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National’s civil war reerrupts

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, November 25th, 2021 - 131 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

All eyes today will be on the National caucus meeting to occur at 9 am this morning.

Details are still vague but it seems  that Simon Bridges was organising for a leadership spill.

Last night at 9 PM Collins demoted him after learning of a complaint that Jaqui Dean made against him five years about comments that he made to her.  The complaint had previously been dealt with by then leader Bill English.

Bridges has this morning said that Collins’ actions were truly desperate stuff.

Simon O’Connor has just accused Judith Collins of engaging in Dirty Politics and said he will also surrender all his portfolios.

Get your popcorn ready.  Today is going to be an interesting day as National eviscerates itself in front of the public during a pandemic that requires everyone’s attention as two egos fight over their personal ambition.

131 comments on “National’s civil war reerrupts ”

  1. observer 1

    Quite apart from all the ethical/political issues … National MPs are idiots.

    O'Connor is handing in his portfolios? 6 or even 3 months ago that could have been depicted as a principled resignation, but now it's meaningless.

    They are unhappy because Judith is being Judith. Did they not know Judith was Judith when they picked Judith? Did they think if they just waited long enough then Judith wouldn't be Judith any more?

    Nicky Hager explained it all to them, in great detail, years ago. They said it was "a work of fiction". They owe him an apology, and thanks. Neither will happen, obviously.

  2. Red Blooded One 2

    I guess the biggest winner out of all this will be David Seymour and ACT, potentially the next Main Opposition Party.

    • Us on the left need to be a bit cautious about the possible demise of the Natz and the rise of Act. This list of Act policies comes from Martyn Bradbury (I haven't the stomach to go to the Act web site to check their veracity) – is this what we really want to replace the Natz?

      • Cut and freeze the Minimum wage
      • Interest back on all student loans
      • No Kiwsaver subsidy
      • Cancel winter energy payment
      • Dump all climate crisis legislation
      • no more best start payments for families with new borns
      • cut welfare payments
      • no tax credits for research and development
      • cuts to working for families
      • $7b a year cut in public services
      • Abolish Maori seats
      • Abolish Human Rights Commission

      God help this country if Act ever become a viable opposition!

      • Ad 2.1.1

        You don't need to worry about policies until the election in 2024.

        National is in deeper trouble than Labour around the rise of the Alliance back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

        National are the established, well-funded contenders who have ruled for much longer than Labour. They, not Act, have strong MSM commentator supporters. It is also they that have exceptional networks and finders inside the banking and real estate and high-wealth families of New Zealand. They are the shining face of capital.

        Act are a rag-tag battlefleet with zero institutional heft or loyalty, based around the rise of one fairly mediocre leader.

        Polls schmolls, National need to be destroyed with more urgency than we need worry about the rise of Act.

        • I hope you're right!

          But when the Natz implode, where does the unthinking right-winger go to cast a vote?

        • cathy-o

          "National are the established, well-funded contenders who have ruled for much longer than Labour."

          indeed they are and have.

          the fact remains that all the legislation and policies kiwis are proud of have been introduced by Labour

        • AB

          National need to be destroyed with more urgency than we need worry about the rise of Act

          Yes – that seems right. But the rise of ACT is putting fringe libertarian ideas into the political mainstream. And historical precedent shows that if there is no other choice, the "strong MSM commentator supporters … exceptional networks and funders inside the banking, real estate and high-wealth families" hold their noses, ignore the vulgarity and brutality of far-right activists, and support them.

          • Ad

            To get anywhere near the kind of political threat that the Alliance was, Act would need to start picking up seats in next year's local body elections.

            They would need some high profile celebrities to back them and no other.

            And they could do with some defections from National, at least one with a safe electoral seat.

            Act have about 5% inflated support on COVID+farmer 'resistance'.

            By April next year we are in full traffic light, full international travel again, full local travel, reconnected with family and eaten too much, and the COVID-resistor vote for ACT is down to insignificance.

            Unless National continues to destabilise, Act are back to 11% by April 2022.

        • Bearded Git

          "You don't need to worry about policies until the election in 2024."

          You mean 2023 is a foregone conclusion and we don't need to worry until 2026 Ad?

        • Patricia Bremner

          Agree with all of this. smiley Well put Ad, they have tentacles and many hands on levers of power still, and Judith Collins was a "bit player" used while they awaited another acceptable face for capital. They use personal agendas to move the game pieces forward. Luxton is still considering his future apparently.

      • Red Blooded One 2.1.2

        Agreed Tony… , I certainly don't celebrate the rise of ACT, but National seems determined to make it an easy ride for Seymour.

      • Gosman 2.1.3

        Most of that is not their current policy.

    • cathy-o 2.2

      Seymour? heaven forbid !!

  3. Sanctuary 3

    My God it is gruesome and public. Simon O'Conner just threw it in and accused Collins of ongoing "dirty politics." You know I think we might see a temporary alliance to just get rid of Collins, so a placeholder leader like Reti or Stanford?

    This scrap is extraordinary – nothing like since the Moyle affair. If Collins survives, expect National to go low 20s and be passed by ACT – in fact, schism is not out of the question.

    • observer 3.1

      Collins is gone by lunchtime, quite literally – today. Guaranteed.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        The minor genius of forcing Nick Smith out is that she probably still does have the numbers.

        Come back Paula Bennett, all is forgiven.

        Hopefully Act gets the shove to 20% it needs and we get a proper political Undead.

        • Chris

          I thought the way Collins made the psychopathic decision to oust Smith, and then for the purpose of bringing her mate into Parliament, would've been enough to have her removed. Last night's decision came from the same place.

          • Ad

            I am honestly surprised at how badly Collins has miscalculated.

            Having her action approved by the National Party Board last night had zero sway in the National caucus. Pretty telling rift there.

            There is indeed some deep incohate rage in Collins to have hit out and then gone from leader to destroyed her own political career in the space of under 24 hours.

      • Weasel 3.1.2

        Surely the Left should throw its support behind Crusher – she is the gift that keeps on giving to Labour. Does the Nat's ad campaign a few elections back of a smooth rowing eight up against a Labour boat with rowers paddling in different directions ring any bells?

        • Anne

          The left stays out of it and thanks its lucky stars that the Speaker's valid criticism over the urgency taken re- Covid mandates etc. has been assigned to the back seat.

          Now that was a fair dinkum lucky break.

          • Enough is Enough

            I agree. This was the week that National could have really given the government a kicking. Every neutral commentator has slammed the government's use of urgency and poor law making over the past 24 hours. If Trevor Mallard is citicising his own team, you know its pretty bad.

            But National are so incompetent and useless they have given the government a free pass and made the news solely about themselves and how shit they are.

          • Patricia Bremner

            devilOpportunity missed. Timing!!!

          • gsays

            Taking off the red cap with a big L on it for a mo, why is it good we have widely criticised legislation passed under urgency?

            It isn't just Mallard, the Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt and Vic Uni Prof Dean Knight had relevant, important observations to make.

            We all, were rightly critical, of Key's regime using urgency often and that wasn't anywhere near as impactful as this legislation.

  4. Ad 4

    National may as well just admit that they work for Ardern.

    The only time in a term that National has had Labour in any Parliamentary trouble was yesterday when the Speaker started warning Ardern for the urgency bill on mandates.

    Played well in the public it could have become another Auckland cycleway moment.

    Collins has cleared the media week for Ardern to do absolutely anything she wants. Way to pull out the 5-year-old hit file Judith.

    Collins just gave Ardern her Christmas gift early.

    • higherstandard 4.1

      More utterly hopeless behaviour from the National party.

      (Insert deity) help our country!!!

      National = dumbest political party in history.

      Labour = the most stunningly incompetent.

      NZ hasn't been in greater need of strong opposition since Muldoon was in power and we have this shit show of an opposition … what a sad joke.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Used wisely Bridges could have sustained challenges about public unease concerning the employment mandates.

        And of course Bridges made reasonable running least year with the rise of gangs.

        When she sees off the challenge today, Collins will of course need to put out a new Shadow cabinet. Some pretty low stocks there.

        All those weak-ass performing Labour Cabinet ministers underneath Hipkins' level get let off for Christmas until March as well.

    • Chris 4.2

      People will be affected by the urgent Covid legislation for far longer than this latest Collins fiasco will stay in the news. Ardern's mis-step might be her foreshore and seabed moment.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    I have but one question for National.


  6. Where's Puckish when we need his insightful and wise comments on the Collins leadership?

    Come on down, PR!

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      perhaps the Nat’s master strategist “Merv from Manurewa” can explain what is happening…

    • Puckish Rogue 6.2

      All part of St Judes cunning, 4d plan to rid National of the infidels and non-believers before the election campaign begins


      • roblogic 6.2.1

        Infidels? SiBri is an old school Anglican (although insufficiently devoted to St. Judith)

      • Tricledrown 6.2.2

        PR Last time it was 5d the fifth dimension no bell to answer or save the country.

        One dimension Collins is a goner like ole gonner.

        With ACT nipping at there heals National self sabotage continues .National need a leader who can heal the wounds Dr Reti is a much better communicator stays calm under pressure doesn't have the baggage. He may need to surgically remove the festering sores to allow National to recover.

        • Puckish Rogue

          This is all merely part of her planning

          • Tricledrown

            That worked out well I was hoping Shane Reti got the job he is not a nasty person.

            He could hog the limelight by going round the country promoting vaccinations and actually doing them in places where there is low uptake like amongst Maori stealing Labour's traditional supporters.

            Proactive instead of whinging leading by example.

            Ardern and the greens now have a real job on their hands.

            • Puckish Rogue

              I would like to see more proactiveness and positivity, I'd also like to see more hair on my head

              Pretty sure I know which is more likely to happen

            • Patricia Bremner

              Well if he Dr. Reti, does that will be the best thing National has done for 30 years apart from the cable.

  7. Cricklewood 7

    Collins is gone. Thats for the best, hopefully the Nats can get their shit together NZ really needs a competent opposition.

    • observer 7.1

      Only problem is those same Nats made her leader and then asked the country to make her Prime Minister.

      They should thank the voters for ignoring them. And apologise. Otherwise it's same sh*t, different face.

    • woodart 7.2

      "nz really needs a competent opposition" could probably cobble something together from herald experts(?) and some dorkradio reckons.

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    "Reerupts" is a brilliant word and so apt!

    Shades of "rears-up" like a cornered beast might do, or Someone Very Righteous getting onto their hind-legs.

    Then there's "ruptures", reerupts' close-cousin and nothing needs to be said about that.

    Rapture, perhaps, as in "The Rapture" – this is all getting very biblical, with Judith playing the role of that rough beast, slouching toward…Oblivion.

    Reerupts also sounds like someone belching – fetid air most likely, into the face of Simon the Innocent.

    There are plenty of other interpretations, I'm sure, of reerupts, but I'm stopping before it gets silly 🙂

  9. pat 9

    Her time is up so she's decided to cause as much damage as possible on the way out.

    • RedLogix 9.1


      And if she goes, as it looks likely, NZ will have dodged a real bullet.

      Democracy does not guarantee that we will never make mistakes, but it does offer the hope that we might correct them.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    The NZ National Death Star is on twin turbo’ed anti matter reactor melt down. Mixed metaphors aside, Judith Collins has seemingly moved revenge attacks up a notch and is now “paying it back triple” possibly using Mr Slater-Oil’s vault of dirty secrets.

    • Ad 10.1

      Collins may be fissile but National's funders and mainstream media supporters give it sustained energy like a molten salt reactor.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Technically I think she's better described as 'transuranic' – the result of fissile atoms that absorb a neutron, but instead of splitting promptly to release useful energy – store it up to become a heavier atom like plutonium.

        In a standard solid fuel reactor these atoms accumulate, slowly poison the core, and are the most troublesome part of the waste stream to manage. (A molten salt machine can either separate the transuranics out from the fuel, or use them as fuel in a fast spectrum machine and so have much less of a problem with them.)

        I just thought you might appreciate the niceties of this. devil

        • Tiger Mountain

          Ad might, I was just being dramatic! “Troublesome” sounds like JC.

          I follow particle physics etc. on a populist–“Scientific American”–level. Have a mate though who is the genuine article, taught in Brazilian and Australian institutions.

        • Ad

          Collins is certainly circling Uranus.

    • Tricledrown 10.2

      Chucky meets the Exorcist Dr Who takes the leadership. Back to the future.

  11. Byd0nz 11

    Seems to me that Collins will be handsomly rewarded for falling on her sword and spilling the guts of a rotten political party, thus setting it up for a total 'Key' rebuild by gambling on a Luxon tilt.

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    Bridges had the numbers to roll Collins. Collins took out a pre-emptive strike using a crude comment that Bridges made 5 years ago about going in shallow, to essentially sack him.

    How Collins ever thought that was a winning strategy is anyone's guess?

    She will be gone as leader very shortly, and New Zealand is a better place for that.

    • dv 12.1

      We can thank our lucky stars that the Natz don't have any complex thinking/decisions to make like response to a pandemic!!!

  13. observer 13

    It's not just about removing Collins. Those who stand alongside are serious collateral damage, such as Reti and Dean.

    If anyone thinks it can't get worse for National, imagine the headlines when they quit, or are dumped. Reti, the voice of reason, gone as deputy? Optics terrible.

    • Patricia Bremner 13.1

      He Reti is an excellent Deputy, and could be selected for that role again. Hipango and Dean may be sidelined.

  14. Anker 14
    • All very interesting to contemplate.
    • I could think of one scenario where sacking Bridges after five years was the right course of action, but when I found out he wasn’t leader at the time and the crude comments were said in front of others, it ruled my hypothetical scenario out.

    this has obviously got nothing to do with Bridges comments 5 years ago, but it amounts to evidence that Simon was going to make a run at leadership.

    perhaps Judith is hoping to capture the woke vote with this move of cancelling someone

    for something said years ago.

  15. Adrian 15

    I’ve wondered why Bishop and co have been so keen on “ Shambles,it’s a shambles “ , they were just test running it.

  16. Adrian 16

    On a more serious note, the Groundswell disruption has more to do with their bitter disappointment with their champions National, than Ardern and Labour, it must be galling to have tied your flag to such a mess and yet on the other side you are looking at a competent and compelling leader and management of crisis’s that should only happen every 100 years but we’ve had 3 of them in 4. So let’s show a little sympathy, yeah, right.
    And the new Nat leader, they should try Stuart Smith, disclaimer: I’m a friend, he’s a thoroughly nice person but for his sake I hope it doesn’t happen as he would be eaten alive. Besides, if they have a vote, 33 people are all going to get only one vote anyway, try sorting that out.

  17. Tricledrown 17

    Looks like Collins is taking out Bridges her main threat.leaving the way open for the Bishop to slide past all the other pawns.

  18. Ad 18

    Bet she plays the protector-of-women routine.

  19. Tricledrown 19

    Looks like the end of the National Party ACT will benefit from this latest disaster. Farmers and business people have had an absolute guts full of Collins leadership and Nationals lack of unity.

  20. observer 20

    10 am press conference coming up, TV3 will cover it live, and usual online sources.

  21. Anker 21
    • If Bridges gets back in watch the poll numbers increase for National

    why did the Nat board agree to bridges sacking? Judith must have something to threaten them with

  22. Hurry up Gnats. I am getting v. bored listening to Adrian Orr droning on about interest rates while waiting for the bloodletting ritual press conference

    • roblogic 22.1

      What an anti-climax. Reti was grey and conservative. I want an opposition leader who runs around in gumboots, crushes cars, or has a breakdown on live TV. Sigh.

  23. observer 23

    Apparently Todd Muller has turned up at caucus.

    Does he vote for the leader who kicked him out, or the leader he rolled?

    "strong united team"

    • gsays 23.1

      "strong united team"

      On that note, I heard Farrar blah blahing on RNZ at lunch time. He refered to his info coming from 'other news outfits, various sources and leaks from caucus'.

      Same ole, same ole.

  24. observer 24

    When PM and DG arrive 5 mins late for a press conference about a deadly pandemic and a hundred details … moaners get out their stopwatches, and Barry Soper rants about deadlines.

    National Party press conference now 1 hour late.

  25. mickysavage 25

    Collins is toast. Her plan was quick meeting then eviscerate Bridges with a press conference where Jacqui Dean outlines what happened. I don't think it is going to happen that way.

  26. Gezza 26

    Collins has finally completely lost the plot – if she ever actually knew what the plot was.

    Demoting Bridges for an inappropriate remark made years ago & dealt with at the time is an excuse soooo lame it needs a mobility scooter.

    National's disarray has increased under Collins, not decreased. They need to get rid of her. Completely, asap, to have any chance of even a halfway decent run at the Treasury Benches next election.

  27. woodart 27

    whatever happens today, I beleive we will hear the same old lines, united party, holding the government to account, shambles, moving on, etc,etc. luxon will be trawling through his backstory, looking for skeletons.

  28. Stephen D 28

    If you want a omnishambles done right, do it yourself.
    Judith is making pre Jacinda Labour look positively organised.

  29. bwaghorn 29

    Any chance at all that simple simon actually does the right thing and gets rid of collins, BUT let's someone with a cleanish sheet go to the top. ??

  30. Tricledrown 30

    Collins gone

  31. observer 32

    Simultaneously, TV1 said "Reti" and TV3 said "Luxon". Very funny.

    Obviously the caucus can't agree, so they've deferred until next week. (The same caucus that demands the gov't sort out everything and now … whereas they have only one job, and it's in the too hard basket).

  32. Reality 33

    Just how is Barry Soper coping after waiting since 10am for the press conference to start? Three hours late! And he loses the plot if he is held up a few minutes at the PM's press conference.

  33. observer 34

    Poor Shane Reti. Put in front of the media to clean up his colleagues' mess.

    (and for the record, he took questions for about 5 mins, on National's biggest news day, as opposed to the PM's regular 30-40 mins).

    • Tricledrown 34.1

      Reti is cool calm and collected if he carries on with a straight bat not getting bogged down by dirty politics and continually nagging he will rise in the polls.

      He did a good job as deputy and getting out into the electorates promoting and doing vaccinations if he can keep his hand in the down to earth leadership the media will follow him everywhere, he can hog the lime light .proactive instead of bickering and nagging.

    • Red Blooded One 34.2

      and even within that little Press-ette we got a couple of "we'll lift our eyes towards the sky" and "I'm Shepherding …" Playing to Luxons evangelicals maybe? or a Mormons fallback verses in moments of stress.

    • Patricia Bremner 34.3

      What pleases me, is Slater has hopefully lost his conduit.devil

  34. I suspect the real blood-letting has yet to occur – caucus meeting on Tuesday next week.

    The liberal wing? The rural rump? The evangelicals? The opportunists? The mercenary?

    Fascinating stuff.

    • Patricia Bremner 35.1

      Please, not the mercenary. Wasn't he on Crusher and Slater's "Suitable" List?

      I see Luxon has chosen Nicola Willis as his proposed Deputy. She is educated and very close to Bill English and John Key. Is this the religious group against the gun lobby group with Mitchell and Bishop? Wow what a choice!!

  35. Ad 36

    This is the most complete own goal I've seen in New Zealand politics.

  36. Stephen D 37

    Best option.

    Leave Shane in place until the next election. With a steady if uncharismatic hand they would probably rise to low 30s. Saves a few jobs. Then he can gracefully step down, and Luxon takes over to guide then to the promised land in 2026.

    Most likely.

    Blood spilt on the caucus floor, Mitchell takes the leadership. They stay mired in the mid/high 20s. Leadership changes again early 2023. They get high 20s again. And history repeats itself for another 6 years.

    Or something else??

    • woodart 37.1

      the best option(for who?) is for the nats to go modern , joining the greens and maori party and have a male/ female leadership team, and continuing on with that theme, a nth/sth , maori /pakeha, competent/incompetent team. dr shane and maureen pugh, taking week about to be the leaders of the natural party of government.(excuse me while I get my tongue out of my cheek)

    • JanM 37.2

      I agree that if they had the sense they were born with they would leave Shane Reti in for another year at least while things calm down with Nicola Willis as his 2ic. (Btw I am not a National voter nor ever likely to be)

  37. gsays 38

    Can't help but think Jacqui 'quid each way' Dean must have a diploma in weasel words.

    “but subsequently it has continued to play on my mind and with the recent reviews that have occurred in Parliament the feelings have been brought back up”

    followed by;

    “What matters to me is that all of us have a clear understanding of what behaviour we should expect in a modern workplace environment. Simon and I have spoken a number of times over the past few hours and he has reiterated his apology.”

    It seems yesterday Collins had a cunning plan, with help from Dean. It didn't play out as Collins wanted, now Deans has to swim from the listing Judetanic to jump aboard six months in a leaky boat, and whomever is at the helm.

  38. pat 39

    Its broadly hinted at but no one dares say his name….and he needs to go.

  39. Macro 40

    Poor JC – she is crushed! And after acting in such a self centred way to protect her own self interest – a quality so much sort after by all National MPs and voters. The heart bleeds.

    • McFlock 40.1

      I recall watching the original English "House of Cards", where Ian Richardson played Francis Urquhart.

      Collins struck me as trying to be the real life version, but without the scripted ability or plot armour. That thing about "not knowing how serious" the offence was until now smacks of FU's holding onto a minister's resignation letter (for disgraceful conduct of some sort) until he'd burned that bridge and the minister tried to resign on a matter of principle. So FU simply "accepted" the first resignation letter instead.

      Even if she wasn't trying to be a long-term macchiavelli, it stank of opportunism.

      • Macro 40.1.1

        Yes. You might well say that there is a strong comparison of this whole thing to the "house of cards" and FU. But I couldn't possibly comment.

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