Home > The Body Politic > Power Struggle in the National Party?!

Power Struggle in the National Party?!

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It seems that National’s right-wing faction is starting to flex it’s muscles.

More disturbingly, this faction – which includes shadowy National apparatchik, Michael Lusk – has also been connected to ACT and the anti-MMP coterie, “Vote for Change”.,

Another important figure is Simon Lusk, a specialist in negative political campaigns, an adviser to a number of National MPs, and a key figure in the Brash/Hide coup. Brash’s putsch was about as negative as a political campaign can get, and sources say that some of Lusk’s National mates were angry with him about it

Lusk, 38, is based in Hawke’s Bay and is a tough political activist and a well-known hunter and fisher. He has helped run campaigns for a number of National MPs, and was involved in National’s 2005 discussions with the Brethren church. He hunts with Williams.

Another hunter helping in the campaign is National blogger Cameron Slater, known as Whale Oil. “I’m going shooting with him [Lusk] next week,” Slater told the Star-Times. He also said Lusk “may well be [involved in the campaign], but that’s up to him if he wants to do that.” “

See:  Right has MMP in its sights

Simon Lusk is also closely involved with right-wing blogger, and National Party provocateur, Cameron Slater.

Lusk has been closely connected with several National MPs and has assisted with their elected campaigns,

But Lusk is a gifted operator. Besides the Brash coup, he helped National’s Louise Upston win Taupo in 2008 – she thanked him “from the bottom of her heart” in her maiden speech for leading the campaign. Maungakiekie National MP Sam Lotu-Iiga thanked Lusk in his maiden speech in 2008 for his “shrewd counsel”.

In 2005, Lusk was running National’s campaign in the Napier electorate, and was involved with discussions with the Exclusive Brethren and their undeclared campaign to back National, as Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men reveals. Lusk keeps out of the limelight, but it is known that he lives in Waipawa and works for The Venulum Group, a wealth management firm based in the British Virgin Islands.”

Ibid

He was also implicated in Don Brash’s now-infamous coup d’état of the ACT Party, which saw the over-throw and replacement of Rodney Hide as Party Leader, and other shady dealings,

Behind the scenes, key players will be Simon Lusk and Jordan Williams, two men who played major roles in Don Brash’s recent ACT Leadership coup.

Simon Lusk is an adviser to many National MPs and was involved in National’s 2005 discussions with the Exclusive Brethren, exposed in the Nicky Hager book ‘The Hollow Men’.  “

See:  Anti-MMP campaigners motives criticised

Lusk’s name also came up in the Nick Smith/Bronwyn Pullar/ACC/Michelle Boag/Judith Collins fiasco,

” Confirmation that Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff will investigate the email’s trail from Ms Boag to an eventual report in the Herald on Sunday came as Labour claimed Ms Collins, National Party operative Simon Lusk and right-wing blogger Cameron Slater all played a part in the leak. “

See:  Probe into email leak welcome, says Collins

TV3 thought it enough of a story to air this segment on it’s 6PM News Broadcast tonight (8 May),

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Source

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(As a side note, John Key’s memory seems to be as poor as John Banks. The water in the Beehive should perhaps be tested for memory-eating microbes.)

What is cause for concern is that National MP Michael Woodhouse told the Board,

“Candidates College
Michael reported that he has had a discussion with those MPs that have had an involvement with Simon Lusk. He has let them know that it is not appropriate for any MPs to engage with any alternative Candidates’ School that is not sanctioned by the Party. He said that this has been understood by all.

He noted that these discussions had given rise to further discussion about the Party’s Candidates College and the gap in content that it potentially has.

He reported that Simon Lusk is running a further meeting purportedly aimed at educating local body aspirants. This has led some in Caucus to ask where the Party is positioned with local Body politics particularly in Auckland. Some Caucus members feel that they should be involved in this training programme. Michael believes however that they should remain distant and will have that discussion with those MPs.

Update on Simon Lusk
Michael reported a disturbing discussion that he has had with Simon Lusk that highlighted his motivations and a very negative agenda for the Party.
It was agreed that light needs to be shed on these issues with key influencers within the Party.
It was further agreed that his agenda represents a serious risk to the Party and this issue will be followed up with a further meeting between the President and the Whip.”

See:   Scoop –  Leaked National Party Bd Minutes Re, Simon Lusk

Considering that Lusk has right wing tendencies;  and if Woodhouse considered Lusk’s comments to be “disturbing” and “very negative”;  then it is a fairly safe assumption that Simon Lusk has an agenda to push National so far to the right of the political spectrum – as to make ACT thoroughly redundant.

This would make National un-electable for the next few decades, at least. But how much damage could a far-right National-led governmment do in the meantime, until it was thrown out of office?

In a previous blogpiece, on 29 March,  I wrote this about Lusk’s hunting chum, Cameron Slater,

Using Third Parties such as Slater, to spread muck has it’s inherent dangers.

Eventually, the entanglements and the copious volumes of information at the hands of  someone like Slater creates it’s own risks for his  “handler(s)”. Slater will have  considerable dirt on those who have leaked information to him. He  will have to be “kept sweet”,  to deny him cause to go rogue and threaten to disclose information  embarressing to those who have fed him material in the past.”

See: Born to Rule

I have no doubt the same applies to Simon Lusk.

In the 1990s, the Alliance Party was be-devilled by a marxist-leninist faction known as “Permanent Revolution”. Though tiny in number, they were a disruptive influence. The Party hierarchy took action and expelled the faction, on the basis that PR was a separate party, and therefore conflicted with the Alliance’s membership rules.

National may have no choice but to distance itself from Simon Lusk, Cameron Slater, and their associate,  Jordan Williams. The last thing the Nats need right now is a small cabal of agitators within their ranks.

Not that I have any great love for National – but an unstable government will ‘spook’ the markets, raising interest rates, and mess up my mortgages.

It’s time to “clean house”, Mr Key.

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Other Blogs

Waitakere News: Has Banks been training Key how to answer questions about Simon Lusk?

The Standard:  Nat Civil War: ceasefire breached

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= fs =

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  1. Matthew
    9 May 2012 at 7:16 am

    As if Joyce et al weren’t bad enough already. When 10 Chinese people turn up in a boat in Darwin Harbour and ask “Which way to New Zealand” it was pretty sickening to see Nathan Guy borrow paragraphs from the “Racist xenophobia cliche book” from the Australian Liberal Party, which was the only book on the Liberal Party’s bookshelf in the Howard years.

  2. 9 May 2012 at 11:15 am

    I’m really not sure if Lusk is all that skillful. None of his recent maneuvers seem to have worked out, especially not Vote for Change or the Brash coup. I think he might well do more damage to the Collins faction in the long run.

  3. huttriver
    9 May 2012 at 1:42 pm

    It should be remembered that National was originally formed from three parties who merged to form the National Party in 1938. That they may splinter under extreme stress shouldn’t surprise anybody.The key to a long term fall from grace is in the centre which is occupied by NZ First. It will be important to keep this party strong after the retirement of Winston Peters. They should be looking for his successor now.

  4. Jena
    9 May 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Labour was hi-jacked by Douglas and Co in the 80’s; why start up a new Party when there is an existing one to take over? The thing is Voters have a right to know who is pulling the Party strings, so we look forward to knowing which other MP’s are being groomed. And you need to stop licking your lips Mr Key – it is a sure sign that you are lying.

  5. 9 May 2012 at 2:08 pm

    alex :

    I’m really not sure if Lusk is all that skillful. None of his recent maneuvers seem to have worked out, especially not Vote for Change or the Brash coup. I think he might well do more damage to the Collins faction in the long run.

    Good point, Alex. Going by his public record, he’s had a couple of bad strikes (Brash, and the anti-MMP group). Third Strike and he’s out?

    Mind you – one wonders about his success rate. Do we get to hear about those?

  6. 9 May 2012 at 2:12 pm

    huttriver :

    It should be remembered that National was originally formed from three parties who merged to form the National Party in 1938. That they may splinter under extreme stress shouldn’t surprise anybody.The key to a long term fall from grace is in the centre which is occupied by NZ First. It will be important to keep this party strong after the retirement of Winston Peters. They should be looking for his successor now.

    Hutt, you’ve mentioned a point that I’ll be blogging about; the factions that make up National.

  7. Jena
    11 May 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Others named in the media are Taupo MP Louise Upston, Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga, Napier MP Chris Tremain, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell and former list MP Aaron Gilmore

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