The National Party must be thanking their bloody stars. Despite the meltdown in education, Key's handling of the GCSB and Kim Dotcom fiasco, 7.3% unemployment, 270 000 children in poverty, the highest level of inequality ever recorded, a Police force out of control, the largest erosion of civil liberties since the Waterfront lockout and a deeply unpopular asset sale program, despite all that, National are still riding so high in the Polls they have barely shifted since the election last year.
Why? A number of reasons. The first is the methodology of the flawed land line polls which the mainstream media's repeated use of convince everyone else that almost half the country love Key. This demented manipulation of public opinion will take to new highs with Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner's latest current affairs scam called 'The Voice' where issues of the day will be debated and 99cent text messaging will 'decide' the outcome. With the cost of these types of text decision ruling out the 7.3% unemployed from having a voice, expect outcomes to the right of Genghis Khan. They may as well get Christina Aguilera on as a judge for all the credibility it will bring to current affairs.
The second reason why National have done so well is the total lack of a credible opposition (I'll get to that in a minute) and the third is the brilliant depoliticization of the role of Prime Minister. National can't win the economic argument for their free market dogma because the reality is all it does is enrich those already wealthy. Rather than explain what his Government will do to actually lift 1 in 5 children out of poverty, Key will tell Maori cannibal jokes, gay red shirt jokes, marry a rock DJ in a mock Gay wedding, camp mincing down run way walks, discuss how often he uses the c word and dance Gangnam styles on radio.
Key's ability to appeal to the anti-intellectualism of his supporters by dismantling the responsibilities of the Prime Ministership down to a pop culture youtube clip could come unstuck if we had a Jon Stewart type who could highlight this, sadly satire in this country is as dead as investigative journalism.
National are supported by small business people, but National's interests are large corporate monopolies and the Party's balancing act is to appeal to small business social morality while ignoring small business economic interests. Expect a lot more bennie bashing in 2013.
National Party 2013 Predictions:
1: Sian Elias has a family illness which may to force her to step down from the Maori Council water case, meaning Key could win and storm off with asset sales in 2013. If Elias stays on and Key loses the case, he may well consider a snap election by the end of the year to seek a political mandate, or step down altogether. The ruling will be crucial for the Government and if goes against them expect a Maori bashing season that will make Don Brash look like a paid up member of MANA.
2: Hekia Parata is the Anti-Midas, everything she touches turns to shit. Someone with the unique talent of causing everything around her to combust should be sent to Afghanistan, but the reality is National are trying to ram through massive free market reforms in Education and don't care who the Minister is. Stepping Parata down would be an admission of defeat and National won't want that.
3: No mates National will hold onto the coat tailing element of MMP because it will forever keep Epsom in play for the right. To camouflage the self interest of that decision, National will magnanimously lower the threshold to 3% to make them look more democratic. That decision will be the trick because lowering the threshold to 3% would give the Conservative Party and the newly formed rural party a chance to gain representation and become National Party allies. This has already been mooted to National by the Rural Party.
4: The weird desire for a sadist to run the country will see Judith Collins stock continue to rise. The idea that a politician with the nickname 'crusher' would ever be considered appropriate as leader suggests a voting base of masochists. Cameron Slater is Collins favorite pet so watch his blog for hints of when she will go for the leadership and who she wants eliminated from the leadership race. That love affair may turn Kiwiblog against Whaleoil because while Farrar is hard right masquerading as diet right, Farrar's history in Don Brash's office when the emails were leaked suggest his default setting isn't outright evil the way Slater's is and Farrar may be as terrified of a Collins leadership as the rest of us are.
5: National can rely on the mainstream media to not ask hard questions regarding the economy (which will continue to falter in 2013), the quid pro quo for that will be the sudden need to regulate bloggers and the internet.
6: The TPPA has to be signed in October, this could be tough for the Government. What most sleepy hobbits don't get is the majority of the deal is about deregulating NZs economy so that American corporations can do what they bloody well like. The domestic law changes to meet these new deregulated lows will need to be rammed through Parliament in the election year. If NZers realize that Key is about to make the entire economy as deregulated as Pike River Mine they will go ballistic, but with the second installment of the Hobbit also due for the end of next year, you can trust the media to focus on dragons instead.
Labour Party 2012:
The decision by the Labour coven to appoint Shearer over Cunliffe never looked sound as Shearer stumbled from media interview to media interview. The horror at how awful he was shocked and surprised everyone. It wasn't just his total lack of institutional knowledge of the Labour Party that concerned everyone, it was also his inability to articulate a left wing political vision. This latter issue was driven by the Pagani doctrine and showed how far apart the members were from the leadership in terms of idealogical leanings. These tensions were explored and vocalized on the left blogs and led to the Labour Party conference spill over that saw the members and unions demanding more democracy. The mainstream media manufactured that into a leadership coup and the crucifixion of Cunliffe cemented Labour to the right of center. They only suggested 100 000 'affordable' homes for middle class kids when they realized how hungry the rank and file were for change, the original number was far lower than 100 000. Labour gained a spike in ratings because house affordability is such a pressing issue, it had nothing to do with Shearer looking butch on the manufactured leadership issue.
Labour Party 2013 Predictions:
1: The same problems with Shearer's ineffectiveness in the media will resurface. Labour will need a new strategy when they realize Shearer can't do it, they could rely on the team strategy to look competent but with one of their best performers banished to the backbenchers that won't work leaving policy as the drawcard. Problem is Labour aren't shifting as far to the left as their members want leaving Labour with the hope that the electorate will be sick of Key and win by default. Not exactly visionary politics is it?
2: Labour have no idea the bad blood they have created at The Standard. Expect a long and vicious guerrilla war to break out constantly attacking Labour from the left in 2013. Cunliffe's supposed disloyalty is the least of Labour's worries when you consider how much damage The Standard can cause once Shearer starts tripping up in the media again.
3: Chris Hipkins will get special targeted treatment on the blogs in 2013.
4: A bewildered party machine will decide to punish Hipkins as the LEC complaint about his defamatory comments against Cunliffe go through the complaints process.
5: This in turn could cause Jacinda Ardern all sorts of strife with many in her electorate supporters of Cunliffe.
6: Grant Robertson will be the king maker in any leadership challenge in February.
7: Unless better strategic minds cut a deal for Cunliffe's redemption back to the front bench after February, the Party will collapse into civil war once the wobbles come back on Shearer's media performances.
8: John Tamihere will run for Labour against Pita Sharples in Tamaki Makaurau.
9: Shane Jones will be jettisoned without mercy once the full range of allegations against him are appreciated.
There was no way I thought the Greens extraordinary election night result of 11% would hold up, but then I didn't factor in the meltdown of Labour. The Greens understand social media better than anyone else in the game and their ability to communicate directly with their membership and keep them involved is the future of political party membership and helps explain why they are attracting higher and higher results. They are the future, simple as that.
Greens 2013 Predictions
1: Labour's inner demons and inability to share their toys will allow Shane Jones more rope to attack the Greens.
2: Expect some rumbles about new changes to how much say members have in the Party.
3: The Greens will need to realize that Labour have no interest in having a Green Cabinet and that Labour will use NZ First to erode their aspirations once again.
4: It is entirely possible if Labour keep drifting to the right that the Greens will hit 15% by the end of 2013.
NZ First 2012:
The old fox Winston showed again how an opposition maestro operates with plenty of blood on the floor of Parliament to prove he's one of the best in the game. That sense of triumphalism turned however with the sacking of Brendan Horan who may end up reminding everyone about the features of MMP they dislike and blame NZ First for those.
NZ First 2013 Predictions:
1: Horan will continue to be a real problem for Winston as his constant presence and lack of concrete evidence of any wrong doing start reflecting poorly on Winston's haste in dumping him.
2: NZ First's constant lack of gaining 5% will continue to make the polls look less complicated than they will be for a left wing Government to win in 2014.
3: If Winston's health takes a turn say goodbye to NZ First.
4: Tracey Martin will continue surprising everyone by how good an MP she actually is.
5: Expect the Rural Party to take a good 1% off NZ First's party vote.
Maori Party 2012
What was the point of sitting at the table when Key has sold the table? The Maori Party end the year in a leadership fight with Tariana criticizing Pita for not standing aside to allow Te Ururoa a shot at leadership. The polls have been ridiculously kind to the Maori Party suggesting how biased the telephone polls really are and how much a dividing line of poverty phone ownership is in the Maori community. Desperation has set in with the Maori Party looking for Party vote support from Pakeha, they have no strategy and little political credibility left.
Maori Party 2013 Predictions:
1: Pita won't step down for Te Ururoa and Tariana will continue to criticize him for not stepping aside. The 2013 divisions in the Maori Party will make Labour look unified.
2: If National win the Maori Council water case, it will reflect badly on the Maori Party, if National lose the case, the Maori Party can't take any credit for its defeat. It's a lose, lose for the Maori Party.
MANA's street activism has gained a strong following and their financial transaction tax was one of the few ideas endorsed by the panel at the EPMU manufacturing crisis conference. Hone being arrested at the Glen Innes housing protests and the drawing of MANA's feed the kids bill has ensured media traction. As the newest Political Party in Parliament they offer the left their best chance of policy that is actually left.
MANA 2013 Predictions:
1: MANA will lead the fight for the new Maori electorate and if they start gaining over 2% in the Polls, they will replace the Maori Party as the kingmaker in the next election.
After the Kim Dotcom donations fiasco and teapot tape idiocy, John Banks is a bloated political corpse, a zombie politician rotting with zero credibility. Sky City gave him a donation in a Sky City marked envelope and he still claimed it was anonymous.
ACT 2013 Predictions:
1: ACT have to get a new leader, Jordan Williams jumps to mind. They need a fresh faced evil and Jordan fits that mould perfectly. Banks has killed his credibility, allowing him to infect ACT can't please the ACT Party faithful. If the more unsavory elements of Mr Banks life ever found the light of day that decision to replace him could happen a lot sooner than later.
United Future 2012:
Dunne spent pointless time chasing legal highs all year while giving tobacco and booze a free pass. How a right wing social conservative can be described as 'centre' is one of the great political lies spun by our mainstream media.
United Future 2013 Predictions:
1: Peter needs an issue that actually makes him look centrist, public broadcasting was his one hobby horse but that fell over with the death of TVNZ7. Voting to allow MANA's feed the kids policy to select committee could be his new issue.