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Strong and decisive

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, February 18th, 2018 - 154 comments
Categories: Amy Adams, Judith Collins, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Judith Collins appears to be fighting a hopeless battle.  Clearly the battle for National’s leadership is between Adams and Bridges.  And perhaps Collins is battling for relevance and her future.  With a field of at least three and a preferential voting system her endorsement would presumably determine who wins.

But she is waging a very public campaign for the leadership.  This is interesting because the only people with votes are current National MPs.  Her strategy essentially accepts she does not have the numbers in caucus and she is hoping that external pressure will pressure caucus members to support her.

Collins was the first to announce.  And since then she has tried to live up to her campaign theme of being strong and decisive.  That closely that she has been caught being a bit of an idiot.

I would not call her statement Strong and Decisive.  Brutal and Obdurate would be more appropriate.

Clearly as part of her campaign she wishes to continue with the theme that she is tough.  Pictures of her holding guns and her preferred nickname “crusher” is evidence of the public persona she has wanted to create.  And she desires to appear to be more right wing than the others.

From Audrey Young at the Herald:

Leadership hopeful Judith Collins says National has gone too far to the left and it is time to “straighten up.”

And asked about the other two contenders for the National leadership, she said Amy Adams was more to the left than Simon Bridges.

But she would not speculate on whether that meant her supporters in the caucus would be more likely to back Bridges if she was the first to drop out after the first ballot.

The article then confirmed she is running an outside support strategy.

“What I know is that there is a tremendous amount of support out there for what I stand for,” she told the Weekend Herald.

“And a lot of people feel that we as a party have gone a long way to the left and we need to straighten up again.”

She said she had strong support among the grass roots and National Party base.

“I think you can also say that I am not the conventional or the status quo candidate and so I have to work differently from those who would continue pretty much the same old policies and same old ways of doing things.”

And she is perfectly willing to play the race card as well as displaying her lack of understanding of MMP or the need to build coalitions amongst different communities to gain the Government benches.

In questions put to all three candidates by the Herald, Collins cited the Resource Management Act as the first policy that needed to be reviewed.

Referring to the iwi participation agreement she said: “The changes we made to accommodate the Maori Party unfortunately overshadowed some of the excellent changes that we tried to make.”

So she is happy to trash iwi relations as well as environmental protection in her pursuit of the leadership.  Thankfully the way I see it there is no way to stitch together an MMP majority with this world view.  There are far too many people who support such matters for an attack on them to work.

Meanwhile National cheerleader Heather Du Plessis Allan has come out swinging for Collins, said in a figurative way.  She thinks Crusher’s strong girl image is a benefit and has written a column where she says this:

A week ago I would never have said that. I would’ve told you Crusher was too intimidating. Too fierce. Too right wing. Too tarnished.

But, in one way or another, each of those things either doesn’t matter, or are exactly why she should be elected leader of the National Party.

Judith Collins may be the only person in National capable of knocking holes in Labour’s biggest asset: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She thinks that violent imagery is a good thing.  She should reconsider this.  We are talking about who should become the leader of a major political party not the head of a gang.

We will have an interesting week and a half until the decision is made.  Stand by for a few more sneaky hatchet jobs on National MPs.  But none from Judith Collins.  After all I am sure we can believe here when she says she would only stab from the front.  There is no evidence that she would engage in subversive sneaky dirty politics.

But I secretly hope she wins.  I am confident the people of New Zealand are far too intelligent and compassionate to ever want her to be their leader.

154 comments on “Strong and decisive ”

  1. DirkDirkin 1

    HeatherDPA says
    ” There is no evidence that she would engage in subversive sneaky dirty politics”
    Is that sentence a joke?
    Collins cheerleader is Mr Dirty Politics himself
    Get your facts straight Heather

    • rhinocrates 1.1

      The sarcasm is obvious. Collins will use standard two-stream Dirty Politics… on in this case the streams will practically overlap. She’ll be winking so much at her base that you’ll think that she has a permanent tic.

  2. BM 2

    She’s the only one out of the three running who can beat Ardern.

    _ Bridges, not a chance, he’s nationals, David Cunliffe

    – Adams is a Female Bill English and has no profile at all, completely unsuited for
    the opposition leader role.

    Don’t worry though, the crusty old stalwarts in National HQ refuse to listen and want to go with the status quo candidate Amy Adams.

    • Sabine 2.1

      the problem all of the National Party contenders have is that they are

      a. unlikeable
      b. unlikeable
      c. unlikeable

      and what is in their hearts and minds shows on their faces.
      the hairpuller and the double dipper could at the very least pretend to be likeable for a nano second , but this current lot is simply just ugly, mean, petty, unlikeable and is unable to hide it. Besides as the last 9 years showed the National Party simply not interested in governance for all but are in it to enrich themselves. How much did Oravida profit? How much did Amy Adams ‘farms’ profit? Did Simon ‘ten Bridges’ get anything done in his time on the Taxpayers dime – or is he simply only paid to show up and leave grease stains everywhere?
      National needs better arguments then these three guys to get over 50% of the vote by themselves or they need to lie till they are ‘blue’ in their faces to get a coalition partner, and how well would that go, especially with any one of the contenders at the helm.

      • BM 2.1.1


        They’re the only parties who will get over 5% in 2020

        • reason

          Disco dreams BM …

          TPPA will see up to 10% of Labours votes now going to the greens … perhaps more if National lite tag sticks / grows ….

          And for the same national lite reasons …. Arden will peel at least another 10% of female national voters over to Labour.

          Judith will be good for blue dragons support ….. and their money / donations … as we’ve seen in the past

          But Even Cameron Slaterberg leaving the country would not be enough to rehabilitate judiths terrible reputation ….

          Shes trashed herself ,…… repeatedly

          whale oil beef hooked ….. Indeed Judith

        • Craig H

          I haven’t seen anything to suggest the Greens won’t get over 5%, albeit not be much more at this stage. There are enough urban liberal Labour voters who will vote Greens if necessary – the Green vote would have to crater to not get back in.

          • BM

            the Green vote would have to crater to not get back in.

            Shaw’s doing a stellar job on that front.

            • Psycho Milt

              Thing is, you’re running into the limitation of being too far from the target market. I could never tell how stuff that was happening in the ACT party would influence its vote because the thinking of those voters was just too far from mine. I think the same applies to your thinking about the Greens.

              If you go by Kiwiblog comments threads, James Shaw is an emasculated girly-man ruined by having two mummies and no daddy, his every move is voter repellent and he’s leading the Greens to catastrophic failure. But if you go by comments from people on the left (leaving out that subset who are difficult to distinguish from the alt-right), Shaw has shown himself to be a capable leader who’s done a great job holding the fort since Turei was forced to resign and is playing coalition politics very well. Which group do you think is likely to be more important for Green voter support when it comes to the 2020 election? Hint: it’s not the “He had two mothers, worra poof!” crowd.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Actually neither recent poll has the Green vote going down, so I’m not sure how you’re judging that.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                BM can exercise judgement? You’re being bloody charitable.

              • David Mac

                The Green vote will get a hoist when the ‘ding dong’ at the door is the Pacific Ocean pushing the button.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  Possibly! It actually did look to go very slightly down in the latest CB poll, (which released after both of our comments, btw) even accounting for that fact that CB regularly has the Greens at least 1% lower than other polls, so BM might not be entirely wrong that Shaw has some additional things to do to hold support while we’re finishing off deciding between Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter.

        • Sabine

          so essentially you hope that NZF and the Greens will go the way of ACT, Maori Party, Peter effn Dunne Party and y’all go back to the good old day of either or?
          That is your strategy for National to win?

          Good grief man get a grip.

          National, wanting to live in times past cause the future is scary.

      • JustMe 2.1.2

        Well said Sabine

      • AB 2.1.3

        Yep. The problem is how to give the appearance of likeability to someone who subscribes to a deeply unlikeable (i.e. right-wing) ideology.
        John Key managed it, so did Ronald Reagan.
        It’s rare, and these 3 contenders are short of that mark. But generally it is sufficient to just not be too scary – which would favour Adams.

    • Hanswurst 2.2

      There are few politicians I revile as fiercely as Ms Collins, but aside from questioning the comparison of dickhead Bridges with Cunliffe, and only being able to see Adams as similar to Bill English to the extent that both are unimaginative, mainstream National candidates, I would tend to agree with your analysis, BM.

  3. JustMe 3

    Judith Collins exudes arrogance in every photo.And it’s an arrogance that even John Key once said should never be part of a National government.

    Amy Adams has the pout of Donald Trump and the forced smile of a hyena. Simon Bridges couldn’t keep a promise even if he fell over one just after an election result.

    And so that leaves Judith Collins. She is too old to be an attractive option for the younger voters of NZ.

    Who knows but if Collins misses out on her aspiration to be leader of the National Party then she may well resign from politics altogether. Lets hope so. She will not be able to sit comfortably with the future National Party leader(a care-taker one at that)in the form of Amy Adam or Simon Bridges.

    If Adams or Bridges become the leader then it would be the ultimate insult for Collins.

    Referring to the articles churned out by almost religious zealots to the NZ National Party in the NZ Herald; well it certainly does appear the NZ Herald is firmly under the control of the NZ National Party. It, the NZH, is the mouth-piece of the NZ National Party and so articles by ‘journos’ like Mike Hosking, Kate Hawkesby, Heather Du Plessis Allan, Barry Soper, Audrey Young shows how over-satuated the NZ Herald is with biased towards National ‘journalists’.

    And in conclusion in regards to Judith Collins is her immature comment when a member of the public phoned her office to tell her to stop back-stabbing Jacinda. Collins boasted to all and sundry that she stabs ‘from the front’. If that is the calbire of National MP then lets hope whatever in-fighting that is going on within the National Party and its MPs means the demise of the NZ National Party sooner than later.

    • BM 3.1

      And so that leaves Judith Collins. She is too old to be an attractive option for the younger voters of NZ.

      Don’t fall for that stupidity, Collins appeals to a much larger voter block then Ardern does.

      Also, most younger females (20-30) are super confident and aggressive, they back themselves to the hilt, something a lot of old people don’t quite get or understand.

      The oh so nice and angelic Ardern vs the Crusher, I know who I’d put my money on.

      • newsense 3.1.1

        Sure Collins talked all over the top of her when they did the Metro interview and threw lots of shade. That’s not leadership.

        Remind me, who is Prime Minister?

        • BM

          I haven’t seen it so I can’t really comment.
          Have you got a link?

        • alwyn

          “Remind me, who is Prime Minister”.
          Well de jure it is someone with the surname Ardern.
          The de facto Government is, of course, headed by one Winston Peters.

      • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.2

        Someone log the date, I’m going to agree with BM.

        Being young in National isn’t an asset. They don’t mind the age of their MPs or leaders being above average, it’s viewed as further proof they’re experienced. Generational renewal isn’t important to the base.

        It might be important to voters they need to get onside, but that’s not a problem in the leadership election, and National will be leery of fighting fire with fire- it’s never been their style.

    • Thinkerr 3.2

      But those with a born to rule mentality might admire arrogance and vote for it.

  4. Andre 4

    Strong and decisive, huh? She’s keeping well clear of claiming stability, then.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    I can’t understand why the National Party folks I’ve spoken to don’t share my enthusiasm for Judith as leader 😈

    • bwaghorn 5.1

      a lot don’t want her because she would show nz what nationals true heart is like , black and nasty , imho

    • Be careful what you wish for. I remember thinking early on that it would be great if Trump got the Republican nomination because he’d be such a disaster for them. It’s true that he’s a disaster for them, but he also won the election and is therefore a disaster for the entire country. Lots of potential for the same thing with Collins.

      • Pat 5.2.1

        careful indeed…i thought it impossible for JC to end up PM and welcomed the possibility of her leading the National Party with the thought she was too divisive of character to win an election…then Barry’s idea showed a possible path…not a pleasant thought.

        Strong and decisive

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.2

        Two questions arise:

        1. Does Oravida own a troll farm, and
        2. Does the National caucus use Facebook?


      • Matthew Whitehead 5.2.3

        Precisely. Any non-zero chance of a Collins premiership is too high, IMO, as great as the damage she could potentially do to them long-term might be.

  6. Anne 6

    There’s no way the majority of that caucus will vote for Judith Collins. They’re too dammed scared of her.

  7. Carolyn_Nth 7

    She is too old to be an attractive option for the younger voters of NZ.

    And in just that kind of way, did many discount Trump’s chances of ever getting into the White House – though they have a FPtP system.

    • JustMe 7.1

      America got what they voted for i.e an egotistical nutjob who within 24 hours of the Florida shootings blamed the victims for letting a mentally unstable person walk amongst them.
      Anyway for most politicians it seems ego plays a major part eg Trump boasting to the world that his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong un.

      • Andre 7.1.1

        America did not get what it voted for. A bizarre electoral system delivered them the biggest loser ever to occupy the Oval Office.

    • miravox 7.2

      “And in just that kind of way, did many discount Trump’s chances of ever getting into the White House”

      Exactly. I’m pleased Collins is in the race. She’s such a nasty loose cannon she needs to be exposed.

      I expect that National’s processes are robust enough to prevent her getting any further. If she does win the leadership though, it will be disastrous for the country. There are enough people out there who will vote for her style of politics.

    • Olwyn 7.3

      Good point Carolyn_Nth. And while I know that anecdote does not add up to evidence, just yesterday I spoke to an older working class woman, not financially well off, who was enthusiastically singing Judith’s praises. “I hope she gets the leadership,” she said, “she gets things done, she’s not a snob, and she and her husband are really involved in the local community.” This exchange left me wondering if Collins would be well positioned to chase the working class South Auckland vote, though if so it would probably come at the cost of the urban liberal vote that Key garnered for them.

      But that path will be open to Collins, supposing she wins the leadership, if Labour is so hemmed in by its fiscal responsibility commitments that it is forced to rely more and more on its culturally liberal credentials to compensate for its limited ability to tackle economic inequality etc. Collins would be around clearing someone’s drain herself, with her own shovel, if she thought it would improve her chances.

      • Anne 7.3.1

        …if Labour is so hemmed in by its fiscal responsibility commitments…

        Shamubeel Eaqub is pushing the new government very hard to take advantage of low interest rates and start borrowing in order to reverse the housing shortage. He is predicting up to 500,000 affordable houses will need to be built over the next ten years.

        I’m economically illiterate, but it seems to me this govt. will have to take risks if they are going to succeed in turning this country around and housing is the most urgent problem of all.

        The Nats will use any borrowing as a fiscal stick to try and beat them with, but who cares because it is responsible borrowing. The current situation is remarkably similar to that facing the first Labour govt. of 1935 (albeit with a modern flavour) so I hope Phil Twyford and co. heed his advice regardless of opposition howls of faux rage including the ‘dragon from Manurewa’.

        • Brigid

          ” The current situation is remarkably similar to that facing the first Labour govt. of 1935″
          Yes it is, but the government at the time did not borrow on the open market as it looks like Shamubeel Eaqub is advocating.
          They used reserve bank credit.

          Shamubeel Eaqub should know and understand this.

    • Sabine 7.4

      No they have a system of electoral college. If hey would have a FPtP system, Hilary would have won as she had over 3 million more votes then the orange menace.

    • alwyn 7.5

      The Donald was of course vastly older than his Juvenile opponent.
      After all Donald is now 71. Hillary is only 70.

      I imagine that, if it came to it, Judith could use Ronald Reagan’s line from his Presidential debate with Walter Mondale.
      “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience”
      Even Mondale laughed and Ronald went on to win in a landslide.
      Mondale ended up winning only his own state of Minnesota (barely) and DC.
      Reagan won the other 49.

      Do you think that attacking people as being too old is really going to work in New Zealand.

      On the other hand it is only the wrinklies among us who see Ardern as “young”.
      A teenage close relative of mine, when I asked her what she thought of a “young person” like Ardern being PM, assured me that Ardern wasn’t young. She was middle aged. I really felt my own age.

      • JustMe 7.5.1

        Same here. And I am one year younger than Judith Collins

        • veutoviper

          And John Key and Bill English are two years younger than Collins. Just saying …

        • alwyn

          Well, I take the view that I don’t mind getting old.
          At least not when I consider the only alternative.
          Actually it was one of my grand children. A wonderful young lady, even if I think she possibly sees me as being a dinosaur.
          She is right of course. Anyone who is about 25 years older than you are, which is about the gap between her and Ardern, clearly isn’t going to even consider using the word young about the oldie.

  8. Thinkerr 8

    Even opposed as I am to their politics, I’m certainly not trying to draw any analogies with individuals, but in response to your comment:

    “She thinks that violent imagery is a good thing.  She should reconsider this.  We are talking about who should become the leader of a major political party not the head of a gang”

    It is worth remembering that Hitler became Time Magazine’s Statesman of the Year 1938. He was as violent as a European politician could be.

    Al Capone was loved by the poor in Chicago for providing soup kitchens for the poor, while the poor paid for them by buying Capone’s smuggled booze out of his violently-controlled monopolies.

    Again, to be clear, I’m not making any crass people comparisons but its human nature in some people to not be able to differentiate between bullies and leaders. That’s why workplace bullying is such a problem – in short bursts, like job interviews, bullies can impress as leaders.

    • alwyn 8.1

      Hitler was not “Statesman” of the year. He was simply “Man” of the year. It was never an honour. It was simply the person who had most influenced the news for good or ill.
      Stalin was man of the year twice, in 1939 and 1942. He was at least as much a ratbag as Hitler.

  9. barry 9

    I suspect that Collins knows she will lose the caucus battle, so she is appealing to the party.

    When the next leader is unable to make traction, the party will be asking the caucus to install someone who can. Collins would like to be there and available then.

    • Thinkerr 9.1

      Or, as I think MickeySavage has alluded to, maybe she is following the Winston Peters “How to be Deputy Leader with only minority support” model. Here’s a scenario:

      JC works and works to get her personal support to a level at which she could pull out of the running and anoint the eventual winner.

      The price would be Deputy Leader.

      Then, when the party realises it needs a Strong Leader to polarise the paradigm shift away from neoliberalism that has taken place since 2017, they’ll dump the wimp and give JC her birthright.

  10. Pat 10

    That has an air of possibility about it…..however would suggest should such an event occur the end result would still be poor for National.

    • Pat 10.1

      especially if well timed with a recession….then a scenario where Collins becomes PM not because of public support but the public will punish the incumbent…so Judith is the ‘I told you so’ candidate this time for next time…works for me.

  11. patricia bremner 11

    Surely even they know she is a poisoned chalice of malice? Bring on the next poll.!!

  12. cleangreen 12

    Judith Collins is the equivalent to the “The night of the long knives” June 30th 1934 Nazi Germany style.

    She is heavily involved with the Chinese communist Government who conducts the same draconian style brutal attacks on their opponents.

    She is a dangerous person in our midst.


    “In Germany, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.”

  13. Kat 13

    I could see Collins leaving to head a new “more right party”. The Nats are cunning and know they need a MMP support party that has real grass root support. Collins does have a support base out there in the hinterlands. The leader contest is most likely a foregone conclusion and they are just going through the smoke and mirror game only National can perform so well.

    • Pat 13.1

      But that would not lead her to the top job….and i think it fair to observe that JC is nothing if not ambitious.

      • Kat 13.1.1

        It could be quite possible that a new right party split from National could achieve 15-20% of the vote. That would be mainly at Nationals expense but allow National to front a liberal conservative leader to suck votes from the left. then you have a real possible right wing MMP govt in the making. Collins could be leader. Ambition success.

        • AB

          Judith to get miffed at not winning the leadership. A campaign of scandal/destabilisation against David Seymour (originating from goodness knows where!). Then Don Brash is found face down in a hand-basin while washing his undies. Richard Prebble is self-admitted to a home for the bewildered.
          The path being clear, Judith slips into the ACT leadership, buys a nice home in Epsom (in cash after a hasty conversion from CNY).
          You could be onto something Kat!

          • greywarshark

            AB this is solid scenario for the future, and I do realise that you can’t guarantee such things but the possibility makes interesting reading.

        • Pat

          route via National leadership more realistic

          • Kat

            Pat, I think there would have to be a lot of “handbasin” incidents within National to enable Collins a route to being the party’s leader. I suspect AB’s scenario has possibilities. Brash has pretty much drowned in his own racist skitters and Prebble is already in the home for the bewildered under 24/7 surveillance. Collins could accompany Seymour in Dancing with the Stars and in performing a “Rodney Hyde” “accidentally” fall crushing Seymour to death . I suspect this would happen in a practice session somewhere private. A prior secret letter would emerge showing her having been officially asked to join ACT. Having no other choice but to do her duty Collins takes over ACT, renames it NACT, instills Jian Yang as Epsom MP and bingo the National Association of Crims and Thieves is off dancing to a Cha Cha Rumble Hustle Swing.

            • Pat

              have no idea what a ‘handbasin incident’ is and I suspect it is of no consequence….. to my mind Barry’s thinking around Collins setting herself up to challenge a poorly performing National leader pre (my guess) the next election is supported by the actions and words of Collins in the here and now…everything else i see proposed here to my mind is in the realm of fantasy ….National caucus will consider any option that may return them the treasury benches and if the membership pressure is great enough,and at the right time JC may well get the numbers …..in any case her intention is one thing, success another.

              • Kat

                Check AB above for “handbasin incident”…….and yes it is all fantasy, but good fun wouldn’t you agree.

                • Pat

                  ah…i see…well my suspicion was correct.lol….all good fun unless JC does indeed end up PM

                  • Kat

                    I wouldn’t say that Collins heading another party to the right is total fantasy though. It makes sense considering National have no realistically viable support partners at the moment to form any sort of govt down the track.

            • OncewasTim

              Its a bloody shame Prebble isn’t in the care of Dame Edna

  14. Incognito 14

    Who’s to say that there won’t be another leadership contest before the election in 2020? Lure the competition out in the open from their protective hidings and force them to show their cards and then pick them off, one by one, or pitch them against each other. JC has always been in it for the long haul and she’s got the patience. If she loses this time she’ll have another crack at it in a year’s time or so because the leadership and the party have been destabilised due to: 1) JK leaving; 2) BE leaving; 3) being in Opposition.

  15. rhinocrates 15

    There’s a certain kind of mindset that finds Collins appealing:


    The notion that there are different types of authoritarians was proposed in the 1980s by University of Manitoba psychologist Robert Altemeyer, and refined in 2010 by a research team led by John Duckitt of the University of Auckland. In the journal Political Psychology, that team defined right-wing authoritarianism as “a set of three related ideological attitude dimensions.”

    They are:

    “Conventionalism,” a.k.a. “traditionalism,” which is defined as “favoring traditional, old-fashioned social norms, values, and morality.

    “Authoritarian submission,” defined as “favoring uncritical, respectful, obedient, submissive support for existing authorities and institutions.”

    “Authoritarian aggression,” defined as “favoring the use of strict, tough, harsh, punitive, coercive social control.”

    Authoritarianism in the Trump era “is not the wish to follow any and every authority but, rather, the wish to support a strong and determined authority who will ‘crush evil and take us back to our true path,'” Smith and his co-author, Eric Hanley, conclude.

    Participants in Ludeke’s study also completed surveys measuring Social Dominance Orientation—the belief that one group has the right to dominate others. Replicating previous research, they found this philosophy, which often accompanies authoritarianism, correlated with support for Trump.

    Now if she were to paint herself orange…

    • RedLogix 15.1

      Exactly. Collins is perfect for National, and as with Trump the left will underestimate her as usual.

      The best solution has to be to subject all voters to a personality test and remove the voting rights from anyone who is likely to vote National. Or maybe not, it’s all very well posting quotes about ‘authoritarian followers’ but unless it can be translated into meaningful action, it’s pointless.

      Perhaps the left needs to remind itself that it shares this world with people who don’t all share exactly the same value systems as we do, and like or not they all get to vote. That there are a diversity of people in the electorate who place a different weightings on these matters. That the sane way to govern a nation is to use language and framing that works across the broadest range of values possible.

      That’s the reality we have to work with; wishing it were otherwise is just magical thinking.

      • rhinocrates 15.1.1

        That the sane way to govern a nation is to use language and framing that works across the broadest range of values possible.

        I agree. Labour has had a chronic case of entitlitis for decades, but the pragmatics of coalition may temper that. Focussing on universal and shared values should get a hold on the “Conventionalst” conservative.

        The right is not a monolith – the UK Tory party and the Republicans in the US are deeply divided. There was an interesting Kim Hill interview with Peter Hitchins yesterday in which he said how he despised the Conservative Party because it had abandoned what he saw as Conservative principles (he contrasted democracy, which he did not like with ‘liberty’, meaning plutocracy, and this makes an interesting comparison with Peter Thiel’s own antidemocratism). Now he’s the least likely to vote Labour, but he demonstrates a split that is not often clear to those on the left.


        Meanwhile, this Oxford University study of social media networks showing a chasm between the Trump Republicans and the rest of society or even what I might call Eisenhower Republicans.


        An analysis of Twitter traffic shows the Republican party, hard conservatives and ammosexuals on their own continent, with a chasm between them and the rest – meaning that they share news with each other, but not outside their group. Libertarians are also aligned with the right continent, but do sort of bridge with the majority, albeit through conspiracy theory (oy vey!).

        The map of facebook activity is also interesting in that it shows that while Democrats and Republicans don’t share major sources and there is a space between them, there is a multitude of smaller common sources (or fewer degrees of separation) – the space is more of a valley than a chasm. Trump supporters are clearly off away even from the mainstream of Republican associations and have no direct contact with the centre.

        That’s my most positive spin, but overall the researchers are pessimistic. Philip Howard of the Oxford Internet Institute says:

        It means that a small chunk of the population isn’t able to talk politics or share ideas in a sensible way with the rest of the population. Democrats, centrists, they’re getting different kinds of news content over social media. That’s a problem for democracy. In an ideal world, everybody would get at least a few of the same news stories. There’d be some shared facts and some shared understanding.

        Crying “Lügenpresse” or “fake news” – and this comes from both left and right – will only make things worse.

        Look for what we have in common, keep using the common language, point out that democracy isn’t grey mediocrity, but the active creation of workable, sustainable solutions. Sometimes those solutions can be radical.

        • RedLogix

          Appreciated. Blokes are not supposed to say this to each other in public, but I’ll risk it … your best comments rhino are fucking brilliant, informed and always worth reading.

          The personal challenge I’m grappling with at the moment sits right in the space you’ve just described so well … how to speak to and engage across these cultural gulfs without falling into a beige PG centrism.

          The internet for the most part is not helping; increasingly it’s becoming not a lot more than a mass paranoia machine; amplifying multiple cultural polarisations, suspicions and mutual incomprehension on a vast scale.

        • OncewasTim

          Indeed! Your best comments are fucking brill bro!

  16. Ad 16

    Doesn’t make much difference for 2.5 years, and in reality 5.5 years.

    Judith is ensuring she’s indispensable in the inevitable reshuffle.

    In 2023 she would Hoover all those remaining rightie NZF and 50+male votes. By then Boomers are mostly dead and Gen X are doddery so she will be good for 2023.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      You’re dates are dodgy; sadly for you us despised boomers are going to be around for several decades yet. The accepted generational dates are 1946 – 1964, so the mid-range of our cohort are still only 64. Still you may have a point, by 2023 we’d be 69; definitely time for the knackers yard.

      You could of course just have a maximum voting age of 65, that would solve the problem pronto. Hell then you could even wipe out National Super without too many electoral problems. Win-win.

      • KJT 16.1.1

        50 plus vote Labour or hold their noses and vote Winston. Mostly because National is anathema to real workers. And they lost trust in Labour decades ago.

        Educated professionals over 50, vote Greens.

        Housing speculators, Real Estate agents, assorted white collar crims. and Auckland home owners, vote National.

        I can see why Collins would appeal to that constituency.

        • RedLogix

          Nicely put; Boomers may share some cultural characteristics, but are no more a monolithic hive mind than any other identity group. But that’s a trite observation.

          More importantly though, for every personality characteristic there is both a light and dark side that can be appealed to.

          For example, ‘authoritarian followers’ generally value things like fair play, hard work, orderliness and stability. Once they know the rules of the game are fair and enforced evenhandedly, and the future will be like the present, then they will work hard, and sacrifice to get a future pay-off. They’re quite happy to be responsible for themselves and only accept help when they really need it.

          These are the people who are the backbone of a stable, prosperous society, speak to them with a basic respect, signal any rule changes well in advance and generally play fair with them … and they’ll vote for someone who they perceive will deliver the greatest stability. This is what they value most.

          Shit on them, and they’ll vote for a Trump or Collins in droves.

      • Ad 16.1.2

        Sorry I’m Gen X.

        I keep presuming old people vote National.
        Mostly because they have more to lose.

        Collins is excellent for those who like it Angry!

        • RedLogix

          It’s not so much that we have more to lose, but that we have no time nor opportunity to stage a recovery if we do lose. It’s entirely normal and natural to become more risk-averse with age for this reason.

          Think how a football team one up with 10 minutes to go will play … they run defensively to protect their win.

          • AB

            That’s true up to a point RL – but some of us become more radical as we get older. Put it down to a sense of mortality – not our own mortality so much, but other people’s. The realisation that it’s a once-round trip and that injustice is even more intolerable because of that fact.

            • RedLogix

              A fine sentiment. And in a better world maybe this will become more true for more people. In the meantime we have to work with the voters we have.

              Keep in mind that by the time you’ve hit 65 it’s been four more decades of hard yakka for most people. Often in jobs that were not their first choice, stressful, unhappy or worse. You’re over it and need want nothing more than for your remaining years, however many, to be spent serving your interests, not someone else’s.

              And while you’re definitely a long time dead, you can be a bloody long time ‘retired’. My own father is a good example, forced out of full-time work at 58 and now 92. That’s 38 years with no more cash income than Super. While by global standards it’s churlish to whine about it … it’s still a reality many people feel quite anxious about.

              • Pat

                well expressed…and may be worth adding the realisation that changing the world is a fools errand and your energies tend to be focused closer to home in who and what you support

                • RedLogix

                  John Michael Greer wrote some good essays on this theme making the important distinction between ‘values’ and ‘interests’ driven politics. In simple terms his argument was that putting ‘values’ first and foremost in our politics, ensures ideological polarisation and divisiveness.

                  Because we are all have innately different temperaments it is impossible we should all share the exact same set of values. Or more exactly, prioritise and weight conflicting values exactly the same. And worse, when we attack another person’s values, we attack them at a very personal, existential level. We demean their own self-image, we alienate them almost terminally.

                  By contrast JMG’s argued that the only valid purpose of politics is to negotiate different classes of interest, eg capital vs labour, environment vs job, etc. All politics is about achieving a mutually tolerable balance of interests, about horse-trading this for that.

                  This is probably why all actual politicians are usually so much less radical than their supporting activists. Parliamentarians have to sit in the Committees, do the deals and reach the compromises that can be gotten through the House. They quickly learn that if they treat their opponents as bastards (even if this is what they privately believe), the other side will refuse to trade, or if their hand is forced they just get their revenge later.

                  At it’s end point this is also why the US Federal govt is now totally dysfunctional, the complete breakdown of this civic trust and mutuality has brought them to the point where they cannot even act in their own best interests anymore. Shit they cannot even stop their own kids from being slaughtered at school … because ‘values’. How humiliating.

                  • Pat

                    lol…the archdruid!..used to read his blog…yes he has a lot to say that makes you think

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah JMG is one smart guy with a talent for putting flesh and blood onto the bones of some quite old ideas. And I’d kill for his way with words 🙂

                  • AB

                    Hmm – not sure that you can split values and interests so cleanly.
                    To start with, it’s a ‘value’ to believe that everyone’s interests are of importance.
                    It cranks that ‘value’ up a bit more if you start to say that those interests should get something like equal consideration.
                    Where there are only interests and no values, the interests of the most powerful will prevail.

                    • RedLogix

                      You’re right, there isn’t a clean binary divide. Like so many abstract concepts, there is a lot of overlap or linkage between these notions.

                      But still the distinction is meaningful and useful. Of course everyone brings their own personal traits, unique lived experience and cultural expectations to the table. These values are a given.

                      But it’s good to remind yourself that so has everyone else around the table. Everyone else, allies, opponents or outsiders come with their own internal clutch of values that are different. This we cannot, should not, change.

                      Understanding their values is essential to knowing what is important to the other party. And realising this can have both a light and a dark manifestation. We can appeal to their better nature, or provoke their angry responses.

                      I agree, ignoring ‘values’ is fatal. You have to understand what you stand for, what you fight for and why it’s so important not to say one thing and act to the contrary. But in real terms you cannot do politics on just ‘values’ alone; they must be translated into real actions, outcomes or class interests. Then and only then can you begin constructive negotiation.

            • SpaceMonkey

              This is me AB… becoming more radical as I get older. I would like to think some form of wisdom is informing my radicalism in that I’ve seen so many cycles of a similar flavour it is clear the “system” is fucked and/or rigged for a few. Throw in climate change and environmental degradation and the delta between where we are now and what I can remember experiencing as a child… things look real grim!

              • RedLogix

                I’d suggest that in this context it’s useful to distinguish between ‘conservative’ and ‘cautious’. And perhaps between ‘radical’ and ‘unwise’.

                At heart there are many, many people who recognise the current world order is lamentably defective. It is well into it’s terminal end-phase. Within it’s framework there are no solutions, just more failures.

                Exactly what will replace the current system is not clear; but much will depend on the circumstances of the next few decades. In the worst case, the chastened, humbled remnants of the human race may face a terrible few centuries rebuilding a much wiser, more cautious globalised system of governance, one that imposes universal standards of political, economic and environmental behaviour across the entire planet.

                All the big challenges you mention; climate change, species extinction, the death of the biosphere … are all global in nature. They demand solutions that are similar in scope, a world scale federated government that is empowered to regulate the nations of the world, just as the nation state regulates it’s own lands and citizens.

                But while such a system may be novel by current standards, it may well equally embed some quite cautious and sober thinking in it’s institutions and executive action. A lot of what we imagine at the moment as ‘radical thinking’ may well seem as silly as we regard say the 70’s New Age movement.

                Consider the utter humiliation and disaster of WW2, and how in it’s immediate aftermath the UN was formed by a generation of politicians appalled at what they’d just lived through. Then consider what it might take to truly complete the task.

                The problem is not technical. There are many very promising ideas and technologies that are already quite capable of achieving all the social and environmental goals we would wish for. Everything pivots on this crucial step, making the transition from the phony ‘globalisation’ we have at present, to a democratically accountable system that truly serves the interests of all humanity and the planet who suffers us to tread upon it so carelessly.

                That will be radical.

              • RedLogix

                Oh and on a quite different note; the collapse of global fish stocks is in steep decline. Just last night I was watching an interview with the very well-known SV Delos crew (the most popular sailing vlog of all time) … who mentioned that in the past 3 -5 years they’ve personally witnessed the total collapse of pelagic fish stocks.

                In their early episodes crossing the Pacific 7 – 8 years ago, catching fish was a regular thing and reliable part of their provisioning. In SE Asia it dropped to a trickle, and some patches of the Indian Ocean were OK. But in 2017 after 25 days sailing with lures in the South Atlantic … nothing. Not one single fish.

                No-one really knows the full picture of what is going on, but the anecdotes and data we do have is ugly.

        • KJT

          Explains a lot.
          Consider that the main reason us boomers oppose removing super, is because we want it to still be there for our children.
          Many, like me will get it anyway. Along with a company super. (One of the many reasons for supporting Unions, and the old, pre 1984, Labour party).

          I suspect many more young people vote for tax cuts, because they have no idea of what a community minded welfare State looks like.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Here’s some stats to show voting patterns are not as clear cut as people think.

          This is an interesting graphic to play around with: it’s based on electorate stats and the demographics of the electorates compared with party votes in the electorates.

          Curiously, there’s a more positive correlation with low income electorates for National party votes, than for Labour. but also a more positive correlation with very high incomes and party vote Nat electorates; vice versa for National.

          The Greens are in more highly educated electorates – to doctorate level. however, that says nothing about class of origin.

          these are stats taken from the NZ Electoral Survey – thus self-reporting but individual-based.

          The key graph is here, which compares demographic voting patterns with the general population. The vertical line down the middle is the ave for the general population.

          There’s a good spread of voting patterns within each demographic.

          The Nat & NZF voters tend to be older and younger. I guess Labour and Green voters must be more int he category not shown (29-56 years). Nat voters are way more likely to own their house or flat.

          Labour voters are more likely to be in households with trade union members, to be Māori, to have no educational qualifications, have lower than average household income, and identify as working class.

          NZ First voters tend to be NZ born, identify as working class, and have lower than average household income.

          Green voters are more likely to be have uni qualifications, be students, work part time, and be in households where someone is a trade union member.

      • Anne 16.1.3

        You’re dates are dodgy; sadly for you us despised boomers are going to be around for several decades yet.

        Indeed we will.

        Btw, I’ve hit my 70s and I’m far from being ready for the knackers yard. 😈

  17. Barfly 17

    “strong and decisive”

    Yeah nah…… try “corrupt and vicious”

  18. greywarshark 18

    It’s hard to decide – why don’t they set up a contest on different grounds than political nous and ability at blocking efforts to do anything positive for the country and in Question Time. The best routine would win for the prospective leader and supporters? The person who can put their back into it as in this link has proved stamina, determination and a strong enthusiastic team behind them!

  19. Chris T 19

    Thinking Collins will get it now.

    • BM 19.1

      No, she won’t.
      Adams will because she’s the National party members choice.

      Unfortunately, like most political parties the membership seems to be completely disconnected from what the actual voters want.

      • KJT 19.1.1

        Not sure about the membership, but most politicians certainly are.

        Except in election year. Most notably the time when National pretends to be Socialist. Because their campaign experts know that is what voters want.

  20. SpaceMonkey 20

    Collins is not aiming to win this leadership contest. There will be more before National are back in Government. There may even be one before the next election.

  21. NZJester 21

    Why did I read it as Strong and Divisive at first?

    I guess it is that Crusher Collins nickname.

  22. David Mac 22

    Judith would be foolish to place too much weight in opinions offered by those that would never vote for her or the Nats.

    She will be attempting to appeal to those that could be tempted to vote for her.

    It looks to me like there is a groundswell of support from those that can’t appoint her to the leadership role: Jo Public.

    I think the decision of those that can appoint her leader will pivot on: Do we anoint the person none of us really want because she is leading the ‘Who does Jo Public want?’ polls.

    • Grafton Gully 22.1

      She reminds me of Muldoon, she even has facial expressions like his and she’s as good as he was in interviews. Streaks ahead of anyone else, even puts Winston in the shade. Nats would be crazy not to choose her. Would do Labour and hangers on a world of good to shrug off the “oh so cool !!!!! Amazing !! Build a slackers paradise and save the planet” image and actually be a real left alternative,

      • David Mac 22.1.1

        Yes, I think she has latched onto a primary lesson in the sales industry,

        We decide with our heart, not with our brain…. No handbag is worth $5000.

        She is keeping it brutally simple, just like Trump.

        Right = those that work hard for NZ

        Left = those that want to get affluent while watching TV.

        Plainly a fallacy but a story that gets cut through with those (the majority) that are more concerned with getting kids to footie practice and who is featuring on Dancing With The Stars.

        • RedLogix

          Perfectly put.

          Collins is doing exactly what Trump did, exploiting the values of working class America with a fabricated narrative, but one that pressed all the right emotional buttons.

          This govt needs to press the same buttons, but with the truth.

          • David Mac

            Thanks Red. Yep, it’s all about pressing the hot buttons of those that don’t give a big rat’s bottom about politics: 90% of us.

        • David Mac

          Don’t tell me about how many milliseconds it takes for the airbag to inflate, tell me about how many chicks I’m going to pull.

      • Graeme 22.1.2

        “Streaks ahead of anyone else, even puts Winston in the shade”

        She’s remarkably similar to Peters as well, probably closer in career trajectory to him. I can see the same things happening here as happened when Peters parted company with National. And probably a similar long term outcome / career followed by whatever party results from Collins’s departure.

        • NZJester

          Do you think if they give her the boot she will swallow up the Act Party?

          • Graeme

            I doubt they would “give her the boot”, more like she’d go “fuck you pack of insular muppets” and go off and form a new party. Pretty similar to the Peters trajectory.

            Can’t see her going the ACT way, more go to the appearance of the middle and more populist, but also going after the immigrant vote.

  23. mac1 23

    And Collins says she is the fun candidate!


    She says “With me there’s a real sense of fun. It will be a hell of a ride and so much fun, and you’ll enjoy every minute.

    “My style of fun is slightly more gladiatorial.”

    So her sense of fun will be appreciated in the arena by wild animals, charioteers, Christians, slaves, trainers and owners and a populace desirous of gratuitous violence, hardened by brutality and dependent upon patrons.

    The barbarians are already within the gates. Now for the panis et circenses, or is that the popcorn and remote?

    • David Mac 23.1

      Ha! She is channeling Trump.

      “You won’t believe how good it’s going to be.”

    • BM 23.2

      She’s good value isn’t she 😀 , she’s certainly the medias choice.

      If she does win she’ll certainly sharpen Ardern up and actually get her concentrating on the PM’s job at the moment she’s a complete joke.

      • mac1 23.2.1

        She is a complete joke, isn’t she? Real popcorn country, or should that be cheese and crackers?

        Ardern, on other hand, merits better opposition.

        Is that what you’re saying? That’s what you said, after all. 😉

      • Psycho Milt 23.2.2

        …at the moment she’s a complete joke.

        What? Has she appeared on a radio show being quizzed by “Wife-beater” Veitchy on which celebs she’d like to fuck? Oh wait – no, that was that other one, what’s-‘is-name. What a fucking clown that arsehole was.

      • David Mac 23.2.3

        I think you’re selling Jacinda way short BM, she has popular support, us Kiwis dig her.

        But yep, it would be a mug that wrote Judith off as a potential Nat leader.

    • Sabine 23.3

      gladiatorial fun

      ‘We who are about to die greet you Cesar’

      • mac1 23.3.1

        The death rate for gladiators was 19 deaths in 100 fights, or 9.5%.

        That was a better chance than say amongst front-line NZ troops in WW1.

        The death rate among NZ PMs in office was higher than that of gladiators! Three out of 26 PMs , or 11%.

        • Sabine

          Go National, higher survival chance then the average Gladiator?

          the slogans just write themselves.

  24. Incognito 24

    Bryan Gould has written a thoughtful piece (see Feeds on RH side of TS landing page): http://www.bryangould.com/the-candidates-dilemma/

  25. David Mac 25

    To give herself a fighting chance I think one of hardest things Judith has to do in the next while is to approach her dear friend Cameron Slater and request that he stop openly supporting her.

    Right or wrong, we are judged by the company we keep.

  26. David Mac 26

    To be supported by a proven mouth for hire is toxic support.

  27. Ken 27

    Please let it be Judy – I can’t wait to see National split in two.

  28. Drowsy M. Kram 28

    If it’s Adams or Collins, then Paula ‘zip it, sweetie’ Bennett can expect a demotion – women at #1 and #2 would be too challenging for many National party supporters.

    Surprised to see that NZ has had only two female deputy Prime Ministers: Helen Clark, and Paula Bennett.


  29. Jackel 29

    For all her bluff and bluster Collins position is a considered one, not an expedient one. While I disagree with her vehemently I respect her consideration.

  30. Tanz 30

    Judith Collins is National’s version of Helen Clark. It’s gotta be Collins. Talent, intellect, grit, strength, guts and wit. Doesn’t speak in empty slogans, can back up what she says. Huge contrast to superglam PM. If National goes for the others, they won’t gain much traction with the public, too watery and too much of the same.

  31. Tanz 31

    Nope, Judith Collins is the only viable contender for me. If the Nats go for any of the others, I would say then the next election is already lost. They others are all Labour Lite, in my view. I could never ‘fawn’ over Adams or Bridges or Mitchell. Collins is the obvious choice, and National can’t afford to get it wrong, if they want to win next time. A copycat Ardern who isn’t, just won’t work.
    Labour will be terrified of Collins; they already are.

  32. silvertuatara 32

    What most commentators are not saying is that if Judith fails in her leadership run at this juncture, the likelihood of her winning the leadership after the National Party’s next leadership spill in 12 months time will be somewhat remote.

    This is why she is investing a lot of energy, and making the most of her close associations with some aging reporters and media connections. Perhaps after 3 terms of National New Zealanders do want a Prime Minister capable of being relentlessly positive……could you imagine for a minute that Judith Collin’s could remain relentlessly positive for a whole political term? Well I guess we will see should she loss her run in 8 odd days time.

    • veutoviper 32.1

      Good points, silvertuatara. It is going to be interesting, especially with Steven Joyce now in the race.

      The one thing I will give National credit for is the shortness of their leadership election process! At least it will be over next week – or rather this round.

  33. Tanz 33

    Latest poll out last night, NZ First and the Greens already suffering. Will Collins grab hold of that? She will take the Nats back to the front of the line, though even now, an election tomorrow could be interesting. No support partners left?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 33.1


      Wind gone out of your sails? Take heart: one poll doesn’t mean very much.

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