Todd Muller – new National leader

Todd Muller successfully challenged Simon Bridges for the leadership of National yesterday. In the end it looked like a well planned and well executed change.

In his first media conference as leader Muller actually looked well prepared and presented himself very well. He said a number of smart things in his prepared speech, and looked very capable handling questions from journalists.

His choice of Nikki Kaye as deputy provides a good balance (urban liberal beside his conservative rural), and she has been an able and successful MP (she twice defeated Ardern on the Auckland Central electorate).

I think this change had to happen, and with Muller’s focus on rebuilding communities after the impact of Covid-19, and also his business experience promoted in pushing for an economic recovery, this will enhance our political landscape.

His speech began:

The past few months, our country has made many sacrifices.

You have made many sacrifices. You have put a lot on the line to get us through this crisis.

Now, we must begin taking another step forward together, with confidence.

The confidence to rebuild our country, rebuild our economy and to restore the livelihoods of New Zealanders.

Only a National government can provide the leadership to do that.

That is why we must win the next election.

While well behind in the polls right now Muller has to at least be seen to be aiming for a win in the election.

My absolute focus as National Party Leader will be New Zealand’s economic recovery.

We will save jobs, get the economy growing again and we will do so by leveraging our country’s great strengths: our people, our communities, our great natural resources, our values of hard work, tenacity, innovation and aspiration.

This is an obvious focus for a National leader, and it is seen as a key in the upcoming election (in September). The Government has handled the health side of the pandemic very well (mostly) but the crunch will be repairing the economic effects.

Yes, I’ve run businesses. I can read a balance sheet and a profit and loss account.  I can tell a good one from a bad one.  And yes, I’ll bring those skills to the Prime Ministership.

But that’s not what drives me.

What drives me is community – the people who help their elderly neighbours with the lawns on the weekend; The Dad who does the food stall at the annual school fair; The Mum who coaches a touch rugby team;

This election will be about the economy, but not the economy the bureaucracy talks about. It’ll be about the economy that you live in – the economy in your community – your job, your main street, your marae, your tourism business, your local rugby league club, your local butcher, your kura, your netball courts, your farms, your shops and your families.

This is the economy National MPs are grounded in, and the one that matters most to New Zealand.

For too long this economy, your economy – and your life – has been invisible to decision makers in Wellington.

This addresses a lot of grizzles one hears about bureaucrats dominating, out of touch with ordinary people.

Muller addressed things that had been an image problem for Bridges.

This is what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost – I’m about what’s best for you and your family – not what’s wrong with the Government.

And I’m not interested in opposition for opposition’s sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics.

However he also took some gentle sounding but fairly scathing swipes

Will I criticise the government?  Yes.

Labour has failed against every measure it has set for itself in Government- KiwiBuild, Light Rail, child poverty, prison numbers.

If we continue on this track of talking a big game but failing to deliver, we simply won’t recognise the New Zealand we are part of in a few years’ time.

…but ultimately, values and ideas are what ground me.

Like the idea that you can shape your own future and are free to do so.

I believe in enterprise, reward for hard work, personal responsibility, and in the power of strong families and communities.

Very National Party.

Fundamentally, I don’t believe that for each and everyone of us to do better, someone else has to be worse off.

Sounds fine, but very difficult thing to avoid in practice.

In response to questions he praised Jacinda Ardern and her Government’s efforts dealing with Covid, but highlighted perceived weaknesses.

He said that while Ardern and her top three or so ministers were doing well but said the quality or ability dropped off very quickly after that. The lack of depth in the current Cabinet has often been claimed. At one stage he refereed to ‘seventeen empty seats”.

Muller is a good speaker, he had a well written, carefully worded and targeted speech, and he made a very good first impression. Unlike Bridges he got the balance about right between promoting his and his party’s own credentials, acknowledging achievements of the current Government, but also making strong criticisms where there are weaknesses without sounding too negative.

It will be a huge task to get National back up and competitive with Labour, and even then National has a lack of potential coalition partners (but he didn’t rule out reconsidering the caucus decision not to deal with NZ First).

But if Muller continues the way he started he should do a better job at holding the Government to account and promoting a viable alternative.

He said that being open and authentic was important – hopefully he won’t be taken over by remodelling media minders.

He has already shown that he is ambitious and determined – and must have set up a good team of helpers.

He has already succeeded in a number of things:

  • A successful career in the kiwifruit industry and with Fonterra
  • Being nominated for and winning a safe-ish electorate
  • Quietly but successfully becoming established as a back bench MP
  • Doing a lot of work in his role as spokesperson on agriculture and horticulture(that’s going to be important on the recovery)
  • His work with James Shaw on a Carbon Zero Bill that had cross party support
  • Picking the right time to successfully roll Bridges
  • Kicking off his leadership with a very good speech and session with journalists.
  • His choice of Nikki Kaye as deputy provides a good balance, and she has been a good and successful MP (she twice defeated Ardern on the Auckland Central electorate).

It’s very early days, but Muller should at least be able to stem the rapuid slide of National, should be able to recover some ground and may be able to get back to at least some semblance of competitiveness this election.

He may not become Prime Minister later this year, but if he does well but doesn’t make it he should be able to keep his job to continue the rebuilding of National next term.

Full speech: Todd Muller new National Leader

Muller indicated that Paul Goldsmith will remain as National’s spokesperson on Finance but said it would take a few days to work out the new lineup and roles, which is obvious.He had a few senior MPs lined up beside him as he gave his speech.

A bit will depend on what Bridges and his also deposed deputy Paula Bennett decide to do about their futures in politics.

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64 Comments

    • Gezza

       /  23rd May 2020

      Teaser:
      watching the presser — which was solid and workmanlike, without being spectacular — it was difficult to shake one overriding thought. Is this man really going to beat Jacinda Ardern, an exceedingly popular but also deceptively ruthless PM?

      Deceptively ruthless?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd May 2020

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  23rd May 2020

          But overall, a solid, insightful, piece of work from Malpass, imo.

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  23rd May 2020

          Crusher had even less cars go through ‘deconstruction’ ….total of 3. The policy was a complete failure and yet Judith Anne still gets credit ..years later . As was her policy of visiting China for husbands business interests…. that at least meant she crashed and burned…been a political cripple ever since
          Nats MPs just get better PR doesnt mean its competance.
          English and Shipleys early years with user pays and no treatment for elderly in the Health portfolio was a massive disaster ….airbrushed out. Although Shipley later showed her true colours in the findings of a court… Banks for instance has had TWO devastating court results- The Bee Pollen and the Kim Dotcom cases

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  23rd May 2020

            😳

            Wot❓

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

              Nationals new leader is congratulated by his supporters

            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              Nope. Wrong again. Back to your mirror.

              That’s the King of Thailand. I think that might actually be his latest Mrs.

            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

            • artcroft

               /  23rd May 2020

              Didn’t know you were a supporter Duker. The pink suits you. Carry on.

      • That’s Yul Brynner. It’s an easy mistake to make; one being a long dead Hollywood star and one being a New Zealand politician….

        Reply
  1. lurcher1948

     /  23rd May 2020

    Over on YSB it’s the BIG thumb down,it’s David Seymour all the way.

    Reply
  2. Griff.

     /  23rd May 2020

    NZ is secular, over half of us have no religion. For decades our leaders have been ether atheist or agnostic .
    National elects another Socially Conservative zombie muncher Catholic like Bill English .
    He is not going to resonate with the electorate on social issues.

    Reply
    • He openly acknowledged that his religious beliefs shape his social policy preferences, but pointed out that his deputy Kaye was socially liberal in contrast, and National accommodated diverse social views. Social bills are usually conscience votes.

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  23rd May 2020

        Why Collins did not get number two.
        They needed a token social Liberal and a woman to boot to balance the old pale stale male religious conservatives that infest the National party .
        Muller has already earned the epithet Ok boomer…..before his time .

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  23rd May 2020

          He may look like a boomer, he may act like a boomer …but he ain’t a boomer

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  23rd May 2020

            ….before his time.
            Boomer 1946 to 1964
            Muller born 1968.

            Reply
        • Gezza

           /  23rd May 2020

          Yes, but so what? That only appeals to the Chloe set. The young Maori sheila at the gas station when I filled up the car early this morning barely knew who Simon Bridges was, didn’t know who she’d vote for, hadn’t given any thought to whether if traffic volumes went down again or the company laid off staff what she’d do if she lost her job, & doesn’t know anything about politics because she’s “not really interested in that stuff”. (But who knows, she might be now.)

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  23rd May 2020

          Hey, Griff…is it true your religion is fundamental materialist? We are all religious. Some religions are better than others. I’m not too worried about Muller’s religion. But I do worry about yours.

          Reply
          • Griff.

             /  23rd May 2020

            ROFL
            The Corky gets upticked for such gibbering nonsense.
            Even funnier…..
            Atheism is not a religion Corky it is a lack of a belief in gods.
            Something more than one half wit on here has trouble with.

            Reply
            • Corky

               /  23rd May 2020

              ”Atheism is not a religion, Corky it is a lack of a belief in gods.”

              For me it’s a religion. Atheism is a mind set.. like religion. Your God is science and humanism. Religious Gods are a force/person/ first cause, existing in another dimension.

            • Gezza

               /  24th May 2020

              True enuf Corks. I’m an atheist in respect of the Abrahamic & some other religions that have personified gods.

              While evolution and propagation are pretty well covered by current theory, there’s as yet no satisfactory explanation for abiogenesis or for animated life or for complex humanlike consciousness to continue to exist at all, either on our planet or elsewhere. It can all be destroyed in the seemingly random “blink” of any nearby supernovae or other star outbursts.

              But I’m a curious type & an experimenter. I’ve had too many unexplainable coincidence & other wairua experiences to dismiss the possibility of a creator or an unseen creator force that may assist in human affairs at a strictly one to one personal level. I do what frequently seems to work for me & have no need for others’ validation.

  3. duperez

     /  23rd May 2020

    “Only a National government can provide the leadership to do that.”

    “We are going to travel from Tauranga to Wellington. Only a National can get you there.”

    Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  23rd May 2020

    Todd Muller aged 51(looks far older) meets a far younger dynamic Chloe Swarbrick in the house

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd May 2020

      Sure Lurch. If you want a smart arse mouth vote loony Left.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  23rd May 2020

        One man’s smart arse mouth is another’s quick-footed, rapier, withering response I suppose.

        Thinking about that made me consider the ability of politicians to be quick-footed. In that regard, forgetting all the clutter and peripheral stuff, Bridges compared to Muldoon?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  23rd May 2020

          Muldoon: Sharp as a knife. And just as cutting.
          Bridges: Needs to go home, think about a witty riposte, write it out, & use it the next day at Question Time, for the wrong Question.

          Reply
    • duperez

       /  23rd May 2020

      Muller meets a far younger Swarbrick in the house? Boomer, millennial? If you were laying bets which one would you put your house on as being there after September?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd May 2020

        You first. Who’s your pick?

        Reply
        • Muller. Chloe Swarbrick has been a letdown. She seemed to think that her sexuality would be all over the press, but it wasn’t. It’s not that fascinating. The only times it is raised is when she does it.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  23rd May 2020

            Yep. Muller’s not going to get rolled before the next election. He’ll be safe as houses.

            Reply
          • duperez

             /  23rd May 2020

            Wha do you mean, “She seemed to think that her sexuality would be all over the press?’

            Reply
            • She said it in one of the papers; the Herald, I think. She seemed to think that it would be of great interest and was more or less inviting people to ask what it was, She later gave us a hint by saying that she had had ‘the look’ when she was out with her (unnamed) partner. I’d have thought that people would look because it was her, not because they were that fascinated by a same sex couple nowadays.

        • duperez

           /  23rd May 2020

          Muller definitely will be there. There’s a good chance Swarbrick won’t be. It won’t have anything to do with boomer or millennial though, that stuff is irrelevant.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  23rd May 2020

            True. I don’t try & figure out the complexities of seats they get if they scrape in again, nor do I know where she is on their list. They’d be wise to push her up. Won’t miss Golriz.

            Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  23rd May 2020

      Lurch my dear old thing. She looks like she’s reading from a prepared script. Can she hold her own in an unscripted debate? Otherwise she’s just another waste of space gibbering cliches, albeit a pretty one. Cheers,c

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd May 2020

    The election will depend on whether Ardern and Robertson can throw enough money at small businesses and their staff to keep them onside until September.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  23rd May 2020

      Giving your money back are you ? Or was that a rhetorical device

      Australia has 3.5 mill people on even higher government support ( Tourism and foreign students is a bigger part of our economy). So what was that ‘better path’ they took with people working.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  23rd May 2020

        Your factual lies and slander are as tedious as your opinions, Duker. As you know I have no involvement in, or benefit from, the lockdown wage support. As a recidivous liar you harm only your own reputation hidden behind your pseudonym.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  23rd May 2020

          The companies office said different , you are the sole director AND shareholder. No involvement is a farce.
          Are you saying the application form didnt have your approval as sole director?

          A company director’s duties can include:
          determining and implementing policies and making decisions
          preparing and filing statutory documents with the Companies Office or other agencies
          calling meetings, including an annual meeting of shareholders
          maintaining and keeping records
          binding the company to contracts with suppliers, lenders and others dealing with the company.

          https://companies-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/help-centre/company-directors/what-it-means-to-be-a-director/
          Do you even understand a directors duties or are you a straw director?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  23rd May 2020

            More lies. I am not the sole director and shareholder.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              Kind of creepy the way he does that. Stalkerish.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd May 2020

              Yes. Creepy, nasty and wrong sums him up.

            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

              “binding the company to contracts with suppliers, lenders and others dealing with the company.”
              A Ms Janet Planet is the other director….. Rocky Horror show chorus ?
              Common news technique to look up online public information, major media have it automated …. property ownership, Companies, credit warnings, court convictions etc
              The SMH is able to access divorce lawyers caveats registered on celebrities family homes to see who is in …strife

              I picked up some tips working for a major newspaper…a while back

              He IS a director and major shareholder

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd May 2020

              You are just a creep, Duker. I said at the start I am just a supportive director and am the same as a shareholder. I take nothing from the company and put a lot in for altruistic reasons beyond your understanding. Your nasty arrogance is exceeded only by your vast stupidity.

            • Why would you bother to look him up ? It does seem like stalking, which is creepy.

              Are you Blazer using another name ?

            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              I picked up some tips working for a major newspaper…a while back
              Why’d they have to let you go?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd May 2020

              Good question, G. Judging by the quality of his research and contributions here I suspect it would have been a strong recommendation from the newspaper’s lawyers.

            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              Staff relations might have come into it. With his ego & penchant for puerile put downs wouldn’t think he’d be Mr Popular.

            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

              Who are you slut shaming

            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              Wot❓

          • Why on earth would you want to look up someone’s divorce details ? Or the other things you mention ? You won’t be going into business with Alan.

            I have doubts of the legality of looking up the things you mention.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

              caveats on property titles are public info. Ones put on the family home by divorce lawyers are a ‘hint’ that celebrity/socialite could be heading for breakup. Media use automated methods to winnow out the dross and highlight ‘people in the news’. NZ Herald the other week said they use the same process to check caveats put on property by Police under asset forfeiture.
              Thats how divorce lawyers work , makes sure they get paid or legal aid refunded.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  23rd May 2020

              He’d be wasting his time looking up divorce details for me, Kitty, as I’ve never had one. Just another of his many false assumptions.

            • Gezza

               /  23rd May 2020

              A litany of epic fails as a mind-reader & fails as an investigative reporter. One can see why he probably got shown the door.

            • Duker

               /  23rd May 2020

              Of course not Wilco that’s private stuff unrelated to comments you make here about government handouts.
              There’s a bit of pushback here from the duchess about my interest in the home life of Haley Holt and a ‘sporty’ national mp, so I can’t breathe a word, but same rules apply , hypocrisy changes the rules

        • Corky

           /  23rd May 2020

          Tautoko, Alan.

          My guess is now Todds on the scene, helicopters loaded with cash will fly up and down the country, dropping bundles of cash for all to enjoy.

          Reply

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