Bridges trying to look like “Prime Minister in waiting”

Henry Cook (Stuff):  Simon Bridges doesn’t look like a Prime Minister in waiting yet, but he’s trying

It’s hard to describe, but there is an energy that surrounds prime ministers, and people on their way to becoming prime ministers. Even as you shake their hand and have a chat, you can feel the weight and power of something much larger than their physical form surrounding them.

John Key had it. Bill English learnt it in a hurry. And Jacinda Ardern seemed to command it the moment she took on the leadership, even when it seemed likely she would have to bide her time in Opposition for another three years.

Bridges’ problems:

Last year was a credibility problem. And…

…there remains a tendency to chase every passing car, possibly because there are so many National MPs without power.

National MP Barbara Kuriger put out a ridiculous press release attacking a “red-meat tax” last month, something the Government had very clearly not proposed.

And late last year National engaged in a bad-faith populist campaign against a United Nations migration pact it would have happily signed up to in Government.

Bridges has put Paula Bennett into the drug reform role ahead of the cannabis referendum, replacing the extremely reasonable and knowledgeable Shane Reti with someone much more likely to stoke simplistic scaremongering.

These are things thirsty opposition parties do, not ones ready for Government.

He put Bennett in charge of stoking simplistic scaremongering on drug reform just last month.

If Bridges wants to continue his transformation and start looking like a Prime Minister for everyone, not just the National Party base, these swings to the hard right should be put behind him. Just like his annus horribilis.

Feedback from the Kuriger and Bennett misfires may have contributed to a change in approach.

There is a palpable sense that National is attempting to move on from rowdy opposition to Government-in-waiting.

The most obvious example of this is National’s plans to release eight big policy documents over this year, with the line being that they “don’t want to wait for the Government”. The first of these on  tax thresholds will contrast nicely with whatever the Government’s Tax Working Group suggest. Indeed, National would be pleased if it could just talk about tax all year.

Bridges himself is attempting to shift his image from blustery former crown prosecutor to Prime-Minister-in-waiting.

Bridges and National have quite a bit to do yet to look like PM and Government in waiting. They have plenty of time – eighteen months – but do they have the people who can achieve it?

 

74 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  February 10, 2019

    what is the latest ‘poll stat.’ ?
    I thought the last one still had Natl sinking ??

    Tories.. may think they have some ‘divine Right’ to rule.. but Aotearoa/NZ is supposedly a democracy… ‘for the people, by the people’ NOT just for ‘the wealthy’ :/

    • Duker

       /  February 10, 2019

      Could be tonight ? Thats why Bridges has been releasing policy very early , to try to get a jump in polls, as thats the only thing that will save him

    • Corky

       /  February 10, 2019

      Straight out of the 70s. Do you still sport a ‘mullet?” Maybe a couple of ”lamb chops” on the jawline?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 10, 2019

        Mutton chops, not lamb chops. The expression mutton chop whiskers dates from the c.19 when these were first fashionable, but the usual 1970s word was sideboards. a play on words (they were also called sideburns)

        • Corky

           /  February 10, 2019

          I can’t remember..I’ll take your word for it. You would know.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 10, 2019

            Anyone who knows anything about social history would know these things. It’s hardly esoteric information.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 10, 2019

            Ginseng is said to be good for failing memories.

  2. Trevors_elbow

     /  February 10, 2019

    Oh look..ANOTHER Media attempted hit job on Bridges.. PR for Labour… lovely stuff…

    Bridges is getting better and better… Adern is looking more incapable of doing the job and the murmurings about the levels of incompetence in her Ministry grow daily….Curran, Lees-Galloway, Twyford… breaking standard operating procedures, not reading critical documents and making bad decisions, recalibrating targets and doing away with any measures so they can never fail, and the stench of favours being doled out…. oh and the constant half promises and concerned faces with lots of working groups and discussions with minimal doing… 9 years in opposition and now 18 months of nothing….Labour…what a joke! their name is the opposite of what they do…

    Cue Duker in full defense mode and Blazer in ‘but John Key, Bill English’ whaddaboutism…

    Ciao… have a lovely day… a beautiful say beckons

    • Blazer

       /  February 10, 2019

      who can match…Ardern-Robertson-Parker in National?

      • adamsmith1922

         /  February 10, 2019

        For what incompetence, laziness or ignorance – please be specific

        • Duker

           /  February 10, 2019

          What talents does suburban solicitor Amy Adams posses ? Even Bridges , not great talent himself keeps her hidden away and only shares the stage with former truck stop waitress Lady MacBennett

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 10, 2019

            If Amy Adams is a “suburban solicitor” and Paula is a “Truck stop waitress” what is your monicker for the mighty CV of JA?

            • Duker

               /  February 10, 2019

              UK Cabinet Office staff member
              2 lawyers and a waitress …pleeese

          • adamsmith1922

             /  February 10, 2019

            Personally, I think Adams is a rather mediocre talent. Re your comments on Bennett,waitress is a step up from wrapping fish and chips.
            Bridges has excellent academic qualifications.

        • Blazer

           /  February 10, 2019

          not bad for you Adam.😁

    • Gezza

       /  February 10, 2019

      So far Bridges has only been preaching to National’s usual constituency & I’m not convinced he’s even moved the dial on the swing voters. His communcication style might have had a bit of tarting up, he seems to have improved in the 2 second sound bites he’s being given on 1ewes at 6; possibly more focussed. I’m still waiting for the results of the police investigation into JLR’s campaign finance allegations. If they turn out not to be illegal that’s the end of the JLR affair’s impact & he’s away larfing for a while yet, probably.

      I might have to fork out for a $2 bag of jet planes after all.

      But the next Colmar Brunton poll result will be very interesting. I think he might have nudged up a bit in the popularity meter; Jacinda may have dropped.

    • Ray

       /  February 10, 2019

      Well at least he isn’t apologising for being a man ( Cunliffe), barking at every passing car (Little), holding up two very dead fish in Parliament (Shearer) or saying that she does have the ability to do the job like the present incumbent.
      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1706/S00451/jacinda-ardern-reveals-real-reason-she-doesnt-want-to-be-pm.htm

  3. Blazer

     /  February 10, 2019

    Bridges as P.M in waiting…zoom in to a pic of a skeleton sitting on a park bench.

  4. Bill Brown

     /  February 10, 2019

    Trying and waiting sums him up. He will be forever doing both.

    He would just be another Jacinda – no idea and backbone.

    The 2 biggest parties lack any grunt at the top.

    I hope Jacinda is enjoying racking up those Air Points dollars.

  5. PartisanZ

     /  February 10, 2019

    “He put Bennett in charge of stoking simplistic scaremongering on drug reform just last month.”

    Yes, while his own MP for Whangarei Dr Shane Reti claims sole responsibility for the ‘Claytons’ Medicinal Cannabis Amendment which Labour is actually 90+% responsible for, Bennett begins her scaremongering … A Party divided?

    And while Don Brash is insulting his audience in the Forum Tent at Te Tii marae, Simon Bridges is telling his hosts up at the Whare Wananga that he supports Brash’s 2004 Orewa speech in principle but not in it’s “nuance” …

    So creeping in the direction of Centre-Alt-Right is “government in waiting”?

    Okay … Whatever!

    And then there’s all the rest … JLR … the dopey utterances of Matt King that backfire every time … “We’ll restore the spirit of Kaikohe and other “neglected communities” full of my constituent “no hopers”. We just need to take all the young people away from their parents”

    … Fucks Sake!

    But everything will be all Right if we have a Four Lane motorway Auckland to Whangarei!!!

    Even some of your more intelligent ‘Feds’ – Corporate Farmers – must be asking themselves about the underlying ‘mental health’ of their Party … surely? Or am I giving them too much credit?

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 10, 2019

      Naaaaaaahhh … I’m giving them too much credit …

      “If there’s money in it for ME … Right NOW … I’ll support it … ”

      Where can I donate? When’s Simon coming around on another one of his ‘road trips’?

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 10, 2019

        ” … these swings to the hard right should be put behind him.”

        Shit! He’s started the year perfectly on that note then … endorsing Don’s ‘Orewa Speech’ …

        Go hard Simon!!! Hard … Right!

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 10, 2019

          Endorsing Don’s ‘Orewa Speech’ at Waitangi no less!!!

          Now … If that’s not Prime Ministerial I dunno what the fuck is!?

  6. Mother

     /  February 10, 2019

    The first paragraph quoted sounds quite spiritual.

    • Mother

       /  February 10, 2019

      Mr Z, those sorts of people raised me. And I disagree with them heaps. Dad always made sure that I knew I’d be off side with him if I didn’t vote National.

      I suspect I won’t be able to vote this next time. So many people are losing the plot. You’re right, it’s a mental health issue.

      Hurry up Christians! You’re the ones who brought Christianity to Aotearoa, now you’re the ones suffering most silliness. You were in a hurry to assimilate the indigenous peoples into your way of life. You were impatient to get on with Western civilisation. Now you have run out of ideas. Where/who/what will you turn to?

      I’ve had this mind picture for months – The story of Elijah challenging his people re who was their God. Baal’s prophets slashed themselves, behaved atrociously and very silly, trying their mightiest to get Baal to call down fire on their altar. This is how I view the behaviour of the people whose values I supposedly share.

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 10, 2019

        Powerful imagery in your comment Mother …

        In its broadest sense the question “Who is your God?” is an extremely pertinent one …

        I would disagree that ‘Christians’ brought the Christian religion to Aotearoa,

        A better description would be that fanatical Christian zealots brought a religion of Christian Conversion to Aotearoa New Zealand.

        There are various theories as to why Maori eventually converted, after resisting for 15 or more years. Some say it was learning to read and speak English, which possessed great power in the burgeoning Pakeha economy …

        Hence Christian Conversion became a form of Cargo Cult.

        • Mother

           /  February 10, 2019

          Cult – yes.
          This is how most Christian fellowships have ended up in Aotearoa. If it was my fault, I would apologise. As it is, I think we have great hope as a people and I am glad to be a part of a potential movement where Christianity proves itself well in Aotearoa.

          I don’t see any proof that the Maori actually ‘converted’. There are isolated individuals of course.

          I suppose I’m coming to the conclusion that we could start again. I would like to talk with the Queen and Charles and William. I would get answers there. Although I suspect I already know what answer I would arrive at.

          The CoE will prevail, but only just and only for their culture. There is too much yuck and insincerity in that foundation for it to prevail in our culture.

          Is Aotearoa special? I think so. I think that God watches us and is interested in how we’re going to grow up, or not.

          I think Queen Elizabeth is an astute lady. She’s holding on to her faith by the skin of her teeth. She’s just an individual at the end of the day too.

          Who knows? Aotearoa could end up being a sweet blessing in the world for the next 500 years.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 10, 2019

            Mother, there have been various Christian groups who sinned like mad on the grounds that sin was forgiven, so the greater the sin, the more the sinner was forgiven, and others who castrated themselves in the name of religion…how I miss being able to call ‘Who were….?’ and get a learned answer.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              A learned answer! Me too. It’s a big want.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              And if it’s that kind of big want for us, imagine how the youth are faring.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              The internet is a blessing. However, Bible teachers from the US cannot understand our issues here. We need to grow up ourselves. God will give us the answers.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 10, 2019

              This was long before the internet; I’m talking centuries ago.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 10, 2019

              There was a time, when my husband was alive, when any question like that would have been given a learned answer.

        • Corky

           /  February 10, 2019

          Not all Maori convert to Christianity, Parti. The old ways are still passed down, right until this day to a few lucky students.

          • PartisanZ

             /  February 10, 2019

            I dare say … and I understand that several of the Maori Prophetic Churches which have arisen have also incorporated aspects of “the old ways” …

            • Corky

               /  February 10, 2019

              Correct. Ratana tried to stop Maori worshipping tekoteko. He claimed spirits lived in these carvings. Spirits that enslaved Maori. He was right.
              Tohunga bound spirits, both real, and manmade, into these cravings to keep the people under their control.

              Everyone loves power, Parti..not only Christians.

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 10, 2019

        If you don’t share theirs Mother, it sounds like its time for you to proclaim your own values …

        What’s the worst that can happen?

        Gezza and Griff will rave at you for believing in Sky Pixies …

        Big deal!? ………… Bat away old girl.

        • Gezza

           /  February 10, 2019

          You’re doing that projecting thing again. I don’t rave at Mother.

          • Mother

             /  February 10, 2019

            I second that.

            No uptick though. You were not nice at the start Gezza. All forgotten. But I’d need your permission if you wish me to relax enough to joke with you. I’d meet with you in social forum in that case.

    • PartisanZ

       /  February 10, 2019

      Huh!? For those to whom Prime Ministers are also spiritual leaders perhaps?

      It would be interesting to know what proportion of the population ascribe any spirituality whatsoever to politics?

      • Mother

         /  February 10, 2019

        I am pointing out that some statements on YourNZ are leaning toward a spiritual notion – for those who have a sense of humour perhaps.

        We need political leaders who can practise, with integrity, their private spiritual lives within a secular society. Of course politics is not spiritual. Politics is for the people. Spiritual matters are for the individual.

        • PartisanZ

           /  February 10, 2019

          @Mother – “We need political leaders who can practise, with integrity, their private spiritual lives within a secular society.”

          You are onto something there … The reintergration of politics with The Living Life …

          Society will never be ‘secular’ IMHO … This is as much a pipe-dream, aspirational lure or mass psychic scam as any anarcho-capitalist Disneyland or communist totalitarian paradise …

          Only the potential for a socialist utopia need be seriously considered …

          Also: We need political leaders who can practise, with integrity, their private ethical beliefs within a secular-religious society.

          • Mother

             /  February 10, 2019

            Then let’s figure out how to get that socialist utopia. I think it’s possible and I think God wants this for us – for Him actually.

            Ethical beliefs are akin to spirituality.

            It seems to me I have been batting harder/being more up front than you Mr Z. (Of course the angst at various times did hurt and worry me).

            I have clearly stated that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. What do you mean by ‘The Living Life’? This does sound sky fairy ish to me.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              Why are you calling me “Mr Z” … I’m PartisanZ or Parti or PZ …

              You can’t have been following if you think you’ve been “batting harder/being more up front” than me Mother!

              The tenets of Christianity, which are the same as those of Natural Ethics, they inform the behaviour of most people … that’s what I mean by ‘The Living Life’ … That’s my name for ‘it’ … as yours is Christianity …

              30,000 people of goodwill at Waitangi … The Living Life …

              Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, that you had, spontaneously or by regular spiritual practice of some sort, an ‘experience’ of becoming One with Reality … and it was blissful and good and whole beyond your wildest imaginations … That you could … walk on water?

              What would you do?

              Well, I suggest you’d probably try to share it with others using the language of your times … perhaps with allusion to the predominant religious practice of your times … a religious practice you would immediately identify as needing to be reformed?

              And when just “telling people about it” failed … Perhaps you’d try to describe what it was like using stories or parables? And perhaps you’d demonstrate it to them … throwing money changers out of the temple … as to speak … or performing miracles because you would know when a person could be cured of some disease … especially those diseases caused by ‘sin’ or mistakeness – shame, grief and repressed emotion – close to the surface of consciousness … easily cured ‘psychologically’ … or by contact with the Oneness of Reality … if you will?

              And when that failed … Perhaps you’d simply BE IT … and say … I AM IT …

              And when that failed you’d be crucified … and arise again, because the Oneness of Reality can’t be extinguished …

              So for me it’s The Living Life … if the Anti-Christ will let us live it …

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              Sheeezzz … and I accuse Righties of wandering off the topic!!!

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              We’re about as far from Simon Bridges as it is possible to get Mother …

              Aside from Four Lanes … and Ten Bridges …

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              And, of course, an allusion like “throwing money-changers out of the temple” is as much a personal as a ‘political’ or socio-economic metaphor.

              Your own ‘soul’ is a temple which the money-changers have occupied.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              You’re spiritually deep Parti. Jesus Christ is not your Saviour totally.

              I think that Jesus is the only God who is patient and loving enough to be satisfied with a little bit from us. He’s patient with Maori who cannot lay aside their mana. He’s also patient with the colonists’ children who are learning the hard way too.

              I say that Jesus Christ is my Saviour totally, but that’s because I believe it is part of my calling to be bold like that. I’m naturally timid. In reality, only God knows from one moment to the next how truly He is my Lord. I risk a lot by claiming my total adherence to Jesus’ Lordship. I’m only one flimsy line away from hypocrisy at any moment. The reason I take this risk is because I love people.

              What is it in your nature which might be in the way of loving others more truly? (I think you have a lot of love.)

              Jesus is God. All other gods are hard task masters.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              “Your own ‘soul’ is a temple which the money-changers have occupied.”

              You’re right, and I’m sorry. I’ve repented of that.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              It depends what you mean … and what Jesus meant … by being “saved”?

              I don’t believe its for me to come to God through Jesus …

              I’m more inclined towards Jesus coming through me to God …

              And by ‘Jesus’ I mean the spirit of Jesus teachings which I also find in the writing of numerous others, Frank E Warner (Ernst Frankenstein) being one … Immanuel Kant being another … there are many …

              Indeed, a fair amount of internet traffic is now people making exactly such utterances … The beginnings perhaps, of the meek inheriting the Earth?

              Warner, incidentally, has the foundation formula for a socialist utopia …

              “The maximum of freedom for each, combined with the maximum regard for the life and freedom of every other”

              Prepare for a life of relative ease, punctuated by much shorter durations of obligatory and professional work for the community.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              “Your own ‘soul’ is a temple which the money-changers have occupied.”

              Mine too and me too Mother …

              I meant “your” in its universal ‘everyone’ sense … a Kiwi colloquialism … not you personally …

              I should perhaps really have said “my”?

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              Yes, the meek will inherit the earth. If that’s enough for you, then that’s great.

              The pure in heart will see God.

              I do risk a lot, because I’ve been in people’s faces (they feel) saying that my Lord is Jesus. But inheriting the world doesn’t especially appeal to me.

              Jesus would never go through you to God. That’s Maori mana, and Maori mana is becoming a big problem in Aotearoa.

              If the Christians don’t step up, we’re going to cop a whole lot of Maori mana.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              I’m not ready to ascribe to an ‘Afterlife Cargo Cult’ yet Mother … Sorry.

              I understand Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”?

              I believe he meant here and now, just beyond the thin veil of material consciousness …

              I may have phrased that unclearly, “Jesus going through me to God” …

              I’ll never be able to explain it in words just as Jesus couldn’t …

              It’s about the Spirit of Living Life transcending the limitations of the everyday and ‘expanding’ towards an experience of ultimate reality …

              “The maximum of freedom for each … combined with …”

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              @Mother – “If the Christians don’t step up, we’re going to cop a whole lot of Maori mana.”

              What’s this?

              Are you saying the ‘New Crusade’ will be to stop the assertion of un-Christian spirituality?

              Maori, Pakeha … makes no bones to me when it comes to my spirituality … That really is my most personal possession.

              Just hold all the time with “The maximum of freedom for each, combined with …”

              If Brian Tamaki can’t abide it … or it doesn’t make him enough money … People … don’t fucken join!

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              No one needs to be in a cult.

              I don’t mean to thrash anything, but truly YourNZ is the best thing to happen to me spiritually in a long time – simply because PG returned to me my right of speech.

              You’re wrong about Jesus getting stuck with words. He never got stuck with words. And He is the Word.

              I quite like your ‘The Living Life.’ That notion could easily be taken from the Word. But that’s not where you got it. Too much mana Parti.

              Cult like attitudes are on the increase.

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              Oh, now I remember why I tried calling you Mr. It’s because I hoped you might stop using course and heated up language.

            • Gezza

               /  February 10, 2019

              One thing at a time Mother. Patience. At least he’s stopped fucken SHOUTING!

            • Mother

               /  February 10, 2019

              You are so unfair Gezza. You get to make me laugh, but my (earlier) attempts to lighten you up fell on strange ears.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              You’ve got Mr Ransfield doing that on another topic Gezza …

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 10, 2019

              You’re good all right Mother …

              “Strange Ears” is about the most appropriate name for Gezza I have ever seen … and he’s been called a few things on here before …

  7. PartisanZ

     /  February 10, 2019

    It’s like a different topic really … and doesn’t really belong with Simon Bridges at all …

    The religion of the future “will be on a higher plane than the religion of today … Reverence and Humility do not merely require renunciation of the image … The religion of the future will also renounce the word … reverential and humble meditation without images and without language, on the wonder of existence.” – Warner, ‘Future of Man’, pgs 174-175

    • Mother

       /  February 10, 2019

      Let’s all just gaze at our navels then.

      We are blessed to have the Word in Aotearoa. The persecuted people long for the Bible.

      I will keep with the Word. The kind of meditation you are suggesting is a form of paganism. This is what causes a decline in free speech/critical thinking. This is a very serious issue for youth and our future.

      • PartisanZ

         /  February 10, 2019

        Oh well, we’ve lost each other on this topic I guess …

        Back to Simon Bridges PM-in-waiting …

      • Mother

         /  February 10, 2019

        Mr Bridges is not leadership material (because he doesn’t have integrity).

        We need leaders who are at least cunning enough to see that Maori desire for bi culture could be used to keep ourselves safe from Chinese influence. Those communist cultures do nothing to assimilate themselves to our way of life. Chinese harshness is scary.

        If we all embraced bi cultural living we could combine our ethics well. Maori mana would ensure national pride. I could live with a few Maori gods so long as we keep ourselves safe from socialism. But first we need an end to treaty grievances. Perhaps Mr Bridges could see that through.

  8. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 10, 2019

    Why 3 had to bring up a story from the past about his attitude to gays is a mystery, He was about 15 or 16. Who still feels exactly the same as an adult as they did as a school pupil ?

  9. Patzcuaro

     /  February 10, 2019

    Bridges trying to have a buck each way, a conservative trying to look liberal

    • Patzcuaro

       /  February 10, 2019

      Is Bridges looking like a Prime Minister in waiting or a back benched in waiting?

      • Gezza

         /  February 10, 2019

        If Simon could wear a pink shirt why couldn’t Jacinda wear a blue one?

  1. Bridges trying to look like “Prime Minister in waiting” — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition