Grandstanding pundits versus Simon Bridges

There have been some fairly bitter responses to the National caucus selection of Simon Bridges as their new party leader (and Leader of the Opposition).

Graham Adams at Noted: Bridges and Bennett: National’s B-Team

Noted that the headline frames the new team as inferior (b-team).

Bridges’ other big problem will be convincing the media he is the man for the job. The National caucus obviously took no notice of the many media commentators, both on the right and the left, who were certain that what the National Party needed was Judith Collins, and said so loudly.

Some ‘media commentators’ act more like political activists wanting to have an influence.

Mike HoskingBarry SoperCameron SlaterChris Trotter, Rachel Stewart and Heather du Plessis-Allan all rooted for Collins (although Hosking defected to the Steven Joyce camp late in the piece, possibly aware by then that he had backed the wrong horse, only to find he had switched to another dud).

The hostile reactions to Bridges’ accession suggest that some commentators may not like their lack of influence being so brutally revealed.

Barry Soper in particular seems to be annoyed that Bridges got the job.

Some of the media’s support for Collins, of course, was undoubtedly less about what she might do for the country than what she might do for the media.

Probably. These days controversy and click bait headlines seem more important than independent and balanced coverage.

Journalist grandstanding is a growing issue in political coverage.

Another media trends seems to be that political ‘reporters’ seem obsessed with predicting outcomes to show how good their sources and their political acumen is.

The hissy fits over Bridges’ selection (and Collins’ non selection) may be more than or alternate to “their lack of influence being so brutally revealed”, it may also be in part at least annoyance at their failure to get it right brutally revealed.

Winston’s legacy – grand finale or grandstanding?

Winston Peters keeps feeding his ego and to a lesser extent the media several times a day as he goes in and out of meetings. His deadline has slipped some more, he now says he is unlikely to even consult with the NZ First board today.

Stuff: Winston Peters will take both options to the NZ First board after Thursday night

Winston Peters says he doubts his caucus will be able to make a decision by Thursday night but expects to have options to take to the NZ First board.

Following the fourth and final meeting on Wednesday Peters told media he hoped all of the negotiations would be wrapped up by the end of play on Thursday but he couldn’t possibly gather the board before Friday.

When Peters was asked if he would take both options to the board, he said that was the case, and he wouldn’t be leaving until there was “serious consensus”.

“You don’t want to be going to a vote in these matters. You want a serious consensus – if you haven’t got a serious consensus then stay there until you get one, but who wants a 50/50 vote?”

Peters said he’d expect higher than 75 per cent of the board consenting.

Getting that agreement meant “everyone gets buy-in, everybody gets responsibility and everybody has authority for what the party’s going to do.”

Yesterday the NZ First party president said that they had removed the names of their board members from their web so they wouldn’t be hassled by media, but would reveal who were supposedly making the big decision ‘by consensus’ after their decision had been made.

“We should (have talks) finished by tomorrow night but it depends on other people as well.”

At least he now acknowledges that there are people other than himself involved in making decisions.

Winston’s Thursday deadline seems to be slipping further, suggesting that things aren’t going entirely to plan for him, or he made commitments he never intended to keep.

1 News: Winston Peters says he can’t get to the NZ First board tomorrow

The NZ First leader seemed upbeat earlier today about the chances a deal would be thrashed out to form the next government by tomorrow night at the latest.

“We are going to be finishing off discussions tomorrow evening, will then be able to put together full picture from both sides,” Mr Peters told media after emerging from his second talk of the day with National.

However, after his most recent meeting with Labour finished this evening, with Mr Peters told reporters “no, we can’t possibly get to the board tomorrow night.”

When asked if he would be in a position to to make a decision by tomorrow night, the NZ First leader was also less positive.

“It’s doubtful we’ll be in position to do that by end of tomorrow, but what we’ll be able to do is now as a caucus sit down and say this is what we can present to the party, this is what it looks like, this is how quickly we can assemble information.”

At this stage it looks as if talks may even drag out longer than the previously stated Thursday deadline.

Asked if all the talks would be complete by tomorrow at least, Mr Peters stated: “Yes surely. Hopefully”.

Maybe. It doesn’t really matter when the caretaker government hands over to whatever is eventually worked out.

Peters: “Look, the election was only decided at 2 o’clock last Saturday. Today is Wednesday right, We’re doing the best we can”.


The NZ First team is looking a bit strained after a very busy week, and it looks like there’s still plenty of work to be done.

And with a lack of news journalists are starting to ask questions. Tracy Watkins: Winston Peters says he’s going to change New Zealand – where is his mandate?

Seventeen days have passed since the election but it might as well be another election in another country.

Can you even remember what you were voting for? And does it even matter? From the little we can glean of the discussions behind closed doors Winston Peters is negotiating for the heart and soul of this country. Or at least that’s his take. In Peters’ own words: “These talks are about a change in the way this country is run. Both economically and socially.”

There is a problem with that. Peters stood on a policy platform that was rejected by more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders. His only mandate is to extract a few policy concessions and maybe a ministerial portfolio or two from either National or Labour to do the best by the 7 per cent of people who voted for him.

If Peters had been acting like the leader of a 7 per cent party this is something that could easily have been done within the self imposed two week deadline that he set for himself. The fact that Peters now says that deadline may not be met is a sign that these talks have gone well beyond that. It seems that everything is up for negotiation, and Labour and National are totally on board with that.

We don’t know what National or Labour are on board with, but it has looked very much like the Winston Show so far.

Two decades ago the country hung on Peters’ every utterance for six weeks while NZ First shuttled between National and Labour, before doing the deal with National.

That hurt Peters politically. Of all his legacies, it is the one voters most remember. That and the way he played Helen Clark and Jim Bolger off against each other. It was for this reason his campaign trail promise this time round was that there would be a quick decision.

NZ First was nearly obliterated after voters rejected that approach and a backlash against the tail wagging the dog.

Peters wants to be careful that history isn’t repeating itself.

Will this term’s government be a grand finale for Peters?

Or will it be remembered more for his grandstanding?