It is immensely disappointing to discover how stale Key's new policies are. There will be law and order. The unruly youth will be put in their place (1). There will be boot camps (2). There will, of course, be more prisons (3). In all this, I can hear the blandishments of the last ten years of British Conservative leaders - Major, Hague, Duncan-Smith, Howard.
(I recall a pub quiz question, 'Who is the only Conservative leader since World War Two not to have been prime minister?' The answer at the time was the incumbent, William Hague. Time and the revolving door policy of the new Tories has rendered the question meaningless.)
Key's regurgitation of the standard shibboleths of the right show he is not the National Party's David Cameron. Cameron made efforts to drag the Tory Party into the 20th (sic) century - though there is evidence that he has decided the task is impossible, and has also picked up the populist drum. During his reformist period - if it was ever genuine - Cameron sought to give voters beyond the core constituency a reason to vote for his party, other than dissatisfaction with Labour. Key, on the other hand, has shown he's more interested in on mining traditional right wing issues and relying on anti-Labour sentiment to give him the boost he needs to be the biggest party after the election.
It might work, but it is a Hell of a lot easier to fight back against this sort of predictable right wing prattle than it would have been against a consensus builder with a genuine vision of an alternative New Zealand.
1 - 'Boot camps for teen crims in Nat's plans,' by Martin Kay in the Dominion Post, 29th of January, 2008. Reproduced on stuff.co.nz (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4379341a10.html)
2 - ibid.
3 - 'Nats plan more jails, discipline,' unattributed article in The Press, 2nd of February, 2008. Reproduced on stuff.co.nz. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/4384313a11.html)