It’s been interesting to watch the Collins Faction of National talk down the Conservative Party all year. It’s not hard to see why – they occupy space/take votes that a Collins-led National would want for itself. What the Collins Faction would like is a decent liberal-right party. That would allow National to swing conservative and give up liberal votes to an ally, rather than to the Left.
A replacement for Act in the liberal-right would not just be useful for Collins at an election if she becomes National’s leader. It also might make all the difference in her becoming the leader. Think about it. If you’re a National backbencher, you’re not going to vote for a leader that is going to contest already taken votes in the conservative spectrum while giving up votes in the liberal spectrum to the Left. That would be a vote to kick National out of office.
So, Collins must reassure the backbenches that a vote for her is a vote for a brighter political future for them. Part of that is by assuring them ministerial portfolios by getting rid of the old guard that is coalescing around Joyce as National’s ABC candidate. The other part is assuring them that National will have a rightwing partner with which it can make a majority.
But it will all be for nought. Even if they manage to get a new Liberal party, she’ll never get the votes and why? Because next year she’s going to get her arse kicked in a high profile defamation case, which she brought upon herself. The mutterings about the terrible judgement Collins showed in taking the case has been loud and continuous. It’ll only look worse for her when she loses and the public assumes that, by default, the claims about her are true.