National’s annual conference

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, November 22nd, 2020 - 64 comments
Categories: election 2020, Judith Collins, national, same old national - Tags:

You would think that the conference held immediately after National suffered one of its worst drubbings in its history National would take the opportunity to refresh its leadership and change its direction.

If you did you will be disappointed.

From Newshub:

In a speech, Goodfellow began by thanking leader Judith Collins saying members “couldn’t be prouder” of her, to which the room clapped.

Goodfellow then went on to both praise and slam the Labour Government’s COVID-19 response and election campaign.

He said “reasoned debate became treasonous” during the campaign and it was a race of celebrity.

Goodfellow then went on to “give credit where credit is due” and praised Jacinda Ardern for her clear communication over the COVID-19 crisis.

In nearly the same breath, he characterised the daily COVID-19 updates as being “televangelistic”.

He finished his speech with a call for the National Party to rebuild and reunite over the next three years.

This is Trumpian in the quality of its analysis.  Slamming the response of Labour’s Covid response is weird.  As the virus ravages through most of the world New Zealand’s response stands out like a beacon.  And there was lots of debate during the campaign.  We even had minor parties peddle conspiracy theories out in plain sight.  The problem was not with free speech being treasonous, it was because the quality of the speech was so poor.

And Goodfellow’s analysis is so shallow.  Fancy praising Ardern’s clear communications but rubbishing the Government’s overall response.

But don’t take my word for this.  National activist Ben Thomas thinks the same.  From Radio New Zealand:

[F]ormer National staffer said Goodfellow was completely out of touch with voters.

Political commentator Ben Thomas said Goodfellow was putting personal gain above the party’s interests.

“He attacked the media and attacked Ardern, and called those Covid briefings a symptom of tyranny. Which is playing to the National Party’s base which is at that AGM that he wants to re-elect him as National Party president, but sounds ridiculous to the wider public, including all of those voters who deserted National to go to Labour.”

Then Judith spoke.

She urged unity, presuming behind her as leader.  She urged her spokespeople to be bold but then trotted out the traditional National themes of government wasteful spending, the shackles holding back innovation and entrepreneurship, the failure of imagination, the lack of ambition, and the tolerance for bland mediocrity.

Apart from a token reference to the high tech sector there was no substance in what she said.

John Key also spoke.  What he said contrasts jarringly with Goodfellow’s analysis.  From Claire Trevett at the Herald:

Key was a guest speaker at the party’s first big gathering since the election, and used it to thump in the home truths about the reasons for the election loss. In short: themselves.

It is usually possible to gauge how far a party has come to terms with a dire election result from the length of time it takes for someone to blame the media and their political opponents for it.

In National’s case, that was not long. It came from President Peter Goodfellow, who railed against what he saw as the “clickbait” and bias of the media. He then launched into the “temporary tyranny” of Jacinda Ardern’s Covid-19 response, her “celebrity” leadership and “tele-vangelical” addresses to the nation.

There was only a fleeting reference to the woes National had brought upon itself.

It was a speech that seemed to show Goodfellow had learned very little about the reasons 2020 brought National to its knees in the first place – or why New Zealanders had thronged to vote for Ardern.

It was a gob-smacking speech. The interesting thing is the party faithful did not seem to buy it.

There was a deathly silence from the 600-odd packed into the room while Goodfellow was going through his tirade. It is likely some quietly agreed with him, but there was no spontaneous applause or murmurs of agreement.

Key’s response to the election result was entirely different.

His speech was not the usual platitudes and diplomatic expressions of support a former leader usually offers.

He delivered a stonker. He told them they had lost 413,800 voters, and he told them why. He told them their voters had flocked to Labour and to Act because of National’s disunity and leadership changes.

He warned them not to assume Ardern’s popularity would wane, because that was a mistake Labour made about him for almost a decade.

And he told them that Labour would spend the next three years focusing on keeping those 413,800 voters, and that it was clever enough to do just that. He set out the prospect National would lose again in 2023, 2026 and 2029.

He said the party needed a plan and a strategy: “Trust me when I tell you, hope is not a strategy.”

But the loudest applause was in response to Key’s warning to any National Party MPs leaking to the media. “If you can’t quit your leaking, quit the party.”

Astoundingly Goodfellow was returned as President.  Lots of lefties cheered as that.

And as part of its reinvigoration it elected David Carter, former MP since 1993 onto its board.  Renewal huh.  Carter had sought presidency of the party but lost to Goodfellow.

I thought it would only be a matter of time before Collins was rolled.  Given events on the weekend and the party’s clear inability to do something radical I am not so sure.

64 comments on “National’s annual conference ”

  1. Chris T 1

    And Goodfellow’s analysis is so shallow. Fancy praising Ardern’s clear communications but rubbishing the Government’s overall response.

    Do you mind pointing out where he rubbished Labour's "overall response" in your article?


    • mickysavage 1.1

      "Goodfellow then went on to both praise and slam the Labour Government’s COVID-19 response and election campaign.

      He said “reasoned debate became treasonous” during the campaign and it was a race of celebrity.

      Goodfellow then went on to “give credit where credit is due” and praised Jacinda Ardern for her clear communication over the COVID-19 crisis."

      • Chris T 1.1.1

        He seems to be just criticising the pointless daily updates that didn't need Ardern there.

        Which to be frank seemed to turn into free party political broadcasts.

        Goodfellow then went on to “give credit where credit is due” and praised Jacinda Ardern for her clear communication over the COVID-19 crisis."

        I see praise of Ardern's overall response, not criticism.

        • Robert Guyton

          There are none so blind.

          • Chris T

            Fair call.

            Explain why Ardern needed to be there and speak for about 25 minutes, when it could have just been Bloomfield.

            • Robert Guyton

              "Explain why…"

              That's a tetchy demand there, ChrisT – are you coffee-deprived or something?

              You said, "He seems to be just criticising…" when in this thread, Mickey has clearly stated that Goodfellow said, “reasoned debate became treasonous” during the campaign and it was a race of celebrity", 2 criticisms more than the "just" you want to focus on. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

              • Chris T

                How is that "rubbishing Labour's overall response"?

                • Robert Guyton

                  "Goodfellow then went on to both praise and slam the Labour Government’s COVID-19 response and election campaign."

                  (My italics)

                  How is slamming Labour's Covid response & election campaign not "rubbishing Labour's overall response" ?

                  I'm somewhat puzzled by your protestations and reasoning, Chris T.

                  • Chris T

                    That is called an opinion sentence without any actual back up quote to what they accusing them of.

                    It would be a bit like me saying "Ardern had a harsh look in her eye, when she read the result of the weed referendum"

                    Utter bollocks I made up.

                    • Incognito

                      Utter bollocks I made up.


                    • Robert Guyton

                      Curious! You don't feel confident that the journalist at the Nat event could be correct in reporting that there was both praise and slamming by Goodfellow? Pray tell why you feel that way!

            • Robert Guyton

              On another thread, Chris T, you wrote,


              Re-reading that post I probably came across as a bit blunt and a prick tbf."

              Reading that, I thought, fair call.

            • Craig H

              A lot of the decisionmaking was done at the Cabinet level, so it was correct for a Cabinet Minister to be present to explain those decisions and answer questions about them.

            • bwaghorn

              Because when things are shit a real leader takes the lead .all our daily freedoms we enjoy at this time are due to Ardern convincing this country she had the plan that would work .

            • Incognito

              When the coronavirus struck in February and March, Ardern responded by imposing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, effectively closing down the economy even as the country had notched barely 200 cases. This was bold. But at daily press conferences, she calmly explained the reasoning behind it and other government decisions and urged New Zealanders—the “team of five million”—to observe the rules and “be kind.” She would often follow up at night with Facebook Live posts from home, wearing a casual sweater and looking directly into her phone as she reiterated key messages. It was a master class in communication, and it worked: The public broadly supported the restrictions, and the pandemic was kept at bay. [my italics]


              • Chris T

                She would often follow up at night with Facebook Live posts from home, wearing a casual sweater and looking directly into her phone


                I rest my case.

                Welcome to the MSM turning into womens day

                • Incognito

                  I rest my case.

                  Most appreciated.

                  Welcome to the MSM turning into womens day [sic]

                  FB is not MSM. FB is not “womens day” [sic] either.

                  You demanded an answer to this question @

                  Explain why Ardern needed to be there and speak for about 25 minutes, when it could have just been Bloomfield.

                  Don’t ask questions if you cannot handle the answers.

                  • Chris T

                    Or you could just answer.

                    What exactly did she add after Bloomfields summaries apart from a Labour ad?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      She calmed the farm, Chris, and the farm needed calming.

                      And so do you smiley

                    • mac1

                      What she added for me was the weight and authority of the highest elected position in the country in giving advice, support and instruction to five million citizens- advice that was constructive and effective as anyone can appreciate from the Covid results here compared to just about anywhere.

                      Why? Because that was Leadership, and I for one am proud of my country's leader and grateful that she was PM.

                      Cometh the hour, cometh the woman.

                      I note in passing that countries which did well with Covid tended to have women in the leadership role whereas countries that bolloxed the job were run by men……………

                    • Chris T


                      Sorry. There is know reply button on your post

                      I get people like to think some how sex comes into leadership.

                      That is cool and you are right with Covid. And Ardern’s…At least initially handling it well.
                      Your problem is when most countries came out of WW2 and all flourished they were all dudes,

                      Which is obviously a shallow way of looking at things.

                      While I admit Ardern has done as well as other leaders have after bad shit, it is hardly a new thing and I personally think the sex of the person in charge is irrelevant as long as they are doing a good job,

                    • mac1

                      Chris T, I was being a little jocular there with the gender attributions. I was reflecting a FB post I saw which posted three women leaders and three men leaders and then underneath made the point the difference between the two groups was not their sex but the way they dealt with Covid-19. Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro versus Ardern, Merkle, Jacobsdóttir.

                      Though I do wonder whether the willingness of these three women to be compassionate, wise and able to take advice is at least a part of the feminine psyche as opposed to the butch, brutal and narcissistic hubris of the three men exhibiting the worst of male traits.

                      Ask yourself. Would you rather be a woman around these three men or a male around these three women- in terms of treatment?

                      Many years ago, I attended a Play Centre Conference. I was the only male there as a participant, (the only male apart from a bus driver and the caretaker.) I remember thinking that I was being treated with far more respect than if I had been the sole woman in a group of 150 men.

                      Interesting musings……

                    • Chris T

                      It actually is to be fair!

                      Not that many moons ago I worked for a place where I was the the only bloke out of about 20 people.

                      I learnt a few things.

                      Women like meetings. I have no idea why. They just cant do shit without a meeting. TBF it is probably better than just going in blind, like blokes do.

                      They tend to be nice as to work with and actually care.

                      And last, They can be the most dirtiest talkers when you go to the pub and they forgent there is a bloke (me) there.

                      Had some funny nights, but all good people

                    • Incognito

                      It has already been answered to you here many times but you seem unwilling to hear and/or accept the answer. After a while, your rather demanding line of questioning is becoming tedious especially when it is clear that we’re all wasting our time trying to engage with you in good faith. I have a solution for that 😉

                      You may want to explain how the PM appearing alongside the DGH during lockdowns was, for all intents and purposes, free ads for the Labour Party. In some parts of the world, people were dropping like flies and we were watching party ads!? You’re starting to test the boundaries of incredulousness.

                • Rapunzel

                  Rather like the"bit", I admit I only saw as it's paywalled, from Audrey Young on Collins "She was well turned out in a smart blue wool coat, fine jewellery and "

                  With a link

            • Scott

              Because the success of NZs response was the success of people being compliant with the lockdown.

              And the compliance was down to leadership and communication.

              To not be there would be have been shirking the responsibility and failing to lead, leaving people aimless.

              • Chris T

                There is a difference between not being there at all and getting a free ad for your partyevery day for weeks

                • Robert Guyton

                  Really difficult to understand that sentence, Chris T.

                  You really have thrown yourself into this thread though, if you don't mind me saying so, you've made no headway at all!

  2. Reality 2

    We will all remember National being happy with John Key's "celebrity" photo ops and smiling and waving! So rather hypocritical for Goodfellow to bemoan Jacinda's popularity. Clutching at straws. Pathetic.

    Perhaps he should have focussed on the grubby tactics of some of their MPs and party members during this election year. And demanded some ethics and decent behaviour in future. Labour also ran an excellent campaign in comparison.

    • Chris T 2.1

      You probably don't want to go down that road.

      • Rapunzel 2.1.1

        Neither do you – if the full extent & where Falloon & co's efforts were displayed & what they were people will really see & understand why Muller panicked. That Collin's utilised her favoured "double down" on ILG's family will show clearly what her nature is like – it's more than overdue.

        • Phillip ure

          Do tell..!

        • Chris T

          That Collin's utilised her favoured "double down" on ILG's family will show clearly what her nature is like – it's more than overdue.

          Do you have a link to this?


          • Robert Guyton

            Collins' statements about doubling-down and revenge are well known. This is not an admirable approach to managing personal relationships or political matters, in my opinion. She said it loudly and clearly, proudly even, and in that we take her at her word; she said she would, she did and will continue to behave appallingly when she chooses to.

          • Rapunzel

            There are somethings you won't actually see word for word in writing but the double down/pay back double is an accepted trait of Collins & exactly the trait shown when she shot a warning bullet across the bows of the govt by revealing ILG's personal indiscretion to the entire country. IMO which I'm allowed to have it was a sort of an insurance against the scope of the imagery Falloon was distributing & the fact it wasn't limited to him. Stuff & Barry Soper both alluded to it briefly but were shut down by a more dignified set of behaviour on the part of govt.

          • Incognito

            Not sure what exactly you’re chasing after or what windmill you’re tilting at but FWIW here’s the opinion of a ‘hard lefty’ on JC in context:

            It was an appalling way to behave. It was the politics of personal destruction to gain a tiny electoral advantage in a hectic news cycle.


            • mac1

              Incognito, exactly. I found the same article as an answer to Chris T's demand for proof of accusations. Didn't bother to respond. Thanks for doing so.

            • Rapunzel

              Just based my comments on the fact unfortunately because I saw the "image" as the "spreading"of it was wider than Falloon – he was reckless enough to be caught. Whether it was a "meme" that was bring trolled around or a "porno" image it was briefly referred to (in a Stuff – I think – story) as something targetting a "Government MP – I'll have another go at finding it). Barry Soper also tried to raise that aspect of it at a stand-up press conference at the time & was dismissed with a dignified silence. The detail of all that is, once again IMO, why I believe Collins made an "example"of ILG is I have no doubt any pursuing of the scope of spreading of the image out anyone with skeletons in the closet on notice,

    • JO 2.2

      Too late Chris T, sorry. A lot of extremely alert people were watching your fellow legionnaires ignoring the blind bends, potholes, impassable slips and sudden drop-offs in their bold march along that particular road. As they do now.

  3. Ad 3

    Well we complain here enough about Labour.

    And then we get to see the alternative. Life isn't so bad after all.

    • Anne 3.1

      It came across to me like the good cop/bad cop routine being played out in reverse order:

      Goodfellow was the bad cop pandering to disinformation and prejudice which would have appealed to a significant chunk of his audience and probably assured him a further term as party president.

      Key followed with the good cop drill pointing out the reality of their loss and what they needed to do about it or else fade into obscurity.

      Very little happens by chance in the National Party. There is always calculated method in their apparent madness.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        Given the choice was between Carter and Goodfellow, he may even have been the lesser evil.

    • Phillip ure 3.2

      @ad..(to your glib conclusion..)!!…and in case labour don't realise it yet..if they fail to deliver they stand to bleed large amounts of votes to greens and maori party..and a certainty is they can wave bye-bye to the maori seats…unlike the clark years (the incrementalism on real issues and middle-class/corporate welfare ardern is aping) there are now those two parties there to pick up those 'transforming' reins discarded by labour…this may be a time of great success for labour (of course explained by handling of covid/national in disarray) but it is also a time of great peril for them….if they don't deliver real reform on poverty etc (and only what she promised in 2016 after all)…that support/mandate will disappear like a sandcastle facing the incoming tide..

      • Ad 3.2.1

        From Key's view – far more representative and politically experienced than yours – the risk is the opposite: Labour in power for 12 years or even more.

        Sometimes politics really is a popularity contest.

        • Phillip ure

          That is a very f.p.p.-based prediction…I tend to think we are reaching a new maturity in m.m.p….i don't see the maori party going away again anytime soon…and they will soon enough own the maori seats..(a good my mind)..and I see the green party support growing…reasons:they aren't seen as scary any more ..and the growing climate change imperatives becoming normalised..mean that they are a/the party for these times…and the left/social-democrats in labour will see more and more merit in voting for the greens have more chance to get the political outcomes they so desire…so yes..labour may well be part of coalition governments for the foreseeable future…but it will be as a far more equal partner to both the greens and the maori party..this period of them ruling alone is an aberration..with a use-by date of 2023…and if labour continue with their neoliberal incrementalism…they could end up squabbling with national over that ever-diminishing pool of voters continuing to support/cleave to that bankrupt/tattered ideology…(think nz first nativism as the blueprint for their rump-party future..)

          • Ad

            Are you sure you're not on Trump's election fraud litigation team?

            You'd have to be for that amount of foolish optimism.

            Labour just ate the Greens' lunch, threw a scrap to the Maori Party, and have had the highest vote share since Norman Kirk.

            Not only are the Greens now irrelevant to government, the entire left is now irrelevant.

            If you want the attention of this government, own a business.

            • Phillip ure

              All of which supports what I said…and the reasons why,.not the least of which is the hubris amplified/personified by your words..(oh.!.and your (obligatory?) insult is a tad

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Was “Merv” re-elected?

    • Incognito 4.1

      Merv was so confused that he ended up calling the AA for directions to the venue, which he couldn’t remember the name of. Mervellous!

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    I'm not sure Goodfellow is a necessary loss for National, given that the Boagiewoman has removed her shadowy presence from National's campaign. But the dirty tricks that became prevalent under Key are not consistent with the image they mean to project, as a party of competent managers – safe hands on the wheel for the choppy seas of the post – Covid world. Dirty tricks come with invidious impressions:

    CUNNING, n. The faculty that distinguishes a weak animal or person from a strong one. ~ Ambrose Bierce.

    If National want to regain their lost voters, they need a bit of ἀρετή. Ardern has some.

  6. roy cartland 6

    I thought that central quote of Key's, re leaking, was disgraceful. Such deceit – the very idea that the public should know what these people are like and how they operate is grounds for expulsion?!


  7. 7

    I am picking Collins to be rolled before the next election. The poison cup she currently holds would not be a popular thing to inherit I think. A number of National MP's will still be holding their noses having Collins as leader. The pong will not be very pleasant. Any time Collins preaches loyalty the malodour of hypocrisy will be stronger still. As she stands she won't lead National to victory in 2023. If she is their best bet it illustrates just how deep down into the barrel National is stratching. Muller was right when he stated "National won't win the election with Bridges as leader.' The same applied to him and applies to Collins.

    • tc 7.1

      Judes warming the seat for Luxon who has parliamentary ropes to learn first then she'll likely be shuffled aside.

      Uncomfortable questions from a decent media would be around this perceived arrangement or simply why is she still there after even Nationals base seemed to reject her.

  8. observer 8

    I realize that the "1 pm" myth is now ingrained in the National party folklore, but just for historical accuracy, this was what happened …

    May 22 2020: Caucus coup against Bridges, Muller new leader.

    July 14 20201: Muller quits, Collins new leader.

    Before, during and after those dates, a hundred stories (and that's no exaggeration) about the National party, all created by the National party. Too many to list, pick almost any date at random, you'll find a resignation or a row or a gaffe or a leak. They were incredibly creative in finding ways to grab the headlines – all bad.

    Between those dates (and 102 days in total) … Covid-19 cases: zero. Ardern gave only a handful of press briefings, and hardly anybody watched. Because it wasn't the news.

    The National party was the news. Every day. And that is all on them.

  9. Jester 9

    I think they are crazy to keep Goodfellow on, but not surprised about Judith staying as leader.

  10. Peter 10

    Will Carter get his Knighthood in the New Year's List or in the June lot?

  11. Robert Guyton 11

    According to Willie Jackson, Goodfellow said:

    “Democracy gave way to a time to a form of temporary tyranny; no-one should fear death threats or violence for voicing an opinion no matter how much you disagree, but that was the reality in a Jacindamania world and I’m sure you felt that too throughout the year, I certainly did,”


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    2 weeks ago
  • New cancer centre opens in Christchurch
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    2 weeks ago
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  • New Zealanders continue to support the revitalisation of te reo as we celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Mā...
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  • Appointment of Environment Court Judge
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    3 weeks ago
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  • New Zealand wins CPTPP dispute against Canada
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    3 weeks ago

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