At least Bridges is getting some publicity

Simon bridges has been nearly as invisible as Jacinda Ardern. The latter has been on maternity leave. The former has been touring the country meeting and talking to as many people as possible, but apart from local news that tends to be boring repeat speeches for the media.

As acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has been enjoying the limelight, and substantially overshadowing Bridges.

National are having their first conference in opposition for a decade, so Bridges is at least getting some publicity. Some of it self inflicted:

Not a great way of looking like a fresh new leader.

Newshub: Battle lines drawn at National Party conference

The battle lines have been drawn between Winston Peters and Simon Bridges, suggesting there’s little chance that National and New Zealand First could work together at the next election.

Mr Bridges is facing one of his biggest challenges yet as leader of the Opposition, convincing his own party he’s the man for the job.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard opened the National Party conference with a big ole whinge about last year’s election result.

“A very disappointing and unjust, unfair political result,” he called it.

That was very unhelpful for National. It’s time they moved on from being jilted by Peters at the post-election matchmaking, but, Bridges made things worse agreeing with it

“That result was a little hard to take.”

“I don’t expect the prime ministership to be handed to me on a platter.”

But Peters has been dominating Bridges, as he did again yesterday.

If, like last election, Mr Peters has anything to do with it, it won’t be.

“The chances of Simon Bridges lasting the next election – on the past National Party record – is not good,” says Mr Peters.

“I’ll tell you why Simon’s gone – Simon’s discovered so much of his past, a bit like Columbus discovered America, by accident.

“All of a sudden he’s decided that he’s a Māori. Nobody knew that before he got there.”

Mr Bridges responded, saying, “Winston gets weirder and weirder by the day.”

Mr Howard is his idol.

“John is my absolute hero – absolutely.”

I doubt there will be many Kiwis who give bridges any credit for worshipping a past it Aussie politician.

Stuff’s headline was negative for National: Fresh hostilities erupt between Winston Peters and National

Bad blood between Winston Peters and the National Party has erupted in a fresh war of words after the NZ First leader warned “the jackals” would soon be circling deputy Paula Bennett.

As National gathered for its first party conference since last year’s defeat, Peters also predicted leader Simon Bridges would be gone before the next election.

National president peter Goodfellow didn’t help: National dodged a ‘whisky-swilling’ bullet in Winston Peters

National Party President Peter Goodfellow has mounted an attack on Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, saying National had “dodged a whisky-swilling, cigarette-smoking, double-breasted and irrational bullet”.

Speaking at the National Party conference, Goodfellow said that in hindsight National had a lucky escape in Peters’ decision to side with Labour after the election last year and to send National into Opposition.

Senior MP Nick Smith later echoed Goodfellow’s sentiments, saying his worst time in politics was when he was around the Cabinet table with Peters in the 1990s.

National missed getting the numbers to form a government without Peters last year.

It is a very challenging goal if their aim is somehow sustain their support through a term in opposition and then grow it enough to form a government on their own in 2020, because at the moment that looks like their only option.

Bridges may be working well with James Shaw on climate change, but I don’t think Green party members will ever accept a coalition with National.

So National Party conference a bride short of a wedding

The National Party conference is something like a wedding with a nervous groom, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

The blue came in the new hues of blue on the conference programme, more calm and muted shades than the bright teal preferred by former Prime Minister John Key.

That programme cover promised the ‘new”. “new team, new ideas, new zealand ” it read, all in trendy lower case. The other ‘new’ was National’s place in Opposition rather than Government.

The old came in the form of Key himself, as well as reassuring noises for the more traditional National supporters from leader Simon Bridges that the party would stick to the old when it came to economic policies.

The borrowed was in the form of the announcement to restore and expand charter schools – a policy that was initially the Act Party’s.

It is a potentially risky conference as National’s first in Opposition in a decade and with Bridges struggling to get traction as preferred Prime Minister.

There was no open questioning about Bridges’ leadership or blood-letting about the election outcome.

But nor did anyone seem to question whether gunning for Peters was really a good idea given the one thing missing from National’s wedding party was a bride to walk up the aisle with in 2020.

Bringing the Popular John Key back into the limelight was a risk for Bridges, who is a big contrast in appeal.

Last night on TV news Bridges showed all the charisma of a wet fish.

Image result for cartoon wet fish

The National conference will resume today, and Bridges has a big chance for impact with his keynote address.

If he studies how Helen Clark transformed herself from an unimpressive also-ran into a three term leader – very rapidly – he might start to appeal as a PM-in-waiting, but I doubt that will have happened overnight.

Talking about ‘my people’ and ‘my health team’ makes him sound like a try-hard leader rather than an actual leader.

He could hope that voters don’t care how he looks until the next election campaign.

But his problem (apart from himself) is the media, who are at risk at writing off his chances and covering him accordingly. They can be the death knell for political leadership, as Daavid Shearer, David Cunliffe and Andrew Little found out.

Bridges has already tried the family/kids thing but no one cares about that. He can’t have a baby so is stuffed on that approach.

He may somehow surprise today. He sort of has to to make any progress.

44 Comments

  1. David

     /  July 29, 2018

    If he is going to win against Ardern it will be done on policy and this Labour government and NZ First largesse gives plenty of room for Bridges to keep Nationals support up.
    I dont see Labour being able to steal votes off the middle what with a billion in the Jones fund a billion for foreign affairs, a billion for middle class kids to study fine arts etc, 20% for nurses will be followed by 20% for teachers, 20% for coppers and then the rest of the public sector.
    If the economy slows they are absolutely rooted, except for Twyford who when he fails to increase house supply by one single unit it wont matter because everyone is off to Aussie.

    • Labour, NZ First and greens hardly won on policy last election.

      • David

         /  July 29, 2018

        I think they won because of Ardern but thats because people listened to her and 10,000 houses a year, clean water, homeless people housed, an end to poverty, free tertiary education etc. there was quite a program of policies..even if it was just scribbled on the back of a napkin.

        • Traveller

           /  July 29, 2018

          I am hopeful that the gloss will come off Ardern after she returns. I am hoping that people will see what a clusterfcuk this coalition is and thtabsome of the dust will have dissipated after her absence. Ardern has been banking $60,000 over the period since the birth of first baby; that is an awful lot of money and it puts her in a position where pretty well no ordinary woman can relate to.

  2. duperez

     /  July 29, 2018

    Someone in our house has already used this tweet to comment on the difficulty of Bridges establishing his identity. “Me and two Johns” he reckoned. She reckoned “Three Diicks.”

    • Blazer

       /  July 29, 2018

      National have little real policy.
      They rely on pushing the narrative…’a safe pair of hands’..’sound financial managers’…’on the cusp of someting special 😦 ‘.
      Meaningless slogans ,easily deconstructed but effective marketing ,nevertheless.

      • They have announced some anti-policies: reversing the partnership school reversals, scrapping regional fuel tax. The latter may become more of an issue if more regions bring in their own regional taxes.

        • Blazer

           /  July 29, 2018

          yes they are never pro active,merely re active.Maintain the status quo and protect the sinecures of the wealthy..their cornerstone ‘policy’.

        • PartisanZ

           /  July 29, 2018

          Yes they are seldom pro-active, merely reactionary …

          Regional fuel tax will be so firmly embedded in the fabric of govt revenue collection by 2020 that they’ll find a way out of changing it …

          I mean, GST wasn’t going to increase, was it!?

          It would be awful to see ‘alternative’ schooling become a political football though, rolled out and back each election cycle …

          What a pity partnership schools were essentially such a Conservative phenomenon … I can’t think of any examples of Progressive ones …?

      • This mate is what your lot are doing :

        “New Zealand has tumbled down the OECD business confidence rankings to the second lowest among countries in the developed world.

        Two years ago New Zealand was the second highest in the OECD with 33 of the 35 countries trailing it. Now everyone except South Korea is above New Zealand.

        Amy Adams, National finance spokesperson, said it was a shocking revelation given New Zealand has typically been a haven of political and economic stability.

        “Given the high level of political uncertainty around the world it is a shocking revelation that New Zealand – typically a haven of political and economic stability – has the second lowest level of business confidence in the OECD,” Adams said.

        So the only country with lower business confidence than NZ is the country with a heavily armed neighbour threatening regional annihilation.”

        • Blazer

           /  July 29, 2018

          who cares about business confidence…more to life than what overpaid ,underperforming corporate businessman think!

          • Corky

             /  July 29, 2018

            Those successful dudes in the photo above would agree, Blazer. Decent, hardworking and clean cut. However, they know power starts with money. Money comes from business. Business is better when there is business confidence.

            • Blazer

               /  July 29, 2018

              money comes from the money changers…they conjure it up and dispense it to a favoured…few.

          • Richard

             /  July 29, 2018

            The New Zealand economy is largely based on small business. Your comment is based on ignorance.

            • Blazer

               /  July 29, 2018

              thats right,but they are not the ones who are surveyed about business confidence.
              They are not the ones making big donations to political players.
              So go and rethink your own statements in that light.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 29, 2018

    Labour won because the Maori party got wiped out. Nothing more complex than that. Good luck with solving that problem with anything other than massive ethically ruinous bribes.

    • To use an Ardern word “ absolutely”

      Māori Party will be resurgent, they’re being dumped upon from a great height and it’ll be worse than “Foreshore and Seabed” by 2020.

      If Peters can use a crystal ball so can Trav.

  4. Corky

     /  July 29, 2018

    ”National Party President Peter Goodfellow has mounted an attack on Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, saying National had “dodged a whisky-swilling, cigarette-smoking, double-breasted and irrational bullet”.’

    Great..so what are you doing about the National Party leadership?

    • Blazer

       /  July 29, 2018

      Peter ‘Goodfellas’.

      • Corky

         /  July 29, 2018

        There were no Goodfellas at the NPC yesterday, except for the charter school choir. Unlike the rabble at Labour HQ a couple of elections ago. To be fair, Labour cleaned that mess up at the last election. Their wasn’t a feral in sight.

        • Feral is an adjective, not a noun.

          • Corky

             /  July 29, 2018

            Its also a word , a singular of ferals. Haven’t you got a decent post to write thereby adding something to the debate?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 29, 2018

              Yes, this was it.

              I thought that you might like to be corrected in your ignorance.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 29, 2018

              Of course it’s a WORD. But there are different KINDS of words. Correct usage avoids illiteracy.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 29, 2018

              Ferals isn’t a word, any more than ignorants or idiotics is. Adjectives don’t change their endings.

            • Corky

               /  July 29, 2018

              Except my use of the word( 😄) makes sense. And your boorish explanation doesn’t. And nobodies interested in your big noting..except maybe Geeza.

            • Gezza

               /  July 29, 2018

              Manners, Corks. Manners.

              I’m always far more interested in YOUR big noting.

              Keep it real brother.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 29, 2018

              Nouns, verbs and adjectives are all types of word. What do you think that they are ?

          • chrism56

             /  July 29, 2018

            Kitty
            It may have been an adjective but now it is accepted as a noun
            https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Feral

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 29, 2018

              Urban dictionary is hardly a reliable source of information !

            • chrism56

               /  July 29, 2018

              It is written proof that feral and ferals can “correctly” be used as a noun. That is often what Websters or Oxford are looking for before the amend their definitions. Speaking of which, I note Oxford now recognize it as a noun in a secondary definition.
              https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/feral

  5. Zedd

     /  July 29, 2018

    Bridges being pictured with Key & Howard.. just shows that Natls. agenda has not changed.. still ‘look after the top 50.1% who keep them in power & ignore the rest’.. “mind the gap”

    methinks Lab/NZF/Grns are in power because they are actually talking about supporting all kiwis.. not just those who vote for them ! :/

    • Zedd

       /  July 29, 2018

      Natl support the ‘mushroom agenda’ ; keep them in the dark & feed them lots of ‘manure’ (or BS)

    • NOEL

       /  July 29, 2018

      Was bringing Howard the right move for undecided voters. By now most in NZ remember him as the Australian leader who screwed with the reciprocal nature of the SCV for there rellies across the ditch.

  6. Blazer

     /  July 29, 2018

    Howard rode a wave of boom times that lead to the GFC.
    Got lucky after years of being sidelined.

    • Zedd

       /  July 29, 2018

      I was in Aust. when Howard was PM.. then came back & saw ‘take two’.. Key (a younger Howard) following same agenda; neo-liberal/trickle down B-S etc.

      methinks Bridges is still on the same page.. a ‘younger Key’ ?

      • Zedd

         /  July 29, 2018

        Smug pricks.. one & all ! 😦 😦

        • Inspiring, innovative, transformative political leaders

          • Blazer

             /  July 29, 2018

            you’re very amusing today Trav.Don’t forget to donate to Avery!Bol.

        • Corky

           /  July 29, 2018

          That’s most unkind, Zedd. Maybe Labour needs a little of that smugness. Because that variety act they have at present isn’t working.

          • Gezza

             /  July 29, 2018

            We don’t KNOW that yet. We need to wait & see what the next lot of too-infrequent already-out-of-date when-published public polls say.