In this election campaign like no other one thing is clear. Judith Collins is not getting traction. She is looking tired and grumpy and pitted against Jacinda Ardern looks second rate.
Which makes you think what happens after the election? Judith may hang in there as National leader and I am sure she will try. But it is likely the conservatives will dominate National’s caucus and there is nothing more likely to finish your career than to lose an election.
Reti has had a meteoric rise. He was ranked number 42 in National’s caucus at the beginning of the term. He is now ranked number 5. His calm reasonable responses to Covid contrast markedly with Collins’ and Brownlee’s shrill and conspiracy laced offerings.
He was asked yesterday if he had leadership ambitions and said this:
I think that’s a decision for the National Party caucus, the people in the Whangarei electorate, and the people in the party. That’s a call they would need to make. If they wanted me to step into that position, that would be a privilege.”
He cannot have received the memo. The first thing you always do when asked if you want to be leader is to express support for the current leader. Anything less is a vote of no confidence in the leader.
National is preparing for a big loss. The leaks against Upper Harbour candidate Jake Bezzant are clearly an inside job and a sign that they know the writing is on the wall.
To have a chance in the future National will need a leader with a kinder face and someone willing to debate intelligently the future of the country. That person may be Shane Reti.