Walker stepping down, Muller steps up, but National down and out of contention

After admitting sending personal details of Covid cases to several media outlets National MP Hamish Walker took the only course open to him – yesterday he pre-empted a Party board meeting considering a request to dump him from the party by announcing he wouldn’t stand in the Clutha Southland (now Southland) electorate in September’s election.

Personal Statement From Hamish Walker

Today I am announcing that I will not be standing for re-election for the Southland electorate at the upcoming 2020 election.

I wish to thank the people of Clutha-Southland who I have loved meeting, assisting and representing over the past two and a half years.

I sincerely apologise for my actions.

I will be making no further comment.

Todd Muller Accepts Hamish Walker’s Decision Not To Stand In 2020

National Party Leader Todd Muller has today accepted Hamish Walker’s decision to withdraw his candidacy for the seat of Southland and not stand at the upcoming election.

“Rachel Bird, the National Party’s Southern Regional Chair, has received a letter from Hamish confirming he will withdraw as the National Party candidate for Southland.

“There was a clear breach of trust, which goes against the values National holds as a party.

“The National Party Board will still meet today to discuss the selection of a new candidate.”

Statement From Peter Goodfellow, National Party President

Yesterday evening I received a letter from Leader Todd Muller, asking the National Party Board of Directors to urgently meet and consider some very serious, publicly reported, issues concerning Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker.

The Board met at midday today (Wednesday 8 July) via videoconference and was advised that Mr Walker has now formally resigned his candidacy for the National Party in the Southland Electorate for the 2020 General Election.

A selection process will therefore begin almost immediately to find a new candidate for the Southland Electorate, and we look forward to a robust and democratic process.

On behalf of the National Party Board of Directors, I would like to apologise for any distress caused to the individuals concerned as a result of the actions of one of our Members of Parliament.

RNZ: Hamish Walker’s exit from politics ‘was the only option’ – Todd Muller

In an announcement on transport this afternoon, Muller said the board will be looking at installing a new National Party candidate for Southland in the coming days.

“This was the only option because as we have well traversed the events of the last few days have not reflected from my perspective the appropriate National Party behaviour and values.

“He has worked very hard for his community over the last three years, and ultimately it was an error of judgement, a serious error of judgement that has cost him his career.

“It’s the right decision and I acknowledge that and now of course we seek to move on.”

He said he would not talk through the advice Walker had received, which was in a letter between himself and Walker.

Muller said Walker’s judgement was “fundamentally flawed”.

“And I’m on record a number of times now confirming that, and he’s paid the ultimate price of doing that.

“This is an isolated incident and we’ve got to see it through that lens, and I have acted very swiftly and we’ve got the right outcome.”

He said his MPs were clear around the expectations of them and they reflected a party with a “fine tradition of values, of achievement for this country and every one of us knows that we are there because at the last election well over a million people supported our cause and our view that the government is stronger when we’re in control”.

“Hamish Walker went behind my back and made his own judgement, and I’m sure that he is ruing it today.

“We have had one MP who made a serious error and has paid the ultimate price in terms of his political career. I think that talks to a party that does have high standards and when people breach them there is consequences.

“It was totally inappropriate for that personal information to be leaked to the media, because they are New Zealanders who are suffering because they have Covid and are in a constrained environment.”

But he said National would continue to critique the government’s “every day glitches” in the managed isolation programme.

“The government continues to demonstrate by the day actually that their border management is still not at the expectations that New Zealanders have of keeping us safe.”

What Michelle Boag and Hamish walker did reflects very poorly on the National Party. Walker is a first MP but especially after his Clutha Southland predecessor Todd Barclay crashed and burned his political career Walker should have been well aware of the dangers of stuffing up.

Walker should have also been well aware that personal information given to MPs has special privacy requirements.

Boag has shown that her long history of political involvement is a risk to any other work she does, as she has put political dirt first. She is likely to be shunned by National from now but she knows a lot of people in the party and it will be hard for her to be separated from it.

Leader Todd Muller has had a disaster to deal with, and I think he has dealt with it about as well as he could have. He made it clear he was totally opposed to what happened, and he made it clear that he had lost confidence in Walker and that Walker should resign, which he did.

In an adverse situation Muller looked reasonably principled and decisive, considering he had to allow Walker and the party to make decisions, and had to deal with legal issues.

But despite looking more sort of like leader material Muller has to now deal with his party in a dire situation. National’s chances of succeeding this election looked a long shot before this happened, but it now looks like they are virtually out of contention.

Unless Jacinda Ardern resigns or does something terrible, or someone in Labour does something as bad as Walker and it is handled poorly by Ardern and the party, or Covid turns to custard in New Zealand, then it looks likely now Ardern and Labour should cruise back into power.

Labour are sort of vulnerable on the economic risks, but that looks well covered with wage subsidies running through to September, and large amounts of money are being dished out around the country to try to keep the economy from crashing. It would take a major turn for the worse in the next two months for this to risk labour’s re-election.

So Muller and National are left to try to rescue as much support as possible to prevent their caucus from being decimated. It is too early to tell how bad the Boag/Walker effect will be, but National will struggle to get over 40% this election, and could easily crash to under 30%.

Leave a comment

35 Comments

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  9th July 2020

      I don’t see it as a vote-turning issue though it might actually work in reverse by strengthening Muller in popular perception. Those making a meal of it will already be Labour supporters and activists.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  9th July 2020

        Strenthen Muller ?
        A day a ago he said blah blah , disappointed ..blah blah ..no further comment
        yesterday even the National friendly newspaper political editors ripped him another one, and breaking his vow of silence pivoted to asking the party to deselect him ( in spite of all the sorry sorry PR releases made just before 6pm onTues night having been crafted by Mullers people)
        The above events all happened like that
        Today Wilco sees its strengthening Muller … who had to be pushed into taking strong action.
        Once an MP brings in lawyers to tell a party leader what to do, MPs political life must have been over from that instant.- instead Muller got his own lawyers- So a whole extra day is lost in vacillation showing Muller as indecisive

        Reply
      • The people who are still fawning and grovelling over Labour seem not to be aware that the wage subs are being paid by them, and that they are paying the interest. It’s not Labour generously handing out money, it’s the mugs of taxpayers who will be paying this money back for many years.

        The PM tells everyone that they are in imminent danger of dying of Covid19, and when enough people are panicking, shuts the country down so that she can then be seen as the Lone Rangeress, rescuing us.

        Reply
  1. John J Harrison

     /  9th July 2020

    Boag is political poison and should be excommunicated from the National Party with extreme prejudice and haste.
    Meanwhile ACT will continue to be the beneficiary of this sordid drama.
    Great !

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th July 2020

      They have had even more sordid dramas when they have more than one MP. Fringe partys are always like that, attracts a certain type of oddball
      Remember the perk buster who loved the baubles when he could have some

      Reply
      • “Fringe partys are always like that, attracts a certain type of oddball”

        Remember Brendon Horan?
        Remember Richard Prosser?
        Remember Asenati Taylr?
        Remember Clayton Mitchell?
        Remember Shane Jones?
        Remember Winston Peters?

        Reply
        • Who was the one who made the unlucky tiler think that he could get him residence and had his house tiled for nothing ?

          Who made a friend think that he could hurry up the friend’s new stepfather’s residence and said so on Facebook ? Kris Faafoi ?

          The Green’s Golriz Gharahman said online that she was the first woman to be Minister of Defence. She wasn’t the Minister, and if she had been, she would not have been the first woman to be it.

          Reply
        • duperez

           /  9th July 2020

          Oops – missed Jami-Lee Ross!

          No offence meant by the comparison but in some senses wasn’t he like the Christchurch mass murderer – just out there, part of the scenery, okay until he suddenly wasn’t okay?

          Reply
      • Duker is thinking of the grossly distorted version of something Rodney Hide did, but not, of course, telling the true story which was well known at the time.

        It was hardly a sordid story; he did nothing illegal or even dishonest.

        He was not a bauble-seeker.

        Remember the PM using a hugely expensive airforce plane as a private taxi (costing tens of thousands) so that she didn’t have to leave her baby for more than a day ?

        Reply
        • $80,000 in fuel alone.

          In 2011, Labour criticised National for using an airforce plane at much less cost to transport a number of MPs to an official event.

          Reply
  2. David

     /  9th July 2020

    For me, toying with a NZ First vote, the handling of it makes more likely to vote Muller..not 100% but he dealt with it remarkably quickly and it should be a lesson for our PM.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  9th July 2020

      is the wannabe P.M capable?

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  9th July 2020

      What a load of tosh…’remarkably quickly’!…he had the info for 30 hours and had no choice.

      Reply
  3. lurcher1948

     /  9th July 2020

    Jacinda team didnt release peoples private medical details,and a bike ride isn’t in the same league,hell a National party president was in on the dirty political game…and Walker walked,but is still collecting his salary

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  9th July 2020

      Get real, it’s 2020. Acting malevolently and having insidious intent = being dumb. Oh, and it’s election year.

      Reply
  4. Corky

     /  9th July 2020

    I still can’t get passed the perception that even though Muller dealt with this crisis reasonably decisively, he continues to come across as weak for me. There was no passion in his voice. Everything was ‘matter of fact.’ If Muldoon or Helen Clark were in that situation, you would be in no doubt from the dark utterances and strained facial gestures, that everything was going to be sorted quickly.

    I’m picking a new National leader before 2023 if National lose this up coming election.

    Reply
    • Jack

       /  9th July 2020

      I have found that leaders with the most facial action are the least compassionate. We have a lot of psycho leaders in this country now. They mimic what they think will portray true feeling. I wouldn’t go by looks at all. Actions speak louder. https://www.amazon.com/author/hakaonthepew
      Relevant

      Reply
      • Jack

         /  9th July 2020

        Just read the blurb on https://www.amazon.com/author/hakaonthepew and can see why Gezza and Blazer baulked earlier. Really? I informed that these books contain political opinion. Is it too hard to consider the viewpoints of a NZ Christian? Those who read them might learn something of value to pass on to their offspring. It’s not religion, rest assured. Your site here might become less echoey too.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  9th July 2020

          There was a woman who persisted on bible bashing propaganda on this forum that was as recalcitrant as you.

          Reply
        • Shameless self-promotion, using this blog as an advertising site to promote your own book.

          Reply
          • Jack

             /  9th July 2020

            Not at all. They’re for giving away too. Everything about them are political opinions, well placed within the context of Pete’s blog. There’s no self promotion in there at all. Quite the opposite. If you would like them given to you as others have requested, make contact somehow.
            People make contributions to contribute, do you?

            Reply
          • Pink David

             /  9th July 2020

            Why shouldn’t he promote his book?

            You were promoting John Bolton’s book here a week back. Remember that book? It was going to change everything wasn’t it?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  9th July 2020

              Read it then…and do a review for us.

  5. “ Boag has shown that her long history of political involvement is a risk to any other work she does, as she has put political dirt first. She is likely to be shunned by National from now”

    We were saying that back in 2014, and still she pull strings behind National’s facade.

    Reply
  6. Patzcuaro

     /  9th July 2020

    Reply
    • The actions of Boag and Walker are not potentially spreading Covid 19 far and wide.

      We all went into lockdown costing billions because of the supposed danger (squawks of ‘There could be 80,000 deaths !’ of Covid) if this didn’t happen. Now we’re told that the risk is minimal when people who either have it or haven’t been tested are either let out or get out.

      It wasn’t under National that two contagious women were let out early and untested.

      How many contagious people have been released ?

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  9th July 2020

      Karma is a funny thing. It wasn’t that long ago us Righties had tears rolling down our cheeks watching the election tv add for National featuring the Left in a dingy with rowers all rowing in different directions, while National cruised past in a rowing boat with everyone rowing in unison. It was great stuff.

      We will enjoy those times again, once voters wallets lighten up and Nationals gets rid of Muller. This country only works with a strong RIGHT government in power.

      Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th July 2020

    Boag may have given Walker the info to show how many ethnicities are currently infectious following his allegations about risk from India, Pakistan etc. He may have given it to the media for the same reason and then seen it blow up in his face over the privacy breach which he seems to have been blind to.

    Reply
    • It’s not just ethnic Indians et al who are coming from there, of course. I think that he made the stuff-up of his life, but as he didn’t name names, it’s dubious if this is a privacy breach.

      We know where the infectious people have come from, it’s on the news. An x year old y who came on a flight from Z…..

      Reply

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