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Are Luxon’s days numbered?

Written By: - Date published: 8:09 am, November 17th, 2022 - 66 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, grant robertson, national, nicola willis, politicans - Tags:

If there is one thing that National does not tolerate it is failure.  Their natural role in the order of everything is to be on top.  And when it looks like they will not immediately resume their rightful position then those responsible have hell to pay.

Yesterday was a bad day for Chris Luxon.

It is patently clear that he is not on top of the detail.  He can roll out the former Chief Executive of Air New Zealand talking points but when it comes to detail he flounders.  Yesterday morning he went from insulting teachers to insulting parents to engaging in a policy u turn, then performing a u turn on the policy u turn and then realising that the u turn that was not a u turn was on a different policy.  Everyone, even cheerleaders at the Herald were confused.

Then he had his derriere handed to him on a plate in Parliament by Grant Robertson.  This must be by now a really familiar feeling for him.

Then Nicola Willis set out her credentials for becoming the next National leader by spouting a whole lot of nonsense.

According to Nicola National stands for competitive enterprise, farmers, small business owners, limited government, strong family, strong communities, individual freedom, individual choice, the treaty as long as pakeha maintain their electoral advantage, equal citizenship, ambition and success. And it has a plan! Has anyone seen it?  So many buzz words and so little policy.

But the optics were jarring.  Willis talking about National Party values and Luxon nowhere to be seen.

The polls are not great for National and there is this really, really major feature that the media is not highlighting.   The recent Newshub poll confirmed that Luxon is going backward at a fast rate.  Which is a terrible result for an opposition leader.

The latest Roy Morgan poll suggested that Labour was steady but National dropped by a considerable amount.  And the latest Curia poll also had Luxon in decline although Talbot Mills had him steady and Ardern improving.

Ardern is still performing strongly.  Given the full court press put on her by right wing media I am amazed she has held up so well.  And I suspect her recent increased visibility will help.

But Luxon is in trouble.  Unless he brings things back dramatically in the next couple of months he will be but the latest National leader that proved to be not up to the job of beating Ardern and leading National to the promised land.

66 comments on “Are Luxon’s days numbered? ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Another nail in the coffin for baldy; Arnold Rimmer from the ACT Party endorses Luxon's brazen attack on school principals.

    Luxon's answer is more Gestapo truancy officers hounding marginalised and broken families hiding vulnerable kids in mouldy attics. What punitive tools would he give these roving bands in marked white vans to prosecute wayward parents, fines, prison?

    I can't see where Christopher thinks his attack will land with a confused electorate who know that he's not even remotely an expert on the sector. What's his vision? At least you know with Rimmer the end goal is full privatisation of the education industry with schools and teachers fighting and infighting each other for rich, white kids.


  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Tora Tora Tora …if this particular crazy Bal’head is likely to go down soon it will be a positive development for the working class of this country.

    It may well be that we will see something similar to the USA Mid Term election trends in 2023. New gens will front up, and confound the likes of Mi-cockskin and HDPA.

  3. Red Blooded One 3

    He was a shit CEO of AirNZ. The company he arrived at had a reputation built by Fyfe, he then decimated pay and conditions of staff, to the point they're struggling to entice staff back post covid. He is the typical "knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing" type. If he is rolled he deserves it.

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      Funnily enough, a contractor I know who worked for Luxon at Air NZ described him in exactly those terms – an utterly unimaginative and conscience free cost cutter, who was efficient enough within those terms of reference. He’ll increase shareholder return and drive “efficiencies” but he is likely to destroy the village in the process of saving it as he is of leaving anything salvagable.

    • Anne 3.2

      He is the typical "knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing" type who hides behind a veil of religious-based austerity for the masses.

    • Jenny are we there yet 3.3

      "….he then decimated pay and conditions of staff" Red Blooded

      Must fight wage inflation, must fight wage inflation, must fight wage inflation.

      Growth! Growth! Growth!


    • That_guy 3.4

      I have also heard that compared to Fyfe he was rubbish, from an extremely long-term employee. And specifically, his decision to give up a landing slot at Heathrow was irreversible and incomprehensible.

  4. Hunter Thompson II 4

    If you want someone to lead your party in Parliament, pick someone with long experience in politics, not a beginner.

    The Natz made the same mistake with Don Brash.

    • Chris 4.1

      That's right, but it was also very close and could've gone either way. Brash also comes across as awkward, whereas Luxon's bumblings are likely to be missed by our generally uninformed red-neck voting public who vote on the basis of giving someone else a go rather than sound policies.

    • James Simpson 4.2

      And John Key who was a disaster for New Zealand

      • observer 4.2.1

        But Key obviously wasn't a mistake … for them. He won.

        That's the premise here, otherwise we don't need any discussion at all. No National leader is going to be good, ever.

        • James Simpson

          I'd argue that Key's legacy remains within the National Party which is why they are still unfit to govern and why they are so unpopular.

          He may have been good for them for a bit with his goofy, don't give a shit attitude, but in my view he is the reason why they will be out of power for a generation.

  5. Tony Veitch 5

    Well, I for one, would much prefer Luxon to remain as leader of the Natz. He at least is capable of leading the party to an epic defeat of Bill English proportions!

    Frankly, Nicola Willis scares the socks off me. Not that I think she's of the same calibre as Jacinda, far from it, but letting her anywhere near the control of money would be a disaster.

    She has a voice which could shatter glass, she over-acts for emphasis, she seems to have little empathy for or understanding of, even though she continually refers to them, 'hard-working' New Zealanders, and she, to me, shrieks AUSTERITY!

    God help this country – better the simpering fool (to quote Cam Slater!) (Luxon) than the Ruth Richardson reincarnation.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    I see National as distracted by ACT – they feel their first order of business is to win back half of ACTs vote by feeding beneficiary bashing Ruthenasia to frat boy Randians and the unreconstructed superannuatant Rogernomes of Herne Bay and Milford. The trouble is Luxon is not doing the job and National are not getting any traction, so the voters are staying away from National's Evangelical tinged culture war and 1990's policy revanchism.

    The other thing of course is National feel they can get away with just sloganeering and doublethink because a sympathetic media echo system exists to megaphone them without much criticism.

    I actually think Labour/Greens – with the advantage of incumbency and with a weak opposition leader – will win handily next year.

  7. AB 7

    If he can keep the Nats' polling at or above 33-34% he's likely to be safe. I think he's going to achieve that number through a combination of tribal Nats topped up by the irrational Jacinda-haters who won't be changing their minds in the next 12 months.

    The latter are a strange phenomenon obviously whipped up by the pandemic , but with similarities to populist right-wing movements elsewhere (i.e. against Maori influences in daily or political life, anti-trans, anti-climate change action and pro a self-serving form of 'free speech'). No doubt there are earnest academics somewhere studying the phenomenon looking for more material connections with those offshore variants.

  8. Mike the Lefty 8

    Hopefully Luxon will be there at the next election because it gives Labour a fighting chance, Adern will run rings around Luxon in debates.

    • Chris 8.1

      You've got a point there, but will the election next year be a situation where winning the debates is enough? There's still all the other stuff to overcome: National's lies that the average NZer believe, rampant misogyny and the good old kiwi tradition of "I'm not really one for policies and there's not that much between them so let's just give the other crowd a go".

      • Mike the Lefty 8.1.1

        Agree with you. Winning the debates is cracked up to be much more than it should be, but the media superficiality can sometimes work for you, John Key was a master of spinning media superficiality his way.

        What I would like to see from all parties is POLICY, not slogans.

        I will likely be disappointed.

  9. Anker 9

    luxon needs to go. Willis is better. Reti is great.

    If I was their strategist, I would roll him just before xmas. New year, new start!

    • Red Blooded One 9.1

      Reti is a Grunt, he'll never be Lieutenant. He would be better taking his Magic Underwear back to the frontline of the Medical Community where he is needed more.

      • Anker 9.1.1

        Reti was very clear and articulate on Q and A when talking about the health system and what needs to happen with health.

        But I do agree with the acute shortage of Drs in our country, it does seem a waste to have Drs working in other fields. Even Dr Sharma would be best used working as a medic. And before people screem, "I wouldn't see him he's nuts", just consider this. The way things are going in our health system, any Dr would be better than no Dr.

        • Incognito

          Reti would disestablish the Māori Health Authority. National will establish a Māori Health Directorate inside the MoH. It is a strategic directorate setting strategy, which was last effective in Tariana Turia’s hands, according to Reti. Reti referred to the document (?) He Korowai Oranga and I assume he meant this: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/he-korowai-oranga. Asked by the 7-year shorter life expectancy of Māori Reti said that it [He Korowai Oranga] worked in the past “to some degree. We need to do better, I get that …”. Reti went on to state that it needs targets, it needs accountability, it needs a range of things that is best delivered from a strategic directorate inside the MoH. Although the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists didn’t see targets as a magic bullet (https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE2009/S00090/nationals-health-targets-no-magic-bullet.htm) Reti says that they [targets] work because they focus attention, they focus resources, and they focus accountability. No extra spending if targets are not met; accountability means little else than cutting money in some places to spend it elsewhere to meet those targets. National will raise the health Budget every single year despite the promised tax cuts. In relation to health workforce there are three buckets: 1) off-shore bucket; open pathway to residency; 2) nurses and doctors currently in NZ who cannot get registration; 3) turn on our own home-grown culturally competent pipeline, i.e., increase in med-school intake increase nursing intake. National will stay with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.

          https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/q-and-a/clips/dr-shane-reti-why-health-targets-matter, which you left out of your comment, again sad

  10. observer 10

    The various polls (4 in the last week) paint a broadly similar picture: not much between Nat/ACT and Lab/Green, TPM steady and NZF not yet dead.

    The nightmare for National is Luxon single-handedly reviving Winston. 2-3% of the anti-Ardern vote rolling their eyes at Luxon, giving up on him and looking elsewhere.

    Some have suggested National can do a late change, like Little to Ardern in 2017. But if NZF are back in the game, that's too late. He needs to be the dominant leader of the opposition, a PM-in-waiting like Key 2008. So far he's struggling even to be third (behind Seymour and Willis).

  11. Obtrectator 11

    "The recent Newshub poll confirmed that Luxon is going backward at a fast rate. Which is a terrible result for an opposition leader."

    But according to the other figures in that poll, everything else seems to be going the blue crowd's way.

    • observer 11.1

      See my comment above. Talbot Mills, Curia, Roy Morgan. All polls released in the past few days.

      The Newshub poll is the best for the Right, but it's the overall picture that matters. None of the polls show Luxon is becoming more popular.

      Can National win despite Luxon? Possibly. Is it worth the risk? No.

      • Incognito 11.1.1

        By National winning people usually mean that National can form a Government with ACT that has a majority of Seats in Parliament. National would want ACT’s slice to be as small as possible and their own piece to be as big as possible, of course. With Luxon as Leader they are not likely to achieve this.

        • observer

          You're right, that is usually overlooked. On 40% National get the dominant role and (crucially) new blood. On 30% they have to handle a bunch of ACT MPs demanding portfolios at the expense of ambitious Nats who, unlike the new ACToids, will have sat frustrated on the opposition benches for years.

        • Mike the Lefty


          Luxon would be a lame duck PM with David Seymour calling the shots.

          Lower wages, reduced public holidays, reduced leave entitlement, benefit cuts, etc. Hope the voters out there know what mad dogs they will have unleashed if they vote in the NACTS.

          Time for Labour to reverse the National election ads for 2014 that showed a Labour/Green boat going in circles. A National/ACT boat will go full tilt over the waterfall.

          • Incognito

            Hope the voters out there know what mad dogs they will have unleashed if they vote in the NACTS.

            I often hear that voters don’t vote in the Opposition but vote out the sitting lot. This sounds like semantics but it makes a huge difference for PR strategy by either camp, which is exactly what we’re witnessing at the mo.

          • Barfly

            Nah I reckon one with NACT travelling back in time would be more appropriate.

  12. Thinker 12

    LOL at your Austin Powers comment "… National does not tolerate failure…"

    I've been sitting on the arguable resemblance IMHO between Dr Evil and Luxon, desperately waiting for an article that I could respond to with:

    "… That's Dr Luxon. I didn't spend 5 years in the opposition front bench just to be called "Mr", THANK YOU VERY MUCH"

  13. woodart 13

    luxon is labours secret weapon. he is less popular than his party, and in todays politics, thats fatal. in a straight contest with jacinda, there is no contest. after leading the nats to a glorious second place, he will struggle on, until the nats focus groups find that a woman will be a better bet leading them.

  14. adam 14

    Maybe what national needs is another pony tail pulling misogynist.

    Or more bat shit crazy far right economics, as that worked so well for the POMS.

  15. Maurice 15

    Every Party Leader's days are numbered as each day there is a day nearer the eventual and inevitable dumping … though the NATZ have had far more recent practice at that!

  16. Corey Humm 16

    Doubt it.

    Being so incredibly close to the incumbent pm in preferred pm polling is an achievement, incumbents are always more popular, he's so far been the most popular of the legion of nats who've gone up against her.

    The u turning is embarrassing but so are the tantrums from the left who seem to be defending truancy.

    Rightly or wrongly nzers will think it's nuts kids are roaming the streets attacking and hospitalizing people and not in schools and that military school may prove popular with middle NZ.

    If you talk to working class people about youth crime they will say they think the parents should be in jail, the kids should be in juvie or borstal and will rant about parents not knowing where kids as young as 9 and 10 are while they commit crimes at night should be done for negligence.

    Getting excessively Tough on youth crime and truancy could be a popular populist policy as much as us lefty's don't wanna believe it.

    Still national doesn't have a coherent plan other than a bunch of grievances about labour.

    Nationals messaging is still "labour is useless and hasn't achieved anything in 5 years" but also "labour has embarked on five years of extreme reforms that are ruining NZ"

    If labour actually ran on an already endorsed labour party policy of universal dental which would cost only $1 bill a year they'd easily win the next election with help from the greens.

    Free dental would cost less than the annual consultancy slush fund and it's extremely popular, with all the new spending money coming in from not adjusting the tax brackets labour could use some of that to fund dental and it would be a historical legacy policy that helped poor and working class people and everyone cos it's universal , itd be better than a tax cut and wouldn't be inflationary.

    At $1 billion a year labour can't afford not to run on universal dental next year. People who hate labour will vote for that policy. She'll truly go down in the history books with uni dental.

    Let's tooth this

    • millsy 16.1

      You really are determined to crack down on civil liberties arent you? I bet you choked with glee when George Floyd was excecuted.

      [This is the second time you make this inflammatory comment, for no clear reason, and given your recent warning by another Mod you’ve now earned yourself a red card. Take a month off – Incognito]

      • Incognito 16.1.1

        Mod note

      • Muttonbird 16.1.2

        Lol. I too have a few issues with the comment of self described leftie, Corey Humm.

        So Luxon is a more popular leader than Todd Muller and Judith Collins, so what? Not more popular than Simon Bridges though…

        Rightly or wrongly? What does that mean? What duz Corey think? We might never know…

        We talk to (white) working class people in here all the time. They are racist as fuck and would happily applaud the concept of fining and jailing low income brown parents for negligence.

        Corey's main point seems to be about free dental care. Maybe Corey has bad teeth, That's ok, so do I, and as a parent with bad teeth it's way too hard to find the proper and ease-of-use pathway for my kids to not have the same problems I have.

        More needs to be done earlier and more broadly with dental care policy in NZ.

      • weka 16.1.3

        you're really lucky Incognito saw this before I did, otherwise you'd be on a long ban. You've been warned so many times about this, including recently where you acknowledged the problem. Ball is still in your court and you will eventually cop a long or permanent ban if you don't stop this kind of baiting and flaming.

    • Belladonna 16.2

      While I think that universal dental is a great idea (and, no I don't have particular dental issues).

      I also think that it's entirely impractical.

      Not because of money. But because NZ has nothing like the number of dentists which would be required. We don't train enough to meet the need now – when it costs serious dosh to get your teeth checked – without even needing expensive treatment – so cost is a limiting factor on patient numbers. Introducing universal free dental care, would open the floodgates to the backlog of serious and unmet dental need in the community.

      Dentists would be overwhelmed by demand, and simply close their books to new patients. Meaning that the people currently enrolled with the dentist, who can afford to pay, would get free treatment; while the people not enrolled, and who probably can't afford to pay, would miss out.

      We already see this shortage of dentists happening in some areas, where there is no dental care at all (nearest is a couple of hours away); and dental practices in my Auckland suburb refusing to take on teens – as the government payments are less than they'd make from an adult patient.

      The government is already being caned over lack of access to basic healthcare (try getting on the books at a GP practice in some areas); adding lack of access to dental care to the mix would simply give the opposition a new punching bag.

      After all, there is no point in it being free, if in reality, it's unavailable.

      In an ideal world, yes, dental care should be free. In the imperfect world we live in, political reality intervenes.

    • Obtrectator 16.3

      "Rightly or wrongly nzers will think it's nuts kids are roaming the streets attacking and hospitalizing people and not in schools and that military school may prove popular with middle NZ.

      If you talk to working class people about youth crime they will say they think the parents should be in jail, the kids should be in juvie or borstal and will rant about parents not knowing where kids as young as 9 and 10 are while they commit crimes at night should be done for negligence."

      Has it ever occurred to the hard-liners that lack of control over the kids could be a consequence of the parents being too damn busy and shagged out working two or three jobs to make ends meet in this neolib "paradise" we inhabit?

  17. Incognito 17

    Which big Ozzie bank is looking for a new Chairman any time soon?

  18. Bryn 18

    No. Unless the party vote drops below 30% he will be fine. If Bridges was in caucus he may be in more danger but there is no real challenger. Willis is a better media performer than Luxon but is more liberal and would struggle to get the caucus numbers.

  19. Powerman 19

    It's customary for a member of one's own party to ask patsy questions not for the leader of the opposition asking patsies to the Government.

    [I fixed tiny error in e-mail address and removed URL from your comment – Incognito]

  20. mosa 20

    Christopher Luxon – why not a boot camp for tax dodgers?

    How about a post on that Mickey – Greg.

    " Economist Gareth Morgan believes New Zealand could be missing out on up to 25 percent of total income tax because the rich aren’t paying their fair share. Imagine what we could do with an extra $8 billion each year – fix the health system, build thousands of state houses and invest in public transport.

    $8 billion is massive.


    [You keep on drawing unnecessary attention to yourself here (cf. my comment to you here: https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-16-11-2022/#comment-1921592). Instead of spamming this site with opinions from others, linking to other blogs, and telling Authors here what to write (about) you could write a Guest Post yourself. You should at least re-read the About section of TS, especially this: https://thestandard.org.nz/about/#you_must. This is your warning – Incognito]

  21. mosa 21

    " Ardern is still performing strongly. Given the full court press put on her by right wing media I am amazed she has held up so well. And I suspect her recent increased visibility will help.

    Aden is a fake like you Greg and faced with a strong opposition leader she would be gone mate.

    Performing strongly ! You believe your own propaganda.

    Increased visibility …but no where in the most deprived communities eh Mickey -Greg

  22. mosa 22

    We can’t entirely blame rich pricks for the piddling amounts of tax they pay – politicians relying on big corporate donations have seen to it that the unearned incomes and wealth of this elite are barely touched by tax. With their fat wallets and easy access to the corridors of power they have rigged the system so they pay far smaller proportions of their incomes in tax than the low-income parents of young ram raiders.

    But still they steal.

    Economist Gareth Morgan believes New Zealand could be missing out on up to 25 percent of total income tax because the rich aren’t paying their fair share. Imagine what we could do with an extra $8 billion each year – fix the health system, build thousands of state houses and invest in public transport.

    Well Greg ? where are your NZLP on this !

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