National party leadership contest

After a lot of initial media attention the contest to become the next National Party leader and Leader of the Opposition seems to have become more of an in-house affair. This isn’t surprising given that the contenders only need to convince enough of the 56 National MPs top vote for them.

It is now expected no deal will be done and it will go to a vote in Caucus next Tuesday.

Most indications point to Amy Adams and Simon Bridges being the front runners, but both short of a majority.

Judith Collins seems to be popular amongst party members, or at least has successfully created that impression, but has few supporters in caucus.

Steven Joyce may have some powerful allies, but too few.

Mark Mitchell must have a hard task, unless his aim was to raise his profile with an eye to the future.

There is no point in trying to out-Ardern Jacinda Ardern. Her situation in rising to leadership was quite different, and her mastery of media muppets is unlikely to be matched. In addition, none of the candidates looks likely to become pregnant.

However National should be mindful of the fact that Ardern has pulled quite a bit of female support from other parties, including National.

Joyce and Mitchell are unlikely to swing that back. I have no idea whether Bridges would attract female votes but I doubt it.

Collins may get some female support but deter others.

And the Slater effect shouldn’t be underestimated. Collins has been associated with Slater in the past, and that led to a major hiccup in her political career – Slater ended up limiting the damage by claiming he had ’embellished’ stories that looked bad for Collins.

Mitchell used his services to get nominated for a safe electorate but now distances himself – however his inclusion in the leadership race has revived ‘Dirty Politics’ claims. Most of the wider public probably know or care little about Slater, but it is likely all of the 56 National MPs are well aware of his past, and his personal agendas and feuds. He looks politically toxic.

That leaves Adams. She could compete with Ardern as a successful female politician, but she can also differentiate on experience in actually achieving things. She was a high performing Minister in the last Government.

Any of Joyce, Bridges or Mitchell could provide a good balance as deputy to Adams. Joyce is way ahead on experience there, but if National want to show they are intent on rebuilding and looking forward one of the other two may be a better bet.

Adams as leader and Collins as a strong deputy would be an interesting combination, if they could work together. A double female team may be a step too far for National though.

Much may depend on how well the new leader can manage the National caucus, and keep it from splitting into factions. The MPs who choose will be wanting someone they feel they can prosper under.

Most predict at least two votes will be required, and possibly more until a clear leader is decided on.

29 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  February 24, 2018

    ‘Team Key…indeed….lost and….desperate….a uninspiring line up ,you’ll..ever see.

    • Maybe it has eluded your extremely sharp radar vision but Key is history and has been for some time.
      It’s 2018

      • robertguyton

         /  February 24, 2018

        We don’t hear much retrospective praise for Key these days; for his character or his achievements. It’s as though he wasn’t much chop after all (the hype).
        Donchareckon?

      • Blazer

         /  February 24, 2018

        ‘Black is black
        I want my Shonkey back
        It’s grey, it’s grey
        Since he went away, Ooh-Ooh
        What can I do
        ‘Cause I-I-I-I-I’m feelin’ BLUE’.

  2. Risking a lot , aren’t you PG, referring to them as media muppets? Not disputing that it is appropriate, though your description is perhaps a little too kind.

  3. Gezza

     /  February 24, 2018

    The government has the major advantage of immediate access to their army of public service advisors plus the media celebrity-culture promotion of Jacinda that saw this puff piece on the “First Bloke” headlining on Stuff earlier this morning:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/tv-guide/101701991/clarke-gayford-prepares-for-catch-of-a-lifetime

    It was also noticeable at Question Time on Thursday that two of their least professional-sounding Cabinet Ministers early on, Willie Jackson & Shane Jones, seemed to have suddenly smartened up their act, so the Government’s maybe now looking like they might be beginning know what they’re doing, & criticisms about their inexperience will soon be pointless.

    I notice that National in Opposition has some good performers, & some promising-looking newbies too, but they are going to struggle to get media attention.

  4. Matthew Hooton (NBR):

    Judith Collins is obviously the best candidate to lead National in opposition but she will be trounced on Tuesday.

    Since the election, the story goes, National has maintained its poll ratings and merely has to wait for the inevitable falling out between Labour and NZ First to regain power.

    Consequently, National MPs generally remain smug about the polls, ignoring they are now a whopping 10 points behind the Labour-Green axis. National should put safety first in an effort to maintain their current poll rating. Continuity is their friend. Change represents danger.

    In this world, Mr Joyce himself is the obvious candidate – or, failing him, Mark Mitchell who is publicly committed to leaving Mr Joyce’s power intact.

    Compared with Mr Mitchell, Ms Adams is far less enamoured of Mr Joyce and is privately promising to clip his wings. Mr Bridges has been unimpressed with Mr Joyce since his appalling behaviour after the sinking of the Rena and he would not remain finance spokesman under the Tauranga MP. Under Ms Collins, Mr Joyce would be expected to leave Parliament altogether.

    Instead of a decisive result, however, expect a compromise leadership team to emerge after a deal this weekend or a fourth ballot on Tuesday.

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/nats-risk-picking-goff-leader

    It’s hard to know when Hooton is speaking from political experience and with insider advice, and when he has some sort of vested interest in promoting a particular outcome.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 24, 2018

    Might be wrong but Adams doesn’t inspire and Bridges is plain incompetent from his radio interview train crash. It’s Collins or surrender IMO.

    • Patu

       /  February 24, 2018

      I must concur Alan. Bridges is as dumb as a bag of hammers. How he got re-elected down here is beyond my understanding. Perhaps it is due to the large population of elderly women in this electorate…

      • Blazer

         /  February 24, 2018

        good to see…you’re…out…again..Patu.

        • Patu

           /  February 24, 2018

          Nice to see you too Blazer. Did you know that you now automatically get parole after 1/3 of your sentence if the offence didn’t involve violence? Its good to be back, thank you for the welcome 🙂

  6. robertguyton

     /  February 24, 2018

    ” none of the candidates looks likely to become pregnant.”

  7. robertguyton

     /  February 24, 2018

    look

    • Gezza

       /  February 24, 2018

      I think we should leave it at this & wait for Kitty to rule on this one. None means “not one” in the sense used here, & in that sense the singular “looks” is probably grammatically correct.

  8. robertguyton

     /  February 24, 2018

    “www.dictionary.com/browse/none
    When the sense is “not any persons or things” (as in the example above), the plural is more common: … none were found. Only when none is clearly intended to mean “not one” or “not any” is it followed by a singular verb: Of all my articles, none has received more acclaim than my latest one.”
    “https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/none
    Usage. It is sometimes held that none can only take a singular verb, never a plural verb: none of them is coming tonight rather than none of them are coming tonight. There is little justification, historical or grammatical, for this view.”

    Tricky, that one.

    • Gezza

       /  February 24, 2018

      Bugger. I’ve overcooked me fish.
      I blame the Government!

  9. PDB

     /  February 24, 2018

    With ‘National-lite’ in power trying their best to copy the last govt economically & abandoning many of their election promises in the process does it matter who the National party leader is?

    The promised change (a big lurch to the left) hasn’t occurred, the Greens have been sidelined by Winston, and unless the new govt try to suddenly change things then the best National leader on offer today is actually Jacinda Ardern.

    • robertguyton

       /  February 24, 2018

      Just as Labour’s “best Leader” was Key, right?

  10. robertguyton

     /  February 24, 2018

    “In an apparent reply to growing discussions about his personal relationship with the war-for-profit sector, Mitchell told Kirk: “I completely reject the notion of war for profit … This ridiculous ‘war for profit’ stuff is just these peaceniks that just have no real understanding of what’s actually out there in the real world and the type of threats that exist and, actually, what you need to do to go out there and address them and tackle them head on.”

    Whether he rejects the notion of war for profit, or its label, the fact that Mitchell has made massive private profit from war is a fact.”

    Oh dear!

    • Gezza

       /  February 24, 2018

      That last sentence is very poorly written, though. It says that a fact is a fact. Well, dang! Obvously! An editor if they had one would tidied that up.

      • Gezza

         /  February 24, 2018

        * and would’ve made me write would’ve.

        • robertguyton

           /  February 24, 2018

          Oh dear! The last sentence says, “Oh dear!” and could hardly be described as “poorly written”. No matter, let’s not quibble. In any case, the writer could have written, “admission” in place of the first of the “facts” and satisfied us all, bar Mitchell, who sounds to me, pugnacious and defensive. A multi-millionaire as a result of his direct involvement in a war? National Party Leader material? Decide for yourself!

        • robertguyton

           /  February 24, 2018

          obvously it would’ve

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  February 24, 2018

      Lefty politicians making their fortune by slagging off their political enemies criticising a guy who made his money risking his life, Robert?

      • Gerrit

         /  February 24, 2018

        He will criticise you if you slag off a MP who rips off the welfare state…