Re Joyce – not over the Steven stumbles

One of the strengths of the current National Government has been the strength of John key’s support team.

Bill English has been solid and dependable. Dour is fine for a Finance Minister, resolute monetary control and no surprises is good for crisis recovery and the markets like it.

Steven Joyce has also been a significant factor. He hasn’t had electorate commitments so Key has been able to use Joyce as his roving fixit man. That seemed to work well enough during the first two terms.

But Joyce has had two significant stumbles since last September’s election – the Sky City debacle when they tried to extort money out of the Government, and the Northland by-election disaster (or series of disasters).

The Northland embarrassment has piled problems on top of Key’s mismanagement of the Mike Sabin issue. Presumably Key wants to carry on as leader and Prime Minister, so how do National look like they have listened and learned?

Reducing Joyce’s responsibilities and profile is an obvious option for National to be seen to have responded to their weaknesses.

Key had the convenience of the cricket world cup to avoid having to front up after the Northland result. That was Joyce’s job. Fair enough, he mismanaged the campaign.

But what now? Bill English is great with business as usual.

But Key and National won’t want any more Steven stumbles. Or of they want to get their third term on track they should be doing something significant to avoid them.

Two strikes in six months for Joyce. Can Key afford to risk any more?


(slightly amended)

National’s survival may depend on being seen to get over the Steven stumbles, but there’s no sign of stepping over that yet.

Is some super redundancy in order?

Leave a comment


  1. It isn’t two strikes in six months. Have a read of the OAG report into Joyce’s ministry, MBIE. Joyce has overseen a department which is completely dysfunctional and poorly performing. A number of Joyce’s decisions have been very silly, requiring hasty remedial work, and business has lost faith in him. A halfway competent opposition would have flayed Joyce alive for his bumbling administration.

    • Thanks, I’d forgotten about that. It most predates the last election (?) but the reported dysfunction of MBIE was since then.


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