‘Not a leader’

Is the ‘not a leader’ strategy wise?

In his ‘state of the nation’ speech Andrew Little said:

We got a new Prime Minister last year. But we don’t have a leader.

Since taking the reins, Bill English has failed his first tests of leadership.

He should be at Waitangi next weekend, representing all the people of New Zealand on our national day. But he won’t be.

He should be here in Mt Albert, making the case for his government in the by-election. But he isn’t.

He should have fired the failed housing Minister, his friend Nick Smith. But he didn’t.

Bill English is a competent bean counter. But he’s showing he’s not a leader.

This theme was repeated by Labour MPs on Twitter.

Anthony Robins continued the strategy at The Standard: A PM but not a leader.

But it’s a risky line from Little.

Herald editorial: Bill English has 8 months to answer Labour’s challenge

Little’s speech contained a challenging line that the country had a new Prime Minister but not a leader. He cited English’s absence from Waitangi, his ducking the Mt Albert byelection and failure to fire a “failed” housing minister, Nick Smith. But what Little really meant was, English is still following in the footsteps of Key. Little will be hoping English will take the bait and do something to distinguish himself from National’s sure-footed previous leader.

But perhaps it’s a challenge at least as important for little – to look like a leader who could be a Prime Minister.

Audrey Young writes:

Little’s incredible tin-ear on Waitangi has persisted for several weeks. Despite his own MP Kelvin Davis now expounding on the dysfunction at Te Tii Marae, Little is still going on about English not going to Waitangi as a failure of leadership. As English said yesterday: “I hope he keeps on saying it.”


Previous Post


  1. Gezza

     /  February 4, 2017

    The LF & I watched the brief coverage of Bill English’s attendance and discussion at Orakei marae yesterday. It was reported by Corin Dann, the only sensible & intelligent political reporter on NZ tv. Bill came across as reasonable, positive, & even presidential. He scored big at Ratana speaking so much Maori – which surprised everyone.

    The LF remarked to “that Little man, I’ve decided, is an idiot. Did you hear him the other day? Does he seriously expect the Prime Minister of New Zealand, right at the moment, to instantly publicly criticise every stupid thing that Donald Trump, the President of America, says & does? Can you imagine what he might be saying if he were the Prime Minister, when the sensible thing to do is keep your head down & wait & see what that fool is actually really like & how he reacts to any little country like New Zealand telling him what to do. I think I’ll actually be voting National. I think Bill English, when I think about it, has actually been doing a good job, & I think Andrew Little is an idiot.”

    I think the LF might be on to something.

    • Nice, sensible, speaks Te Reo, gave us best economy in Western World, versus speaks weasel words & aye by gum Shop Floor and wouldn’t know a Treasury Forecast if he fell over it.

      Go with LF’s assessment.

  2. Conspiratoor

     /  February 4, 2017

    Little is correct if course. But the headline got me thinking. Has this country ever had a leader in the sense of true leadership? Conclusion – at least not in my lifetime

    • PDB

       /  February 4, 2017

      Little is neither a competent bean counter or leader so Bill is already up on him.

  3. I for one am also comfortable with a leader that knows his stuff and gets on with Governing rather than self aggrandisement and who does not see any profit in slagging opponents for the sake of satisfying personal ego. Compare Little and Peter’s approach!

    • PDB

       /  February 4, 2017

      Leadership comes in many forms none of which I’ve seen from Andrew Little.

      • Yes PDB, he is what I call an Autocratic leader, a bit like some young subalterns who have not yet learned the style of Democratic leaders, the ones who know they do not have a monopoly of the truth, and can identify and use the best talents of individuals to the benefit of the team achieving its purpose.

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 4, 2017

    Bill English has shown that he is not prepared to go to Waitangi and be insulted, which he almost certainly would have been, thus drawing the teeth of those who have been waiting all year to do so. He did it with dignity and didn’t make a big issue of it. 10/10. The wannabe insulters must feel very silly.