Sir Bob Jones
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In a reshuffle the National leader has awarded Soimon the Foreign Affairs Shadow Ministerial role, replacing Gerry Brownlee. Gerry told the media he was happy about that. Where’s the Tui billboard when we need it with such rich pickings?

It’s known that Soimon sought it and was declined by Muller, because loyalist Brownlee, a former Foreign Minister doubtless wanted it. The job is hugely gratifying for obvious reasons.

So I suspect Soimon has threatened to resign, not a good look for the Nats following the highly publicised departure of Paula Bennett.

I first met Bridges at a Parliamentary function when he was a young MP. “Why do you talk like that?” I asked him. He laughed “Oivrewon soys that to moi,” he replied.

I suggested he take elocution lessons, failing which he’d become a laughing stock. He didn’t and duly become a butt of cartoonists and public jokes for his abominable speech.

I know died-in-the-wool National voters who say they couldn’t vote National, solely because of the embarrassment of Bridge’s enunciation, more so when dealing with foreign leaders.

What’s sad about this is first I’m told he finally did start elocution lessons, resulting in a dramatic improvement this year.

Second, I suspect he is perfectly competent to be Prime Minister. But there’s no doubt about it, chance is the biggest factor in human affairs. Just as the Nats were looking likely at the beginning of the year, along came the virus and in it’s wake, the deification of Jacinda.

Making political predictions in these unprecedented topsy-turvy times is nigh impossible. That said Bridges should keep on with the elocution lessons, indeed as I recall telling him he’ll find it much easier than he possibly thinks to fix the problem.

With his speech tidied, and also, abandonment of the hair oil and occasional inclination for Ruatorian luminous blue suits (he’s not the only culprit on that score), it’s not hard to envisage him coming again and one day achieving his Prime Ministerial ambition. He’s certainly young enough and I suspect, perfectly competent to fill the role. If he has a rival problem, the current leader plainly isn’t it, rather it’s Judith also poised in the wings.

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Bob Jones
Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Jones — now New Zealand’s largest private office building owner in Wellington and Auckland, and with substantial holdings in Sydney and Glasgow, totalling in excess of two billion dollars — is a property investor, author and former politician, who has written fiction as well as books on property investment, selections of his newspaper and magazine columns, and reminiscences of former prime minister Robert Muldoon. While at Victoria University of Wellington, he earned a ‘blue’ in boxing and contributed to a boxing column in the university’s newspaper Salient. A multi-millionaire, Jones earned his wealth through investments in commercial property via his company Robt. Jones Holdings Ltd. He founded and led the New Zealand Party in 1983. In 1989 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and in received the New Zealand 1990 Commemorative Medal.