National’s desperate attacks

National have had problems with bad polls and with MP candidates promoting themselves and not the party, and running nutty attacks like Alfred Ngaro – see National MP Alfred Ngaro accused of spreading ‘gross piece of misinformation’ on Facebook.

Judith Collins did something about that – Collins intervenes after controversial abortion post:

Collins said Ngaro’s views weren’t shared by the party.

“You know, he’s someone who passionately believes exactly what he’s put up there and I don’t and and neither does the party.”

Collins said MPs get help with their social media, and in this case it was his own views and shouldn’t have had National Party branding on it.

It sounds like a concession that Ngaro is running his own campaign. That suggests National have poor control over their campaign and their candidates.

On campaigning yesterday: Good day/bad day: The leader walking on sunshine

In the same town, National leader Judith Collins is being undermined by her own candidates. Former leaders Todd Muller and Simon Bridges have been going merrily off-message with full page newspaper ads and billboards showing their photos – but no mention of Collins. Strategy: two ticks for the local candidates

But Collins has taken to attacks in her campaigning as well. Perhaps she sees it as a last ditch effort to save her leadership, as National seems beyond saving this election.

Collins was even more off-message herself, with some provocative rhetoric in which she blamed the personal “weakness” of overweight people for the country’s obesity problems. And the day got worse: she compared exploratory gas drilling to a pregnancy ultrasound scan. That’s a metaphor too uncomfortable to contemplate.

RNZ: Obese people must take responsibility for ‘personal choices’

When told that some had called her comments heartless, Collins said: “Do you know what is heartless? Is actually thinking someone else can cure these issues. We can all take personal responsibility and we all have to own up to our little weaknesses on these matters.

“Do not blame systems for personal choices.”

To an extent Collins is right here, but this won’t win over many votes, and is more likely to lose some.

RNZ: Judith Collins says Jacinda Ardern ‘lied’ about Covid border testing

Collins began her morning campaigning with a transport policy combined with an attack on the Greens’ wealth tax in Grenada, but later turned her attention squarely on Ardern and Covid-19.

She told a public meeting at Waikanae Bowling Club that Ardern and her government had “let Covid in” and Ardern had “lied” about the testing of border staff.

“When she says she went hard and fast she went slow and pathetic, and actually the other thing she did was she lied to us about what was happening and I’m happy to say that on the record – she lied.

“Gee I hope she sues me for it. Happy to prove it.”

Support for Ardern and for Labour surged due too their handling of Covid so it’s hard to see what Collins is trying to achieve here.

RNZ: Judith Collins’ final week attacks ‘bizarre’, ‘desperate’ – pundits

“Her incentives to do that are, she’s looking at bleeding a fair few votes to other parties on the centre right, in particular ACT, and … it’s an attempt to inject some relevance and appear as if the contest is a one-on-one battle between the National leader and the Labour leader.”

“I think that when you start accusing a party leader we know has very high favourability ratings, very high trust levels, calling them a liar, that you’re not going for median voters, you’re not going for those centre voters there.

“You’re really trying to appeal to that base.”

The language being employed by Collins doesn’t “come from a position of strength”, he says.

The problem for Collins is the National base seems to have shrunk substantially. The essential swing voters are unlikely to be impressed by her attacks.

And trying to sound strong when you’re obviously in a weak position is unlikely to fool anyone.

Former United Future leader Peter Dunne thinks Collins’ comments were “a little bizarre”.

“I think they reflect the fact that National’s now not looking to win over uncommitted voters, so much as hold its own base in line, and I think this is what these comments were directed at.”

“I think National now is in a hold-the-line mode, rather than a win mode.”

“This election is very unusual in the way it’s panned out. I think National has gone from earlier in the year, pre-Covid, looking more than likely to win the election, to now looking most unlikely to do so. And I think they’ve had some trouble adjusting to the change in public mood.

“That’s why some of the comments do sound pretty desperate.

The pressure of imminent and heavy defeat seems to be taking it’s toll.

University of Auckland politics lecturer Dr Lara Greaves says it’s been a long campaign and a “very” long year.

She says it’s hard to know if Collins’ negativity is a strategy or not.

“It’s kind of unclear exactly who she is trying to appeal to here. I mean at this point, around half of the voters have voted. It’s not clear whether this is something that a swing voter or fence-sitter would be that into.

“Potentially she is trying to look towards that National Party base, trying to take some voters from ACT, or some old New Zealand First voters from those segments that are a little more fiery and would view some of those comments she’s made today as a little more acceptable.”

She doesn’t necessarily think it will win over swing voters.

“I think realistically, she’s just trying to save the furniture, and it’s not really clear that this is a good strategy for that.”

National have had a poor term, a poor year and a poor campaign that seems to be a shambles. Those MPs who survive – they may lose up to a third of their MPs – will have a big job to do to repair the damage and rebuild next term.

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  1. duperez

     /  14th October 2020

    The Collins comments about obesity will be seen as telling it as it is, as she sees it, or being insensitive. That’s the way things roll.

    The comments were obviously considered ones. The media considers things they publish. Sometimes they are accused of being insensitive. No coverage I’ve seen has had the story illustrated with a stock photo of Collins with her deputy alongside side or behind her.

  2. David

     /  14th October 2020

    The overwhelming number of people who are obese eat too much and do too little exercise, hardly a negative or controversial position unless you are a woke millennial journalist rooting for an Ardern win.
    There are whole government programs designed around people who eat too much crappy food and dont workout, programs funded by Labour. To say as some have that you are blaming the porker for their lifestyle well who else do you blame. It hardly helps to celebrate someone eating themselves to an early death.

    • Blazer

       /  14th October 2020

      Both Collins and Brownlees BMI’s would indicate obesity= lack of personal responsibility(according to Collins).

      Clearly not fit to govern on that…basis.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th October 2020

    As I said previously, being nice just played into Jacinda’s hands. The latest showing some teeth is too little too late but Collins drew the short straw after Bridges and Muller had lost the game already.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  14th October 2020

      The real story of this election is that Labour’s temporary win over the virus has obscured all its other policy failures. They now have three years to reappear.

    • Kimbo

       /  14th October 2020

      Being unkind to Ardern also played into her hand too.

      Sorry, Al, you may have had a gutsful of Saccharine Cindy (I did a day after she was elevated to the Labour leadership in 2017 – but kudos for her genuine empathy after the mosque massacres and the initial Covid scare)

      …but you are reflective of the base that wants to be mobilised by Collins.

      The majority, including the soft, arguably under-informed swinging voters who determine elections? They had a feel-good easy-listening rock star in John Key who gave them reassurance during the GFC and Christchurch earthquake bad times, and now he’s been replaced with the same vibe by Jacinda Ardern. That’s all the depth they want and need, especially as our culture has got a lot more therapeutic and way less confrontational in personal interactions since the dinosaur age in which you and I (even though I’m about a generation younger then you) matured.

      Interestingly (to me anyway), Muldoon argued after his loss in 1984 that is was the same “younger under-informed” voter who had fallen for Lange’s shallow feel good snake oil, compared to when Muldoon had barnstormed the country in 1975 with his detailed graphs and numbers scaring town hall meetings witless that Rowling and Tigard were sending us to the poorhouse. In a sense Muldoon had a point as I handed out leaflets for Labour that year and had no idea what the 4th Labour Government would do a wholesale roll back of the post-war command/protected economy which Muldoon championed. Although you were no doubt delighted. I digress…

      But as with 1984 we may be witnessing a generational sea-change election. That was the year that the baby boomers succeeded the raised-in-the-Depression/World War II veteran generation as the drivers of election winners. Now in 2020 it is Gen X and younger.

      Hence Collins seems to them old, mean-spirited and uncaring. Especially when she is mean to lovely Cindy, who is unfailingly kind and caring, and whose intentions are always so good and noble. And their phone is off the hook to the blah blah blah of policy details that suggests Ardern, or more precisely her talent-challenged crew might not just have all the important solutions.

      However, kudos to David Seymour because I thought he got walking the tightrope of attacking Ardern’s policy constructively about right. Collins? Too much of a back-biting smart mouth mean girl. Then again Seymour is on the margins, likely reaping in National voters from 2017, not taking them off Labour and NZ First as Collins needs to do to win.

      But when the hard times come, as they inevitably will, or if Ardern gives it away as her genuine integrity won’t be able to personally square her rhetoric with her government’s underperformance, maybe Collins’ brand will be back in favour. If she still has the National Party job – an unlikely prospect.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th October 2020

        As I said, next time Labour won’t have the virus distraction from its failures. Sound bite thinkers and voters will always produce failures. Eventually the “more of the same” solution for failure palls.

        • Kimbo

           /  14th October 2020

          Leaving aside that Labour and Green supporters thought the same of National under John Key (not that I agreed with them)

          …yes, you’ve described well how the electoral pendulum works. Or more, why democracy is the worst of all the systems for appointing a government, except all the others. Lessons of the past either get locked in and not updated and reformed when change is required, or they are forgotten when they need to be remembered. Or drowned out by ephemera. With always Harold Macmillan’s, “events, my dear fellow, events” being the sea in which politicians must navigate.

          Some 8 months ago the unelectable tone-deaf electorally-challenged Simon Bridges had National at a popularity level where they could have governed alone, and rightly so after Ardern’s failure to make 2019 the “year of delivery”. Then…events.

          But for the moment, as did Key before her, Ardern has put her stamp on this current political era. National supporters were consoling themselves/rationalising three years ago that they “dodged a bullet” when Winston Peters passed them by. Not so sure that was accurate, especially as NZ First is now dog tucker, for the first time his major government coalition partner has survived, indeed thrived. Three years is a lifetime away, but no matter what difficulty Ardern likely fails to navigate before the 2023 election, I wouldn’t bet against her at this stage being anything other than a three-term PM. Unless, like Key, she decides she’s had enough. And especially as National have yesterday’s leader, and no realistic Jacinda-busting alternatives on the horizon. Yep, that’s right, National is pretty much where Labour were after Phil Goff lost in 2011, in the electoral wilderness.

          But let’s wait and see what happens on Saturday…

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  14th October 2020

        Bob Jones nails the Lefty airheads:

  4. Reply
    • Corky

       /  14th October 2020

      Good question. In the final analysis it won’t matter for National. What will matter is within the next 4 years Jacinda may be a spent force. National knows what happens when you lose a charismatic leader. It’s a lesson Labour and Mr Presland may have forgotten?

      The sarcasm may come back to bite this merry socialist.

    • FarmerPete

       /  14th October 2020

      A quote from Greg Presland is hardly very interesting or profound.

      • Blazer

         /  14th October 2020

        Its a quote from Judith…she forgot the Mullertime add on…and a ‘lie down’! Bol.

  5. This is getting bizarre. I have no idea how Shaw could sneak on a wealth tax if he’s acting PM.

    • Alan Foster

       /  14th October 2020

      Collins has certainly lost it big time.

      • Corky

         /  14th October 2020

        ”Shaw couldn’t do this himself – he’d still need the backing of the majority of MPs in Parliament, most of whom are likely to be Labour, and likely still loyal to Ardern.”

        Loyalty and politics is a oxymoron.

        I’ll wait until this is confirmed before saying Judith is in desperation mode. Of course, she has been in desperation mode since becoming the leader of National…and trying to find an elusive counter to the ”kind one.”

  6. Kimbo

     /  14th October 2020

    Alfred Ngaro was not given a particularly favourable place on the National Party list. However at the time Gerry Brownlee made the point that in Te Atatu Ngaro was up against an incumbent with lots of baggage. So if it seems he is waging his own, at times quixotic battle against Phil Twyford, including mobilising the unlikely-National-voting working class religious vote out West that he has built as his core constituency over nine years…yes.

  7. lurcher1948

     /  14th October 2020

    PG won’t post
    {I would have if you didn’t try a stunt like this. PG]

  8. duperez

     /  14th October 2020

    Big Herald headline:
    Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern wades in on Judith Collins’ obesity comments

    Followed by “Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has waded in after National Party leader Judith Collins’ comments that obesity was a “weakness” and a matter of personal responsibility…”

    Waded in? A reporter asked her a question.

    How a political stand up goes and the type of questions that get asked. The early parts particularly are throwing the fishing lines out hoping to catch a headline. And finding something to spice up as a tasty dish. When you get nothing you pretend a piece of seaweed is a fish

    • Kimbo

       /  14th October 2020

      Yes, and in front page headline font size previously reserved in generations past for “WAR DECLARED!!”. 😳😂

      Don’t know why political partisans of any stripe moan about media bias. During Key’s tenure Labour and the Greens supporters moaned Key got a favoured ride, whereas now National and ACT supporters complain about Ardern’s media-enabled celebrity status. Pointless as the media will attempt to raise up and cast down on the primary basis of what sells their fish and chip wrapper.

      And in the main the public sees past the nonsense. Hence Trump appeals to his voters above the MSM, indeed he even turns the negative coverage into a positive. As Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher and Rob Muldoon did in time past, and before the advent of electronic social media.

  9. And it continues: Judith Collins says Greens ‘unemployable’ in latest wealth tax attack

    “One of the reasons we have ruled out the Green Party policy is because no other country has this form of taxation. Now is not the time to be experimenting with tax policy when we need to focus on our economic recovery.”

    Collins would not budge, saying she believed her concerns were very real, and rejecting the claims of desperation.

    “No, I think they’re very real … she shouldn’t go into name calling. ”

    She took her attacks on the Green Party further still, saying the Greens “didn’t really pay taxes before entering Parliament”.

    “Well, most of them are unemployable I always thought. The whole lot of them. Don’t mean to be nasty but there we go, it’s the truth.”

    This what I’d expect to see in Kiwiblog or BFD comments, but not from an aspiring Prime Minister.

    I don’t mean to be nasty, but Collins is making herself unelectable, and post-election dumpable. Maybe she knows that’s her political future in leadership roles at least going down the toilet and is just spraying before she walks away, but it looks like a shitty way to end her campaign.

    • “What is wrong is actually looking at someone else and saying with this horrible envy and thinking ‘they’ve got more than me therefore I want to take it’. I don’t want to be that sort of person.”

      She says the other parties are all miserable.

      “They are though, aren’t they? I mean they’re always looking at things. No-one is as cheerful as the National Party.”

      I doubt that Labour or Act are anything like miserable. The National list is where a lot of misery will be happening, as well as electorate candidates anywhere near being close.

  10. On a lighter note:

    • Corky

       /  14th October 2020

      You just know it was a young NZ educated apprentice who is to blame.

      • duperez

         /  14th October 2020

        A victim of National Standards no doubt.

        • Corky

           /  14th October 2020

          Way before that, but nice try. To be fair National did nothing to improve the situation.
          Tell you a secret.. many Marxist teachers paid lip service to the National Standards.
          I know because some told me. The teachers showed me how they graded kids They used a bell curve graph.

          They couldn’t bring themselves to mark child thus:

          Bree – 92/100 Class 25 1st
          Manu -22/100 Class 25 20th

          You do see why a Marxist teacher would never mark like that, don’t you?

          That objectifies both learning, results and IQ.

          BTW, Manu up there was me during my primary school years. And when my mother attended parents interviews she got to hear about it. She tried her best to help me to no avail. Then I hit college, something clicked, and apart from maths, I was always in the top 5 in my class..even came first a couple of times.

          All results objective…no subjective, as is the case now

  11. duperez

     /  14th October 2020

    Do the other 4 from the top 5 keep throwing the word ‘Marxist’ around like it means something?

    I like the way you’ve ditched National. Didn’t meet your standards I suppose. Mind you if they were on a roll in the previous few months right now you’d be telling us about how Simon or that Muller guy or Judith or Paula or whoever the leader was, just happened to be the answers to our prayers and was a great leader.

    The desertion by some of the dyed-in-the-wool mob is as funny as it is pathetic. They got rid of their God because of poor delivery and have found another religion. 😊

  12. Corky

     /  14th October 2020

    ”Do the other 4 from the top 5 keep throwing the word ‘Marxist’ around like it means something?”


    ”I like the way you’ve ditched National. Didn’t meet your standards I suppose. ”

    I knew that was coming. The rat leaving the sinking ship scenario, beloved by you cunning socialists? I’ve been posting for months how I want National to lose. Of course, I understand you have no conception of tactical solutions. You see politics..I see war.

    ”Mind you if they were on a roll in the previous few months right now you’d be telling us about how Simon or that Muller guy or Judith or Paula or whoever the leader was, just happened to be the answers to our prayers and was a great leader.”

    If the leadership was of the quality of Key and English, maybe…but the problem is I doubt even they would be able to withstand the economic downturn coming. So I would probably go for the status quo.

    You conveniently forget I’m a Libertarian, National is not my natural home. But you already know that. It just a convenient thing to overlook if you want to troll.

    ”The desertion by some of the dyed-in-the-wool mob is as funny as it is pathetic. ”

    It’s a free world. Every party has fair whether support. Just look at ACTs deputy. One minute supporting windmills…the next semi autos.

    Here’s the chap that influenced our education system. But you already knew that. I pointed him out to this blog. But, oh my, look what Brazil is doing to his legacy. Maybe the dimwits at our Education Ministry should take note.

    I will bookmark this just in case you try your sly socialist ways on me again.

    • Corky

       /  14th October 2020


      “One of the goals to get Brazil out of the worst positions in international education rankings is to combat the Marxist rubbish that has spread in educational institutions.”

      Crikey, I understand. What about you Duperez? Maybe that’s why we are starting to slip down the education rankings?


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