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Bye Bill?

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, January 31st, 2018 - 79 comments
Categories: bill english, national, paula bennett, Politics, same old national - Tags:

It appears the drums are beating and National is preparing to dump Bill English and Paula Bennett and select new leaders.

From the Herald:

The numbers are being counted in the National Party, with Bill English expected by some of his colleagues to call it quits, says Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper.

Soper says it’s a question of when, and the numbers are now being done for those who want to succeed him.

“A push against Mr English is unlikely,” Soper says.

“It is expected he will be allowed to go gracefully and with dignity but those behind him are now lining up to replace him.

“His deputy, Paula Bennett, might see herself as his natural successor but her own future in her current role is by no means certain, with some in the party seeing her as his Achilles heel during the last election and are not discounting she could be replaced as soon as next week’s caucus.”

One source told Newstalk ZB that if a move was made against Bennett in next week’s caucus, it would be supported.

It is clear that English is not enjoying his current job and Jacinda destroyed him in Parliament yesterday.

Simon Bridges BBQ this week has just taken on a whole lot of new significance.

Update: Neale Jones nails it.

79 comments on “Bye Bill?”

  1. chris73 1

    Will be interesting to see how this is handled, I know some will want to see blood on the floor but my guess is it’ll be handled fairly well, reasonably quickly and mostly behind closed doors

    Still its nice to see that we can now link to Whaleoil 🙂

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      After Soper’s little hit job Bill is lying on the floor bleeding right now.

    • You_Fool 1.2

      Maybe it is a chance for National to do the un-thinkable and split into two parties? 2 parties polling mid 20 something % might be better for them than the current setup…

      • Puckish Rogue 1.2.1

        Are you thinking a rural based party, it could knock Winston out…

        • You_Fool 1.2.1.1

          I think the ideas floated were a rural based conservative party (the one to keep the name “national” maybe), but not as religious or loony as the conservative party was and a more urban liberal party, closer to ACT but not as crazy or unpalatable to mainstream voters. SO yes, Rural-National to take on NZF and Liberal-National to combat Labour in the cities, ACT to keep its fringe position, and maybe find space for the loony conservatives to come back to provide a full spectrum of ideology

          • Puckish Rogue 1.2.1.1.1

            I’ve long thought thats a way National could go (don’t think they’ll ever want to split though) but I’d leave the loonies alone

            Just imagine if John Key had endorsed Colin Craig and he got in…not good for anyone

          • paul andersen 1.2.1.1.2

            nice idea, but right wingers dont like sharing, wealth, land or power, so for two nat parties to work ,many in one of them would have to get used to being considered first looser……

      • mac1 1.2.2

        I’ve been predicting that for twenty years. Nothing to do with my powers of prediction 🙂 that it still hasn’t happened, but more with National’s inability to understand MMP fully, and a preference and style for FPP.

        I must say that listening to the debate over the first reading of of the ‘wake-jumping’ bill that there may be a glimmer of new awareness.

        A country conservative party and an urban liberal party.

        Back to the Twenties with United and Reform, who of course coalesced in the Thirties to form National.

  2. Keepcalmcarryon 2

    I think as boring and stale as English is, the only way is down in the polls with the damp squib Bridges. Awakening the factional fighting in the Nats is another gift for labour.
    The more the National party mess with the old guard ( and at some point surely they must) the less they can use the “safe pair of hands” line.
    Bennett is tarnished, Collins is horrible, Coleman a plonker. Too many Nats confuse ambition with leadership.

    • Puckish Rogue 2.1

      I’m guessing (as they haven’t offered me a contract to my liking) that they’ll go for a “generational shift”

      I’m thinking it might just be Amy Adams time to shine

      • AB 2.1.1

        Adams is becoming increasingly repellent. Someone with a “pecuniary interest” in 5 farms should keep their gob firmly shut on matters of child poverty.

      • Keepcalmcarryon 2.1.2

        Could be the smart play eh.
        Still hard to see the polls going up for them.

        • Puckish Rogue 2.1.2.1

          The big question is what will happen to NZFirst at the next election. I can’t see the Greens increasing as most of the left will be reasonably happy with Labour, the Maori Party may win a seat and bring another in which might help National but Winston has probably annoyed around half his base support

          Its going to be interesting to watch

          • You_Fool 2.1.2.1.1

            The next election is a long way out and WInston knows that the only time that matters is the lead up to the election. You can be sure that he will have his base secured well before 2020

            • Chris 2.1.2.1.1.1

              And any seats the Maori Party get will give support to Labour, not National. Providing of course that Labour don’t do something really stupid like they did in 2004.

            • Puckish Rogue 2.1.2.1.1.2

              Thats a distinct possibility but having said that National could try playing the “a vote for Winston is a vote for Labour” card with a bit more conviction

              • mac1

                I think in 2017 for a majority of NZFirst voters that going with Labour was a preferred option.

                Such a ploy would not have succeeded because that was what they wanted. What National should not have done was to attempt to obtain a one party majority thereby leaving itself without coalition partners.

                Sometimes, more can be done by genuine negotiations than by trying to keeping the power to oneself. It’s how successful marriages work (I wish there was an icon for ‘crossed fingers’).

                Maybe a longterm ‘friendship alliance’ aka cohabitation between two parties of the centre right would work.

                One advantage is that each party is much more homogeneous and another that one party’s unpalatable policy can be negotiated away in favour of a more acceptable one at post-election negotiation time.

                • Enough is Enough

                  “What National should not have done was to attempt to obtain a one party majority thereby leaving itself without coalition partners.”

                  You do realise that National gave ACT and United Future electoral deals for the sole purpose of ensuring they did have coalition partners.

                  They also worked constructively with the Maori Party for 9 years for the very same reason.

                  The fact all three of those potential partners got killed off is not because of National. In fact it was the Nats that were the ones doing everything they could to ensure those parties survived.

                  • mac1

                    There was a good post on this topic on the Standard on September 30 2017.

                    This is part of what Anthony Robbins wrote then. “You know that old saying about how generals always prepare to fight the last war? That’s National and their FPP election campaign.

                    You can see it in their tactics. How they treated their coalition partners. How they attacked Peters and NZF at every opportunity, leaking his super details, urging voters to “cut out the middle man”. How they gambled on driving NZF below 5% and benefiting from the wasted vote. The goal was always to govern alone.

                    You can see it in their advertising, the creepy blue joggers refusing to help anyone.”

                    In the comments on that post, Chris even managed to argue with reference to a FPP campaign that “Labour did it too.”

                    Today in The Herald Tracy Watkins wrote this about Paula Bennett’s FPP behaviour. “Bennett was seen as being one of the major reasons for NZ First leader Winston Peters backing Labour in coalition negotiations.

                    Her office was one of a small number that handled information about Peters’ pension overpayment.

                    The information, which was later leaked, created deep antipathy between Peters and National.”

                    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/101029221/national-knives-are-out-over-election-loss

                    • Enough is Enough

                      I didn’t mention NZ First.

                      Yes, they attacked NZ First. The strategy was to get NZ First below 5% by pinching their conservative voters. By doing so Labour would have no ability to form a government.

                      The strategy failed but I can see what they were doing.

                      Of course their preferred option was to govern alone. Which major party would not have that as their preference.

                      However, they still understood that was unlikely and that is the reason they did deals with Act and United Future, as well as never attacking the Maori Party.

                    • mac1

                      “Of course their preferred option was to govern alone. Which major party would not have that as their preference.”

                      Can I suggest that that by itself is FPP thinking.

                      What would you prefer? A one or two term one party wonder followed by a similar or longer time in opposition?

                      Or, a long stable relationship over multiple terms such as National could have continued in 2017?

                      If your political opponents or fair weather friends are in the same party, then 1984-90 is a repeat possibility for a one party government.

                      If these same opponents or fair weather friends are in another party, then 1. they can’t do a 1984 Douglas so easily and take over a party, or 2.white ant from inside, or 3. bring disharmony and disrepute to your own party.

                      Small coalition partners also tend to disappear. Where are former coalition partners United, Conservative, ACT, Alliance, Maori now? Gone or hugely insignificant.

                      National didn’t care for them enough. Part of their FPP stratagems.

                      Labour has to do better with the Greens and NZF. Instead they want long-term stable coalition government of which the world has enough examples.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      You keep ignoring my central point. National tried to help their long term coalition partners across the line.

                      They had been working together making laws and stuff for 9 years and tried to keep that going by gifting them electorate seats.

                      “What would you prefer? A one or two term one party wonder followed by a similar or longer time in opposition?”

                      You do realise they were heading into their 4th term right.

                    • mac1

                      enough is enough, my paragraph four was addressing the possibility of a fourth National term.

                      My paragraph three concerned the less than probable possibility of a party seeking and obtaining majority one party status and being able to govern sans partner/s.

                      Yes, I agree they did something for their coalition partners.

                      ACT they tried to keep by what many voters saw as an ill-disguised sort. The Maori Party was unsalvageable as Maori voters saw it as a party for the elite, and ersatz National.

                      But not enough. Neither party got near enough support from their major partner.

                      Instead, National chose to go after NZF with dirty politics. NZF were beyond being bought off in negotiations. Their dislike of National was/is visceral. I attended an election speech by Peters. I am not a Peters supporter. National got it very wrong. They attacked, rather than courted NZF.

                      What I find remarkable watching Parliament are the speeches and the body language of NZF MPs. They are very critical of National. They also really enjoy the sallies from Peters and Jones directed at a hapless/hopeless opposition.

  3. It is really hard to see anyone, either from the front or back benches of National, who has any sort of charisma. They are either facsimiles of attack dogs, or self-servingly linked to China!

  4. dv 4

    HAS Soper been given a tip/heads up?

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Whose dirty work is Soper doing today? Bennett and English in one hit.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the story was “National MP tries to use the Herald as a vehicle for their leadership ambitions, too cowardly to reveal themselves.”

  6. KJT 6

    Strange as it may seem. English is probably too principled for todays National(TM) party.
    He does not have the degree of mendacity required by Nationals corporate owners.

  7. One Two 7

    Perhaps Simon Power could be persuaded…

  8. mauī 8

    From the article:

    “There is a general acceptance that Bill English was robbed of the Prime Minister’s job by Winston Peters, … “

    heheheh still in denial.

      • Keepcalmcarryon 8.1.1

        Thats a spin line Mr Rogue, National would sell their own grandmother for political gain – or possibly give her away, see “water bottling by overseas companies” or “ overseas land sales”
        They were “ robbed” when Mr Peters chose the good of the country over the baubles.

        • Chuck 8.1.1.1

          “National would sell their own grandmother for political gain”

          Then why did they not do so, to give Winston everything he wanted?

          Could it be National had some bottom lines that were off the table for negotiation? Does not sound like “sell their own grandmother for political gain” to me.

          I think deputy PM and Foreign minister are pretty good baubles Keepcalmcarryon. Not to mention the pending role of PM until Jacinda is ready to go back to work.

          • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.1.1

            Then why did they not do so, to give Winston everything he wanted?

            The way I heard it, National was more generous than Labour in its offer of cabinet positions for NZ First, but very unwilling to accept NZ First policies, which were more in line with Labour’s. So, they gambled on Peters’ reputation as being interested only in “baubles of office” and lost. Which is fair enough – how were parties with such incompatible policies meant to work together as a government?

            • Chuck 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “The way I heard it, National was more generous than Labour in its offer of cabinet positions for NZ First, but very unwilling to accept NZ First policies”

              That’s similar to my understanding as well.

              Winston filing against National party figures a day or so before the talks started properly was a very good indication he was going to go with Labour anyway! I think it would have been very awkward if Winston appointed Bill English as PM…then in the next breath said see ya in court 🙂

              I also believe that Labour was more willing to amend their key policies. As can be seen with the 90 day period being retained for small business.

              The 33 or 38-page coalition document would shed some sunlight on what else is in store down the line.

              Since Winston was ok to have it released before Jacinda said no…suggests it favors NZF.

              • I also believe that Labour was more willing to amend their key policies.

                Yes, exactly. Coalition 101 – if the potential coalition partner’s policies are not hugely different from your own party’s, negotiating some compromises is easy. If the potential coalition partner’s policies are completely contradictory to yours, compromise is a long, uphill struggle with results that please nobody. National must have been hoping like fuck that Winston would ride roughshod over his party in exchange for some beads and blankets, and were screwed when it turned out he wouldn’t.

            • Tanz 8.1.1.1.1.2

              Thankfully though, NZ First are already under the required threshold and will be outed at the next election. You just can’t fool all of the people all of the time. And as though Labour didn’t offer him everything and anything it took to grab power. Such secretiveness and grubbiness, instead of ‘open and transparent’. The only good point is having Winston as PM, rather than the shallow, virtue signalling, slogan-loving Ardern. At least he has substance.

              • Thankfully though, NZ First are already under the required threshold and will be outed at the next election.

                Er, yeah, if the next election were in a few months from now, NZ First would totes be shittiing themselves. Have you become confused about when the next election is, by some chance?

        • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.2

          Nothing says the good of the country like helping the racing industry 🙂

        • Enough is Enough 8.1.1.3

          “good of the country over the baubles”

          The good of the country includes hand outs to the gambling industry??

          No baubles? You think National offered him more than Deputy, Foreign Affairs and Acting PM for 6 weeks?

          • You_Fool 8.1.1.3.1

            Yes, because that is what happened. Also he wasn’t offered acting PM for 6 weeks, he was offered Deputy PM, which means he gets to be acting PM whenever the PM is away for any reason – holiday, over-seas trip or maternity leave. Bill English got to be acting PM quite a bit as well… Being Deputy PM means you will be acting PM for a reasonable amount of time, its like in the job description and everything.

            • Tanz 8.1.1.3.1.1

              English offered him next to nothing as English has integrity and did not sell his soul for power. Opposition was probably a much better choice this time, as National would have lost the next one. Good chance of a one term govt, hence the very undemocratic ‘Waka Jumping Bill. The silence on this is deafening.

              • McFlock

                Didn’t sell his soul for power?

                Well, in that case he took “suffer the little children” the wrong way for a start.

              • Hornet

                I suggest you’re giving English far too much credit. He’s a politician. Politicians live for power, and they’ll do just about anything to gain and retain it.

  9. Chris 9

    “Dislike of Bennett within the caucus is said to be so deep-seated “I don’t think she can pull it back”, the same source said.

    Bennett has also rubbed some MPs up the wrong way by suggesting activities like skits during caucus meetings.”

    Suppose it was inevitable that the nats would finally see through her. Fun while it lasted. I really wanted her to become leader but just a tad too much to have hoped for.

    • Cinny 9.1

      Lmao, oh snap Chris, that skit thing, got your attention too 🙂

      • Chris 9.1.1

        You’ve probably seen it but this was doing the rounds a few weeks ago and is pretty good, too. Quintessential Bennett:

        • Cinny 9.1.1.1

          Ouch, her shrill voice is painful, she is like a caricature of herself

          If I were to sack someone due to the election loss, joyce slim shady campaign manager would be top of my list.

          Sensible thing for them to do would be get rid of any long standing nats, those who lost many votes compared to the 2014 election.

          Ego will be the undoing of the nats me thinks.

        • Puckish Rogue 9.1.1.2

          When oh when will politicians realise that singing (and more importantly being recorded) is generally a really, really bad idea

          I’d link to the Labour party and John Key the gambler but I’m sure you get the picture

          • mac1 9.1.1.2.1

            Not often I agree with you fully, PR, but on this one, absolutely.

            That’s in public. Privately I’ve sung “Which Side Are You On” with a former Speaker, and “The Banks Are Made Of Marble” with professors of political science, “Joe Hill” and Leon Rosselson’s version of “The Red Flag”,” Jamie Foyers” and “This Land is Your Land”.

            One thing that they used to say about the Left, “It had the better songs.” 😉

            • Craig H 9.1.1.2.1.1

              Let It Be and Solidarity are popular two I remember vividly at Labour shindigs.

              • mac1

                “Solidarity for ever, when the red revolution comes”?
                Had good words for that one.
                “We’re gonna nationalise the breweries and the beer will all be free…..”
                “We’re gonna string Tom Shand from Mandy’s brassière…….” (very old version)

                As we used to say, “A party that parties together, stays together.” Regional conferences were a hoot when all booked into a high country lodge.

  10. Cinny 10

    This bit…..

    “Bennett has also rubbed some MPs up the wrong way by suggesting activities like skits during caucus meeting”

    ROFL !!! Not going to lie, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy watching the nats fall apart

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/101029221/national-knives-are-out-over-election-loss

  11. Anne 11

    Subject being discussed on RNZ at this moment.

    • Cinny 11.1

      Thanks Anne, tuned in and listening 🙂

      • Anne 11.1.1

        A summary of Jane Patterson’s take on the story and I paraphrase:

        She doubts there is an imminent change in the leadership. The proposed meeting of Nat. MPs (Labour did same thing about a week ago) is to give the MPs a chance to do some in-depth soul searching… what happened… where did they go wrong.

        Bill English and Paula Bennett are a tight team and they work well together. She doubts there will be any move to change the leadership for the foreseeable future. There will be talk of future leadership combinations, but there will be no hasty decisions. Bill is well respected and the choice of when he leaves will be left entirely up to him.

        This meeting will be more about… where do we go from here, and how do we combat Jacinda Ardern.

        Sounds like Barry Soper is indulging in a bit of sensational wishful thinking.

        • Ross 11.1.1.1

          Bill’s taken the Tories to two election losses. I cant imagine his colleagues will allow him to make it three!

          It doesnt help his cause that he continues to tell porkies. He’s probably feeling very confused because the same behaviour from John Key didnt seem to harm National.

        • Enough is Enough 11.1.1.2

          Journalists want to see a bloody coup. It is what they live for,

          My guess is Soper is talking this up to make a story where one does not exist.

          It may be true but I for the life of me cannot see why they would want to replace English. I don’t think there is another person alive (including John Key who was passed his use by date) who could have pulled off the election campaign that Bill did.

          For all the talk of Jacindamania, she lead her party to a distant second behind Bill, and only got there by cannibalising NZ First and the Green Party.

          In saying that, bring it on. I think a leadership change will finally see National support collapse.

          • Keepcalmcarryon 11.1.1.2.1

            Yes that Jacinda leading labour and partners to the depths of a crushing victory.
            Bill and party attacking his only viable coalition partner: genius.

            • Tanz 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Crushing victory gifted by Winston, not by the bulk of the voters. Big big difference. He won’t be around to save her/Labour next time. Greens might go under too. FPP styled election on the way soon.

          • Stephen Doyle 11.1.1.2.2

            Where’s Paddy Gower when you need him?

          • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.1.2.3

            “My guess is Soper is talking this up to make a story where one does not exist.”

            My guess is Soper is talking this up as a distraction.

        • Chuck 11.1.1.3

          I tend to agree with you Anne it’s hard to see English being rolled so early on.

          It’s a unique situation when you take your party to the polls and on election night you are still the largest party in Parliment by a decent margin.

          It is quite different to having your vote collapse on election night, that without a doubt has the knifes out as witnessed in the past.

  12. Stephen Doyle 12

    My reckon is that Bill will linger on until polling is consistently below 40%. In the meantime Simon will roll Paula quickly, and thus be poised for the leadership.

  13. DoublePlusGood 13

    Um, is that supposed to be Jacinda, or Miriama Kamo?

  14. Ken 14

    Please please please make Paula leader.

  15. Pat 15

    Is hardly news….English and Bennet (and Joyce, Brownlee, Collins) will not be contesting the next election….its simply a question of when they announce it and whether its at a time of their own choosing.

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