National’s problem with its candidates

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, April 16th, 2023 - 58 comments
Categories: bill english, brand key, Christopher Luxon, john key, national, religion, same old national - Tags:

Another day, and yet another report a National candidate has done something really stupid.

This time it is Taieri candidate Stephen Jack who had been caught posting posted deeply offensive “humour” on his facebook page.

To augment the strong sense of misogyny it was recently revealed that National’s Maungakiekie candidate Greg Fleming had previously compared same-sex civil unions to incest and polygamy.  He was previously the managing director of Conservative Think Tank Maxim.

Subsequent events show that National still has a problem with its handling of candidates.  Christopher Luxon was blindsided by the comments and was not aware of them.  He had to issue a somewhat shaky response and said that he supported civil unions and same-sex marriage.

But then Luxon was forced to confirm that Fleming had disclosed the remarks to the Party ahead of the selection.

As Andrea Vance notes:

The random idiot generator that selects National Party candidates has spat out another couple of beauties.

Other current candidates present their own particular challenges.

There is Simon O’Connor who said at the end of the debate on Abortion Law Reform in 2020 “Mihi vindicta: ego retribuam, dicit Dominus (Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord).”  He said at the time that saying it would probably get him into trouble and boy was he right.

There is Simeon Brown who put up an amendment during the debate on Abortion Law Reform that would force women to tell the state how many abortions they have had.

National’s New Lynn candidate Paulo Garcia is also a member of this conservative clique.  He a conservative Catholic.

He believes that abortion is wrong and that raising children is harder for same-sex couples.  He also does not believe in recreational fornication and says that intercourse should be about procreation.  Those views will go down well out west.

His birth control beliefs are the sorts of beliefs that conservative Republicans have.  He thinks that sense will overcome teenage hormones.  Can he let me know if this works because so far I have seen no evidence that it does.

And there is Barbara Kuriger who is under challenge for her hold of the King Country seat after deeply inappropriate intervention in a prosecution involving her husband and her son.

There are of course more historical examples of National’s difficulty with its candidates and MPs and senior officers.  Who can forget:

  • Richard Worth and what was it that he did which so incensed the Malaysian Government;
  • Pansy Wong who resigned after her husband was caught conducting business when accompanying her on a Ministerial trip to China;
  • Mike Sabin whose activities Cameron Slater said were almost too horrible for words;
  • Don’t you know who I am Aaron Gilmour who also had CV accuracy problems;
  • Claudette Hauiti who used her parliamentary charge card for a Christmas trip to Australia and spent approximately $23,000 on MP’s expenses after she had announced she was standing down;
  • John Key’s ponytail pulling fetish;
  • The police investigation into Todd Barclay and his use of personal recording devices;
  • Bill English’s mischaracterisation of the truth relating to his police statement;
  • The complaints by four women about Jami-Lee Ross’s behaviour;
  • Andrew Falloon’s resignation for depression caused by the drunken sending of inappropriate graphic material to a woman who was not his wife and was a teenager;
  • Michelle Boag who stood down from all party positions because of the leaking to National MPs of confidential personal health information;
  • Sarah Dowie who in her valedictory speech said that she would claw at the windows or walk across hot coals to get out of the National Caucus;
  • Hamish Walker who was willing to trash the Country’s covid response for political advantage and who racistly claimed that Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans some infected with Covid were on their way to Queenstown while at the same time sending confidential medical information to the media;
  • National’s Palmerston North candidate William Wood who had photos of himself on Social Media impersonating Hitler.
  • Jake Bezzant whose problems with the accuracy of his CV had been communicated to the party and whose former girlfriend had accused him of impersonating her and using explicit images of her in order to impersonate her in sexting conversations with other men.
  • Sam Uffindell who was asked to leave his exclusive boarding school after viciously beating a younger student late at night.  This was also disclosed to the Party before his selection.

My biggest concern is the increasing hold that conservative Christians have on the party.  The process that clearly was under way under Simon Bridges’ leadership appears to be accelerating.  And it is clear that branches are being infiltrated.  I could not believe that New Lynn National chose Garcia and not Ruby Manukia Schaumkell who I thought could present a major challenge.

Luxon’s deeply held beliefs are well known.  And they keep creeping out.

I am pleased that the party is in such disarray.  A disciplined focussed National Party that actually appeared to be representative of Aotearoa New Zealand could be electorally dominant.

Update:

As pointed out on twitter how could I forget Matt King who morphed from being a conservative farmer into a climate change denier and anti vaxxer?

58 comments on “National’s problem with its candidates ”

  1. Martin C 1

    Honestly, What is it about the National Party that attracts these people like flies to s—?

    • bwaghorn 1.1

      You got it backwards the national party is largely made up of these types of people , just most hide it better than old jack

      • Patricia Bremner 1.1.1

        Yes Martin C and Waghorn, the National Party have 'manner masks' they don in public, but it gets pretty ugly when they slip, and the age of the internet does lead to reveals.

        You forgot

        :Judith Collins "Business in China" and Kauri swamp matters.

        Woodhouse receiving private medical records from Boag, and starting a falsehood about a homeless man getting a "free stay" in an isolation hotel, and mocking another MP by wearing a toilet seat with her picture on it. (Is that where Brown got the idea?)

        Mark Mitchell "Gun for hire"

        Their "helpers" are pretty bad.

        The ingredients make a rotten cake.

    • Anne 1.2

      Answer Martin C:

      They are 'aspirational' beings. Translated… they consider themselves superior, so therefore able to do and say what they like and get away with it. Unfortunately they often do.

      Imagine the ongoing furore if Labour politicians had been guilty of such behaviour. They all would have been hounded out of office by an enraged media and general public.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    The Natzo roll of dishonour that Micky has reminded us of could be well expanded if Nicky Hager’s “Hollow Men” and “Dirty Politics” were taken into account.

    The quintessential NZ National candidate though surely has to be the “bed leg basher” Mr Uffindell, they had four male blue suit wearers contending and they picked him. How any constituent with even one foot in the 21st century could stand being in close proximity to him is rather baffling.

    Transgressions from Labour/Green MPs receive napalm hot treatment from media channels as seen recently, but the Nats seem to be tsk tsk’d and move on rapidly with their exit packages.

    • bwaghorn 2.1

      The greens got free ride with the racist dog whistle about white men causing all violence,

      • Anne 2.1.1

        A free ride? I recall the media hounding her for weeks afterwards. And she was not in the best frame of mind when she made the comment. I don't think I would have been either… having just been knocked to the ground by a motorbike driven by a hostile gang-related rider.

        Does anyone know if that individual was ever located and charged with intent to cause grievous bodily harm?

        • bwaghorn 2.1.1.1

          Sorry but she's still got a job, if a white poly said all domestic violence was caused by,insert any race other than euro, they'd be gone,
          Stress is not an excuse

          • Anne 2.1.1.1.1

            What is an excuse is when a person is in shock. I fell down some stairs once… injured a foot and suffered back-lash. I lay in shock for some minutes and my brain wandered aimlessly out of my head. All returned to something akin to normal and I yelled to my neighbour for help.

          • Patricia Bremner 2.1.1.1.2

            She apologised. laugh Still waiting for that from many Nats.

        • left for dead 2.1.1.2

          And you have links to this Anne. Hostile gang related-rider. I would love too hear the truth about that incident.

          • Anne 2.1.1.2.1

            Your non de plume is appropriate.

            It was only plastered all over the news outlets – newspapers, radio and TV plus interviews with Davidson on the subject. Iirc, she even knew who the culprit was. Whether he was charged I don't know. You will have to get off your backside and ask Davidson yourself.

            • left for dead 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Oh dear, the truth Anna,the truth,not Ad hominem

              Edited..”Left for Dead” is for a book written by Michael Tomasky. you could read it and learn something,old dogs and all that !

        • gsays 2.1.1.3

          "having just been knocked to the ground by a motorbike".

          I understood that the motorbike incident occurred on the way to Albert Park. I am keen to understand where you get your interpretation from.

          Don't want a visit from the Disinformation Project Disciples.wink

          • Anne 2.1.1.3.1

            I understood that the motorbike incident occurred on the way to Albert Park.

            That is my understanding too. Someone on a motorbike knocked her to the ground. Whether it was an accident or not we don't yet know for sure. Marama Davidson said in an interview she thought she knew who the individual was. To my knowledge it has never been made public. If there is an investigation in progress that would be the reason why.

            If left for dead is in denial over what happened that's his/her problem.

      • Incognito 2.1.2

        Not “all” violence.

        This Post is not about the selection of Green Party candidates. If you want to ‘discuss’ that, please take it to OM, thanks.

      • Tiger Mountain 2.1.3

        Er, no they did not get a “free ride”. The Greens were castigated relentlessly in NZ, & even off shore, thanks to the likes of Counterspin media.

  3. Incognito 3

    Focus on the selectors and also follow the money. National’s gene pool is incestuously small, politically speaking. Occasionally, they get ‘fresh blood’ from an ex-pat who wants to be apex predator here in NZ after they have been gouging overseas for some time.

  4. Reality 4

    Interesting contrast in National's selections, from ultra conservative religious adherents to downright sleazy types. Caucus meetings must be interesting. Perhaps the religious ones pray for the "others" and all is forgiven. Just like the Bible Belt in the US where Trump is their hero, despite all his dodgy behaviour.

    This list of Micky's should be kept to the fore in the next few months and somehow given more exposure. Stuart Nash's misdeamours were big news in the media for some weeks so I was pleased to see Andrea Vance highlighting some of National's embarrassments.

    • Tiger Mountain 4.1

      US Christians of various stripes turned the other cheek to Trump’s personal awfulness because he promised and delivered what they craved…reactionary SCOTUS majority, bent judges, various anti gay and trans measures, and most importantly–legislating to control the bodies and reproductive health rights of 50% of the population–Women.

      Such Christians just love to oppress women, and indoctrinate children before they are old enough to have developed an independent world view.

    • Belladonna 4.2

      Plenty of 'ultra-conservative religious adherents' on the Labour benches as well: Anahila Kanongata'a-Suisuiki, Adrian Rurawhe, Rino Tirikatene.

      Religious belief should not be something used as a weapon against any MP.

      • Incognito 4.2.1

        I think you are missing the point by a long shot.

        • Belladonna 4.2.1.1

          Not really.

          I don't hold any brief for National candidate selections. Although there could also be a roll of shame for some questionable Labour ones over the years (Darren Hughes, for one).

          But, I also don't support the POV that religious conviction is something to be condemned in candidate selection – which seemed to be being raised above, by Reality, and in the original post.

          Plenty of legitimate poor life choices, or beliefs, which can be highlighted – without resorting to religion.

          • Incognito 4.2.1.1.1

            Yes, you are missing the point, which was also quite clearly made in the Post by MS.

            Lashing out Labour’s selection shows up your argument for being weak.

            If necessary, I can elaborate later.

            • Belladonna 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Well, no. You can't condemn my argument as 'weak' – it's an opinion.

              My opinion is that religious conviction (from any religion) is not something to be condemned in candidate selection.

              I illustrated this point with examples of Labour MPs who are also from the conservative side of the religious spectrum – but who have apparently escaped the 'tar brush' of condemnation.

              Your opinion (and that of the original poster) may vary. But I'm not obliged to agree with you.

              • Incognito

                You have an opinion, I have an opinion, we all have an opinion. That’s not the point.

                The point is that you are missing the point made clearly by others.

                I won’t be engaging further with you or elaborate because like so many commenters here with entrenched opinions you are way too defensive for mature constructive debate.

                Have a nice rest of your Sunday and thank you for saving me the time & effort that would be wasted.

  5. Adrian 5

    I don’t know where I read or heard it but a few weeks ago I gleaned some snippets from an American academic/ commentator who posited that the Trump type supporting “ Christian’s “ when pressed knew very little about the true ethos and even less about the life such as it is known of Jesus Christ. My favourite true quote was on a Vox- pop done years ago by someone like Theroux or Borat by a late middle age blue-rinsed apparition who stated “ If English was good enough for Jesus Christ then it’s good enough for me”. Priceless.

    • Mac1 5.1

      The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas decided during WW2 to become a Conscientious Objector. When he attended the hearings he was dismayed to hear a similar thing- religious fundamentalists who believed the Bible was originally written in English. Thomas decided to not pursue CO status because of that fundamental error.

  6. RedLogix 6

    On the off chance anyone is interested in why National stumbles about – I found this substack essay reasonably interesting:

    New Zealand in many respects is an interesting contradiction of views. On the one hand, it has embraced universal suffrage, gay marriage and abortion rights but on the other hand, the country voted against decriminalising marijuana. In any event, the country is undoubtedly socially liberal with a long history of progressive social policies.

    The National Party’s historic focus on business interests has served it well but in a time of rapid social change occurring at home and abroad it will either need to articulate clear positions on social issues or it will gradually lose support within its traditional base.

    https://cranmer.substack.com/p/the-national-party-and-conservative

    Having played to it's pro-business and capitalist credentials for decades, National became less comfortable with it's essential roots – and this to my mind is why they are now floundering with some of their candidate selection, and expressing a coherent conservative value system. This is why they are on the back foot – and vulnerable to missteps.

    Where this goes over the next electoral cycle will be interesting – because personally I don't think it is Luxon who can lead this for them. He captures their business vote perfectly, but this is not what they need right now.

    • Anne 6.1

      Having played to it's pro-business and capitalist credentials for decades, National became less comfortable with it's essential roots – and this to my mind is why they are now floundering with some of their candidate selection…

      As long as they keep selecting religious fundamentalist candidates it will continue.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        Yes. But keep in mind it is perfectly possible for politicians to be sanely religious. Mickey Savage and Jim Bolger being obvious examples who leap to mind.

        • Anne 6.1.1.1

          Well aware. Was brought up a Presbyterian. They were kindly folk. Thoroughly sane. More interested in instilling values into us than ramming religion down our throats. Stopped going to church at 18, but grateful for their early guidance.

          I did break one promise though – to refrain forever from taking intoxicating liquor. I didn't have a clue what they were talking about so no probs. 😉

    • Belladonna 6.2

      Thanks RL. That was a really interesting read.

      'Why' is always more informative than tribal 'likes' and 'hates'.

    • Belladonna 6.3

      I guess, the question is where (if anywhere) can the more socially conservative voter go – if they are not too happy with National?

      ACT is considerably more socially liberal than National. As are other alternatives like TOP.

      Christian parties have a long history of failing to fire, and not getting over the electoral threshold (so a wasted vote).

      NZF was (in the past) a more socially ‘traditional’ party. But, politically, I'd say that socially conservative voters would be highly distrustful of Winston – and which party he might support into government. And, right now, that's also looking like a wasted vote.

      I'd say that these voters don't have a real alternative. And might be seen to be strategically voting for National – as the (poor) best alternative (from their perspective) – in order to keep the highly socially liberal parties (Greens & Labour) out of government.

      That's not to say that they like National's stance on social issues – but that they can't find a party which better represents their views.

      They could, of course, not vote. But it seems like a bridge too far, if what we’re describing is discontent rather than rage.

      • RedLogix 6.3.1

        I recently had the same conversation with a good friend – another life-long Labour voter – who now finds himself politically homeless as well.

        The first NZ politician who figures this out is in for a hell of a ride.

  7. Mike the Lefty 7

    If National selects any constituency candidate other than the white bread professional you know they don't actually expect to win there.

    • Belladonna 7.1

      Their classic constituency is business, farming, and small-business.
      So, not too likely they'll be standing a union rep.

  8. ianmac 8

    Graham John Capill (born 1959) is a former New Zealand Christian Heritage leader and MP, who was convicted as a rapist of children.

    It was at the time the aim of Conservative Christians to gain a voice. It was also said after Capill's demise into prison they lost their chance.

    But some of those supporters said if we can't get a Christian Party into Power then we will do it by getting individual fundamentalist into a party one by one. And it seems that they are succeeding especially in the National Party.

    • Craig H 8.1

      It's a legitimate question for anyone interested in politics – do they make a new party to achieve their aims, or do they join an existing political party and convince the party of the need for change/status quo/particular policies. And do they join the biggest party closest to their preferences, or do they join a smaller party that might be more aligned, but less likely to get into office or achieve policies.

      • Incognito 8.1.1

        I think many if not all ‘join’ politics, or just roll into it, because they want to make a difference. The grey area is whether this difference is more for oneself or more for others. I see this happening in other places too where people at the work floor try to make changes & improvements and end up becoming management. The question is: do you represent yourself (or your ‘team’) or do you represent others.

    • Martin C 8.2

      yes that seems to be happening. Good analysis.

  9. aj 9

    Slogan king. He just can't help himself from talking like this and it turns people off. And adds to the fundy mantle settling over the National Partty.

    https://twitter.com/dimsie/status/1647112685958610949?cxt=HHwWioDS-dqQ3NstAAAA

  10. Here's another one. National self-selects for the most entitled tory twats it can find, who will do the bidding of transnational capital, with no loyalty to the people of Aotearoa

    https://twitter.com/KiwiCraig74/status/1647539678973919234?s=20

  11. Res Publica 11

    Barbara Kuriger's son is a nasty piece of work by all accounts. MPI even pointed to his lack of remorse over the condition of his stock as an influencing factor in their decision to prosecute.

    Hilariously, he tried to get himself elected to the Tararua District Council in 2017ish and came a very distant second last

    • Incognito 11.1

      You seem to be labouring to make your point, which almost sounds like ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. I might be way off-target here, but I struggle to parse your comment.

      Unless it involves nepotism, or the family member stands for a political party I firmly believe that they are mostly irrelevant to TS Posts and off-limits for most discussions of politics here on TS. With Max Key being the one notable exception, of course cheeky BTW, where is Max?

      • Res Publica 11.1.1

        Noted Incognito. I think we're all guilty of falling in love with our own eloquence from time to time. And occasionally playing the man rather than the ball.

        Funny should mention nepotism though when talking about Barbara Kuriger:

        She attempted to use her position as an MP to question and then quash her son's prosecution then had the gall to accuse MPI of politicising the process.

        If that's not nepotism (albeit incompetent and hamfisted), I don't know what is.

        • Incognito 11.1.1.1

          I’ve yet to fall in love with my own eloquence but I do crack up at my own jokes, occasionally.

          Barbara Kuriger might be a bad apple. Her son might be a bad apple. They are two different and separate individuals and I’d like to make this distinction as sharp as possible, or we may end up advocating for things such as Social Investment that is en vogue with social conservatives of a certain morally warped bent who happen to inhabit the National Party.

          • Res Publica 11.1.1.1.1

            or we may end up advocating for things such as Social Investment that is en vogue with social conservatives of a certain morally warped bent who happen to inhabit the National Party.

            Awww c'mon what's not to love about Social Investment? It's not racism, it's maths :p

            As someone that works with big data and analytics the whole idea makes my skin crawl. Yes, analytics can be useful to help shape interventions at the macro level. But there's no legal or ethical framework yet that can fairly handle the implications of applying whatever your predictive model du jour is to individuals.

            • Incognito 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I’d rather not get into this thorny issue, right now, as I already alluded to. It always is the underlying assumptions, with both big and small data, that determine impact, if any other than keeping some people in a job wink

  12. Thinker 12

    Never thought I would even remotely stand up for National, but to be fair the average calibre of politicians has been dropping in my opinion for quite some years, either through egotistical demands, aloofness from the general public or major faux-pas.

    However, I'm amazed because, if I remember rightly, Andrea Vance once could be relied on to say nice things about the Nats. And, I like her description of their "random idiot generator" that selects candidates. Even then, there are parts of Auckland that don't know who their National candidate is yet. Not sure about south of the Bombay Hills.

    Having said that I think there are undisciplined MPs on both sides (all sides?) of the House, I will repeat what I've been saying for a while and still believe:

    I believe that, in the 1980s, what purportedly passed for Labour was typically led by many who later morphed to the right of National (ie ACT). We didn't really have a serious left-wing party until the advent of MMP. In those few years between Rogernomics and MMP, I think National differentiated itself by being the party for the self-serving, grasping, self-assured cohort of the baby boom generation and seems to have clung to that demographic ever since, in my opinion.

    It's current (internal) leadership seems to me to still believe that anyone can make build a fortune the way many people did in the boom period between 1984 and 1987 – a time when literally anyone with a few dollars and some chutzpah could get rich and then form an opinion of themselves as a financial genius., Rather than being random, their "generator" seems to me to select people that either came from the "Dr Spock – Demand Fed" generation or, despite their relative youth, cling to that ideology like a magnet grips on steel.

    However, gradually, the proportion of demand-feeders to the total voting population is reducing. Incoming voters have been brought up to think, to quote JFK, that "…we all breathe the same ayre…" and they understand, as many of their parents didn't, that it's not good news when 10% of the world's population owns 50% of the resources, even if one is part of that 10%.

    Although I never saw it, I believe the National Party of the 50s and 60s had an element of social thinking about it. From what I heard and read, that was largely due to a belief that nothing was enough to repay the returned servicemen for their sacrifice, but it doesn't matter why it was, it's important that it was that way. Agriculture was the backbone of our industry and farmers who collectively made up a large proportion of National’s support base got up at 4am and thought anyone who didn’t was somehow lazy, and lived a world away from the troubles of urban areas so didn’t understand them. I think, in those times, elections were National's to win and from time to time, Labour managed to grab the reins.

    As the boomers retire or fall off their perches, to be replaced by more environmentally-aware voters, I think the reverse is coming to pass. Big business may fund political parties more than before, but it still needs "the person on the Mt Albert omnibus" to cast their vote for who gets to win.

    All my opinion, for what its worth.

    • Craig H 12.1

      The other reason for National in the 1950s and 1960s to have some element of social conscience was that Labour won 5 consecutive elections, so either National offered to be Labour-lite, or they couldn't win.

    • roblogic 12.2

      Muldoon was the last big government socialist PM

      • Mike the Lefty 12.2.1

        He was in actuality but he saw himself more as a traditionalist. If any journalist had called him socialist he might have slugged them. Winston Peters is basically Muldoon's political son.

        • Thinker 12.2.1.1

          When QE2 came to Auckland in 1977, they fenced off areas for most of Auckland's schools at Ellerslie racecourse and some of us got to meet her. I was in the 3rd form and was lucky to be at the rope.

          Muldoon brought the Queen over to our area and proudly told her "This is my old school…" and, later, when people said all kinds of rotten things about him, true or otherwise, I always remember he wasn't too snooty as to let the Queen think he went to a private school or something.

          • joe90 12.2.1.1.1

            Whispers of Māori students intending to disrupt queenie and fam's 1970 tour visit to Hamilton Boys HS meant anyone who might disturb the peace was sidelined.

            So there we all were, lined up, conducting ourselves as well as 600 or more schoolboys could be expected to and we twigged that something was up. A murmur became a slow rumble and out of the blue, the apple was thrown. It sailed way over the top of the open backed Landrover queenie and co were waving from as they traveled across the footie fields but the the uproar drew everybody's attention to us lot in our tiered assembly.

            Whakapohane!

            Job done.

  13. Martin C 14

    "Mike Sabin whose activities Cameron Slater said were almost too horrible for words;"

    so horrible that the link won't work.

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