Friday’s UMR leaked poll made for more than sombre reading if you’re a supporter of the right as most of us here are. UMR is Labour’s polling company so it is very easy to dismiss it as a rogue poll or hope that somehow an element of bias has crept in. It would be interesting to know what the questions were and how they were framed. Questions can be framed in such a way as to get the result you want. It would also be interesting to know the demographic and male to female breakdown.

Being a Libran, albeit on the cusp, I thought I would bring out the scales and try and introduce a semblance of balance into the discussion. I read the first hundred or so comments to Cam’s article and was not surprised by the fairly wide range of views. Incidentally, I was not surprised by Cam’s views either. I like a person who takes a stand, defends that stand, and consequently leaves you in no doubt as to where they do stand. That’s not to say I’m in total agreement.

So is there a chance it is a rogue poll as some, including me, would like to believe? In my view, you need to look at the numbers for all the major parties and I have to say the numbers for the Greens, NZ First and Act look pretty much in line with the other major polls. Therefore, as much as I hate to say it the numbers for National and Labour could also be pretty much as they are right now. National have been trending down somewhat in recent polls and I don’t think, as much as I’d like to, we can write these numbers off entirely. In saying that I’m not saying they are 100 per cent accurate either. They would be based, as I said earlier, on the questions asked and how they were framed.

It is a fact of life unfortunately that the incumbent Government, no matter how incompetent — and this one certainly is — does well in a crisis. We all know here that Ardern’s leadership around this event (I refuse to call it a crisis) has been a combination of late intervention and scaremongering to the point where she has been able to impose her doctrine on a largely compliant population. Therefore, her wanting to extend this for as long as possible is understandable. I’m thinking level three could well be extended on the continuing spurious excuse that we must make sure we are on top of the virus. This doesn’t really hold water when there’s now a one in a million chance of getting it.

Is there any hope then for National based on this poll? The reality is, as Bob Jones has pointed out, if an election were held tomorrow Labour would win. It could be that a result similar to this poll would be recorded. But, as Bob has also pointed out, the election is not tomorrow, it’s in September and by that stage, he says, the Jacinda gloss will have worn off and there will most likely be a change of Government. There is certainly a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then and a lot of it will be toxic to the Government.

Inevitably, with a poll reflecting these numbers and the ensuing potential carnage on a party, the spotlight is thrown on the leadership. It is difficult to escape the fact that Bridges and Bennett are not the answer. To be brutally honest Bridges doesn’t come across well, particularly in the medium that matters most, television. Bennett in my opinion is now coming across as someone who has got too big for her boots. Having said that it is a fact that Governments lose elections rather than opposition parties winning them. If this poll is to be believed that is all that National can hope for.

Cam has done the exercise on the electoral fallout and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading. If National is to increase its chances beyond simply hoping Labour will lose, then it would appear a change in leadership is inevitable. I agree with Cam that it must happen now. There is no time for agonising who that person might be. It has to be the person who is best placed to take on Jacinda in the leadership debates. These debates will obviously have an economic focus and no doubt tax policies will be to the fore. On that basis there is only one candidate.

The BFD. National MP Judith Collins

Judith Collins. Judith qualifies on a number of fronts –

She will clinically expose the intellectual vacuum that exists between Jacinda’s ears.
She will do it in a calm and measured manner.
She is an expert in the area of taxation.
She is the best one to clearly enunciate National’s policies.
She is best placed to take National to the right.
She is a woman.
She will pull crowds at meetings.
She has the ability to resonate in a way Margaret Thatcher did.

I think we can forget about ‘polarising’ and ‘baggage’. Those sorts of things will not feature in this election. This election will be all about business, jobs and the economy going forward. Unless Labour self destructs, and it could but I wouldn’t rely on it, then National is in a very precarious position. Unless the party is looking forward to another three years warming their current seats then action is needed.

For the sake of the country.

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