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The ides of April

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, April 30th, 2019 - 87 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

Parliament resumes today and National will hold its first caucus meeting in a while.

And I suspect it will be a humdinger.  Because the undermining of Bridges by leaking is continuing.  From Tova O’Brien at Stuff:

Simon Bridges’ political future seems uncertain, after murmurs from National MPs that his leadership is unfocused and incompetent.

Before the Easter break, an MP told Newshub that “the numbers are firming for Judith [Collins]” to lead the party. On Tuesday, National’s leader will face all his MPs for the first time since those murmurs surfaced.

National MPs told Newshub before Easter they were unimpressed with Bridges behavior, calling it “incompetent”.

MPs are also unhappy with his handling of ‘slushy-gate’; Bridges’ described Corrections spending $1 million on slushy machines for staff as “irresponsible and wasteful”.

But National MPs went on record with Newshub to say they are not pleased with their leader’s handling of the situation, saying it seemed petty and stupid.

“It didn’t feel like a guy being focused on being Prime Minister,” said one MP.

Another said it feels like bullying behavior.

“These people do a job that hardly anyone would. It smacks of bullying of staff that can’t fight back,” they told Newshub.

Although a bloody coup will be unlikely, Bridges’ MPs will be watching him like hawks tomorrow, waiting for any slip or sign of weakness.

The knives are well and truly drawn.

If these MPs went on the record I would love to know who they are.

Of course this could be a vocal minority seeking to undermine Bridges’ leadership by leaking information.  Maybe most of the caucus are still satisfied with or prepared to tolerate his leadership.  And maybe the contenders would never consider a coup because being the leader of the opposition would be such an awful job to have in these times where Jacinda is so dominant.

But politics is full of people who think that their innate ability is such that if they were given a chance they could achieve what most of us would consider a dream.

Step right up …

87 comments on “The ides of April”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Simon is in the position of being in his job because no one else wants to be around for the post election witch hunt next year.

    • AB 1.1

      If Judith' is brave enough to move now, she has a better chance of winning the leadership because of the high risk involved. Other younger candidates may not want to take that risk and burn their careers with a 2020 loss.

      Collins may believe that a narrow 2020 loss would allow her to keep the job for one more attempt. I think she may go for it, and her approach will be to go full Bolsonaro, because that's her natural ideology and style, and it can be sustained without pretence.

      • Chris 1.1.1

        It will be good if she does because we'll finally get to test whether that approach is sustainable. It's easy to believe that Collins as leader is a guarantee for failure but there's still an unknown aspect to that which is whether hateful attitudes towards others that've emerged since the 1990s are widespread and sufficiently established to really support what Collins stands for.

        • AB

          Yes – sometimes I fear that she will be wildly popular, contrary to expectations. Obviously it would be "Bolsonaro with Kiwi characteristics" – so wound back from overt violence and grounded in the ‘commonsense’ of the golf club bar and the Pauanui barbecue.

        • michelle

          If blinglish cant get elected and was was very close judeath has no chance

          • Chris

            I hope that's more than wishful thinking. There's a nasty underbelly in this country we possibly haven't fully experienced and that might just take one leader with a modicum of populist appeal to fully reveal.

    • cleangreen 1.2

      smileysmiley Double smile for you today Sanctuary.

      If Simple Simon Bridges stays; – it is a ticket to next year another Labour victory again with NZFirst and greens hitched train.

  2. Gristle 2

    I'm a little confused. (Not difficult to achieve, nor infrequent in its occurrence.)

    The ides is typically a day in the middle of the month: often the 13th, though the 15th for March. And Julius Caesar's political career/life came to an abrupt end on this latter date.

    We are a couple of weeks past the ides of April so I don't understand if you are referring to something that happened on the 13th of April, or something else.

    [I was taking significant licence with the concept and referring to Caesar’s untimely end – MS]

    • Phil 2.1

      <i>referring to Caesar’s untimely end – MS</i>

      Nothing about Simon makes me think any ending for him would be 'untimely'.

    • millsy 2.2

      Dont confuse yourself too much. You may rupture something.

      As MS says, he was just taking a bit of licence.

  3. Incognito 3

    I wonder whether Simon is actually quite happy being Leader of the Opposition/National and doesn’t care too much whether he’ll become PM in 2020. That would put him into a different perspective, wouldn’t it?

    • roy cartland 3.1

      Good point. He'll stick around forever, and will have advisors and lackeys telling him to 'stick it out' etc. I remember the look of thunder on Mallard's face after his demotion for undermining Cunliffe (was it?) and being mocked mercilessly. Now look at him, lord of the manor and lovin' it.

      There will always be some (highly paid) place to shove Bridges like there is any 'prominent NZer'.

      • woodart 3.1.1

        yes, there will be seats on companies(oil ,etc) being kept warm for him.

        • The Lone Haranguer

          I think ex politicians arent nearly as keen on being directors of public companies anymore, as it seems that there are clear and present dangers for those who sign up for the prestige and the glory. John Key is the exception of course.

          Its far better to hope your lot get the treasury benches, and then look for an appointment to an SOE, where the risks of being sued are negligible, or onto a Government funded advisory group where you can play Sir Lunchalot with your old mates for years if you play your cards right.

  4. swordfish 4

    I'll just re-post my comment from a couple of weeks ago.

    Final Preferred PM Poll ratings for Leaders just before being Toppled / Replaced
    (Colmar Brunton since 1997)

    (Main Intra-Party Rival in parentheses)

    Bolger (Oct 1997) … 13%
    (Shipley … 10%)
    Shipley then replaces Bolger

    Shipley (Sep 2001) … 14%
    (English … 5%)
    English then replaces Shipley

    English (Oct 2003) … 7%
    (Brash … 3%)
    Brash then replaces English

    Brash (Oct 2006) … 17%
    (Key … 11%)
    Key then replaces Brash

    Shearer (July 2013) … 13%
    (Cunliffe … 2% / Clark … 2%)
    Cunliffe then replaces Shearer

    Little (July 2017) … 6%
    (Ardern … 6%)
    .Ardern then replaces Little

    Compare with
    Latest Colmar Brunton
    Bridges (April 2019) … 5%
    (Collins … 5%)

  5. KJT 5

    Simon Bridges is still in the job, because he really is, the best that National have!

    • Anne 5.1

      I doubt anyone wants it yet KJT. I mean, can you imagine a Nat sacrificing themselves on the alter of the National Party? Andrew Little did it but he is a rare political commodity.

    • Shadrach 5.2

      So, was Goff the best Labour had? Or David Shearer? Or David Cunliffe? Or David Parker? Or Andrew Little? Come to think of it, changing leaders every 5 minutes just made things worse for Labour…

      • Chris 5.2.1

        But there was nobody else. That's why they changed leaders every 5 minutes.

      • KJT 5.2.2

        Showed at least some depth to the talent pool.

        Unlike National. Collins, Bennett, Mitchell, Ross, Kaye….. FFS.

        • Shadrach

          Are you seriously suggesting David Cunliffe, as one example, represented depth? The man who is sorry for being a man? And remember David Shearer and those two dead fish?

          • KJT

            The "man" comment showed a depth of empathy and intelligent thought, totally foreign to most National MP's, and obviously, their sycophants, such as you.

            • Shadrach

              The 'man' comment showed a weakness and political naivety of staggering proportions. Thankfully most people agreed and Cunliffe was toast – left to contemplate his future at the beach.

              • KJT

                Only amongst right wing shock jocks. The very people we are talking about. "Only the truly ignorant can be so certain". The Hoskings, Richardsons, Trumps and Shadracks……..

        • michelle

          well national had some depth but then they started sleeping with one another nek minute all hell broke lose and now we have the national circus i mean caucus

  6. Stuart Munro. 6

    The say the rose blows ne'er so red
    as where some buried Caesar bled.
    In Simon's final fatal spot
    plant pallid blue forget-me-nots.

  7. fustercluck 7

    I am a conservative.

    I believe in universal human rights, national sovereignty, a fairly regulated free market, and a government with checks and balances on power.

    I have no idea what Simon Bridges stands for.

    This is, in my view, National's fundamental problem.

    • vto 7.1

      National's fundamental problem is they don't recognise that human beings are intensely social creatures.

      Their other fundamental problem is they don't recognise that they are conservatives, with associated limitations.

    • cleangreen 7.2

      I grew up in the 1950's and begun work in 1960's when we had "real conservative" National Governments, and they did keep our industries, farmers and our own assets in our hands.

      But this modern ‘National Party are all corporate global agents for the foreign elite & cabals and are ready to sell even our "National pride" after selling our country.

      • woodart 7.2.1

        no longer the party of the farmers and blue haired oldies , party headquarters now in beijing

    • AB 7.3

      I think a couple of caveats are needed to make your stated belief in universal human rights a reality, rather than something purely notional or formal:

      – there should be essential areas of life where markets are not allowed to operate because these things (e.g. healthcare) are human rights and should not be allocated based on the ability to pay

      – there should be checks and balances not only on government power, but also on private (primarily economic) power

    • Shadrach 7.4

      You speak for many of us. Well done.

    • woodart 7.5

      you are a conservative, does this mean you would (a) ban all pokie machines, or (b) turn a blind eye toward gambling as a free market exercise?. stay out of peoples business ? or try to interfere in peoples bedrooms?. maybe nationals fundamental problem is that there are many different groups of conservatives, from right wing white power gun nuts to religeous godbotherers, to free market hustlers, and all the others who indentify as conservatives but hate these other groups. look at conservative parties abroad, they are tearing themselves apart ,as much of the old time conservative ideals have been either proved unworkable for the masses, or just sold off to cashed up lobbyists.

    • The Lone Haranguer 7.6

      Nationals problem is that, for as long as I can remember, they have never had any philosophy on why they want to govern, they just have a hungry desire to govern.

      In the early ACT days (with Prebbles weekly newsletter which was great fun) it seemed that Douglas had a political philosophy which drove ACT, but the Nats political philosophy was to follow thru on their "Born to Rule" belief system

      I cant see that much has changed really.

  8. vto 8

    Can anyone name anything which the National Party has done for NZ which we celebrate today as being an advancement and progress ?

    • OnceWasTim 8.1

      Advancing our linguistuk oidentuty? Ear "segsie" eggsent making us unique?

      If John Koi and Soimon have anything to do with it, we'll soon need trenslators whenever we attend intaneshnool confrinses. It's a win win going forward – think of the ploimint tunities

    • NZJester 8.2

      Yes, putting in Simon Bridges as leader so that the party leaks like a sive and we can now see some of what has been going on behind closed doors that they have not been able to shrug off as easily like they did when Dirty Politics was published. cheeky

    • Shadrach 8.3

      Actually both major parties have achieved considerable advancements of NZ over the years. Our current economic standing being one very good example. As for the National Party specifically, there are many – one example being the progress with Treaty settlements.

      • Stuart Munro. 8.3.1

        They inflated the real estate sector – no other growth over inflation to speak of, except maybe a bit of dirty dairy. Not a good result, and certainly not clever.

      • vto 8.3.2

        Shadrach I think our economic standing rests on the foundations laid by the various Labour governments over the decades, who have implemented changes to the fit the growing world. As opposed to National governments who have retreated at times of difficulty (price and wage freeze) and change – as conservatives always do.

        • Shadrach

          You would be historically wrong. Governments of both Labour and National have largely followed the market policies introduced by the Fourth Labour government, which followed disastrous economic management by preceding National and Labour governments. Since that time (the mid 1980's), Labour have been in power for 5 terms (1984-1990, 1999-2008), National for 6 terms (1990-1999, 2008-2017).

          • Stuart Munro.

            You seem to have made a factual error there Shadrach.

            Governments of both Labour and National have largely followed the disastrous faux market policies introduced by the Fourth Labour government.

            The result has been the decline of the real economy and the prioritizing of non-contributing sectors – Kelsey's FIRE economy.

            The untaxed capital 'contribution' to our GDP is at record levels, and our labour productivity is not keeping pace with countries with whom we were once competitive.

            Burgeoning real estate costs impose a substantial deadweight cost to the economy, as do the rentseeking behaviours of privatized utilities and private landlords.

            Had the governments of the last few decades deliberately set out to cripple the NZ economy they wouldn't have done a thing different.

            • Shadrach

              The NZ economy has been well served by the policies of the past 35 years. If you don't like the way things are, try Venezuela.

              • Stuart Munro.

                Well if you're going to rude as well as stupid, maybe you should toddle off to the US with the rest of the far-right crazies.

                Look at the truth straight on for once in your trivial life – NZ's growth hasn't cracked 3% since we started down the fucking stupid Rogergnomics path. And most of that is real estate inflation.

                'Sound economic management' – not by any stretch of the imagination.

                • Shadrach

                  "maybe you should toddle off to the US with the rest of the far-right crazies."

                  Why? I'm not the one complaining about how NZ is being run.

                  "NZ's growth hasn't cracked 3% since we started down the fucking stupid Rogergnomics path. "

                  "GDP Annual Growth Rate in New Zealand averaged 2.62 percent from 1988 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 7.30 percent in the third quarter of 1993 and a record low of -2.30 percent in the first quarter of 2009. "


                  Meanwhile, what's the current growth rate in Venezuela?

                  • Stuart Munro.

                    Nobody except you is talking about Venezuela, you braindead turd.

                    My people have been here for six generations and you're trying to kick me out in defense of your failed economic policies? How dare you! This is a democracy and by golly I will have my say in it – especially when corruption and incompetence endanger it.

                    Corruption and incompetence that you, to your undying shame, endorse.

                    • Shadrach

                      Oh boo hoo. You're the one whinging about how bad things are. If you don't like it here, bugger off.

                    • Stuart Munro.

                      I'm not about to be forced out of my country by a sleazy corrupt piece of shit like you, and, insofar as we are talkingt about epic governmental nonperformance, you might reflect on the fact that only the very worst of governments rely on pushing the citizens they are paid to represent out.

                      The UN, a body you no doubt abominate, being a sympathiser with oppressions and corruptions of every description, supports the rights of citizens to live in their own countries unmolested, and to participate in the political processes thereof.

                      We have long established that you have no principles whatsoever, and would cheerfully live under the barbaric despotism of the Orange Orangutan – and you're perfectly entitled to do so, and wallow in the slough of corruption he embodies, if, as it seems, that’s what pushes your buttons.

                      But what you're not entitled to do is to try to silence my critique of government incompetence – I have an absolute right to reproach my representatives for failing to protect my interests and those of my colleagues and fellow citizens – and I will continue to do so.

              • vto

                shadrach "The NZ economy has been well served by the policies of the past 35 years. If you don't like the way things are, try Venezuela."

                Forget things like "try venezuela" or zimbabwe or russia or north korea – those are just silly cries that are meaningless in the context of this mini-thread.

                But please do explain how our economy has been well served by the last 35 years, relative to our relative global position in the decades before, and, within NZ, relative to our lives and financial wellbeing in the decades before.

                I only see a deterioration in both those areanas (and there aint no other arenas on this planet). Our workers aren't improved. Our wages and salaries arent improved. Our capital ownership isn't improved. Our home ownership rates aren't improved. Our standard of living isn't improved. Many people put off going to the doctor because of cost, which is a true sign of poverty – didn't exist before.

                • Shadrach

                  Our lives and financial wellbeing are considerably better today than 40 years ago. We have access to a far wider range of goods and services at more reasonable comparative prices. We are part of a global society where we can trade, buy foreign currency and sell our labour virtually without limitation or restriction. We employ more people today than at any time in the country's history, and at higher remuneration levels. We enjoy a health system that is world class, with access to life changing medications and procedures that were unthinkable 40 years ago. I could go on, but it seems tome that people like you who want to wallow in the misery of your own imagination won't ever appreciate how good life in NZ is.

                  • Stuart Munro.

                    Declining real incomes and rising living costs are denying most New Zealanders the elements of a quality of life that was generally available. Simple things – a home, a stable job, a government unriddled by corruption and leaders that are not an international disgrace, honestly creating a future desirable to us rather than looting public properties to enrich themselves. Life in NZ is absolute shit nowadays – and it you and your fellow crooks who have made it so.

                    • Shadrach

                      Most NZ'er have a stable job and a home. Successive governments in NZ have been unriddled by corruption, and I can't remember a NZ PM who was not internationally well regarded.

                      If life here is so bad, find somewhere better.

                    • Stuart Munro.

                      Your perception of low corruption requires a willing suspension of disbelief. Events like the Christchurch rebuild established that corruption is the heart and soul of Gnat policy.

                      "If life here is so bad, find somewhere better."

                      Better to share the pain with the culprits so that they fuck off, and everyone's lives improve.

    • Phil 8.4

      The Fiscal Responsibility Act 1994 is the single most important piece of legislation we have for holding government to account with taxpayer funds.

      • vto 8.4.1

        True, and it surprised me at the time, as that is normally the kind of legislation that Labour would introduce

    • patricia bremner 8.5

      VTO, at 8, Him indoors and I thought long and hard……… rumble strips and barriers ??the cycle way? ?

      A number of white elephants..asbestos trains, the flag issue and a few horrors like live sheep exports and Anedarko. …. you may think of some.

      • vto 8.5.1

        Outside of the Fiscal Responsibility Act that Phil pointed out above I can't recall any others at all.

        Certainly never in any social, cultural, moral, or other areas of life on planet earth have they ever done anything. Nothing.

        They are not the doing types

        • woodart

          conservative people are very rarely leaders, they are followers, or reactors.

          • vto

            Yes, exactly, but it is that very point that the Nats don't understand about themselves.

            Actually, I think most conservatives don't realise they are conservatives. Most New Zealanders like to think of themselves as progressive and movers, but look at Key for example – best example ever of a useless do-nothing conservative. Yet many of his supporters would consider themselves anything but

        • cleangreen

          Shadrack is another National gatekeeper

          And he/she has a demented vision of any (false) achievements National have achieved.

          I only remember how National viciously sold off most of the county's publicly owned assets.

  9. Fireblade 9

    Simon has survived Tuesday morning.

    How very disappointing for National Party supporters.

  10. NZJester 10

    Looks like the right are shapning there knives and the news stories are starting to flow.

    He has been given the nickname " Simon Slushy Bridges" in a news article from The Spinoff posted on MSN News that had nothing but positive things to say about other National Party members Todd Muller, Paul Goldsmith, Nikki Kaye, and Judith Collins.

    Worst of all, it’s a quick and simple metaphor for exactly where the National party is going under his leadership. It’s negative and obsessed with trivialities. But like a car caught up in a slushy snowdrift, it’s going nowhere.

    That didn’t seem like the case this time last year. In fact, I used the exact same phrase – going nowhere – to mean the opposite thing, that is, there was no way Simon Bridges was going to lose the leadership. All of that seems a long time ago now for Simon Slushy Bridges.


  11. Puckish Rogue 12

    Well for what it's worth I won't be voting National as long as Simon Bridges is leader

    • Dennis Frank 12.1

      Don't vote – it just encourages them. An oldie but goodie, eh? I expect to be voting Green next year, for the 11th consecutive general election, despite the frequent eye-rolling the Greens keep making me do. Yeah, I know it ain't rational. Faith-healing?

      • Pat 12.1.1

        and will you vote Green if the Zero Carbon Bill is a sell out?

        • Dennis Frank

          Good question. I don't expect a sell-out, just a compromise. I'll wait till it emerges before evaluating how well James has managed the outcome. Any evidence of NZF influence will be the focus of judgment (not just by me) – in respect of kow-towing to vested interests.

    • Michael 12.2

      Make sure you tell all your friends not to vote for them either.

    • cleangreen 12.3

      Me neither PR.

  12. Puckish Rogue 13

    "as long as Simon Bridges is leader"

  13. bwaghorn 14

    Ha ha i thought it was the ideas of april . Then i figured that cant be right because simon has no ideas.

  14. Grant 15

    Simon knows of politics what the moon knows of lobsters.

  15. ankerawshark 16

    Surely Simon is gone burger by now??? Pretty soon I would have thought.

    However as always from me #lets keep Simon. I am loyally supporting his place as National Party Leader.

  16. peterlepaysan 17

    I am a natural sceptic. ( I have to declare conflicts of interest.)

    I am sceptical of all polls, equally.

    NZ polls asking the question about "preferred prime minister" need to be viewed with cynicism, rather than scepticism.

    We do not have a presidential system.

    Party leadership may have some effect at voting time. It is the party vote that matters.

    No oppostion leader, or co-party leader is ever going to be a preferred party leader.

    The question matters to the media and pollsters (it is about PR spin advertising etc etc),

    The media (gasp) have to have something, anything to gossip about.

    I do hope Simon keeps his current job forever, if he ever leads a government he will become preferred prime minister. Sigh.

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