Key offers United Future an opportunity…

John Key has given United Future as much help and encouragement he could at this stage of election year. It is up to the party to take advantage of this.

It was surprising to see Peter Dunne reinstated by John Key as minister yesterday – it wasn’t surprising that he was given ministerial back duties, that was expected, but it was much sooner than most had thought.

Key also gave a clear indication that United Future were a preferred party for National to work with.

PM sets out parties National could work with

Prime Minister John Key today set out his decision on which parties National will consider working with following this year’s General Election.

Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

That plus reinstating Dunne as a minister has given a clear signal that Dunne is a trusted and reliable partner for National.

Dunne has a reasonable chance of holding his Ohariu electorate, especially if National don’t contest it (as in previous elections). So there is a good chance of United Future being a one MP party into the next term, and a reasonable chance of that being an intergral part of Government.

This early signalling should give Dunne’s party all the incentive it needs to put forward a part option that goes beyond Dunne. A stable centrist party with a good chance of playing a part in Government should be able to attract voter support.

But there’s a big question mark about whether UnitedFuture is up to it. There is no public sign (and no sign to me) that the party has anything compelling to offer. Actually there’s no sign they are offering anything.

There’s two key things that need to be seen in United Future.

One is a succession plan in Ohariu. Dunne has chosen to contest another election but there must be a visible sign of replacing him. Not by another long in the tooth old school but a sign of renewal looking at the future.

That just deals with holding the vital electorate seat.

Two is the party vote. To make any mark on polls and subsequently in the election party vote UF needs to be seen as more than Dunne and Ohariu.

Ideally that means having at least one prominent candidate that gives voters an incentive to vote for the party. And ideally this candidate (or candidates) needs to look capable of taking over leadership of the party.

Add to that something that will not be seen by the wider public – the party needs to get it’s act together communicating with it’s members. From an adverse situation last year there was a significant boost in membership which enabled the party to re-register. This hasn’t been followed up on.

I’m still a member of United Future, I joined for three years when I stood for the party last election. That membership runs out in a few months.

I have seen nothing to encourage me to renew that membership. That’s very disappointing.

United Future could be, should be a small by significant player in Parliament and potentially in Government. Key has given them a vote of confidence.

But the party will have to start earning votes from the public (and members). Soon. again.

The opportunity is there. Is the party there? Is the determination? Or is United Future just an electorate committee for Ohariu?

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7 Comments

  1. Peter Matthewson

     /  22nd January 2014

    So John Key has got over his $42000 hissy fit over who stole his thunder by leaking a report he was going to release a couple of days later anyway!!

    Anyway your comments on United Future match my thoughts exactly. I once was a member, although that lapsed years ago, however there has been nothing that would encourage me to join again. In particularly there is now nothing identifiable ideologically or philosophically that would distinguish United Future from National, at least the more “wet” groups in the National caucus. And although Dunne’s return to a ministerial role will score him a $64,000 pay rise and presumably a bigger office, it could actually disadvantage the party in being publicly identified as effectively part of National.

    Reply
    • graham

       /  23rd January 2014

      You mean that both John Key and Peter Dunne have effectively said they no longer care about the unauthorised release of a report classified as “sensitive”, a report whose dissemination and security was supposedly tightly controlled within the Government. Both Key and Dunne feel it no longer matters that a breach of security occurred, and the culprit has never been identified, and could very well still be in a position where they are receiving classified documents.

      Says a lot about both of them.

      At one point in a debate on Kiwiblog last year about this, I said “At least it would appear that Dunne had some idea of just how serious it (the leaking of the report) was”, because he was willing to tender his resignation. Sadly, it now appears that was nothing more than a political ploy.

      Reply
      • Peter Matthewson

         /  25th January 2014

        “Sensitive” and “security” was not an issue, Key was going to release it a few days later anyway. See http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/kitteridge-report-pretty-damning-key-ck-138624:

        “”If I was to live in the perfect world – that report would have been released early next week, Mr Key said. “In reality, it doesn’t change much. It just meant I had to slightly change my schedule here, scramble a little bit and didn’t necessarily have the report with me.” He had intended to brief opposition parties before the report was released, but was caught on the hop when the report was leaked to Fairfax Media.”

        The Henry inquiry was nothing more than Key’s petty little witch hunt into who stole his thunder, and a waste of $42,000 of the taxpayers’ money.

        Reply
        • It was odd that Key launched an inquiry into this, as you say a bit of inconvenience a week early. But remember that Labour and Greens made a big fuss about the leak and demanded an inquiry. While he was busy in China Key obliged.

          Reply
        • graham

           /  26th January 2014

          “Sensitive” and “security” most certainly WAS an issue. See the Kitteridge report!

          Reply
        • Peter Matthewson

           /  27th January 2014

          Opposition parties are always demanding inquiries into all sorts of things. Governments usually ignore them.

          If “sensitive” and “security” was an issue, why was Key going to release it??

          In any case, what the Government defines as “sensitive” and “security” may be exactly what the public should be informed about, as in this case the GCSB illegally spying on 85 New Zealanders. Like Edward Snowden, whoever released it should be lauded as a whistleblower who performed a valuable public service, except it was unnecessary as Key was going to release it anyway.

          Reply
  2. Brown

     /  22nd January 2014

    People that join political parties strike me as wannabes that never quite got to boss people about in the real world and think they have all the answers to everyone’s problem – even problems people may not realise they have. Thinking people that really value freedom seem to be on the outside of politics although moaning about the lack of influence. Life’s so darn difficult when you want to be left alone to get on with it

    Its like looking at the Hitler rallies in the 1930’s. Thousands of complete fuckwits cheering their own demise but too stupid to see it.

    You guys may be different of course..

    Reply

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