Happy first birthday Keeping Stock


Keeping Stock  which is on my must read list turned one today.

A whole year of intelligent, well reasoned posts is an achievement to be proud of.

Optimistic but not over confident


A party conference on the eve of an election when all the polls point to victory is an exciting one, though the National Party’s is not as Colin Espiner an over confident one.

There has been less triumphalism than I expected. For a party 50 points-plus in the polls, National seems pretty much aware that winning is no foregone conclusion. Perhaps this is because after three defeats in a row, many have forgotten what winning feels like and are dead scared to even contemplate victory, let alone celebrate it early.

No, not forgotten what winning feels like, but grounded enough to know that the only poll which counts is on election day and there is a lot of hard work to be done if we want to be able to celebrate then. We’re cautiously optimistic but taking nothing for granted because complacency isn’t far away from arroagance and neither of those win votes.

Head & heart


Most people accept that National – and other centre right parties – have a head, unfortunately fewer people realise we also have a heart.

Perhaps that’s because it’s difficult to get the message in a sound bite: that we need a sound economy to be able to afford first world health care, education and other social initiatives (and anything else we expect a government to do for that matter).

Yesterday’s family forum at the party conference was an opportunity to show we had a heart. It didn’t impress Colin Espiner who said:

The only bum note, for me, was the “families forum” half way through the day, which seemed more the product of a focus group’s report on what National should cover off at its conference than any serious attempt to address an issue of substance.

It didn’t seem that way from where I was sitting in the audience – although of course I’m a wee bit biased 🙂 The message I got was one which is central to the difference between centre right parties and those on the left – that its people and not the state which makes happy, healthy societies. This was summed up by early childhood spokesperson Paula Bennett who said there are two words which really matter for young children: love and care.

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