Bridges hopeless off-script

Simon Bridges stood for the deputy leadership of the National Party after John Key stepped down in December 2016, and failed.

He has now put himself forward for the leadership position being left vacant by Bill English.

RNZ: National leader vote: Bridges touts ‘generational change’

Simon Bridges has made a pitch for leader of the National Party, and tells Guyon Espiner he’s the most experienced candidate who can also usher in generational change.

A comment via email:

It’s a must listen if you haven’t, it’s a complete cluster whenever he’s taken off script. I find it bizarre that he can’t even give a crisp answer to what his biggest achievement in politics has been to date. They are basically free hit questions. Very reminiscent of Shearer I thought.

The interview begins:

Espiner: What is your pitch?

Bridges: I I suppose it’s you know as an individual, that I’m a a the right blend if you like of generational change I’m forty one I’ve got a young family, ah and experience um you know I’m not green as grass if you like, I’ve held a raft of very senior portfolios Labour Energy Transport Economic Development and so on, so you know I I I understand Government very well. I think it’s also um you know if you look at me broad, more broadly I think  I’m someone with broad appeal ah for New Zealanders I’m Maori um ah I’ve given you some of my background in government I’ve said before that I was a criminal lawyer, a prosecutor, do very serious work there…

And he went on, and on, and on. His opening sentence ran until 1:43 into the interview.

That pitch is unlikely to appeal narrowly let alone broadly. Bridges has repeated Jacinda Ardern’s generational change approach, but there is a stark contrast with Ardern’s effortless ability to speak positively and clearly.

He was then asked about the significance of being the first Maori leader of National. He waffled, admitted his te reo was not as good as Espiner’s, and waffled. Then:

Espiner: I’ll make it easy for you – are there any Maori issues that you want to talk about now that you would push if you were leader?

Bridges: Look, I I I couldn’t give you one, I couldn’t say it’s going to be X Y Z. I think what I can say to you though, is that…

Espiner: Ok, I’ll make it easier still. I’ll make it easier still eh? Is there any policy that you would push if you were leader? Any new policy?

Bridges: Ye… ah ah I I’m I don’t think I’m going to say to you today, because actually I’ll give you the reason why, because I think…

Who cares why he doesn’t want to give an answer giving some idea of what he might stand for. He waffled for some time with a non-answer.

Espiner: Can I ask you what’s your biggest achievement in politics?

Bridges: To date. Um I I I think you’d say there are a raft of things I’m proud of. I mean I…one particular thing that made a real difference I think it was being Transport Minister um overseeing a very large uptick in infrastructure investment that has really made the difference. Significant projects around the country…zzzz…

He says he has really changed how transport is done in New Zealand. Road deaths rising, dire congestion getting worse in Auckland? He didn’t specify.

It’s fair to say that Bridges was hopeless in this interview.  Perhaps he speaks much better in the National caucus and can convince a majority of the MPs to back him, but on this performance he should have dashed any hope of becoming leader.

It was awful.

It looks like it should be a contest between Amy Adams and Judith Collins.

 

 

 

43 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  February 18, 2018

    I think what I can say to you is that of all politicians in recent times Steven Joyce is just about the best at using “what I can say to you”. What I can say to you though is that as good as Joyce is, at the end of the day Simon Bridges has got him well and truly beaten.

  2. Zedd

     /  February 18, 2018

    SB is in the same mold as the last two Natl leaders; loud words & fist pumping.. but no REAL substance !
    btw; the overuse of ‘brillcreme’ it definitely not ‘a good look’ 😀

    • There was a clear lack of substance in the RNZ interview, an incompetent lack of preparedness or detail.

    • David

       /  February 18, 2018

      The last 2 National leaders have no substance ! in comparison to Ardern and Robertson who have forged successful careers working in Helens office you make a great point.

  3. David

     /  February 18, 2018

    I dont even want to listen to it, I can just imagine the awfulness of it. Nice guy but you can see it working out like Shearer did.

  4. Blazer

     /  February 18, 2018

    summing up the last 2 Nat leaders….Key=smile and wave,and lie,and lie some more.
    English….I’m boring,dry but competent,everyone says so…there are no silver bullet solutions.

    • Zedd

       /  February 18, 2018

      Natl ‘leaders’ need to remember.. there is only so many ways to say ‘We are Neo-liberals, who really believe that if you give 90% of everything to the top 10% it will trickle down’.. (even if this is widely discredited now) mind the gap folks 😦

      Natl Policy priorities:
      1) Money,
      2) Money,
      3) Money
      4) is there really anything else, to worry about, beside MONEY ?

      😀 😀 😀

      • PDB

         /  February 18, 2018

        Is that the same ‘trickle down’ theory that the left uses when giving bad parents more money to waste on themselves and saying that will help lift their neglected kids out of poverty?

        • phantom snowflake

           /  February 18, 2018

          In your world apparently all the poor are morally inferior and undeserving; whereas you can rest smugly in the knowledge that your comparative wealth is proof of your moral superiority. You’re the original Jack in “I’m Alright Jack”.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  February 18, 2018

            Not sure if that quite made sense, but near enough…

          • PDB

             /  February 18, 2018

            Bit of generalization & alternative facts there Snowflake – point out where I say all the ‘poor are morally inferior’ and also your proof that I’m ‘comparatively wealthy’ – wouldn’t want to think you were just making up nasty smears.

            Cheers!

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 18, 2018

              You’ve dissed the poor often enough to establish the distinction between Them and You, and here you go again with your implication that child poverty is caused by “bad parents”.

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              Where do I say child poverty is only caused by bad parents? Or is that your interpretation?

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              Whilst we are at it please point out in my original post where I mention ‘poor people’ at all? Or did I just mention ‘bad parents’? Do only ‘poor people’ receive govt assistance in terms of some form of welfare?

              Under the govt child poverty measurements can only ‘poor people’ have ‘kids in poverty’ (think carefully on that one).

              Are you actually the one making the connection between ‘poor people’ & ‘bad parents’ and not me?

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 18, 2018

              “Where do I say…” Your implication is clear, not using the word ‘only‘ doesn’t get you off the hook. So we can have ‘poverty’ without being ‘poor’?? Congratulations, you’re better with words than me, but no amount of twisting of words is going to hide your deficit of compassion and empathy which in my view makes you less of a whole person than you could be.

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              You have again failed to answer the question – under the child poverty measurements we utilise can children be in poverty but their families are not? The answer is yes they can.

              Your ‘view’ is a nonsense & one you are perfectly entitled to make. My view (which you are confused about) is that giving parents more money doesn’t necessarily mean better outcomes for their children – hence the left assuming the ‘trickle down’ theory actually works. Broadly speaking throwing more money at a problem doesn’t necessarily fix the problem.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 18, 2018

              PDB: You seem to be saying that ‘Child Poverty” is not an economic issue but a moral one. (“bad parents”.) Sounds like prejudice to me, do you live in a bubble? I hope one day the poor will climb over the walls of the gated community of your mind.

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              Child poverty is for a variety of reasons, sometimes all of them and sometimes one of them depending on the situation, but it isn’t purely economic as you would be suggesting. Hell, most familes classed as having children in child poverty don’t even have a child poverty problem.

              Child poverty measurements are farcical and actually could be doing more harm than good by overstating the seriousness of the problem (hence the public ignore it as an actual problem) and getting more help to those children really living in poverty is made more difficult.

              You need to get out more to find out what is actually happening under your nose & stop being such a snowflake.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 18, 2018

              Nice try but I have to say that someone who consistently promotes hard right views here is very unlikely to regularly rub shoulders with the poor. Have spent many a year at the coalface myself; thanks for your invitation to talk about my work, but I decline.

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              You definitely need to get out more if you think I promote ‘hard right’ views! Hilarious!

        • Blazer

           /  February 18, 2018

          @PDB what common factors do ‘bad parents’ exhibit…?

          • PDB

             /  February 18, 2018

            Neglecting their kids when they have the means to look after them is one…

            • Blazer

               /  February 18, 2018

              so financial status of parents is not a major …factor?

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              It is but one factor amongst many & the one the country has been addressing for decades through increased & generous welfare payments.

              Do you really believe with a flick of a pen and some extra money being given to families thousands of kids overnight are suddenly not in poverty?

            • Blazer

               /  February 18, 2018

              NZ is a wealthy country..it can afford to house and feed every family…neo liberal politics as practiced by the right, blame the under class for their dilemma….and pay lip service to addressing…inequality.

            • PDB

               /  February 18, 2018

              That’s rubbish of course – the right want to help people in need and then get them to a position of becoming self-sufficient, the left instead want to give these people more money (ideally unconditional) and then make them dependent on the govt of the day for even more money.

              The inequality argument is equally rubbish. Our main focus should be on raising the income of the bottom group, not reducing the income of the top 5% or so unless it can be proven they are dodging their tax responsibilities etc.

              NZ is screaming out for workers at the moment and no better time to make a move into the workforce if a person is capable of doing so.

            • Blazer

               /  February 18, 2018

              exploiting labour is still top of the agenda for these over paid businessmen,who have the ear of..Govt.$426,000 a yr…for Norris at F.BU…the biggest flop..since Sir Selwyn Cushing who brought Air NZ to its knees…bailed out by the..taxpayers …naturellement.

      • Corky

         /  February 18, 2018

        Money, eh, Zedd%. Like that massive benefit increase some beanies received?

        [Edited mistyped user name – PG]

        • Corky

           /  February 18, 2018

          Thanks, Pete. The first time was a mistake. I correct that, and reloaded, but it still did the same spelling on another two posts.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 18, 2018

        Try running a country without considering money, Zedd.

        You have no idea of what National did in those nine years from the sound of it – or don’t want to know.

    • PDB

       /  February 18, 2018

      Now with Ardern we have a ‘smile and wave’ but incompetent leader with useless MPs for support.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 18, 2018

        I would suggest that some people here look up the amount of tax that comes from a small % of the people paying tax.

        • PDB

           /  February 18, 2018

          Doesn’t make any difference Kitty – rich p***ks be damned!

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 18, 2018

            It would make a difference if the 3% were not paying the 28% of the tax.

            I am unimpressed that someone whose income is hitting $48,000 is not only paying no tax but is being given back an amount which is roughly what I have to live on-and upon which I pay tax. Guess which sector of the community is the only one not to have a damned thing done for them by Labour ? In case you can’t guess – it’s the singles on incomes so small that the poverty line looks like wealth. My tax is subbing people whose income is four or fives as much as mine.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 18, 2018

            five times

  5. PDB

     /  February 18, 2018

    That Bridges/ Campbell interview I remember well – it came not too long after Key’s expert dismantling of Campbell & his bizarre conspiracy theory (Campbell’s reputation took a huge hit that night which he has never recovered from) and Bridges decided to try and copy Key.

    The Bridges interview was a disaster where he came across as rude, angry and petulant. No doubt in my mind right there he would never be good leadership material. Obviously a very smart guy & by all accounts a good guy to talk to away from the public limelight but one that should work behind the scenes.

  6. David

     /  February 18, 2018

    The fact Bridges is even in the running shows how thin the talent pool is.

    • PDB

       /  February 18, 2018

      I think it shows what a ‘ticket’ he has on himself to run considering all his obvious drawbacks. I’d like to know who’s in his camp as well because they have no idea on what it takes to be PM.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 18, 2018

    Yep, that’s a strike out for sure by Bridges. Horrendous though hardly surprising to me since he never impressed as a thinker or doer.

    Collins vs Adams and anyone else?

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 18, 2018

      Yay! “Col lins … Col lins … Col Lins … Col Lins!”

      National Party officially places itself in hibernation for 6 – 9 years …

  8. Corky

     /  February 18, 2018

    Apparently he was a drummer in a cover band. That explains his inability to ad lib and jam.
    That he was being interviewed by a really wet liberal, and didn’t have the foresight to see Maori questions coming is inexcusable. Hell, this interviewer was making headlines a few weeks back for speaking Maori to people who weren’t interested. That was a great chance for a rebuke from Bridges that went begging.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 18, 2018

      Yes, a pathetic effort playing Maori identity card with no policy backing for it. No plan no brain. Goneburger.

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