Christopher Luxon, from what I have observed so far, looks to have made an instant impact. In his first outings, he has packed a few punches. I’m talking verbally of course, not in the sense of a bar room brawl. He seems too congenial for that even if he was wearing his cowboy hat. His acceptance speech was impressive and hit all the right notes. His deft move of appearing at the Auckland Viaduct with some of his other Auckland MPs showed that while he might be green in terms of political experience, he’s certainly not green in political nous.
One News excelled themselves by filming him relaxed, smiling and being greeted by enthusiastic people delighted to see him. He spoke with those in the industry and was obviously sympathetic to their plight. AUCKLAND SHOULD BE IN GREEN was his message. That would have been music to their ears even if it won’t happen. It won’t because the next item was the sombre figure of Grant Robertson, this country’s version of Sir Humphrey Appleby, telling us that the outbreak in Auckland is still a significant one. What a grinch!
Talking of Grinches, next on the list was the woebegone David Parker speaking from the podium of misery, lamenting that the number of houses Christopher owns highlights the depth of inequality in this country. I suppose he thinks this man is the sole cause of it. What a miserable small-minded little man. At least he’s in the right party, full of people like himself; all non-achievers, doling out welfare, no ambition, all envy and no ideas. A bunch of losers.
I apologise for getting distracted. I think Country Chris has what it takes. He certainly needs to because, from my perspective, when it comes to leadership National are in the last chance saloon. We need him to exit the saloon with all guns blazing in 2022. We probably need to loosen the reins a bit and cut him some slack for the last two weeks of this Parliamentary year but I think National have backed the right horse. In equine terminology, if Chris is the steed then in picking Nicola Willis as his deputy he has chosen a fine filly.
The party now has a good balance of male and female, conservative and liberal, Auckland and Wellington. These two are of an age that will appeal to a wider demographic, something that will aid the party going into the next election. Chris has two years to get the party into a winning position. He has plenty of experienced people around him to assist in the task, a task that will be made a lot easier if the party unites behind him and Nicola.
There is no shortage of talent in the National ranks. Focusing on the things that matter rather than themselves will bring this to the fore. Labour are in the initial throes of a terminal decline. They have lasted so well for as long as they have because National have been too absorbed internally. National must now look like the vultures getting ready to pick at the eventual Labour caucus carcass. It won’t be tasty, there are no good herbs and spices in that lot. But the main aim must be to kill the beast off.
From the start of the 2022 Parliamentary year, Country Chris needs to be on his high horse. He needs to be ready to lasso and lampoon. He needs to ensure Ardern is in no doubt he is galloping towards her with a winning intent. She needs to be left in no doubt that he is not horsing around. He has two years for the voters to get to know him so he can round up enough support to win in 2023.
He has a bit of a John Key persona about him but, as he says, he’s not John Key, he’s Christopher Luxon. His handling of the media so far has been pretty good. He has got his points across – no Three Waters, a cap on welfare numbers, arming the police, no Mickey Mouse traffic light system, Kiwis home for Christmas, no Northland borders and opening up to Australia and the world. These are all things most of us can agree on. Kerrie McIvor on ZB probably summed his election as party leader up best – “What a bloody breath of fresh air. At last, someone who is prepared to answer questions.”
In summary, he’s yet to prove he’s the real deal but the signs are promising. His background will help. While the job of a CEO and the leader of a political party is not exactly comparing apples with apples, there are certain elements that can be applied to both. He needs time and that time starts in earnest with the first question to Ardern in 2022. I, for one, wish him well all the way to taking National to a win in 2023.
As a postscript, you will see that he and I have something in common, an enjoyment of country music. A word of advice Chris, you don’t have to apologise for it! There are more fans around than you realise. With Willie Nelson in mind, there are plans to get you ‘On The Road Again’ soon.
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