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National’s next leader?

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, September 3rd, 2021 - 60 comments
Categories: chris bishop, covid-19, crosby textor, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, national, Parliament, Politics, Simon Bridges - Tags:

It is clear this week that Judith Collins’ reign as National leader is terminal.  The forcing Ardern to recall Parliament just so that she can grab some of the media spotlight ploy has worked in one way.  Collins has been at the centre of media attention.  But not for the right reasons.  Just read my previous blog post for how it went.

The end of her leadership must be on the cards now.  Previously the prevailing logic was that potential candidates would let her lead the party into the next election the result of which was a foregone result anyway, then depose her and get on with campaigning to win the following election.

But the damage she is doing to Brand National must be causing some to question the prevailing logic.

The question will be who.  Looking at National’s caucus right now they look pretty stale and shell shocked.

And their campaigns are all so lame.  They are pale imitations of Crosby Textor campaigns run a decade ago when memes were relatively new and the truth was bent almost to breaking point but not quite.  Nowadays the left has learned how to counter these campaigns.  Activists call them out and point out the mistruths.  Meanwhile the Prime Minister keeps her communication really simple, exudes competence and asks us to be kind to each other.  National’s attacks are not working.  Their continued frustration at Jacinda’s request to be kind shows how lacking their counter campaign is.

Maureen Pugh is touted as a potential future leader.  I only wish …

Simon Bridges is still hanging around.  He had published his book, danced on stage at the National Party conference and clearly still has leadership intentions.  A christian conservative seeking to woo back the urban liberal vote which has fled the party will work out fine I am sure.

Which leaves who I think is National’s only chance.  Chris Bishop continues to perform strongly.  He is bright enough and does not bend the truth to beyond breaking point, at least some of the time.  He is energetic.  And he has been getting a lot of media attention.

Clearly Collins views him as a threat.  The torpedoing of the virtual Parliament that he had worked on with Trevor Mallard and Chris Hipkins cannot have been accidental.  And removing his role as shadow leader of the house was clearly designed to bolster the crusher reputation.

Bishop is not popular in Caucus and I doubt he has the necessary support.  He would also be a big turn off to National’s Christian Conservative faction and the farming sector would view his election as National moving away from its base.  He also has some stuff in his background that is damaging.  But he may be the best and only chance National has to arrest its current downward trajectory.

60 comments on “National’s next leader? ”

  1. Adrian 1

    Peter Goodfellow.. only possible choice, honest as the day is long, as open as a closed book, excellent reader of men, would take Remuera with him and leave the rest behind, doesn’t think money is the only thing just that there is nothing else..my choice every time. God I wish, please National, pick him.

    • Ad 1.1

      His wife and sitting Auckland Councillor Desley Simpson would have a good run at Mayor if she wanted to.

      Keeps it nice and tight.

      • Patricia Bremner 1.1.1

        Her facebook is impersonal and has few followers and very little interaction. Not very modern, but she is rather attractive in a barbie way.
        Further her husband’s text to a teen would be problem PR for her.

  2. peter 2

    Bishop is the magic medication for National's maladies? He's Ivermectin. Trouble is the rest are hydroxychloroquine.

  3. newsense 3

    Yeh, you’re almost tempted to like him until you remember he started out as a cigarette company P.R. guy. More nous than Barclay for sure, though.

  4. JanM 4

    Chris Bishop would be the intelligent choice IMO , but intelligence won't necessarily be a deciding factor will it!

  5. Stephen D 5

    Is there a member of the National caucus who is vaguely well know, female, and on the evangelical side of the party? Someone like that, partnered with Bishop, could make a coherent team.

  6. Treetop 6

    Dr Reti would be my pick for leader. Managing Covid is dominating politics and people need a leader they can trust to keep them as safe as they can be from Covid's intrusion and the aftermath.

  7. Sacha 7

    Bishop brings the benefit of being easily disposable after the election, unless he somehow creates genuine caucus support by then. Collins was only a product of desperation, so there is precedent. The religious wing will be plumping for Luxon after 2023.

  8. Ad 8

    I can't recall Labour getting this low in my memory. 2014 was bad. Maybe 1960 after Nordmeyer?

    Anyway, looking forward to another one of those Bill English 2003 elections. Something in the 20-23% range would be about right.

  9. Clive Macann 9

    We can only hope that he is the next leader. Reason? That puts National further down the food chain to survival. Let's do it.

    • I Feel Love 9.1

      The guy is gutless. If he'd crossed the floor to vote against the Conversion Therapy that would have shown leadership. The guys a toady, a follower. Quite a disappointment really, just into gotchas & wanting to be liked on Twitter.

  10. EE 10

    But Chris Bishop's mouth is too small for his face.

    • JanM 10.1

      This is not a beauty contesr!!

      • Michael 10.1.1

        Just as well or Crusher would never have stood a snowball's either. But his mouth is too small for his face – an unusual defect in a politician. That restricted aperture does not impede the flow of exrement from it though.

  11. Luxon will be wondering why he chucked in his corporate gig to join this shower of incompetents

  12. KJT 12

    Collins should stay as Leader of National.

    Keeping them out of power for the next decade, will be her historic valuable contribution to NZ.

  13. roy cartland 13

    Maureen Pugh! Please yes. I'd never heard of her before Simon Bridges uttered his infamous opinion of her, now they're the only two words that come to mind when she's mentioned.

    So much so that it would have to be built into her slogan: "Maureen Pugh – Not F*cking Useless".

    • woodart 13.1

      classic. maybe dr shane and maureen pugh as a pair. a southern rural pakeha woman who is f*cking useless and a northern maori male who is reasonably competent. all bases covered!

  14. GreenBus 14

    Your last paragraph condems him MS. What a choice, unelectable or mr nobody. Couldn't happen to a nicer party. That said, if Aunty Jude could shut her mouth and beaver away quietly using her experience to oppose and propose she would do a good job. Stop the constant barking just for the sake of it. Head down Judith and do your job with some mana because there is nobody better. She could easily do it if only someone would put a sock in that pie hole. Be a little positive and smile every now and again.

  15. Maurice 15

    Meanwhile Seymour powers through the field to the leadership of the Opposition?

    That should be more concerning than National's petty lack of leadership "problems" …

  16. DirkDirkin 16

    I'm half by expecting Nat/Act to amalgamate

    • mac1 16.1

      I'm expecting the two parties to morph into two centre to conservative parties, along these lines- liberal versus conservative, libertarian versus authoritarian/ fundamentalist, rural versus urban.

      That ACT has risen to 13% at the expense of NZFirst and National is pointing towards a further weakening of National and ACT's growth towards even being the dominant centre-right party.

      ACT also seems to have that unifying factor at the moment which seems to be able to tolerate more extreme single-issue individuals even as MPs.

      That factor National had in its days of unity, but in those days they had someone to unify behind, such as Key, Muldoon, Holyoake, Bolger with capable lieutenants and senior ministers.

      This is why Labour is progressing. A charismatic PM, with capable lieutenants, caucus discipline unified behind a strong and performing leader, no challenger or need for a challenger, and a working relationship with the other centre-left party.

      Couple that with 80% plus in support of the government's Covid strategy and a two party government with over 50% support, National will continue to struggle, especially as they have not publicly acknowledged their selection and governance issues, because caucus leaks continue even after the dismissal from caucus of a former leader and call for unity and because their supposedly strong leader, the so-called 'Crusher', is unable to stifle dissent and has to resort to more caucus demotions.

    • rod 16.2

      I thought they had already

  17. Tricledrown 17

    If we don't get on top of the carona Delta variant there could be a big backlash against labour and the Greens leaving the door wide open for National.

    Grant Robertson needs to put some big money into struggling businesses and families especially in Auckland Now.

    National are right to ask the govt to step up its help.

    If the lockdown goes on much longer Roberston's chance of keeping the economy robust will be to late and all the big talk about 4% unemployment levels 3% economic growth won't count for anything.

    At the moment we have a much more serious issue to deal with.So we shouldn't be taking delight in taking pop shots at Nationals dissarray that could change instantly .

    Come on Grant and Jacinda time to get the check book out put homeless into motels make much higher emergency payments to people who are struugling. $10,000 payments to SME's widen wage subsidies.

    This Delta variant is not going away if the elimination strategy doesn't work we are in deep do do's.

    • Sacha 17.1

      Nationals dissarray that could change instantly

      The general point here is that it cannot so long as the same frothing numpties are in charge of it.

  18. Woodhouse and Pugh, an unbeatable combination. Rural/urban divide covered, one 'fucking useless', the other given to seeing things like homeless men and decorating toilet seats.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Which just illustrates the paucity of suitable material on the right.

  19. Michael 19

    Let it be Bishop. The only danger for Labour will be its own complacency.

    • mac1 19.1

      Always a danger. The received wisdom in NZ is that sitting governments are unelected rather than oppositions earning election, which fits with a 3-4 term cycle before disenchantment and complacency grow as factors. The trick will be for the centre-left to get into and continue with truly progressive change and to allow renewal and development of newer MPs into senior roles to continue refreshment and commitment to policy and values.

      • Michael 19.1.1

        "continue with truly progressive change" – in what universe? In this one, the current government is drearily neoliberal and has made virtually no progressive changes at all. I see it backed down, again, on Dirty Dairying after the National Party gumboots cut up mildly rough. No changes to macroeconomic settings or social policies either. This is a govt of the neoliberal status quo, even though the dogma is demonstrably unfit for modern conditions.

      • roy cartland 19.1.2

        It's a horrible danger. Not just the Nats getting in, but the Government not being adequately prodded to get on with it. It true, they've done some excellent stuff, but they're a long way from perfect.

        I liked Gordon Campbell's suggestion that National come in and try to outflank them on the 'left', where the increasing pool of votes are. Two parties trying to outdo each other on who can be the most beneficial to the people. Imagine that!

  20. Gypsy 20

    The next leader of the National Party will be Nicola Willis, with Erica Stanford or Simon Bridges as her deputy. Collins is a place holder, and knows it.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 20.1

      NZ political parties, particularly the major parties, and especially the National party, will never select women for the positions of leader (Willis) and deputy leader (Stanford) at the same time. Would be a political miracle, imho.

      • Michael 20.1.1

        Agree. Stanford might be deputy (to Bishop) or Willis might be deputy (to some bloke) but the Nats will never allow two women leaders, especially two women from their "liberal" faction. Crusher won't be going anywhere if Peter Badfellow has anything to do with it. Or Cameron Slater. They've got the Nats over on the Hard Right, just where they want them.

        • Gypsy

          Where they are unelectable. Political parties are about winning elections. Labour went through the same issues during the Key years and eventually an electable leader rises above the rabble.

      • Gypsy 20.1.2

        So Willis and Bridges then.

  21. Stephen D 21

    According to Bryan Gould, via Claire Trevett and Fran O’Sullivan, Simon Bridges will be the new leader of the National Party (again.)


    • newsense 21.1

      ‘Judith Collins must now know that the game is up. The Herald has decided that she must go – and the Herald can always be relied on to reflect the view of the National party.’

      Hilarious Bryan Gould.

      • alwyn 21.1.1

        I'm not sure that I would rely on Bryan Gould as a predictor of anything. He was the man who had his dreams of glory and ran for the leadership of the UK Labour Party in 1992.

        He got a magnificent result of 9% of the votes. John Smith, his only opponent got 91.1%. Poor Bryan. How humiliating.

        • froggleblocks

          Yeah, something that happened half a life time ago in a completely different context means his opinion on anything should never be trusted again.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Poor Bryan. How humiliating.

          Trust alwyn to take a limp poke at an 82-year-old messenger. Gould was commenting on predictions by Herald journalists Trevett and O’Sullivan.


          The signs are now coming thick and fast – and they are unmistakable. The latest issue contains pieces by two of their most experienced journalists – and both Clare Trevett and Fran O’Sullivan make no bones about their conviction that Judith Collins’ recent mistakes and false steps mean that her fate is sealed.

          Their prediction seems to be that Collins will be rolled by Simon Bridges; and that almost certainly means that the Herald has given away the next election, since there is no reason to expect the voters to be any more impressed by Bridges than they were last time.

          As for Gould's 1992 'humiliation', he seems to have put that behind him. Maybe in an objective comparison his achievements would pale against alwyn's, but we'll never know. Gould (CNZM) was an effective VC of Waikato University, imho.

          Meeting Bryan Gould, the leader Labour lost [May 2019]

          Well,” I said, as the cicadas whirred to make themselves heard above the birdsong, “I don’t imagine many people come away from here saying
          poor Bryan’.

          He nodded reluctant assent: “I’ve had a very happy life.

        • Incognito

          Instead of addressing the content, you’re taking pot shots at the messenger with your snide remarks, again.

        • Tricledrown

          Alwyn looking at JC's popularity it looks like Bryan at 9% did twice as well as crushed 4% .

    • georgecom 21.2

      a strange little woman is Judith Collins. She complains about not having enough attention from the media. So the media turns it's attention to her and asks her some questions and she has a small tantrum about it. The media is only allowed to ask the questions JC likes?

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    2 weeks ago