never have been, and never will be a member of the Labour Party, and I take strong offense to that suggestion BB. The last time I even voted for them was 1984.

    I’m taking the position I am here because I am very suspicious, given the National Party’s past behaviour, that they have not got past the Hollow Men, and that there are still hidden agendas being run.

    You might also want to note, BB, that I have been giving Winston quite a lot of stick over at Kiwiblog in the last few days. Labour’s time will come too – just get me onto transport, climate change, or water quality in our streams and rivers and they’ll cop plenty as well.

    I’m not averse to even criticising some Green policy – eg, I don’t think their drug policies re harm reduction go far enough in the range of drugs that should be decriminalised, and I don’t think their industrial relations policies go far enough in promoting collective bargaining.

    What I don’t do is run around telling people in (supposedly) private conversations that if the Green Party is in Government we will do the things I would like to do and I think they would like me to do, rather than the ones in our official policy. That is what Bill English and Lockwood Smith have been caught out doing.

  5. i recently watched the movie the hollow men it should be broadcast tv before the election .
    after watching the filim it only confirms what i thought national are not to be trusted they are only there to look after a likes of diane forman one point i would like to make is the hollow men should be watched in conjunction with the movie sicko ,with attenion paid to a meeting between richard nixion and edgar keisar to me this explained the diane formam national health policy connection
    very scary.

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