Dead man walking

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 20th, 2020 - 106 comments
Categories: bill english, brand key, Christopher Luxon, election 2020, john key, Judith Collins, national, polls, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags:

The vultures are gathering.  When you are the leader of a party whose basic membership qualification is that they have to believe they are born to rule failure is not tolerated.

The media is reporting that there will be a vote of no confidence held in Simon Bridges’ leadership at next Tuesday’s National caucus meeting.  The threat of so many MPs losing their jobs is too much to allow.

Yesterday Jim Bolger publicly endorsed Todd Muller for leader.  John Key previously confirmed that Chris Luxon was his pick.  All we need is for Bill English and Jenny Shipley to come out publicly and choose a successor and Bridges’ humiliation will be complete.

How dysfunctional National has become is confirmed by this Henry Cooke Stuff article which shows how bad things have become.  From the article:

One National MP who spoke to Stuff on the condition of anonymity said that Bridges’ low ratings in the preferred prime ministerial poll made it difficult to see him running a winning election campaign.

“It’s hard to see how he can fight an election campaign when only four-and-a-half per cent of people want him to be prime minister,” the MP said.

Another said the problem was that the public was actively hostile to Bridges’ being the person bringing National’s message to them.

“The problem is the phone isn’t being picked up,” this MP said.

Several saw Bridges’ comment concerning the Prime Minister dying her hair on Newshub on Tuesday night — a joke that he didn’t dye his hair himself — as a particularly egregious example of poor leadership.

But others see the transaction cost of possibly bloody leadership contest as far too high.

Another National MP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the last thing the party needed was a public battle about itself while the country was focused on coronavirus.

“The more you focus on internal ructions the more the country thinks you’re not talking about them,” the MP said.

“That’s just not going to help us.”

The leading contenders are Todd Muller, Judith Collins and Mark Mitchell.  I am not sure who for but David Bennett is one of the MPs doing the numbers.  The idiot replied to an email to give away the game.  Note to all MPs.  Never ever email anything that you do not want to see on the leading page of any news blog.

Bennett is now in a marginal seat and has sunk to particular depths by running a petition against a planned Kainga Ora development on the basis that poor people would be living there the development is medium density.

And the factions are interesting. I spent quite a bit of time analysing Labour’s ABC faction back in the day. Nowadays there is an ABBA faction, the Anyone But Bridges Alliance. I wonder if they will be Bridges Waterloo?

All eyes will be on Thursday’s Colmar Brunton result. If it is better then the Reid Research poll Bridges can spin it either as an improvement or the Reid Research poll being an aberration even though it appears to match what is happening in private polling.

If it is not then unless the dominant view is to just get the campaign over and change leaders after the election then Bridges is toast.

Update: Newshub has claimed that there are two MPs that are challenging the leadership, Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye.

106 comments on “Dead man walking ”

  1. Oh dear, how sad. Never mind. Poor Simon, poor simple Simon.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The vultures are gathering, they are just wondering which of them is going to be the first to check if the corpse is really dead.

  3. Andre 3

    Hey Nats, just cool it willya? The country needs Simon exactly where he is.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      Mr Bridges is a classic case of genuinely being neither qualified, nor temperamentally suited, to national political leadership. I cite his Northland “no bridges” pork barreling and his undermining of colleagues per the “JLR tapes”, and his discordant mis-speaks during C19.

      Please National-keep him on!

      It is tempting to submit to the news cycle “blood in the water” take and see this as really important-but it is just the Nats doing what they need to do to best represent local and international finance capital. Maybe enough New Zealanders will see through it and realise that the NZ National Party represents those that see the Govt. action to stall Covid 19, as not much more than a barrier to profits and increased shareholder value.

    • Chris 3.2

      The nats probably get a lot of their advice from this site. "Hey, on TS they all want Simon to stay and if he has to go they want either Collins or Bennett. I think Todd's our man."

  4. Incognito 4

    This is nothing new, as internal polls appear to have shown a downward slide for some time. Apart from some leak here and there, every now and then, and apart from Matthew’s Magic Numbers, the National Caucus apparently did not know anything because Simon doesn’t share those poll results with them. It’s a cunning strategy: ignorance is bliss and what you don’t know, doesn’t hurt me. In many ways, it sums up the National Party perfectly; they cannot be trusted with power.

    • Sacha 4.1

      Hiding internal party polls from colleagues should be enough reason to dump the chump.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    National's problem is they don't seem to have anyone who can read the room, or the zoom.

    I think they've spent the last three years in their offices being radicalised by Fox News.

    • In Vino 5.1

      Rude of me to cut in at such a late hour on this thread, but has nobody else noticed the clear threat?

      Todd M plays the role of Little – acts as stodgy, uninspiring leader, but then at late moment stands aside just as Little did. Suddenly, an inspirational Nikki Kaye with compliant media steps in with inspirational interviews. etc, to match what Jacinda did at last election.

      National have confidence in Nikki – she has already beaten Jacinda twice in electorates!

      I personally find Nikki rather vacant, but with compliant right-wing media playing along, this is the threat I see if Todd and Nicki emerge as new Opposition leaders.

      • observer 5.1.1

        That's taking conspiracy/fantasy to new levels.

        3 leaders in 4 months is electoral suicide. And Jacinda took over 6 years later (in government terms) than Nikki Kaye would be doing. No comparison really.

        Why would Kaye throw away her career when she would have a far better chance in 2023 or even later?

  6. Peter 6

    The election will be close. Unfortunately it could close so much that David Bennett gets in.

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      National seem to think we can bring in overseas students most likely from China by July, if Simon Bridges was any decent sort of leader he would be more in control of his cabinet as well as his mouth.

  7. Treetop 7

    A great heading "Dead Man Walking"

    Just where Bridges will end up in the National caucus after the vote for leader is what I want to know. Probably Bennett will be replaced as deputy leader as well.

  8. Ad 8

    Nikki will lose Auckland Central on current polling. Plus she's better as a Deputy than as leader: too Auckland, too liberal.

    Todd Muller would helpfully use the next term unifying that solid blue rural countryside, with no further rump resistance from NZF.

    • Anne 8.1

      Jim Bolger, the highly respected elder statesman has set the scene for a Todd Muller leader and Nikki Kaye deputy leader.

      A city/regional mix which will go down well with their supporters. Watch their polling numbers rise rapidly. The coalition govt. will need to work hard to win the election despite their current polling.

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.1

        I agree Anne.

        My prediction (based on my man in the street observations) is if they stick with Bridges, polling will stay where it is. Perhaps Nats will inch up to 35, but Jacinda will have an absolute majority (which isn't good if we want a transformational government, because as we need the Greens at the cabinet table with some power).

        The Muller/Kaye ticket will entrench the rural vote (which Bridges can't do), and attract back some of the liberal vote that is flirting with Labour.

        It will be game on, but not to the extent where we will lose

        • Anne 8.1.1.1

          Yep. That's my take too.

          I don't think it does any political party good to have too easy a ride. It just makes for arrogance and complacency which is in nobody's interest.

  9. Muttonbird 9

    This hair dye comment has to be one of his worst stumbles, and there have been a few!

    It shows how venal he is and how completely out of touch with what the public think of JA's performance.

    Perhaps Bridges reads Kiwiblog every night and is stuck in that unfortunate bubble thinking that's what most Kiwis really think.

    Bridges’ childish hair dye quip goes against basic decency but worse, it completely misses the truth that 95% of Kiwi's thinks JA and her government got the pandemic response right and, as the face of the response, Ardern has worked extremely hard for NZ.

    The comment seems to brag that he's feeling fine but Ardern is aging and spent. Ardern is the person with the weight of a nation on her shoulders, not Bridges, and I think she made this point in Parliament recently.

    You's expect the hair dye comment from a teenage bully. I fear that is where Simon Bridges' development as a person stopped.

  10. The coup plotters appear to have coalesced around Todd Muller for leader, Nikki Kaye for deputy. Bridges, on RNZ, confirmed that there will be a vote on Tuesday, however he refused to name the challengers.

    Judith Collins is out.

    • Enough is Enough 10.1

      He confirmed the same to Hosking, so its going to be a busy weekend for the Nats.

      • Muttonbird 10.1.1

        Did Hosking deride Bridges and the National Party the way he did Shearer, Cunliffe, Little and the Labour Party?

        • roblogic 10.1.1.1

          Nah he's just waiting for his talking points from Farrar to recycle, or a heavenly oracle from the arse of Sir John Key

    • RedBaronCV 10.2

      Todd & Nikki would be far too left wing for most of the Nats wouldn't they? I can already hear them on Nikki – far too pretty.fluffy/barbie to be a Nat leader. They need to keep Simon!!!

      • Enough is Enough 10.2.1

        That's the point though isn't it. They need to win back voters who have jumped to Labour in the past 6 weeks. A hard right duo won't do that.

      • Incognito 10.2.2

        A more collaborative and less antagonistic and polarising approach might go down better with the electorate. This doesn’t mean that National will turn left or green on Tuesday but more that it will show a different side of face and persona. We might even get a real contest in the coming Election!

        • KJT 10.2.2.1

          Well. You would think so.

          But election coming up. National has to pretend to care about people.

          They are the two, they have, who could give that perception.

          Though Muller is already bleating about "villianising" farmers by expecting them to pay for their own pollution. So expect more polarisation, and “othering”..

      • RedBaronCV 10.2.3

        I can't see these two as anything more than face time to hide the real agenda.We need the honest Simon!

    • Treetop 10.3

      Collins out for leader but what about deputy leader?

    • coge 10.4

      There is a very good reason Judith has stayed out of this. It's a badly timed pantomime. There will not be a change in leadership.

  11. Reality 11

    Bridges’ latest foot in mouth was to call Paula by her well known name of Paula Benefit.

  12. Stephen D 12

    The Nats have a couple of choices.

    1.Stick with Simon and sacrifice a bunch of lower list MPs.

    2.Roll Simon for a leader who will pick up the party vote in the short term, then get rolled during BBQ season. Judith, Mark?

    3.Roll Simon for a leader who will take the loss, and rally the troops for a decent tilt at 2023. Todd or Nikki

    Senior caucus members probably want 1 or 3. Lower list MPs Judith. She might not win the election, but they know at least she'd take the fight to Jacinda.

    • Stephen D 12.1

      With Judith and Mark apparently not standing, looks like 1 or 3.

      Risk a bloodbath with Simon or let the Todd/Nikky ticket have a go, and give them next term to turn things around.

  13. Tricledrown 13

    The boy who cried Wolf was crying on National Radio this morning.Claiming crying foul he wasn't getting the exposure that Jacinda was getting.

    Absolute bollocks he got to much exposure by trying Trumpish tactics he got all the attention alright but the more they saw of simple Simon the less they liked.

    • Treetop 13.1

      Politics is a dirty business when a party leader is being rolled. Possibly had Bridges not have been distracted with his position as leader he might have been seen to have performed better during the Covid-19 crisis which is hopefully at the tail end.

    • Chris 13.2

      His troubles were caused by too much exposure, not too little. If he'd kept his head down, worked hard on his wee committee, put his election campaign on hold and came up with constructive ideas that showed a little national unity instead of ferociously attacking anything that moved he'd still be leader now. Poor bugger. It shouldn't have been that difficult for him. Would be interesting to know the advice he received.

  14. ianmac 14

    I seem to remember a time when Key was supportive of the Labour leader, Little I think, and of course he knew that it would be good for the National Party for Little to continue as Leader. Funny that the boot is now on another backside.

    Labour backs Bridges! Please stay on Simon.The country needs you!

  15. swordfish 15

    All eyes will be on Thursday’s Colmar Brunton result. If it is better then the Reid Research poll Bridges can spin it either as an improvement or the Reid Research poll being an aberration even though it appears to match what is happening in private polling.

    I think the differences will be relatively mild. Based on the House Effects of the various Pollsters currently making it into the news in one form or another (Reid Research, Colmar Brunton, UMR), I'm guessing the imminent Colmar Brunton will be somewhere in the region of:

    Lab 54%

    Green 6%

    NZF 3.3%

    (Govt 63.3%)

    Nat 34%

    ACT 1.4%

    (Oppo 35.4%)

    Other 1.8%

    [Lab lead over Nats = 20 points]

    [Govt lead over Oppo = 28 points]

    (And, no, collectively those figures don't quite = precisely 100% … but then Colmar Bruntons rarely do given their rounding of all ratings over 5%)

    Guesstimate: based largely on the average CB vs RR differentials for each Party in polls conducted around the same time over the entire period since the election of the Ardern Govt … but with slight weighting given to the most recent differentials + some weighting given to UMR vis-a-vis both CB & RR.

    • lprent 15.1

      Lab 54%
      Nat 34%

      That sounds about right based on the the usual differentials. I would have picked Lab 53%, Nat 35%.
      Come the election, more like Lab 49% and Nat 39% depending on exactly how bad this leadership spill is.

  16. Incognito 16

    I cannot wait for the National Party (and a few others, for that matter) to rejuvenate and reinvent itself as a modern centre-right party equipped to deal with the pressing issues of today and tomorrow. Bring it on!

  17. Bomber turns into a SiBri supporter?! I'm sure his motives are pure 😛

    https://twitter.com/CitizenBomber/status/1262820691503546368?s=20

    • Incognito 18.1

      No, no, no, Martyn!

      Is there even a pointing having Simon Bridges anymore?

      Please keep up.

      • Chris 18.1.1

        Yes there is. What would you prefer? Another good old kiwi bloke who can really relate to honest hard working kiwis? We had almost nine years of that and look what happened. And they may've just found themselves another one.

        • Incognito 18.1.1.1

          I’d prefer a decent Opposition that is not continuously trying to punch below the belt and above its weight and showing they’re living proof of the Peter Principle. People who lack talent and skills often resort to bullying, dirty games, and throwing mud at others in the hope that some will stick and taint them. The National Party lacks talent and courage and it is stale and beyond the pale. That said, the Labour Party better have a good look in the mirror too and not rely on current polling and the star power of one person.

  18. RedBaronCV 19

    Looks like round 70% of the country wants Simon . 63% on the govt benches and 4% who think he would be a great PM. That.'s real popularity for a Nat leader.

  19. Muttonbird 20

    Far out. That caucus must hate each other's guts.

    Massive split in ideology and some genuine disunity being thrashed out in public.

    Collins and Mitchell, the far right of the party firmly backing Bridges, while the slightly more palatable centre right clearly think Bridges is a chump. The country agrees!

    Good times.

  20. Hooch 21

    Todd who? I think if they roll Bridges they’ll stay at or worse in the polls. It would show that they are a scrambling rabble and ununified, although that ship has probably sailed now that they are publicly trying to knife him. I find it hard to see how Nationals rabid rump, who refer to Ardern as Cindy amongst other misogynistic terms, would accept Kaye, a young successful woman like Ardern, who many see as one of the lefter leaning National mps.

    • Muttonbird 21.1

      Be a good outcome if Bridges wins the leadership vote and he and his far right wing mates punish Kaye so much that she decides to jump ship to Labour.

      She'd be a great Labour MP and I'm not entirely sure why she isn't.

  21. Stephen D 22

    How do the Nats go about compiling the order for the List?

    That will be a fun series of meetings!

  22. ianmac 23

    Would Muller really consider being Leader? About 3 months in the job. Then losing the election. Luxton elected MP then promoted to Leader. What should Todd do?

  23. dv 24

    Judith said Simon won't be rolled, and she is not standing.

    • lprent 24.1

      Better hunting after the lost election?

    • Peter 24.2

      Judith said he won't be rolled?

      Headline: 'Judith Collins says no-confidence vote would fail'

      Body: National MP Judith Collins says she will not be challenging leader Simon Bridges – and does not believe a no-confidence vote against him would pass.'

      Does what she said match what she actually said? Does her saying she thinks a no-confidence vote won't succeed equal a definitive 'wont be ruled?

      And to cap it all off she's just a bird on a power line looking down at what's happening:

      "I am just focused on the job and I am not part of anything that is going on. I am keeping myself well out of everything."

      Ah, the vision! A bird on the wire actually being a lying cow!

    • Enough is Enough 24.3

      Judith has a rock solid fan club out in punter land, who make up a noisy portion of Nat supporters.

      That support does not translate to caucus support though. More chance of Auckland congestion ever being fixed than there is of Judith getting the numbers.

  24. AB 25

    Would be fun to watch Nikki Kaye spinning frantically to reconcile National's fundamentally sociopathic vision with her 'liberal' credentials. The waffle and illogic of it would be epic if she was ever faced with a decent interviewer. Big 'if' that.

    • Enough is Enough 25.1

      The National Party are the kings of PR and bullshit.

      What part of their 'public' persona would lead you to suggest they have a fundamentally sociopathic vision?

  25. Dean Reynolds 26

    It's always entertaining watching our betters behaving just like the rest of us

  26. observer 28

    It has to be Muller. Not a saviour, not an election winner, but simply to change the narrative, and give National a chance of denying Labour an overall majority.

    I don't agree with the conventional wisdom that he would only get "one shot" – i.e. an election defeat automatically means an opposition leader has to be dumped afterwards. If National under Muller recover so there's a caucus of 50+, then he will have saved a lot of MPs who were facing unemployment. They would have no cause to get the knives out.

  27. WANTED: Crony capitalist operation seeks slick new front-man for PR campaign. Experience asset stripping small nations preferred

  28. Fireblade 31

    Bwahahaha!

    National MP calls Todd Muller "pale stale and male".

    Meanwhile, Simon Bridges is considering calling an emergency caucus meeting this Friday to try and squash the leadership challenge.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300016914/simon-bridges-considering-early-caucus-meeting-to-head-off-leadership-challenge

  29. observer 32

    Monday: poll tells National MPs that daily personal attacks on PM really, really, really isn't working for them.

    Wednesday: So let's keep doing it!

    Who will decide Bridges' fate? Matt King, Simeon Brown, Stuart Smith and all the other Nats who use social media to show how much they don't get it. Bridges is only the symptom, the disease is much worse.

  30. Sacha 33

    Bridges gets his Friday showdown, fresh off the next poll: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300016914/national-caucus-will-meet-on-friday-to-decide-simon-bridges-fate

    The National Party caucus will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to hold a vote on Simon Bridges’ leadership.

    The rest of the story is rehashed equivocation from the earlier one.

  31. observer 34

    Update:

    6 pm Thurs: TVNZ poll.

    noon Fri: National caucus meeting brought forward 3 days – now confirmed. Classic "put up or shut up" move by leader.

    More MPs now publicly backing Bridges, odds on survival shift to better than even.

  32. observer 35

    This is changing by the minute …

    Now Muller claims HE has the numbers. Letter sent to caucus.

    Stay tuned, this is the best soap opera in years!

  33. georgecom 36

    will be a pity if Bridges loses, I am very comfortable with him continuing where he is.

    if he gets rolled I hear rumours he might start a bungy and boat anchor manufacturing business. should be quality products given Simons talent for making things plummet.

    “Bridge Anchors, guaranteed to drop”
    “Bridges Bungys, guaranteed to go all the way down”

  34. Sacha 37

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300017132/national-leadership-todd-muller-emails-challenge-to-caucus-saying-national-cant-win-under-simon-bridges

    "It is essential that National wins this election," Muller wrote.

    "I share the view of the majority of my colleagues that this is not possible under the current leadership."

    • observer 37.1

      Which means Muller cannot campaign for National or hold a portfolio if Bridges keeps the leadership. Backbench electorate MP at best.

      No way he or Kaye can say "Simon's the man!" without the voters laughing.

      (edit)

      From Sacha’s Stuff link –

      He wrote that Labour had failed in every task it had set itself and the consequences of it being re-elected would be “catastrophic for two generations.”

      So he can’t read the NZ room either. Only the National room.

    • AB 37.2

      "the consequences of [Labour] being re-elected at this time will be catastrophic for two generations."

      I would refer Bridges to a delusional business numpty who can utter such drivel.

  35. Muttonbird 38

    Incredible that Bridges (and Boag) would cry like a baby this morning about the PM getting all the coverage and him no air time, and then use the very same interview for Party specific purposes in trying to squash a coup.

  36. Fireblade 39

    While the government is managing a global pandemic and keeping New Zealanders safe, the National Party is inwardly focused, stabbing each other in the back and plotting leadership coups.

    It's a disgusting display of arrogance by the National Party.

  37. Muttonbird 40

    Bridges and Jami Lee Ross are so similar with their huge, cast-iron egos and their staggering lack of self-awareness it’s not hard to see why they were great mates.

    I should do Twitter.

    • I Feel Love 40.1

      Don't have to join Twitter, just open it & watch it, fascinating to see stuff happening in real time, and the many, many nutbars (I'm wondering are the Maga anti vaxxers taking the anti lupus drug?).

  38. ScottGN 41

    I love love the old girl who got vox pop’d on One News tonight, “why can’t Jacinda lead the National Party?”

  39. Graeme 42

    In the fortnightly missive from Destination Queenstown

    TIA is hosting a Discussing Tourism webinar with Hon Simon Bridges and Hon Todd McClay tomorrow Thursday 21 May at 2pm. Hon Simon Bridges will discuss the work of the Epidemic Response Committee and next steps, as well as National’s views on the future of our tourism industry. Mr Bridges will be joined by National’s Tourism spokesperson Todd McClay. Click here to register.

    Should be entertaining if it goes ahead. Simon's ERC session on tourism today was a bit of a no-show

  40. Nic 181 43

    Whilst I intensely dislike Mr Bridges, both personally and as a politician, I don’t want to see him rolled just yet. Better I think to have him go down with the ship. Any replacement after the election will struggle even more for relevance. Viva the struggle!!!

  41. observer 44

    A quick trip around RW social media (ugh, I know) shows plenty of anger towards the challengers. Not necessarily Bridges fans, more "don't rock the boat". It's a familiar refrain to Labour ears from the Time Before Jacinda.

    Going to be a bloody Thursday. Only Colmar Brunton can Save Our Simon.

  42. mac1 45

    A muso's take on National's woes.

    Simon Bridges will need all his drumming skills to beat up his support to keep his job. At the moment he is arhythmic and out of sync. Will the C&W man Muller please the fans more?

    National seem to think they can combine C&W with Metro noise to get a sound that will please the punters. What will more likely happen is that they'll form separate bands.

    The National atonality extends to believing that Ardern's popularity is "Kumbaya" when it's actually more "Stand by Me" and "We are the Champions".

    Todd Muller will take National back to "Me and You and a Dog named Blue."

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