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National announces terms of reference for its election campaign review

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, November 24th, 2020 - 62 comments
Categories: covid-19, election 2020, Judith Collins, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, todd muller - Tags:

So National wants to work out what went wrong during the last election.

From Radio New Zealand:

The National Party has announced its terms of reference for a review into its 2020 election campaign.

The review will be done by five panel members including former party president Judy Kirk and former National minister Kate Wilkinson.

It will look at preparations for the campaign, including candidate selection, the narrative, and the caucus’ performance.

“There is no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year for the National Party, and we would be foolish not to comprehensively review every aspect of our approach to the campaign and our work throughout the last term of Parliament. Our party membership rightly expects this, and we will deliver on it,” party president Peter Goodfellow said.

“We are committed to utilising the review results to help shape this next term, to carry out the work and changes required to position the party well into the future, and to ensure these improvements are implemented for the 2023 campaign itself.”

The review terms of reference will examine:

  • Preparations throughout the three-year term by all elements of the party, including candidate selection and Caucus performance
  • The election campaign including the political environment, strategy, narrative and execution
  • The strategic internal, social, and economic challenges and opportunities facing the National Party in the next term
  • Improvement recommendations for the next three years and the 2023 campaign

“The review panel are asked to focus on areas that the party has or could have control over and can effect positive change on. The panel has a wide mandate to seek inputs from individuals within, and external to, the party as they feel appropriate and are also asked to explore any areas they deem important …”

I am pretty confident they will not accept my advice but can I say their candidate selection was appalling.  Instead of going for local candidates who were known and actually had a degree of cut through they chose a bunch of wide boys.  Previous wide boy selections blew up.  It was almost inevitable.

Instead of seeking diversity and trying to look like New Zealand of the 2020s they went for the 1960s country party look.  They have really gone backward from the hey day of John Key where they had a significant number of token ethnic candidates.

Caucus performance was horrendous.  I have written multiple posts about National’s loyalty problem in the last three years and the incidence of leaking and undermining of the leader, whoever it was, was a wonder to behold.   Believe me I lived through Labour in 2014.  National was similar but far more brutal and far more divided.

The political environment admittedly sucked.  Going into competition with an administration that actually protected the country from the ravages of Covid and kept it out was always a tough call.  Especially when the likes of Trump and Johnson were so goddam awful and this was reinforced by the daily infection rate and the daily death rate.

The big missing aspect of the review is any mention of the environment.  Social and economic challenges get mentioned.  But environmental challenges don’t get a look in.  It is as if climate change does not exist.

If I was National I would invite them to publicly acknowledge the mess they have made of Aotearoa New Zealand, the damage they have caused to our environment through their farming friendly policies and their refusal to do something meaningful about climate change as well as their road fetish.  They should acknowledge that their attacks on the trade union movement has made us all worse off and entrenched poverty in New Zealand.  They should indicate that we are all equal, that diversity is great, and that we should not be measured by the size of our bank balances.  They should admit that their refusal to do anything about the housing crisis has plunged Auckland in particular into chaos and there is a new generation of kiwi kids who will permanently suffer from the consequences.

And they should ask for forgiveness.

I hope they take this submission into account.  Somehow I don’t think they will.

62 comments on “National announces terms of reference for its election campaign review ”

  1. Incognito 1

    Sir John Key said this:

    We have to go back and win Labour's votes.


    It lays bare National’s problem and they can’t see it.

    • roy cartland 1.1

      From the Newshub story:


      "I thought it was reasonably well received by the delegates. There was tremendous support given at the conference for all the speeches there. The other thing is, we have 550 delegates in a year when we had a terrible loss like that and a really hard year. It was an enormous support for the National Party and I think it was an outstanding AGM, frankly."

      Oh dear. Reminds me of someone:

      “I WON BY A LOT!!!!!”

    • swordfish 1.2


      Given the massive chasm between Lab & Nat (and Left / Right Bloc) vote numbers … they need to pull off the difficult feat of winning back the vast majority of 2020 National deserters … those on the ideological Right who swung to ACT (around 160 k) & the huge bloc of Centrist-Pragmatists who moved to Labour (about 270 k) … plus a sizeable chunk of those who defected from Blue to Red back in 2017 (106 k) …. all the while, if possible, making inroads into the former NZF support-base & hoping a segment of disenchanted Labour voters swing into Non-Voting.

      It's a big ask …a popular Leader who can compete with Ardern is crucial … but also (like Brash between 2002-05) they really need to find an Elephant-in-the-Room issue that galvanises a very diverse range of voters, drawing all those deserters back to the mothership … If Ardern could see her way clear to leaving for a prestigious position on the International stage … then the Nats would certainly be much obliged, Guvn’r.

      • swordfish 1.2.1

        Note: Technically, of course, winning back defectors to ACT isn't crucial for National's electoral prospects … all part of the Right Bloc … but National voters are nothing if not biiiig FPP-supporters & genuinely believe the largest Party deserves to form Government. They really need to get back to well over the 40% mark to remain credible.

      • Incognito 1.2.2

        Yes, good points, thank you.

        I could unpack my comment and write a Post about of >600 words, at least. Too busy at work though 🙁

  2. tc 2

    More of the same please.

    Toxic leadership, conspiracy promotion, faux christianity, broad based insults and the ever present dirty politics.

  3. AB 3

    Lots of talk from talking heads about 'disunity' being the problem. Which is an interesting little bit of self-deception – stopping at a particular point in the causal chain that suits the narrative. The issue with that explanation, is that the loss of support from the public preceded the disunity – Bridges' poor poll results triggered the infighting and descent into farce. So the real problem lies earlier than the disunity. Basically through about March-May, pretty much everything coming out of the National Party showed that that would have cocked up the Covid response – not locked down properly, prioritised an abstraction called 'the economy' over people's wellbeing, tried to maintain the flow of profits to their supporters and donors, and had us looking like the UK.

    The real cause therefore was the fundamental inability of right-wing ideology to deal with a crisis that required collective action, a reversal of the logic of continuous and uninterruptable capital accumulation, and the equalisation of all people as having the same intrinsic value. There is nothing National can 'fix' here and still be National.

    • Patricia Bremner 3.1

      AB, The rot set in when the public learned of Whaleoil and Collins treatment of Blomfield, Ede and company in Key's Office Dirty Politics, Key's "Hats" (only one he did not have was one like Muller's) then followed by the Bridges Jaimie Lee Ross saga.

      Goodfellow was there for all of that and everything that followed and is still there with Collins…. More of the same expected.

      Yet he says JA is the cause Lol!! Self Deception is a kind description.

    • Duncan 3.2

      The National Party are united when they are winners and in disarray as losers. When they are losing some heads need to be put on pikes.

      So poor poll results mean some might not get the gold plated salary so here comes disunity.

      The reason given for electing Goodfellow was "he's a good little fundraiser". Nothing else. You would be amazed at the grubby deals going on behind the scenes between the National Party and NZ's richest families as the "fundraising" kicks off.

      For the Nats it's all about money and retaining power so they can disseminate their version of evil.

      Let's hope Labour are not heading down the same path.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    The search for local candidates makes a lot of sense – diversity though, is not a carte blanche as the Greens seem to be about to discover in the person of a certain outspoken fool. Those who left the Gnats are likely pragmatists, and it is probably pragmatism that would be National's path to eventual recovery, if they ever shed enough deadwood to bother reforming.

  5. observer 5

    Their review is doomed from the start because they are incapable – really, mentally, physically incapable – of saying "Ardern is very good at what she does, and obviously so much better at this politics business than we are".

    As long as they have that mental block then it's a waste of time. They are National, the decision-makers, leaders, sleeves rolled up, economy managers, titans. She is just a fluffy little thing, and can't possibly have won the election for any reason except the stupidity of the deluded voters, which means they are really the ones to blame, and so National aren't.

  6. joe90 6

    Previous wide boy selections blew up. It was almost inevitable.

    Wide boys to dodgy AF boy blunders.

  7. Jack 7

    National are always behind the persistent, inevitable, wave of social change. They instinctively want yesterday not tomorrow. This will always be their fundamental problem. NZ society will continue to move beyond their grasp.

  8. Phillip ure 8

    I thought there was a brief opening of nationals' very own overton window @ about the time of the toppling of bridges…while puzzled they did not elect the woman who beat ardern twice previously…to me she was the obvious choice…but her as deputy..and being the most 'liberal' of the tories I saw her as getting national 'real' on issues like the environment…('cos for national to continue in the long term – and being aware how they came from the ashes of two other parties of their ilk.. you'd think..?)…anyway..they need to realise that the environment is a non-ideological issue now…and they need to green-up…and I thought if they got that sorted…their chances would increase..and I would submit their loss would not have been as precipitous as it was….but anyway..muller then imploded…and with that the overton-window snapped shut again..and they swung furiously back to the right..which clearly did not work for them….so they can continue as now..and shrink into country party status…'cos clearly for national to become more relevant they have to swing back to the centre…(and as an aside) in fact looking further down the track you could see act/nats/labour/greens/maori party as roughly equal in levels of support/mp's..

    • solkta 8.1

      Your comments are hideous to try and read. I won't bother with that one.

      • Phillip ure 8.1.1

        still cleaving to the capital-letter..?

        • Phillip ure

          dunno about you..but I think it all went south when we stopped using whorls around those capital letters..eh..?

        • solkta

          Fuck: capital letters, commas, full stops, sentences, paragraphs. I really don't understand why you prefer to appear illiterate.

          • The Al1en

            I admit I gave up on that in line two. Not even the Gibberish Translator would help.

          • Phillip ure

            Try reading it out loud…I write for the ear…not so much for the eye..

            • Andre

              Nope. It's no clearer that way.

              Maybe you could try sentences and paragraphs?

            • Robert Guyton

              Then you have a fine writing style…for radio…

            • solkta

              It sounds maybe more retarded. There is a reason we have punctuation.

              • Phillip ure

                The same reason there was for whorls ..wha' happened..?

                • solkta

                  Hmmm, i'm starting to think you are not trying to sound like an idiot.

                  • Phillip ure

                    It is a fact that sentences packed together into paragraphs was because of the imperative of efficiency of use of paper…and capital letters are just a false honorific..especially in names/title..Mr being a sop to/for the lower classes…which reeks of the evils of the class-system…i decided no need for all that nonsense nearly two decades ago..and that frees up language to flow easier…to have more natural rhythmns..I find…but hey..,! if you can't read it..don't try..eh..?

                    [The Moderators here have been making efforts to have commenters use quote marks and block quotes when citing stuff and provide links. They also ask to go light on italics and bold font and only use these to emphasise certain words rather than whole sentences or text strings. Most commenters try to comply with these requests and make an effort to adhere to the basic rules of written English text and for good reason. Unfortunately, you don’t 🙁 However, you’ve been making an effort to engage positively and constructively, mostly, and some of your comments are actually not too bad, I have to say 😉

                    That reminds me, you failed to give a link despite being asked specifically for one by a commenter today. Next time, please respond and give the link, thanks – Incognito]

            • Incognito

              I find it easier to read Morse code.

          • Tricledrown

            Modernizing the language has always happened and now in the time of texting Twitter tick tock and tinder.

            Simplification of the way the language is put together to communicate has changed and will continue to change.

            The points philip has brought up are accurate and easily understood.

            • Sacha

              Yet people are not getting to read them because of bad formatting. If saving expensive paper is no longer a consideration, then paragraphs make perfect sense. Sentences, even.

              • Phillip ure

                Do you speak in sentences..?..(full-stops and all)..I find speech is more free-form…and the strictures from sentencing words actually inhibit that flow..and I am trying to write as I speak…it's as simple as that..but I do take on board that in longer comments I should give the words more air..

                • Sacha

                  When I wrote radio scripts .. there were plenty of spaces .. to help people read them.

                  There were sentences.

                  There was white space.

                  There was even some emphasis .. so presenters would know how to read what I had written for them.

                  The purpose was communication .. which means being received.

                • solkta

                  If you talk like that then you must be even more irritating in person.

                  • Sacha

                    Body language adds punctuation. Who knows, Mr Ure might have particularly expressive hands or eyelashes?

                    Most of us learn to translate that urge to gesture into a written marker like commas or spaces..

                  • Phillip ure

                    @ solkta.. Heh..!…some would say that..

              • solkta

                I am at a loss as to how using paragraphs would have saved paper. Paragraphs are used to group a set of ideas to make one point. Without them you just have jumbled nonsense.

                • Sacha

                  One space after a para is less than one after each sentence, to be fair. Love seeing historical dramas where the letter paper is so tiny – even for the wealthy.

                  • solkta

                    One space after a para is less than one after each sentence

                    I don't get what you mean. Did they use paragraphs as an alternative to sentences?

                    Traditionally the start of a new paragraph was indented by several spaces, and the space at the end of the preceding paragraph to the side of the page left unused.

                    • Sacha

                      You are right. I was thinking of vertical spacing which would have only come in with the typewriter.

                    • solkta

                      I think vertical spacing was a post-computer improvement. It makes reading paragraphs much easier, particularly for dyslexic people like myself.

                • Phillip ure

                  And to confuse matters even more..when doing more formal writing giving each sentence it's own line..no matter how short/long it is…is a favoured way of writing…

                  the rationale being that you afford that sentence the dignity of its' own line..and that there is no shortage of white space..so no need to jumble/cram sentences together into paragraphs..eh..?

                  (And apologies to the author of this post ..my only defence being 'i didn't start it'..and once said it doesn't need to be said again..)

                  • Sacha

                    See, you do know how to write more understandably.

                  • solkta

                    You can't form an argument like that. How do the sentences relate to each other to form a more complex point?

                    In academic writing essays not only have paragraphs but are also structured into three parts: introduction, body, conclusion. The conclusion should have usually one sentence to refer to the point made in each paragraph of the body. The last sentence or few should pull all the points from each paragraph together to make the overall point. Without paragraphs it would be pointless babble.

            • solkta

              Says a person using sentences. You could have simplified what you wrote by making it one paragraph.

    • Duncan 8.2

      Well ok, but how does that work when Goodfellow and his cronies are among the biggest players in the seafood and dairy industries in NZ.

      You really think they would allow Nikki to be leader.

      I don't think so.

  9. Byd0nz 9

    Leave National alone.

    Let them drown in their toxic swill for fuckin ever.

  10. Phillip ure 10

    I reckon they should lock down brownlee as campaign manager for '23..

  11. ken 11

    They kept Goodfellow and they're taking advice on housing from Key, so we don't need to worry about National for the foreseeable future.

  12. So National wants to work out what went wrong at the last general election. Basically, the party failed to get more seats under MMP than Labour. Main reason for that is Jacinda Ardern did a pretty good job of guiding NZ in troubled times, so people saw no reason to dump her.

    As others have noted, candidate selection was not good either. This is a recurring issue for the Natz. In the 2017 election a farmer who stood for National in Clutha (I think it was) had to drop out of the race becos he was charged with dirty dairying offences.

    Wish I'd been a fly on the wall when the party apparatchiks came around to tell him he was damaged goods.

    Good point Micky about the failure to tackle environment problems. National's interference with Environment Canterbury tells you all you need to know.

  13. Chris T 13

    Labour went though the same shit for 3 elections, and they managed to sort it out.

  14. Lettuce 14

    Bring back Boag 2023!

  15. peter lepaysan 15

    There is a huge age demographic shift going on among the active voters. Labour has been out of power for so long in the last 60 or so years. There are two generations of voters who are sceptical enough to question the natz self entitled "born to rule" attitude. A lot of the so called "boomers" (media laziness in search of a headline) are less interested in politics if they are comfortably well off.

    The ones reliant on superannuation solely lurk in the shadows. The younger generations are looking ahead at wtf and the natz keep banging on about the "economy" and "business" and "profits".

    If the so called "business sector" ( the corner dairy and Bezos?) got together the natz would sort it out?

    The natz rely and support BIG business and try to bamboozle the rest into thinking they know best.

    A Wall Street trader should lead NZ? C'mon, get real. We tried that. He quit, they know when to and leave the suckers behind.

    It will be interesting to see if an ex chief executive of air nz rescues us.

    How much CO2 does any aeroplane leave in the atmosphere? We rely on tourism?

    OBTW I am too old to be a boomer. They were born post WW2. I arrived somewhat earlier.

  16. Henry Filth 16

    Just as dog-owners are supposed to come to physically resemble their dogs, do political party caucuses come to physically resemble their donors?

  17. Ad 17

    If New Zealand were the United States of America now, National would be legally challenging the results and would have had a meltdown in front of the cameras, continue to refuse to concede, actively foment the population to rise up against the Ardern government, glue all the locks within Parliament, remove the heads of the military and intelligence agencies, prepare to form their own online TV and radio station that consistently sought to eradicate the Treaty of Waitangi and deny welfare payments to the unemployed, encouraging all Councils to be out on the streets opposing mask-wearing, and then after playing days of golf Judith Collins would come out in praise of real estate agents and stockbrokers.

    Which makes even Kiwiblog writers look rational.

    • Incognito 17.1

      Where were you in 2017?

      National won the Election but screwed up missed out forming a Government.

      They never got over it and that definitely includes KB.

      They should start their review at the 2017 Election.

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