Mark Mitchell confirms leadership bid

As signalled, Mark Mitchell has confirmed he is putting himself forward fort the leadership of the National Party.  This will put him up against Amy Adams, Simon Bridges and Judith Collins.

Mitchell is 49, and has been the MP for the Rodney electorate since 2011 after taking over from Lockwood Smith.

He has some interesting things to say in an RNZ interview with John Campbell – he came across reasonably well but needs to gains some confidence talking to media.

He promoted his leadership skills gained working in the police force and in private security business in New Zealand and overseas.

He was asked about his connection with Dirty Politics. He was adamant he had not engaged Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater to attack opponents when standing for the national nomination to stand in a safe electorate. He said that Nicky Hager’s claims were wrong, and could have been cleared up if he had taken the time to talk to Mitchell (Hager didn’t approach anyone fore verification or rebuttal).

Mitchell was asked how conservative he was given he had voted against the Marriage Equality bill. I was impressed by his response.

He said that as it was a conscience vote (meaning MPs can vote however they like, with no party whipping), he polled his electorate, had electorate meetings, and then voted for the majority view of his electorate. If that’s actually how things worked I applaud him for that – MPs should represent their constituents, not their own personal beliefs.

Both Mitchell and National have had huge majorities in the last three elections so it would be no surprise that the electorate view is relatively conservative. Rodney results in the last few elections:

  • 2005 (Lockwood Smith) – 20,651 votes (55.27%
  • 2008 (Lockwood Smith) – 22.698 votes (60.41%)
  • 2011 (Mark Mitchell) – 20,253 votes (53.54%) – Colin Craig got 21.23%
  • 2014 (Mark Mitchell) – 24,519 votes (63.00%)
  • 2017 (Mark Mitchell) – 28,140 votes (63.14%)

Mitchell is probably the outsider at this stage but gives the National caucus another option to ponder.

RNZ:  Mark Mitchell joins the National leadership race

 

80 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  February 19, 2018

    This guy believes he can be Prime Minister of New Zealand?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  February 19, 2018

      Is he lacking in fish and chip shop experience Robert?

      • Corky

         /  February 19, 2018

        He has too much real world experience. But, if you put your name forward, surely you must believe you are in with a chance to win the leadership? National doesn’t do quota, and co-leaders.

        • Blazer

           /  February 19, 2018

          the new Colin Craig…

          • Corky

             /  February 19, 2018

            Be thankful Colin became infatuated with another women, otherwise he would have been in parliament.

          • Jonathan Roe

             /  February 19, 2018

            Corky, you may jest. But this is the far-right of the Nats gaining power. Mitchell will become Conservative Party leader, and that party will be back in parliament courtesy of his safe Rodney seat. The Nats will have a bedfellow again. And remember, Mitchell and Collins are backed by the same attack dogs – Lusk, Slater and Barking Associates. So, it’s Punch (or shoot, MM’s case) and Judy v Adams and Bridges.

            • “Mitchell and Collins are backed by the same attack dogs”

              Is there any evidence of this? Of course Slater has made it clear he backs Collins, but there is no indication on WO yet what his position on Mitchell is, and I would have expected that if he was in any way backing Mitchell he would have posted about his leadership bid yesterday. I haven’t any sign of this. And he has so far just about ignored Mitchell since it became known he was thinking of putting himself forward.

            • robertguyton

               /  February 20, 2018

              Stop it, Pete! (You’re looking silly!).

  2. robertguyton

     /  February 19, 2018

    He
    was
    a
    mercenary.

    • robertguyton

       /  February 19, 2018

      mercenary
      ˈməːsɪn(ə)ri/Submit
      adjective
      1.
      primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics.
      “she’s nothing but a mercenary little gold-digger”
      synonyms: money-oriented, grasping, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious, covetous, rapacious, bribable, venal, materialistic; informalmoney-grubbing
      “research suggests that buyers are unashamedly mercenary”
      noun
      1.
      a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army.
      “he had planned to seize power with the aid of a group of mercenaries”
      synonyms: soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hireling; More

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  February 20, 2018

        That post demonstrates the ethical void you live in Robert using a perjorative use of a word to slur someone identified by its formal meaning.

        I find that contemptible.

    • Corky

       /  February 19, 2018

      Jacinda has dodged bullets? Maybe a beheading? Thinking about how she will exit the Chippie Shop without dying?

    • Can you provide proof of that claim?

      All up he spent eight years in the Middle East, first working for a British contractor providing security to the Coalition Provisional Authority and training Iraqi security forces.

      Mitchell eventually set up his own security firm based in Kuwait but working across the Middle East and further afield, where he developed expertise in kidnap and ransom negotiations, as well as extricating hostages.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11846952

      • robertguyton

         /  February 19, 2018

        “There are things he will not talk about. He is likely the only MP who will not confirm or deny whether he has killed anyone. “I don’t answer that question.”
        !!!
        “Ever killed anyone, Jacinda?”
        No.
        “Mark?”
        * Looong silence.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 20, 2018

          Ever saved anyone’s life, Jacinda? Nope. Mark? Probably a number of times.

          • Blazer

             /  February 20, 2018

            he has never saved anybodys life….was a mercenary,probably driving a truck or handing out…meals.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 20, 2018

              Apart from his rescue work overseas he was a police dog handler in NZ who most likely helped track missing people.

              Your aspersions are as misplaced as your assumptions.

            • Blazer

               /  February 20, 2018

              the dog tracks thepeople…and sometimes bites them.Who did he rescue overseas?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 20, 2018

              Maybe if Garner had asked we would know?

          • Blazer

             /  February 20, 2018

            I know a bloke who worked as a health and safety officer in Iraq..30k a month…main job ,staying behind the wire…and staying alive.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 20, 2018

              I know a man who didn’t go to Iraq but thinks it ok to disparage those who did. And he’s as irrelevant to this debate as your bloke.

      • Blazer

         /  February 21, 2018

        ‘ where he developed expertise in kidnap and ransom negotiations, as well as extricating hostages.’…great backstory or fairy tale…where’s the evidence.

    • Blazer

       /  February 20, 2018

      Mitchell was not in the army…and is embellishing his record,by his neither confirm nor deny…act…the truth..
      https://www.quora.com/How-were-private-military-contractors-mercenaries-used-and-utilized-in-modern-wars-like-Iraq

  3. No WO coverage so far, which suggests he isn’t backing two horses in the race.

    • chrism56

       /  February 19, 2018

      Getting even more desperate aren’t you Blazer, having to rely on a fringe group flake for comment? Or is that the only person you can find in a Google search? Did he actually fire weapons at Iraqis or work for the military – security forces also include police? Or is that irrelevant? And what is the difference between Mr Mitchell and the current Minister of Defense?
      Do tell.

      • Blazer

         /  February 20, 2018

        Mark was in the NZ Army.Mitchell was a mercenary…pretty ..clear.

        • chrism56

           /  February 20, 2018

          No his wasn’t – he had left the army and was in the Sultan of Oman’s force. Another fail Blazer

          • Blazer

             /  February 20, 2018

            Ron Mark was in the NZ Army…fact…he’s not in it..now.

            • chrism56

               /  February 20, 2018

              Crap Blazer He was in the NZ Army up until about 1984. He resigned/retired then and joined the Sultan of Oman’s army. That was why he got those medals.
              You are spinning as much as the dervish

            • Blazer

               /  February 20, 2018

              wtf..you just said he was in the army!Was Michell in the..army..ever?

            • chrism56

               /  February 20, 2018

              And he never served with the SAS in the sense he was one of them. He might have shared tasks or joint exercises, but he never got the beret, despite the impression he tries to put across.
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10671265

            • Blazer

               /  February 20, 2018

              I haven’t mentioned medals or the S.A.S.

            • chrism56

               /  February 20, 2018

              I know you haven’t because they would have destroyed your own argument and even you are rarely that stupid..
              He deserved those medals, but he got them because he was a member of another country’s army In other words, a mercenary.

            • Blazer

               /  February 21, 2018

              I see ,so you are in effect…arguing with yourself,given your psychic ability to deduce what I may not bother…to..say.

    • Source: Auckland Peace Action

      Any respected sources?

  4. robertguyton

     /  February 19, 2018

    “National MP Mark Mitchell, newly appointed as Defence Minister, was a mercenary fighter in Iraq during the bloodiest period of the US occupation. His appointment signals what a pro-war, pro-US empire government this National Party really is,” said Auckland Peace Action spokesperson Virginia Lambert.

    “Mark Mitchell not only went freely and willingly to fight in an illegal war of aggression, but he made a profit out of it. It is disgusting.”

    “More than a million people are dead in Iraq because of the US’s war. Mark Mitchell was one of thousands who went to occupy and repress the local people on behalf of the US.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1704/S00291/new-defence-minister-a-mercenary-in-us-wars.htm

    • That’s like quoting Slater making claims about Greens. Can you do any better than come up with the first Google hit to try and back up your claim?

      • robertguyton

         /  February 19, 2018

        Let’s ask him if he’s ever killed anyone, shall we?
        Pete – a killer for Prime Minister of New Zealand?
        Neither confirm nor deny.
        Oh dear!

      • chrism56

         /  February 19, 2018

        Note in the Herald article after the APA claim, it says
        “Such comments frustrate Mitchell, who says he was not a mercenary and has no qualms now about the work he did. “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I’m… quietly proud, I’m not someone that shouts it from the rooftops — I’m a Kiwi after all. But I’m proud of the difference we made in people’s lives in terms of their security and ability to get on with their lives.”
        He points to work he did such as opening mass graves with scientists from the Hague gathering evidence for the war crimes trial of Saddam Hussein. “When you’re opening mass graves and you’re finding the remains of babies clinging to mums, it’s a pretty clear reminder of the atrocities which were taking place. That was a very, very tough job for everyone involved. Instead of questioning why we were there, all it does is provide more resolve in terms of knowing there had to be changes made.”
        That work on war graves makes him a bit higher up the virtue totem than the Green’s Goli, doesn’t it?

        • Blazer

           /  February 19, 2018

          ‘When you’re opening mass graves and you’re finding the remains of babies clinging to mums, ‘….really.

    • Gezza

       /  February 19, 2018

      National Party Team Webpage puts it this way:

      Born on the North Shore, Mark spent his early years living on Whenuapai Air Force Base where his father was a Flight Lieutenant. He later attended Rosmini College in Auckland and worked in the farming sector after leaving school.

      In 1989, Mark joined the New Zealand Police, and was a member of the Dog Section and Armed Offender’s Squad. During his time in the Dog Section, Mark and his dog Czar were stabbed during an armed encounter in Rotorua. Czar made a full recovery, but Mark never regained the full use of his right arm.

      After leaving the police, Mark relocated overseas and launched an international business career, including the start-up of his own company specialising in hostage rescue, supply chain security, and risk management. Working closely with the World Economic Forum, he helped establish logistic emergency response teams that provided humanitarian support in countries hit by natural disasters, such as the Philippines, Pakistan, and Haiti. He was also a member of the executive management team of several global companies, including one of the biggest logistics companies in the world.

      Mark entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2011 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Rodney electorate. In 2016, he was appointed as the Minister of Statistics, Minister for Land Information, and Associate Minister of Justice. In 2017, he was promoted to Cabinet and appointed as the Minister of Defence.

      Mark has previously served as the Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and Deputy Chair of the Law and Order Committee. Following the change in Government in September 2017, he is now the Opposition Spokesperson for Defence, and the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.

      Mark enjoys the kiwi lifestyle and spending time with his family in their hometown of Orewa.

      Wikipedia adds the following tidbits

      Mitchell has had two previous marriages, and is currently married to Peggy Bourne, who is the widow of rally driver Possum Bourne.

      His grandfather was Frank Gill, a cabinet minister between 1975 and 1980.

      • Gezza

         /  February 19, 2018

        I might say as a personal note that I don’t think that highly of security contractors who took up the opportunity to make money off the US under-resourced, privatised, illegal, invasion of Iraq. The world, especially Europe, & Syria & Iraq, have paid a heavy price for that disaster.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 20, 2018

          Why? You have no idea of what they did and how. Just because the US politicians successively botched policy and implementation doesn’t mean everyone involved behaved badly.

          • Gezza

             /  February 20, 2018

            Because the whole invasion & occupation situation stank. It reeked of particularly US corporations & companies & private security contractors looking to roar in & exploit the invasion & destruction & US control to make big bucks across a whole range of activities in support of another unjustified & botched US invasion which predictably made things worse for the local population & unpredicted, for the entire region, & the rest of the world than they were before.

            There’s just been an international conference where Iraq sought 100 billion to rebuild its shattered infrastructure & country. Nothing pledged by the invaders’ countries coming anything near what it will cost.

            NZ didn’t join that invasion because it was wrong. Private Security contractors can be perceived as mercenary – if not technically mercenaries – because they were there for the money & they got involved in killing Iraqis resisting the occupation of their countries. Easy to tart up the mercenary aspect by implying nobler motives, but give no details.

    • Gezza

       /  February 19, 2018

      If he was successful he would be up against this person. The Labour Party Team webpage describes her this way:

      Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, and grew up rurally. She attended a Morrinsville College before graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Politics and Public Relations.

      Post-university, she worked as an advisor in the office of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, in London for the Government Cabinet Office and as an Assistant Director in the Department for Business and Enterprise, and on a review of Policing in England and Wales.

      The Prime Minister joined the New Zealand Labour Party at age 18 and entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2008. Over her nine years as a representative she has been a strong advocate for children, women, and the right of every New Zealander to have meaningful work.

      She became the MP for the Auckland electorate Mt Albert in early 2017, and the Leader of the Labour Party in August 2017. As well as Prime Minister, she holds the roles of Minister for National Security and Intelligence, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, an issue particularly close to her heart.

      Wikipedia adds the following tidbits:
      Ideologically, Ardern describes herself as both a social democrat and a progressive

      Ardern was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but left the church in 2005 because, she said, it conflicted with her personal views (in particular her support for gay rights).[In January 2017 Ardern identified as “agnostic”.

      Her partner is television presenter Clarke Gayford. They had a ginger and white polydactyl cat named Paddles, which became a celebrity as the “First Cat” after Ardern took office, even having a Twitter account established in its name. Paddles died in early November 2017 after being hit by a car in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier.

      On 19 January 2018, Ardern announced that she was pregnant and expecting her first child in June.

    • robertguyton

       /  February 19, 2018

      Greenpeace were cited in “Dirty Politics”, Pete?

      • robertguyton

         /  February 19, 2018

        Auckland Peace Action, rather. I don’t remember reading about them. Saw Slater’s name alot though. And Collins’.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 19, 2018

      @Robert, that has to be one of the most stupid commentaries seen here for some time. Saddam didn’t need any help to “repress the local people”. Nor did the Sunnis and Shias need any encouragement to repress each other.

  5. Blazer

     /  February 19, 2018

    Convinced Adams will win…now…deputy Joyce or Bridges.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 19, 2018

      I think Collins/Mitchell might be a winning team. Can see them giving the woolly Left a few nightmares.

      • Gezza

         /  February 19, 2018

        He was too briefly (as usual) on 1ewes. Something not quite likeable about him from that. Can’t quite say what. Something about the eyes & smile seemed a bit off somehow. Will watch out to see more of him. Two authoritarians might be a bad pairing, if that’s how he is.

        • Blazer

           /  February 19, 2018

          agree with Partisan…another Ross Meurant….on ‘steroids’.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  February 19, 2018

            No, I don’t think so. Got a more entrepreneurial and business background.

            • Blazer

               /  February 20, 2018

              entrepreneurial…’In 2005 Ross became a domicile abroad progressively establishing a network of commerce and financiers from: Zimbabwe to Croatia; Czech Rep to Russia; Syria to Solomon Islands.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  February 20, 2018

              Left Parliament in 1996. It’s bad form to claim qualifications a decade before you’ve earned them, B.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  February 19, 2018

          Eyes looked ok to me. Smile needs a bit of work. Could go with assassin but might just be a bit of newby nerves. Has got quite a people background so I think he could soften Collins a bit. They’d be a formidable pair.

          • Gezza

             /  February 19, 2018

            Know anything about the two previous wives? Lange’s ex-missus got a bit of media attention.

      • Blazer

         /  February 19, 2018

        Robbie Williams has endorsed Mitchell…

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 19, 2018

    Mitchell another male Catholic with 5 kids. Shades of Bolger and English. But he handles dogs so Lurch will vote for him.

  7. Blazer

     /  February 20, 2018

    [Deleted. Don’t present as a quote something with no evidence of a quote. PG]

  8. High Flying Duck

     /  February 20, 2018

    The Hager’s have added their weight to the Mitchell Campaign offering FREE PR in the form of the Chapter on him from DP:

    https://dirtypoliticsnz.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dirty-politics_p55-67.pdf