National caucus retreat

National MPs are heading to a two day retreat in Tauranga to ‘build on policies’. Note that it is ‘a retreat’ and not ‘retreat’.

It’s a long way out from the next election to be building on policies, they have plenty of time and opportunity to do that. I expect they will spend some time on their strategies as an Opposition party as well.

RNZ: Nats retreat a chance to build on policies – English

The getaway in Tauranga – the party’s first since its election loss – is a chance for MPs to take stock of their performance and plan for the year ahead.


In a statement, Mr English said the retreat would focus on “building on the policies which received such significant support at the election” and devising new policies.

“[The] National Party will continue to outline a clear plan and direction to make that happen as we attempt to earn the right to govern again in 2020.

“By contrast, the new government has just spent five days in Waitangi and not presented a single specific idea on how to improve the lives of New Zealanders – a pattern which has quickly emerged since October.”

He said National was Parliament’s largest party and its “most popular”.

Mr English said last week he did not expect any leadership discussion over the two-day meeting.

“If anything, a bit of a burst of speculation like this has probably hardened up support,” he said.

There appears to be a bit of political mischief involved in the ‘speculation’.

It comes after a series of reports last week that some in the party were agitating for a change in command.

While leader Bill English appeared on safe ground, some National MPs privately told RNZ there was discontent about deputy Paula Bennett.

Some MPs met last night at the home of local MP Simon Bridges for a BBQ ahead of the retreat at Trinity Wharf Hotel. It’s understood the dinner was organised by Mrs Bennett.


A political BBQ is often associated, rightly or wrongly, with flaming of leaders.

I doubt there will be any serious challenges to English while he chooses to remain in charge, but Barry Soper continues to stoke things along for someone.

Newstalk ZB: Resignations predicted from National

There are expected to be resignations from National Party MPs in the near future, as turmoil in the party continues.

Turmoil? It would have been a big surprise if some National MPs didn’t resign this term.

Newstalkzb Political editor Barry Soper says that alongside MPs will be at least four candidates who’re next on the party list.

“That would strongly indicate that MPs are planning to resign, with former speaker David Carter and former Treaty negotiations minister Chris Finlayson the most likely,” he says.

Or it could simply indicate the prudent inclusion of peeople on the list who are likely to become MPs over the next two and a half years.

The caucuses annual photograph, planned for early March, has also been postponed, a further sign, Soper says, of impending resignations.

Really? Soper seems to be trying to read tea leaves, forgetting that tea bags took over decades ago.

Soper says that there seems to be a refusal amongst party insiders to accept they lost the election.

Are they calling for a recount? Are they calling for renegotiations of a coalition? Are they calling for the impeachment of Jacinda Ardern?  Are National MPs trying to sit on the wrong side of the House?

I have often seen claims of “a refusal amongst party insiders to accept they lost the election”, but with no evidence.

“Until they get over the loss and their dislike of Winston Peters, the party will find it hard to move on and analyse how they blew it by alienating the New Zealand First leader.

National successfully alienated Peters in 2014, and unsuccessfully tried to bury NZ First in 2017. You win some and lose some in politics.

Any party that has been in power for nine years has some difficulty ‘moving on’ and getting used to being relatively irrelevant and powerless – Labour took nearly nine years after their loss in 2008.

The impression I got was that English and National looked resigned to losing power once Peters became pivotal in deciding who would lead the government last year, as if they viewed it as there time was up. And there may have been some relief that they dodged a bullet.

They have a lot of work to do to establish themselves as an effective opposition and prepare themselves for the next election.

However in the main National’s future is reliant on the performance of the current Government. If Ardern and peters do reasonably well, and the Greens hang in there, it will be their election to win or lose in 2020, and National won’t be able to do much about it, no matter who their leader is.

The retreat in Tauranga is a small step on their way to holding things together until they get another shot at taking over.


Labour Retreat – while Shearer’s away…

…what will the caucus play at?

Following another demoralising poll result for Labour – that David Shearer called ‘a wake up call for us” – Labour is having a caucus retreat in Napier today.

The poll – and a similar poor result from Roy Morgan a few days ago – must be high on the Labour MP conversation list, even if they avoid having it on the agenda. And that means Shearer’s poor performance and lack of party and public can’t avoid attention.

There is an interesting situation:

David Shearer to attend the start of Labour’s caucus retreat to Napier in the morning

On Monday, John Key will chair the intelligence and security committee in the Beehive as it deliberates on what changes should be made to the bill and New Zealand’s foreign spy agency.

Opposition leader David Shearer is due to attend the start of Labour’s caucus retreat to Napier in the morning and fly back to Wellington for the committee meeting, then return to Napier.

Shearer will be there at the start of the retreat and again at the end, but will be absent for several hours in the middle.

Will leadership be discussed while Shearer is away?

Newstalk ZB report In-fighting behing Labour’s poll nightmares

Internal arguing is being blamed for Labour’s poor showing in the polls.

A Roy Morgan poll last week had the party on 31 per cent support, well behind National, and a TV3 Reid Research poll is showing a similar result.

Labour leader David Shearer says his party is not in a position that he is comfortable with, but he blames the result on bad publicity the party has had over its plans to boost female MP numbers.

“What the last couple of weeks has shown us, and reminded us, is that when we focus on stuff that is inside the Labour Party, at the expense of what New Zealanders are worried about, we will be hit in the polls.”

No sign of Shearer accepting any responsibility there, blaming poor results on “his party” and bad publicity. Hello! Any idea why they have been getting bad publicity?

Can Labour put aside internal arguing at the retreat and face up to their problems?

Can Shearer afford to retreat to Wellington during the middle of the retreat?

And why the heck would Labour have a caucus retreat when their leader can’t attend right through? Unless someone planned it that way.