Sir Bob Jones

A household leaflet for a new political party called “New Conservative” turned up in my letterbox.

It’s leader, a Leighton Baker, would have done himself a favour dressed in a suit and tie, and a bigger one still had he used an editor.

In his spectacularly illiterate opening statement he changes tenses from “I” to “we,” then back to “I,” all in the same sentence and also refers to himself in the past tense.

He also writes, “We are a small island nation.” We’re not; we’re the 30th largest out of over 200 nations and we comprise a number of islands.

He refers to “…kiwi’s with skin in the game,” misplacing the apostrophe. Switching tenses again. He writes of himself, “…Leighton is a…practical man that…”. It’s ‘who,’ not ‘that’ Leighton.

That mere circa 100 words opening statement is probably the most illiterate piece of writing I’ve ever seen.

The expressed policies are largely clichés about family values and the like. The exceptions; a demand for state support to be based on need and not gender or ethnicity (read female or Maori), a correct assertion that there are only two genders but otherwise all fairly innocuous stuff.

What fascinates me every election is how these new parties, steeped in political naivety, constantly crop up. Two elections back the comical and screamingly naïve Colin Craig launched a Conservative Party and threw plenty of money at it.

It damn near cracked 5%, primarily as it identified a genuine electoral conservative sentiment but in particular, because it attracted a number of respected public names as candidates.

Craig’s exposed spectacular wetness proved its death knell, still, as said, plainly there’s a political market for a conservative Party with what some may describe as old fashioned values. To some extent NZ First shares those perfectly legitimate sentiments, as indeed does the National Party.

I don’t for a minute doubt the sincerity of these constantly emerging new political entities. They commendably reflect our open democracy. But to gain traction they need to offer more than clichés.

What does annoy me are the attention-seeking nobodies and nutters who put their names forward as candidates without policies or purpose, particularly with local body elections.

After the last local body elections I noticed our print media, obviously wilfully, opted not to record their names and miniscule votes in the results. Hopefully that will be a deterrent.

My pick for the coming election is it will be a lot closer than the polls are reflecting. It will be dominated by economic issues and thus see the demise of the Greens.

The big success will be ACT, thanks to its leader being the defacto Opposition this year. I’m picking they will have five or more MPs.

It’s conceivable we could see a repeat of the last election, only in reverse. In other words, Labour outpolling the Nats but add in the new ACT MPs and if Winston gets up, he once again deciding who the government is.

His natural allies are National so who knows? Given his form, only an idiot would bet against him cracking 5%.

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Bob Jones
Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion dollars — is a property investor, author and former politician, who has written fiction as well as books on property investment, selections of his newspaper and magazine columns, and reminiscences of former prime minister Robert Muldoon. While at Victoria University of Wellington, he earned a ‘blue’ in boxing and contributed to a boxing column in the university’s newspaper Salient. A multi-millionaire, Jones earned his wealth through investments in commercial property via his company Robt. Jones Holdings Ltd. He founded and led the New Zealand Party in 1983. In 1989 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in received the New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal.