Who knows what goes on in the National Party? Like most of the public I can do no more than speculate on the veracity of the reasons Todd Muller has given for resigning this morning. But I can limit my response to that perspective.

Todd tried too hard. I responded to his Te Aroha speech here concluding he was trying to play Jacinda at her own game. Too risky.

Consequently he never appeared to be ‘his own man’ and that is absolutely vital for a leader and someone trying to sell himself as such in extremely uncertain times.

If my sense of the mood is accurate, at least half the country wants a very different alternative to Labour. They are turned off by identity politics –  accusations of racism, sexism and ageism that know no bounds or definition. Witch-hunting Me Tooism. Ever increasing wealth redistribution to address ‘inequality’ when equality of opportunity has never been greater. The soaking of the public service in Maori spiritualism in a secular society. The obsession with diversity (which preempted Muller’s second hiccough.) And the religion of climate change which wrongly insists unsettled science is settled.

Todd was either trying to tiptoe through this cultural minefield or is genuinely conflicted. Anyone who is a parent right now, especially of teenagers and young adults, faces the chasm in thinking between generations on multiple issues. And forget the media and your colleagues: your offspring can be the toughest critics to handle because you have to listen to them.

But who now?  Judith “Is there something wrong with being white?” Collins?

She’s tough enough. Listening to her promoting her new book there is no sense of her wanting it but there is a strong sense of her not leaving politics any time soon. And there also appear to be a few scores she would like to settle, even if she can’t directly.

She’d be my pick if for no other reason than she says what she means and means what she says.


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