Two polls within days of each other and both tell a similar story. First, let’s take the simplistic view. Had National been in Government they probably would have got a similar bounce had the same numbers from the COVID-19 event occurred. Scott Morrison in Australia is currently at 63% popularity. Other incumbent leaders have had a similar bounce. Trudeau in Canada is another example so this phenomenon is not peculiar to this country. However, the bad news economically has barely started. Where we’ll be by September is anybody’s guess. That is the best that National can hope for.
The political wing of the National Party is obviously not viewing these polls as simply a public reaction to how COVID-19 has been handled. They are panicking, which is a terrible look. We all know Simon Bridges has a disconnect with the public. He has had more than enough time to change that and it hasn’t happened. That is the real reason National need a change of leader rather than anything to do with these latest polls.
A change of leader, if not the right one, will do nothing to improve the election chances. I have serious doubts the Muller/Kaye ticket is the right one. Muller signed us up in a deal with the Greens to the dreadful Zero Carbon Bill which makes him too green for my liking. In my view he is a centrist within the party and his choice for deputy is definitely a wet. This does not look like a winning combination to me. I would go so far as to say that any National MP who wants the leadership this close to this election needs their head read.
That brings me to the person who should be the leader, Judith Collins. I heard Cam commenting with John Banks the other evening, a very good listen by the way, that if they wanted Judith they would have to ask. Correct, but they don’t want her and even if they did I am pretty sure the answer would be no. Judith has the smarts, she knows when the right time to make a move is and it’s not now.
The National Party has to take a good hard look at itself from the top down, and by that I mean the Board. If the Board were in any way in control or even interested then what we are witnessing would not be happening. In terms of the smooth transition from Little to Ardern Labour is teaching National a lesson. This is nothing short of hugely embarrassing. Where is the Board? Where is the leadership from the Board? Shamefully non-existent. Do they actually care whether the party wins or not?
If the Board can’t see what is wrong with the party, and my God there’s plenty, then they should resign en masse. Right now, pretty much the best thing National could do is put people in charge who realise what needs to be done to relaunch the party as a true centre-right party. The party needs to go back to its roots, it needs a strategy reflecting that and it needs a vision reflecting that. This cannot be done overnight.
The Labour-lite garbage has to be dispensed with. National has to grow a spine and throw out a lot of what is already there from Labour and a lot of what is to come. There will be plenty of room to move in this regard by the time Ardern and Robertson have implemented even more of their controlling agenda. At the moment people don’t seem to realise what Jacinda’s so-called wonderful handling of the COVID-19 will mean economically. Eventually when most people wake up from Jacinda’s dream they will be looking for a different pathway.
This is exactly what National has to prepare for. At the moment I don’t think it’s possible because the people with that kind of vision are not in charge. Which brings me back to Judith Collins. She is the one person in the party who can do it and I am sure she regards whoever leads the party into this election as simply a caretaker leader. If these polls play out on election night, and what happens with the economy and jobs will have a lot to do with it, but if they do National will be left with a fairly conservative rump. I imagine that will suit Judith just fine.
We should then see a truer National Party than we have for many years. A party that promotes the means by which people can get on and self achieve, have freedom of speech, a climate that encourages entrepreneurs, less government in our lives, less red tape, Charter schools, lower taxes and many other options to succeed. In other words, the very opposite of what is being thrust upon us now.
For all of that, and it has to happen if National wants to gain relevance, politics is a game akin to Snakes and Ladders. COVID-19 has proved to be Jacinda’s ladder. The economy may yet prove to be her snake.
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