I have read and agreed with many of the comments on Backchat regarding the machinations playing out in the National Party. In light of the mess National are currently in, the comments are justified. If I had been in a position to advise Judith Collins I would have cautioned against the action she took. Particularly due to the fact that the incident was five years ago and had been dealt with at the time with apologies given and apparently accepted. I would not have put the offending at the high end of the scale.

There could have been various scenarios at play this week which I am choosing not to enlarge upon. That, in my view, would not help this particular debate. The debate should be about one thing and one thing only. Do you want a coalition of the right or the left after the next election? This is the sole question we should be asking ourselves between now and 2023. If the answer is a coalition of the right then National and ACT are the only two realistic options. Voting for other minor parties that might have appeal is a risky vote as their chances of making the five per cent threshold is fairly remote.

Having said that, I respect everybody’s democratic right to vote for whom they like but votes going to minor parties increases the likelihood of the government retaining power. That is not a risk I am prepared to take. Getting rid of this government is paramount.

To give some context to National’s predicament we must remember that Labour had a similar situation until Ardern was elected Leader. It can happen to a party after three terms in government. Mostly it concerns the time to find the right leader.

We must also remember that the Leader of the Opposition is the worst job in politics. Who would want it? Well, there are plenty with big enough egos who are willing to put their hand up and who genuinely think they could do the job. The person I would be looking for would be someone who could instil discipline within the party while at the same time managing to keep the team loyal and unified. To me, Judith managed the former but had challenges with the latter. This is a skill not everyone is fortunate enough to possess.

Looking at those who seem likely to put their hand up, none of them is a complete package. Unsurprisingly they all have positives and negatives. One thing though is clear: each and every one of them is light years ahead of the apologists on the other side of the House. That’s the easy part to answer. They might be the six of the best but it becomes a question of who of the six would be the best.

I am of the opinion that the next National leader needs to be a younger person, preferably in their forties, who has had the experience required in the area of discipline and team management, can resonate well with the public and is prepared to make the hard decisions

Of the six likely to show interest, based on the above, I would rate them from 6 to 1 in the following order:

BISHOP – Good in portfolio. In my book just not leadership material.

BRIDGES – tried and failed. Too much of a risk. The media darling. They would like to see him fail again. There is a rough edge to him that appeals though.

MITCHELL – Age counts against him. He has a type of personality that might not find favour with the public. Not sure he would be a unifying force with the caucus. Would take the hard decisions though. Could be deputy to Luxon to provide advice.

RETI – Gentlemanly figure. Excellent in his portfolio.  Could well bring the stability the party needs. I have doubts whether his personality is suited to firing up the party in the eyes of the public or firing up a Leaders Debate. Age again could be a negative.

WILLIS – Right age. Good in her portfolio. Would have appeal to her age demographic. Has worked in the corporate world so understands being a team player. Likely to resonate well. Not sure about taking the hard decisions as she represents the liberal faction of the party. Could be a good deputy.

LUXON – Right age. Good on Three Waters. Not the perfect package but probably the best pick for a long term leader. His biggest known negative is he was not 100 per cent liked at Air NZ but there was a staff of some 12,000. He lacks political experience but I think he could overcome this. He has worked in big corporations overseas. His CV is impressive. I feel he is best equipped to unify the party. Having heard him speak he would resonate well with the public. He is a very personable and impressive speaker. He understands finance. He would need to make the tough decisions. I’d like Willis as his deputy. He has no political baggage.

Whoever gets the job now has to lead the party into the next election. National cannot afford any more of these types of shenanigans. The next leader must show that National is unified and there for the good of the country and not themselves.

Despite what we may think of National MPs, they are better equipped for being in government than the current lot. I know that’s not saying much but most have had real-life experience working in the business world. Don’t write them off or you risk pencilling in another term of human misery from the bunch of abject failures we are currently saddled with.

The BFD. Air NZ parachute in. Photoshopped image credit: Luke

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Vote Right or Keep Left


A right-wing crusader. Reached an age that embodies the dictum only the good die young. Country music buff. Ardent Anglophile. Hates hypocrisy and by association left-wing politics.