It is relatively undisputed that John Key's smiley face is his paramount political weapon. In a largely politically uneducated nation, a smile can, and clearly does, get you a long way with voters.
This common knowledge is not my point. Continuing on the theme of faces, we have Bill English. Sure, the man has a smile, but this his not his forte as it is Mr Key's. Bill has two faces, and I do not believe he wakes up in the morning knowing which one he is going to wear, or at which part of the day. We have optimistic Bill, and we have pessimistic Bill. One does not need to look past the budget and proposed sale of SOE's to distinguish these faces.
On one hand Bill can be quoted referencing his confidence in 'mum and dad' investors into the soon to be privatised SOE's. This is optimistic Bill, seen to be confident that our house holds have the means to thrust forward the revenue to outbid foreign investors and keep what is ours, ours. This in itself is deceptive as what is your neighbour's is clearly not your own. It is simply convenient for Bill to present this individually owned, nationally held illusion. He has no choice but to make the least damaging (by no means do i believe privatisation of any sort is moving positively) aspects of privatisation seem attractive.
In other situations we find Bill presenting his pessimistic composure, case in point the budget. If he claimed a dollar for every time he mentioned debt as a justification for slashing 'nice to haves' (affordable education for over 55's, working for families for some groups and KiwiSaver to name a pinch at the bucket) he would be a rich man. His focus was on our public debt, without too much attention given to the private debt. Conveniently enough, private debt represents about 90% of our national debt but with his pessimistic face on, of course he could not be seen referencing this staggering wound in our nation's side, it would completely bust optimistic Bill's predictions. It is plain to see that our country has not only overspent in the wrong areas, but done so dramatically.
Bill is banking that people will buy his optimistic outlook and trust his predictions of 'mum and dad investors' to buy, and keep our assets in New Zealand hands. His pessimistic side all the more wiser that with crippling private debt, more investment will only bring our country to its knees and that these 'mums and dads' will more likely spend their coin on sale items at the supermarket to keep the pantry full.
Bill has accepted that foreign investors will not only be in line to claim the privatised companies, but furthermore will essentially be the line. His optimistic face will bring the news that foreign interest will work to minimise our public debt, whilst optimistic Bill will continue to publicly grieve over our dire fiscal standing and use this as leverage to fuel privatisation.