The longer that the New Zealand military is in Afghanistan, the more the National Government is likely to be vulnerable to a growing backlash against such military adventures. Some of the media coverage is certainly turning negative. Today there are some good questions being raised and discussed in stories such as Hayden Donnell’s Did NZ SAS soldier die 'needlessly'?, Amelia Romanos and Audrey Young’s Govt: SAS now in 'substantial combat' role, TV3’s PM accused of sugar coating SAS role in Afghanistan, and Vernon Small and Tracy Watkins’ Expect more troop deaths, public warned. Just those headlines alone will be cause for great concern in the offices of John Key and Steven Joyce. And as is pointed in in the Kiwipolitico blog post, ‘All of this makes the government and NZDF attacks on the credibility of Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager, two journalists who exposed the true nature of NZDF missions in Afghanistan and the duplicity surrounding them, all the more contemptible and desperate’ – see: About SAS “mentoring.”. And even Barry Soper’s evaluation of the issue is serious and critical – see: Political Report: September 30.
Then there’s more bad news on the economic front, which also makes National particularly vulnerable – see: New Zealand's credit rating lowered. But the Government might take some comfort in the economic commentator Tim Hunter’s pronouncement that ‘ratings agencies are often as useful as a surfboard in the Sahara’ – see: Tell us something useful, Fitch. Nonetheless it gives Labour a real chance to continue its focus on undermining National’s perceived competency, an example of which can be seen in John Pagani’s blog post, The muddle-through downgrade. So could Labour yet make a comeback to ‘win’ the election? David Farrar thinks it’s plausible, and puts the case for a Labour victory in his Herald blog, Will cannabis propel Goff to power. However, Labour still seems to be wallowing in a fair amount of poor political management and self-inflicted own-goals – see, for example: Labour MP told to apologise for Mad Butcher comments. And Matthew Hooton also writes in the NBR today about a recent conspiracy theory put forward by the hapless Trevor Mallard – see: Labour’s Key Derangement Syndrome.
Other important, interesting or insightful items today include Chris Trotter’s Resurrecting Student Activism, Alex Walls’ Media bias questioned as PM to host RadioLive show, Stuff’s DJ Key talks cats, not tax on radio show, Tracy Watkins’ Voters not confident about outlook, and Tahu Potiki’s Maori policy, outcomes should be brought to fore. [Continue reading below for a full list of the highlights of NZ Politics Daily]