Crush the Speaker?

Parliament has been degenerating into a bigger shambles than usual with long simmering Opposition disgruntlement threatening to boil over.

The Speaker has been under increased criticism. It’s an unenviable position, with David Carter struggling to keep the House under control.

He’s not the strongest of Speakers but he is also bearing the brunt of Opposition parties failing to make much impact.

Rather than up their own performances a few Opposition MPs would appear to be keen on crushing the Speaker.

Rather than look at their own incompetence they have increasingly taken to blaming the referee.

In MPs playing for yellow card Stacey Kirk suggests Carter may be moved on soon anyway…

But then what more exacting cue for an exit stage-left, with speculation pointing to a plum diplomatic posting for him – perhaps London or Ottawa – at the next Government reshuffle

…and explores the alternatives.

Maurice Williamson

Ask around Parliament and many would say Maurice Williamson would be a sound, and potentially hilarious, choice as Carter’s successor (which is likely why John Key won’t pick him).

A position best served to a senior politician on a downward trajectory – Williamson ticks that box.

Most importantly, his appointment could bring a return to what opposition MPs deem fundamental to Question Time: Ministers may actually be expected to answer questions.

A change of Opposition attitude and asking better questions might also help.

Gerry Brownlee

Perhaps it’s for that very reason Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee appears to be the front-runner, raising fears about what that might mean for political journalists.

He displays an obvious and growing disdain for the Press Gallery, overheard once lamenting how “bloody young” they are, and is a regular complainer about their actions in the corridors of power.

The Speaker’s job is to facilitate debate inb the house though. It’s the MPs job to feed the journalists with stories.

Other names murmured as outside chances include Anne Tolley and Jonathan Coleman. Both seem unlikely.

Anne Tolley

Tolley is determined to oversee massive reform of Child, Youth and Family, which has barely begun.

Jonathan Coleman

Coleman is hardly in the twilight of his career.

In fact, his name has also been thrown in conversations discussing the next Minister for Foreign Affairs. That at least makes more sense than Speaker, him already having proven himself in the understudy role of Defence Minister.

But the doctor appears to have hit his stride in Health and, while ambitious, Foreign Affairs is a tough ask for anyone with a young family.

Any other candidates for a new Speaker?

What about Judith Collins? In practical term she is probably in the twilight of her career, although I don’t know if she’s ready to accept that yet or not.

Crush the Speaker?

Judith Collins “focused on getting back into cabinet”

In a column in the weekend’s Sunday Star Times (shared with Phil Goff) Judith Collins wrote about the Auckland mayoralty. She bagged current mayor Len Brown, saying he “has not delivered for the people of wider Auckland”:

Judith Collins: Why I’m saying No to Mr Yes.

He’s had a lifetime of saying “yes” when occasionally he should have said, “no”.  He’s a nice, pleasant person who, unfortunately, has not delivered for the people of wider Auckland.

I knew  Brown was doomed when he stated that he was the second-most important person in New Zealand after the prime minister.  Really?  When Auckland’s mayor thinks his job is to have a foreign relations policy, you know it’s all over.  Where were his advisers? Who was saying, “Earth to Len?”

And so we come now to who will replace him.


I give points to Mark Thomas who doesn’t have a huge profile – which really is needed to win.  At least  Thomas has had the courage to say he’s standing.  At least  he has had the courage not to pretend and insult the voters by playing coy.

She writes Thomas off and then targets Goff without naming him.

When I first stood for election during that terrible time (for National) of 2002, I was a lawyer.  I worked in a large law firm and I was chair of the Casino Control Authority.  As soon as I was selected for the then-marginal seat of Clevedon, I stood aside from both those positions.  I took unpaid leave from my full-time work.  That meant I really had skin in the game.

In those dark days of campaigning, when the winter election was called early, and our poll numbers dropped from over 30 per cent to just 20.7 per cent on election day, I can tell you that I had everything to win and nothing to lose.

Goff seems to be serious about standing for mayor but has indicated he won’t stand down as an MP unless he wins. So he would be campaigning for a local body election while being paid to be a Member of Parliament. That’s a cushy lark.

What will happen for this mayoral election?  Will  Brown stand? Possibly.  Will Phil Goff stand? Yes.  Will Thomas stand?  Yes.  Will others stand? Undoubtedly.  Does it matter? Yes, it does.

Auckland needs a mayor who is able to work with the Government. The mayor must be able to work with the Government to get the assistance with infrastructure that a growing Auckland needs.  The mayor should be focused on solutions for infrastructure, not on world leadership in the foreign affairs stakes.

Another swipe at Goff.

Auckland’s mayoralty needs, guts, determination, intelligence and presence. Who’s up for it?

Goff responded:

Aucklanders don’t need a lecture about what our city needs.

They deal every day with traffic congestion, unaffordable housing and the problems created when infrastructure investment fails to keep pace with population growth. It’s easy to be negative, to bicker and to be partisan.

But what people want is leadership. They want the elimination of waste, more efficiency and for the city and Government to get on with building an effective transport system. They want the benefits that they were promised under a Super City.

Auckland needs strong advocacy to make the Government understand that if the city does well, New Zealand as a whole will prosper.

Leadership is about presence, determination, integrity and commitment.  It’s also about having the skills to bring our community together and to work with Government so that we can realise our vision for a better Auckland.

It sounds like he’s campaigning already. It’s widely understood that Goff is standing and he doesn’t even give any token denials now.

But Collins’ comments provoked some speculation about her ambitions.

The Herald followed up on this and reports: No plans for run at Auckland mayor, says Judith Collins

National MP Judith Collins says she has no plans to stand for the Auckland mayoralty, saying her focus is getting back into cabinet.

Today, Ms Collins told the Herald the column “signalled her disappointment with the current mayor (Len Brown) and the fact as an Aucklander I feel very strongly we do need to have a good mayor to replace him.

“It is not a signal from me. I have always been focused on getting back into cabinet,” said Ms Collins.

She makes her ambitions fairly clear (for a politician).

Was she just stirring Goff up, knowing he had a commitment to respond?

Hide on Judith Collins’ leadership bid

Rodney Hide’s Sunday Herald column is on Judith Collins making a bid from the backbench for leadership of National – Crusher throwing her hat in the ring.

The tom-toms are beating and, as incredible as it may sound, around National Party campfires the leadership of New Zealand’s most popular Prime Minister is being questioned.

The questions are sparked by Judith Collins asking the oldest political question of them all: “Why not me?”

I’ll jump straight to Hide’s punch line.

Hers is an excellent plan on paper. To effect it Collins needs the support of her colleagues. But here’s where she falls short. She hasn’t any.

So she’s making a bid hoping that support will swing behind her.

Whether part of the plan or not Cameron Slater has been trying to drive an anti-Key pro-Collins movement, and that won’t help Collins in getting National Caucus support. It’s likely to severely hinder it.

Some in National are getting annoyed, especially those who are against any attempt to allow the people of New Zealand to make choices about our flag.

But would they support a leadership overthrow and potentially lose their hold on Government for that?

Hide’s final words:

National MPs know when they are on to a winner. They have learned from Labour it’s very easy to trash leaders but very hard to replace them.

It’s even harder to replace them with a winning leader.

Logie attacks Collins on domestic violence

Judith Collins created a lot of discussion with her comments opposing rapper Chris Brown coming to New Zealand to perform, calling him “just another wife-beater”.

Stuff: Chris Brown ‘just another wife-beater’

The former justice minister says singer Chris Brown is “just another wife-beater” and should not be allowed in to New Zealand because of his fame.

“The law is clear, he is technically barred from New Zealand…that is the law. Why do we bother having a law like that if we make exceptions for people just because they are rich and famous,” Judith Collins said.

“He can be rich, famous and sing back in his own country, as far as I am concerned. He is just another wife-beater, and there are so many wife-beaters who are rich or famous or in positions of power. There is no need for us to encourage it.”

Green MP and spokesperson on women Jan Logie told Collins not to make “any feminist comments” unless they were “prefaced with an apology for her previous harm”, a bizarre attempt to shut Collins up but not abnormal for Greens who think they have exclusive rights to speak on some topics.

Stuff: Judith Collins can’t talk about Chris Brown without making her own apologies:

Judith Collins seems to want us to think she is a champion of women’s rights and freedoms. She has been publicly outspoken about Chris Brown and the importance of recognising the problems we have in this country with domestic violence.

I am struggling with this new persona of Judith’s. As with Chris Brown and all abusers, I believe in the possibility of rehabilitation and redemption. Demonstrating rehabilitation though requires acknowledging past wrong doings and acknowledging the harm that you’ve done. I would also say it should mean not profiting off this. Judith has not, to my knowledge, acknowledged the harm she has done.

When Judith Collins had power, when she was the minister with a portfolio that could really make a difference for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, she used her power to remove protections for women and children and stop work that could have improved the justice system. The Family Court reforms that Judith Collins introduced were aimed at saving costs, not securing the safety of those at risk.

Judith Collins also stopped the Law Commission from working on alternative pre-trial and trial processes to improve the justice system failure for victims of sexual violence. When questioned about this she failed to offer a coherent, consistent answer.

This is the woman who as Justice Minister defended Maurice Williamson’s intervention to the police on behalf of a man accused of domestic violence. So I’m not going to be congratulating Judith Collins for any feminist comments she might make unless they’re prefaced with an apology for her previous harm. Without that, I think she’s just profiteering off the women she sacrificed when she had power.

I wonder if Logie will acknowledge the harm she has done with this tirade. She has never been in Government and seems to have no idea about the reality that Ministers can’t protect everyone all the time.

Collins has responded to this strongly with ‘I’m committed to protecting women and children from violence’.

(Oddly Stuff have filed this under entertainment/music).

What a disappointing personal attack Green MP Jan Logie has made on me.

Ms Logie will have heard me speak of the fact that while I was Minister of Justice, my cousin, Robyn, was murdered by her estranged second husband. I have always been, and remain, committed to doing all I can to protect women and children from the horror of domestic and sexual violence. This was a priority for me as Minister of Justice.

Before undertaking such a vicious and hurtful personal attack, it might have been useful for Jan to get her facts right. Here are just some examples of what I did to protect women and children during my time as minister:

* Increased the penalty for breaching a protection order from two years to three years;
* Broadened the definition of domestic violence to include financial and psychological abuse;
* Increased funding to grow and expand the safe@home programme to support families at risk of serious harm from domestic abuse to stay safely in their own homes;
* Created a new non-contact order to reduce the risk of unwanted contact between victims and offenders;
* Changed the Evidence Act to make appearing in court less traumatic for victims of sexual violence and child witnesses; and,
* Launched a new school-based pilot project as part of a focus on preventing sexual violence.

And the list goes on. It’s all there online for anyone to read.

The Family Court reforms of which she is so disparaging have been responsible for less aggression between former partners by encouraging and resulting in 70 percent of all care of children disputes being resolved without having to further inflame feelings. They have been a resounding success enabling the Family Court to spend more time on urgent cases involving violence.

I will continue to raise my concerns and share my opinions about perpetrators of domestic violence, like rapper Chris Brown. It is appalling for Ms Logie to make excuses for violent abusers just so she can take a personal swipe at me. Her behaviour minimises the harm caused to victims, survivors and their families. Ms Logie should be ashamed of herself.

Attacking a past Minister for not eliminating the impossible and trying to shut her up doesn’t look flash. And it makes Logie look like an apologist for Brown.

Logie doesn’t have exclusive rights to being “a champion of women’s rights and freedoms” – in fact she has been far from a champion on this. She sounds like some sort of sore loser.

Collins/Slater power play or just a fundraiser?

It looks like Judith Collins and Cameron Slater are making a power play. Or two independent coincidental power plays.

Collins has been quietly trying to rebuild her political career after being demoted as a Minister leading into last year’s election, in no small part due to her friendly relationship with Slater.

In the meantime Slater has been increasingly critical of John Key’s leadership with what has seemed like daily attacks and sometimes multiple attacks a day in post at Whale Oil.

Collins has had a weekly column alongside Phil Goff. Until now she has written about general topics. But yesterday: Judith Collins: Centre voters just the core, the action is on the fringes:

Elections are never won or lost in the centre. Yes, the vast number of voters are in the centre but they won’t bother to change their vote (much less get out to vote) unless they actually have something to vote for. Mobilising the centre to move to the left or to the right, is what wins elections. If you want to stay in power, then the centre is what keeps you there.

Politicians of all stripes need to be fearless, creative, interested, questioning and most of all listening to the electorate. Polling goes to show the centre doesn’t really say much and therein lies the danger of the echo chamber. But the edges of the electorate are always talking.

Winning elections is about engaging people and actually presenting an alternative. Galvanising the centre to be interested enough to vote will not happen simply by prescribing more of the same, albeit with a different coloured tie.

Goff responded:

Judith’s column this week is the opening shot in her campaign to succeed John Key as National’s leader.

It’s a not-so-subtle attack on the well-known fact that John Key is not driven by strong values but rather the results of weekly polling and focus groups.

Judith is inviting you to contrast Key’s soft positions with her post-demotion outspokenness on issues.

You can’t blame her for that or for her antagonism towards Key. After all, he sacked her and is refusing to put her back into Cabinet.

Goff could be perceptive. Or he could be mischievous. Or both.

Matthew Hooton responded to a comment on this at The Standard:

“when it came to Phil Goff’s reply, Collins probably got a lot more than she expected”

I reckon she got exactly what she expected (and hoped for) from Goff.

Today at Politik it looks like Collins is busy getting her message out there in JUDITH COLLINS SAYS IT’S TIME FOR POLITICIANS TO STAND FOR SOMETHING.

She set out a summary of her views in the Sunday Star Times and one Labour politician did have something to say.

Phil Goff said the column sounded like the start of her campaign to become National leader.

But in a lengthy interview with POLITIK she chose her words carefully and avoided any head on challenge to the National Party leadership who have shunned her since she resigned from Cabinet over her connections with Whaleoil.

Nevertheless her message is clear.

“It’s better to make a difference than to sit in Parliament and occupy a seat,” she said.

“You are actually elected to do something.

“If you don’t do something then get out of the way and let someone else do it.”

She worries that the general public all round the world is sick and tired of politicians who say just what they think the electorate wants them to say.

“Actually ultimately you are never going to get anything done unless you change the status quo and you can’t do that from a position of fear or a position of let’s not rock the boat.”

She is suspicious of focus groups.

“The problem with focus groups is that you are asking them a question; you are defining what they can talk about and what they are interested in and sometimes I think you have just got to stand for something.”

She says she doesn’t use focus groups but relies on knocking on doors and what people tell her in her electorate office.

“In my electorate there are probably quite a lot of people who aren’t necessarily National voters but what they like is if you are straight up with them.”

It’s often claimed that John Key is guided by focus groups

Face to face contact is important but it can be self selecting – only people who want to talk will talk – and they can adjust what they say to suit their audience.

There will be many who will scrutinise the comments here and in the Sunday Star Times column for signs of dissidence, for some hint that as Mr Goff claimed, she has begun her campaign for the party leadership.

But what she is saying is more general than that.

It looks more like the beginning of what  may be a long debate defining what the post-Key National Party might look like.

Meanwhile, coincidence or not, Slater has been continuing his campaign. Yesterday his anti-Key posts continued: Losing our Religion – A letter from a reader…to John Key

The letter may or may not have been from ‘a reader’, it can be hard to tell on Whale Oil what’s genuine and what’s part of the campaigning and what’s paid for commentary. Slater added his own comments:

I’m not sure he is listening…but his minions are reading. Maybe the message will get through, either that or we will soon see a series of posts on cat fancier, arts, travel and lifestyle blogger, David Farrar’s blog about the stunning achievements of a John Key led government in a bid to counter “negative” posts here.

I am no sycophant and will tell things as I see them or as my readers emails.

Things aren’t right within National, they have allowed a cult of personality to develop and those never end well.

More posts generally criticise National.

He has followed that up today with specific references to the Collins publicity, first on her Stuff column in Judith Collins on Corbyn, and winning the centre.

This is the quiet changing of religion that I speak of…people turning off and not bothering because politics has become shades of brown and as appetising as cardboar

People get tired of the same old view of politicians and eventually they seek a change, any change, so long as it is not who we have now. They certainly don’t subscribe to TINA…that is the false hope of incumbents.

TINA is There is No Alternative, seen as one reason for Key’s sustained popularity, but Slater has been trying to establish a meme that there is an alternative – from within National. I wonder who he thinks that should be. Note that for some time he has strongly criticised Bill English,  Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett.

Then later today he posted on the Politik interview with Collins – Collins expands her discussion on the centre. In agreeing with Collins he said:

She’s dead right about that and MMP has created a situation where seat warmers are the politicians of the day. If you have a look at Helen Clark’s legacy it is nothing but banal social policy. John Key’s legacy is shaping up to be not much better, with the prospect of the flag being retained that particular dream is in tatters.


Straight shooters have always done well in New Zealand politics, and it is a shame that John Key has changed from that perception of a straight shooter to a perception that is much less than that.


What is funny though is the left wing getting all excited that Judith Collins will attempt to do what they have failed thus far to achieve…topple John Key. They should be careful what they wish for, because I doubt such an event would go well for them and their union pals.

So it is easy to see this as a two pronged attack on Key by Collins and Slater.

What sort of support would Collins have in the National Caucus? I don’t know.

But one this is for certain – she has a whale sized millstone hanging around her neck.

Eighteen months ago a campaign like this from Slater may have been seen as a serious threat. But his political credibility has plummeted.

I think a Slater orchestrated leadership bid is unlikely to cause anything but trouble for Collins. Sure it may damage National, and Slater has been trying to do that since he fell out of favour. But His alternative is unlikely to be looked on favourably.

Something not covered in Collins’ column yesterday nor in her Politik interview was whether she was being invoiced by Slater for his advice and his Whale Oil campaigning. This could be as more a fundraiser for him than a serious leadership bid.

Anyone as knowledgeable about politics as Slater claims to be (he was praising his predictive abilities last week, see the poor me/clever me post LOSING YOUR RELIGION) would know that  Slater+anything is currently seen as toxic.

And the Slater attacks on National don’t even seem overly popular at Whale Oil. From his Saturday diss Hooton: ‘Thanks John, time to move along now’ he explains his TINA theories:

John Key is still popular because people still believe in the false premise of TINA (There Is No Alternative).

Logic suggests that TINA is not valid. If John Key were to be mowed down by a bus driver on Lambton Quay on Monday morning it is certain that there would indeed be a replacement. When he does finally step down or is knifed, or gets voted out there will be an alternative. There is always an alternative…whether or not an alternative is apparent depends entirely on the vision of the person stating TINA.

The belief that TINA is real…suggests these people think John Key is immortal and can reign forever…neither are true…politically or in reality. There is always an alternative.

But if you have a look at the upticks on the comments in LOSING YOUR RELIGION it seems clear his audience isn’t captivated or convinced by Slater’s campaign.

Note: I’ve done a few edits and additions to this in the half hour after posting.

Slater slams Woodhouse and Key

Cameron Slater has slammed Michael Woodhouse and John Key over the Workplace health and Safety Bill in MICHAEL WOODHOUSE MAY BE AN IDIOT, BUT KEY IS LETTING HIM ROAM FREE.

But it seems to be a poorly informed diss with an underlying agenda.

Already watered down to keep all the rural MPs from revolting, the remainder is such a joke that I can only assume their attitudes were “fine, we’re not going to help you – see how the public like this”

This is what happens when you promote diminutive, metro-sexual, eyebrow tweezing, sun-bed tanning fools above their station in life.

Michael Woodhouse has never won election, he is a scum list Mp and so he is out of touch with constituents. An electorate MP would have read this bill, called up his officials and introduced them to Mr 2×4. Only a lazy, good for nothing idiot would accept these cut/paste legislative solutions.

Labour is so tits at their job that this John Key-led government is going to get away with being just as stupid. At least now everyone will know what I have known for years….Michael Woodhouse has tits for hands.

This is no surprise, Slater has a history of walloping Woodhouse – and Key since Judith Collins lost her spot on Cabinet. Talking of Collins:

You can see why wiser and more experienced heads stood up and told Woodhouse to can this abortion of a Health and Safety policy.

Who could Slater mean? One News reported in May:

Judith Collins says historic health and safety bill needs ‘tweaking’

Judith Collins denies there has been a backbench revolt over health and safety changes, but says a bill needs some “tweaking” before it progresses through Parliament.

One of those said to be agitating for changes is former cabinet Minister Judith Collins, although she maintained today there was no caucus division over the issue.

“I don’t think there are any bad things, I just think it needs a bit of tweaking and that’s the right thing to do.”

She would not elaborate what changes needed to be made, but said “it needs to be a little bit more practical for people”.

Collins is doing her job, promoting what she thinks is best in the National Caucus.

And Slater appears to be doing his job, in this case not directly promoting his friend Collins but dissing Key and especially Woodhouse – it appears that Woodhouse doesn’t pay Slater for ‘online advice’.

A comment on the Whale Oil thread:

You have the facts wrong –Mr Woodhouse received more votes than Labour in Dunedin Nth that Clark in the last election.
Woodhouse is a good man.

While Woodhouse came second to Labour’s David Clark in the Dunedin North electorate the important party vote favoured National for the first time under MMP.

  • National 11,302
  • Labour 11,147

So Woodhouse seems to be helping out in the all important party vote in a very left leaning electorate (also contested by Metiria Turei).

On yesterday’s Q & A panel former National MP Tau Henare said:

I like Woody because I think Woodhouse is a very very capable Minister, in fact one of the most capable I would say.

But not with capabilities that Slater and Lusk like.

Slater has attacked Woodhouse a number of times before o an individual MP level, but at times now he now seems intent on helping Key and National lose. That’s probably the only way that Judith Collins has of taking over leadership from Key.

Note: Apart from being taited by her association with Slater I have thought Collins is a good MP and a good Minister – she’s one of the few Minister’s that has responded to questions from me personally and promptly.

Disclosure: I stood against Woodhouse in Dunedin North on 2011 although I was effectively campaigning with him as the campaign meetings in Dunedin are stacked in favour of Labour and Greens. I’ve engaged with Woodhouse once or twice in social/political settings, and I have had oe or two meetings with him in his electorate office – despite Slater’s claims from north of the Bombay Hills I have found Woodhouse willing to be in touch with his constituents.

No evidence that Judith Collins undermined SFO boss

Transcripts of interviews released to NZ Herald under the Official Information Act don’t reveal any evidence that then Justice Minister Judith Collins tried to undermine the head of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.

It appears the ‘over-blown’ claims by Cameron Slater dumped his friend Collins into a political shit storm.

In Champagne stunt an utter disaster: Collins the Herald reports:

An inquiry by High Court judge Lester Chisholm, which published its report in November, found no evidence that Ms Collins had attempted to undermine Mr Feeley when she was Police Minister in 2011.

Transcripts of interviews with 13 witnesses, including Ms Collins, Mr Feeley, bloggers Cameron Slater and Cathy Odgers and lobbyist Carrick Graham have been released to the Herald under the Official Information Act.

The inquiry concluded that Slater had exaggerated or made up a claim that Ms Collins had been “gunning” for Mr Feeley.

Chisholm inquiry – key players

•Judith Collins (former Police, Justice Minister): Resigned as a minister after an email appeared to show she was “gunning” for SFO boss Adam Feeley. Later cleared of inappropriate conduct but not returned to Cabinet.

•Adam Feeley (former SFO CEO): Investigated by State Services Commission after celebrating charges against Rod Petricevic by drinking champagne taken from Bridgecorp’s offices.

•Cameron Slater (Whale Oil blogger): A friend of Collins, he claimed she was “gunning” for Feeley while she was Police Minister, but later admitted to the inquiry that his comment may have been over-blown.

•Carrick Graham (lobbyist): Paid blogger Cathy Odgers (Cactus Kate) to counter negative media attention for Hanover boss Mark Hotchin, whom the SFO was investigating. Ms Odgers used Slater’s blog to get a wider audience for the campaign.

•Anita Killeen (former SFO staffer): Leaked damaging information about Feeley. Later pleaded guilty to forging an email which appeared to be sent by Feeley. She was discharged without conviction.

Feeley thought Collins overreacted to embarrassing news about a champagne celebration.

Former Justice Minister Judith Collins described a champagne stunt by fraud watchdog Adam Feeley as an “utter disaster” that threatened to overshadow the Government at a crucial time.

Mr Feeley believed Ms Collins had overreacted when the then Serious Fraud Office boss was found to have celebrated charges against Bridgecorp with champagne taken from its offices.

They seem to have since dealt with that.

Was it just bullshit bravado from Slater that dumped Collins into the shit-storm that resulted in her resignation from Cabinet?

What were he, Odgers and Graham playing at? And for whom?

Has Slater protected her by later denying his claims?

Slater speaks on behalf of the National party and on leaders

In ONE PARTY, TWO BOARDS, ONE LEADER Cameron Slater seems to be presenting himself as an alternate leader of National, speaking on the Party’s behalf.

Here’s one guarantee:  National will never enter into any kind of coalition or cup-of-tea agreement with the Conservative Party while Magic Hands Craig is still roaming the political scene.  He will need an electorate seat or get to 5%.  Either of those has the same chance of me winning the Miss Universe competition.

I’d be very surprised if National co-operate in any way with a Colin Craig led Conservative Party. But unlike Slater I’m not in a position to guarantee anything on behalf of a party.

Talking of leaders, or in this case potential leaders, Slater continues his ongoing attempt to diminish the prospects of a National leader of the future in EXPLAINING IS LOSING, PAULA.

In contrast to CRUSHER’S BAAAACK in which he promotes his pet choice for leader of the future

Judith Collins has a hard hitting column in the Sunday Star-Times showing her mettle again on law and order.

He goes on to explain:

And if Judith Collins was still Justice Minister, as she should be, the law would be changed.

Unexplained is why Whale Oil didn’t feature this:

Jarrod Gilbert: Collins’ defence of police offending indefensible

So common is political foolishness that it has become barely remarkable. But wrong in principle and crooked in logic, Judith Collins’ effort last week was a special example.

In a newspaper column, Collins expressed outrage that charges relating to the Red Devils Motorcycle Club were dropped due to what Justice David Collins described as “serious misconduct” and possible “serious criminal offending” by police. She bristled at the suggestion that any action be taken against the offending police officers.

Judith Collins is of the view that police can break the law in performing their duties based on the rationale that their job is dangerous and important. She was defending, among other things, the police forging a court document.

Gilbert concludes:

In instances like this, we should be grateful for the separation of state powers and an independent judiciary.

Judith Collins’s view on this is frightful. A former justice minister should not need reminding that the integrity of the justice system is paramount. And that the police are not above the law.

The party Slater appears to speak on behalf of, National, has one leader, one ambitious demoted MP and one political activist/occasional journalist still hoping he hasn’t done any damages to that MP’s chances of resurgence into leadership contention, or ignoring or oblivious to the taint he exposes her to.

‘Rule number 1’ is fairly stupid

In one of his growing number of ‘John bad, Judith good’ posts Cameron Slater highlights one of his hypocrisies. Having done a lot of trying to explain many things (apart from what happened to Freed and why he hasn’t denied paying Ben Rachinger to hack The Standard) he reverts back to one of his so-called political rules:


Leadership should be a truism. You are the leader because there is no other alternative.

When it no longer become s a truism then your leadership is in question. It may be still solid, but questions are now being asked.

And when those questions are asked you get forced into breaking Rule Number 1 in politics.

1. If you are explaining, you are losing

Why he wants to highlight that when he has post so much over the last year is a bit baffling.

In a round about way Slater is trying to explain that he thinks John Key is nearly history and Judith Collins is the heir apparent (if you forget everything that’s been revealed over the past year).

Unless leaders have surnames like Stalin or Pinochet then they have a basic responsibility to explain quite a few things on an ongoing basis.

If John Key is having to explain to his members that he is definitely sticking around then there are problems.  

Explaining is losing and there are increasing signs that there is pressure.

What Slater doesn’t explain is that he’s trying to talk up some pressure. Except scepticism is now rule number 1 when considering Slater style politics. It’s only bloggers like Slater and Greg Presland who try to convince people who never listen to things like The rise of Collins and the decline of Key.

Don’t expect wither Slater or Presland to explain why they are promoting the same futility.

But Slater goes on to try his best to explain how Key will lose his leadership. And he concludes:

When the polls start moving then you will see more action on finding a replacement for John Key.

The polls move around all the time. National have fluctuated between about 44% and 55% over the last few years. There has been no sign of ‘more action’ with any of those movements so far.

But expect Slater to try and keep explaining his strategy, frequently.

I’m waiting for a good explanation of why John is bad and Judith is good for National. And I’d be fascinated by any explanation as to why Slater is good for Collins’ prospects.

Key remains committed

John Key has told National’s Northland regional conference that he’s as determined to still lead National in 2017 as he was in 2008.

NZ Herald reports John Key determined to stick around.

Prime Minister John Key has scotched speculation he could stand down this term, telling National Party faithful in Northland that he is just as determined to lead National in 2017 as he was in 2008.

Mr Key’s speech to National’s Northland regional conference at Waitangi was his first on home soil after a torrid fortnight dominated by questions about his pulling a waitress’ ponytail.

He avoided directly referring to that incident in his speech but made it clear he did not intend to quit: “I am just as committed today to leading National to victory at the next election as I was when first taking up the role as your leader in November 2006.”

Mr Key also gave a behaviour pledge of sorts, referring to the need for hard work, oversight and good judgment.

He said he did not take the high levels of support in the polls for granted. “You have my strong commitment that I will do everything I can to lead a strong Government and a strong National Party as we face the next two and a half years until the 2017 election.”

This will please staunch National supporters and dismay the left.

It may also dismay some on the right. Judith Collins played down her comeback ambitions on Q & A yesterday:

Judith Collins is happy as Larry in her role as member for Papakura and dismisses any chatter of a come back.

The former justice minister says she’s getting on with her work, having fun, and leaving it up to the Prime Minister when/if she will re-enter Cabinet.

“Obviously I would like to be back in Cabinet,” Ms Collins told Q A this morning.

Asked if she was planning a come back, Ms Collins fired back, “what come back?

But fanboy Cameron Slater seems to have different ideas. Yesterday he posted:


When the media regularly speculate about what is to happen after you’re gone, it is an indicator that you are in the autumn of your political career.

It continues to amaze me how little political journalists understand of the National Party’s internal leadership processes.

They continue to confuse the apparent outward popularity of an MP with the public as a critical factor.

Not so.

But that aside, the talk about “after Key” has started.

Slater has been talking about “after Key” ever since Judith Collins was dropped from Cabinet.

Unusually for him he posted the full transcript of Collins’ interview in JUDITH COLLINS INTERVIEWED BY HEATHER DU PLESSIS-ALLEN ON Q&A.

But if Key stands again in 2017 and wins then time is running out for Collins’ (or Slater’s) leadership ambitions. By 2020 Collins will be a politician with a long past – she was first elected in 2002 and is seen as of Key’s generation.

Even if Key loses in 2017 National may look to a new generation of leadership. Paula Bennett is often talked about as a potential successor to Key.

But anything could happen. Slater may become a credible power broker.

In the meantime Key looks set to continue and Collins herself looks set to bide her time and see what opportunities may arise.


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