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The importance of party unity

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, October 7th, 2020 - 83 comments
Categories: election 2020, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, national, paula bennett, same old national - Tags:

If a party wants to become Government there are a few characteristics that is has to have.  Fiscal competence is one.  And unity is another.

Currently National has neither.  Its fiscal strategy is a $10 billion dollar joke.  And it is clearly factionalised and divided.

After yesterday’s incredible story about Denise Lee’s leaked email attacking Judith Collins for not understanding Auckland issues and for making policy on the hoof there was this extraordinary twitter fight between former chief of staff and occasional Standard reader Matthew Hooton and former Deputy Leader and pseudo westie Paula Bennett.

Newshub has the details in this video.

Believe me I know how this works.  I lived through the Labour experience in 2014.  Leaks are the weapons used by dissenters and if used properly can catch out and undermine leaders and make them look like fools.

But it is when the fight goes public that you know things are really bad.  I have not seen this level of public disruption from National for decades.  Here are the tweets for all to see.

Bennett’s tweet is astounding.  So National had has policy, benchmark polling and campaign work prepared but the previous leadership refused to share it.  Strong team eh.

Hooton is not showing signs of backing off.

This is very messy.  During Labour’s darkest times at least the dissent only erupted publicly after the election.

And it gets worse for National.  The only way to describe last night’s debate is Jacinda was ascendant and Judith was appalling.

The most important feature of a campaign is momentum.  Yesterday’s events have well and truly killed any momentum National may have had.

83 comments on “The importance of party unity ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    Someone needs to ask the good Reverend at St Thomas Tamaki just how often Judy and her boof-head husband turn up to Sunday service.

    • Chris T 1.1

      It is interesting you throw personal abuse at both Collins and her husband and then make out they are the boof heads.

      • In Vino 1.1.1

        If one reeks of personal hypocrisy, one can expect some borax.

        • Chris T 1.1.1.1

          I haven't seen her husband spouting hyprocisy.

          • woodart 1.1.1.1.1

            do you spend much time with him?

            • Chris T 1.1.1.1.1.1

              No

              I just watch media.

              Wouldn't know him if I bumped into him.

              Just find it funny Muttonbird choses to slag the bloke off, because he doesn't like his wife.

              Personally would never slag off Ardern's partner, no matter how much he wastes police time pretending to smuggle eggs into countries.

              • solkta

                There is good reason to slag him off. Did you not see the national memes thing in the media you watch? Or on here:

                Left wing twitter is the worst *

                • Chris T

                  Why

                  Are people now not allowed to voice their opinions on their own social media?

                  • solkta

                    Of course they are "allowed" to voice their opinions. But as mickysavage points out in the post i linked to:

                    As much as possible leaders’ spouses should be left out of the media gaze. But regularly and publicly attacking the opponent with racist misogynist material makes them fair game.

                    The guy is a boof-head. Fair comment.

                  • froggleblocks

                    So you're pointing out that Collins' husband is allowed to voice his own opinions on his own social media, while telling Muttonbird that they can't voice their opinions on (this) social media?

                    Do you not see a little bit of hypocrisy there?

                    • Chris T

                      I haven't said Muttonbird needs to do anything.

                      Just questioned his crass messages and slight hypocrisy.

                      If you can point out where I have feel free to post

                    • Tricledrown []

                      Chris T crying in your beersies when your party and leader are deeply involved in Dirty Politics and get caught out and then get caught time after time denying .

                      You can 't pathetically claim to be the victim all the Crap has come back and now sticking and being amplified as National tries more lowdown Dirty tricks to win at all cost's.

                      National has no one to blame but itself and its ingrained corruption.

                  • Rapunzel

                    Well that's a little creep down memory lane

          • Patricia Bremner 1.1.1.1.2

            He has put awful stuff up on facebook.

        • peter sim 1.1.1.2

          Exactly where did J Collins get the information that Samoa was a month ahead of NZ i in clovid lock down?

  2. Pat 2

    Appalling in personality, though I thought she had the better of the 'debate'…though it seems from reportage I'm very much in the minority and happy to be so.

    • Gabby 2.1

      No Sarrrrandar Pat!

    • ianmac 2.2

      Always interesting to know the reasons for the opposite view Pat. What do you think were the 3 top reasons for Judith's win?

      • Pat 2.2.1

        Only saw the second half but thought that collins scored a couple of telling hits on Ardern (and also revealed her character, which imo a negative)whereas aside from a couple of quips about Brownlee Ardern didnt manage to nail Collins on anything, though she came close once but Collins was quick enough with a good retort. All in all while some policy was broad brushed there was nothing there to change anyones mind but Collins got it on delivery, not content IMO….but as noted just about everyone else is calling it the other way so Im happy, not that it will make any difference…and nearly 400,000 had voted before it aired

  3. Andre 3

    Unity, huh?

    As a committed atheist, I'm always amused by lines like:

    This distinguishes the one true faith from papists.

    • Pat 3.1

      I thought Hooton was only around fifty?…..that sort of rhetoric went out about the time he was born.

      • Gabby 3.1.1

        I'd like to hear from the photographer akshly. Must've been a very cunning stealthy one to get a snap from that angle and so nicely posed, without Codger's cooperation.

        • Muttonbird 3.1.1.1

          There was certainly more than one. She tacitly invited them in.

          • Gabby 3.1.1.1.1

            Did she ask the photographers, whom she didn't invite in, where they'd like her to sit? Or would kneeling look better?

        • JanM 3.1.1.2

          There is no doubt in my mind that that was posed for the camera. She has seriously resurrected 'truthiness' in the public eye.

        • Robert Guyton 3.1.1.3

          Monty Python's Black Knight was reduced to kneeling, but fought on, uber-confident of winning!
          Nek minnit!

      • Muttonbird 3.1.2

        It also highlights how far the political right have retreated to their core value – social division.

      • Anne 3.1.3

        What an arrogant and detestable creep Hooton is. The word papist is a disparaging term used by National Party-voting protestants who imagine they are superior beings. So, he went to Kings School and Kings College and thinks that gives him the right to look down his nose at others.

        I remember that attitude existed 60 plus years ago when I was growing up. It astonishes me there are people around who still think that way.

        • Pat 3.1.3.1

          guess I must move in the "wrong" circles

          • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.3.1.1

            Hooton's 'God' moves in 'mysterious ways' laugh

            Ardern’s ‘moves‘ remain a mystery to English Bridges Muller Collins.

          • In Vino 3.1.3.1.2

            'Papist' was commonly used in earlier times – certainly at the time of Guy Fawkes – but only students of history and well-read people would use the word nowadays. I took the sentence as a nice piece of irony by Hooten, worrying about who kneels when praying indeed! He is at least reasonably literate by modern standards, and maybe some people are becoming a little too dependent on 'sarc' tags. Personally, I do not want to 'sarc' tags appearing in newspaper columns, thanks…

            • Matthew Hooton 3.1.3.1.2.1

              Thank you. Of course it was. Calling Anglicanism "the one true faith" would, I'd have thought, made that pretty clear.

              • Dennis Frank

                Ah, Nats doing irony? Many would not believe such a thing possible. Clearly you're a cut above the hoi polloi. Do they actually have a patrician faction? If so, would explain the friction at the divide.

                Collins saying on the radio earlier that they don't actually have a local govt spokesperson makes the screenshot of the title of the woman claiming to be it seem a tad fractional. Perhaps a fraction too much friction happening? Or perhaps one of the two was doing irony?

              • Pat

                Ah sorry Matthew….us poorly educated folk call them Catholics these days…if we think it's necessary to distinguish.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1.2.2

              Personally, I do not want to 'sarc' tags appearing in newspaper columns, thanks…

              The problem being that sarcasm doesn't really come across well in text as it's missing a lot of the queues that would be available face to face such as tone and expression.

              In other words, to get sarcasm across in text requires very careful writing or /sarc tags.

              • Incognito

                The problem with face to face is that I cannot easily tell the difference between queues and cues, which is much easier in written language 😉

              • In Vino

                I never saw a 'sarc' tag in Oscar Wilde's written works. Maybe our readers need to sharpen up..

            • Incognito 3.1.3.1.2.3

              It was a tweet. Personally, I think MSM headlines resemble tweets more and more and my fear is that newspaper will be replaced by Social Media altogether. I think we’re almost halfway there.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.2

          It astonishes me there are people around who still think that way.

          Doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The only way to have multiple faiths is if people believe their one is better than all the rest.

        • RedLogix 3.1.3.3

          Agreed Anne. I was brought up in a middle class Anglican church, but I've never heard or used the term 'papist'.

          When my mother was a child she was off school for much a year with whooping cough (it was a big deal in those days), and no-one in her immediate family could or would care for her. Except for a fairly distant Catholic family who took her in and cared for her, despite already having numerous other children in the household.

          She took great care to explain this to me, and made it clear that in her mind these old denominational conflicts were an abomination.

          My partner of many decades grew up in a Catholic family, and while both of us hold many strong views about the failings of that Church as an institution, we both deeply appreciate her extended family and get together with them whenever possible.

        • tc 3.1.3.4

          Don't forget the behaviour that copped him a life ban here by placing someone in danger.

          A man at home on the right with all his mates shilling for a living.

  4. Enough is Enough 4

    Love the concern trolling almost as much as I loved Paula taking the bait- in public.

    What a shambles

  5. Muttonbird 5

    Collins either has zero control over her staff or she's lying:

    Stuff reported on the day one of Collins' handlers actually checked with church staff whether it was okay for the media pack to follow her into the church.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/10/nz-election-2020-judith-collins-blames-the-left-for-criticism-of-church-photo.html

    And she’s now in full cornered John Key mode:

    Despite the leaders of the Labour and Green parties having nothing to say publicly about Collins' prayer session, she said "the left" had been "really obnoxious" about it. It's not clear who she was referring to.

    It’s all a left wing conspiracy!

  6. Ad 6

    I'm looking forward to three more years of a Labour led country.

    So fun to see the right going through what we went through in the late 1990s.

    • Stunned Mullet 6.1

      I'm not looking forward to the next three years.

      At present National are utterly woeful and will make an appallingly weak opposition…that wouldn't be so concerning if the economy was booming and the current Labour lineup included more than a handful of competent ministers.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Having a strong opposition doesn't really make for better government.

        For that a better democracy is required rather than the elected dictatorship that we have.

        • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1

          I think it's more of a veiled oligarchy – Muldoon was the last one that really dictated. But they've certainly made a fine mess of things.

  7. Incognito 7

    A ‘leader’ who does have no confidence in their ‘team’ doesn’t receive to trust and respect in return. This rag-tag shambolic collection of MPs fearing for their political lives needs to sort their shit. If you cannot work as a team with your own people, how on Earth can you expect to be able to work with coalition partners or the State sector? Judging by the last three years, National will need at least two more terms to clear out dead wood and re-invent itself. In the meantime, they will suffer from a thousand cuts from competing parties. Lowering the electoral threshold would increase National’s agony.

    • Pat 7.1

      lowering threshold is a double edged sword so both major parties will fight it tooth and nail

      • Incognito 7.1.1

        Yes, which is a pity. In the current climate [no pun], I think National is more vulnerable.

        • Pat 7.1.1.1

          in the current climate Im not sure its a good idea to facilitate fringe groups….but then i guess that depends on the definition of fringe

          • Incognito 7.1.1.1.1

            I’d call them “minor parties” and, IMO, they serve a purpose in a (our) democracy. If the Greens and NZF don’t make the cut, we might end up with just three parties ‘representing’ the people in NZ Parliament. Maybe that’s a good thing in the current climate?

            • Pat 7.1.1.1.1.1

              as said…it depends on your definition of fringe…will we lament the fact that Advance NZ wont have a seat at the table?

              • Incognito

                Only if you’re a supporter and voted for Advance NZ, in which case your vote doesn’t count the way you’d like to and you won’t necessarily feel represented in Parliament in the same way as others. But hey, that’s ok, because we live in a democracy 😉

      • Phil 7.1.2

        Yeah. If the threshold was drastically lowered (or completely removed) NZF would be back, but so would TOP, the Maori Party, The New Conservatives and potentially even Advance NZ. On balance that's probably a national-leaning gaggle of small parties.

        • Pat 7.1.2.1

          Its more the fragmentation of purpose thats a concern…parliament dosnt function terribly well as a melting pot of ideas and if the electorate breaks up into ever increasing factions where does the discussion occur?….having said that no threshold is more democratic.

      • Ed1 7.1.3

        I believe it is sometimes worth taking the high ground. Labour and the Greens would I believe benefit from having the integrity to accept the recommendation of the last review of the electoral system and to lower the threshold – from memory 3.5% was recommended. If a political party gains enough party votes to elect over 3 MPs, then I believe they deserve to be in parliament. On the other hand, the "coat tailing" provision which waives the threshold requirement for a party than gets an electoral seat should be removed, as it distorts the proportionality of parliament. If the results are what we expect it is possible that these changes could be made with a true statement that they would not have affected seats allocated at the 2020 election.

  8. Stephen D 8

    Looking forward to the January BBQ season. The fight for the heart and soul of the National Party will be at stake. Will the Christian Right prevail? The Farmers rump?Business men for sale? What’s left of the urban liberals?

    My popcorn futures are looking good.

    • woodart 8.1

      think it will be taken over by a nth shore farmer looking for a quick do-up, so a combo of what you suggest.

    • Georgecom 8.2

      Can I order a very large carton please

      delivery day before national party summer caucus bbq

  9. mac1 9

    Sorry, Stephen D, I grow my own. But you're right. The BBQ season will show more singed eyebrows and reputations than caused by errant gas lighters. The sound of spitting will be more than just the lamb. There will be little noise of champagne corks popping; rather the muted conversations of huddled green-beer-bottle-supping men and panic amongst the canapés.

  10. NZJester 10

    National has never had either, it has only ever had the illusion of both.

    They always leave the county in a bad state. A lot of the underfunding from their previous time in the treasury benches is still being cleaned up. The health system still needs a lot of repair that will take another term or more. The environmental impact of their policies will take decades to fix
    Ops on my phone and put in the wrong name. Should have been NZJester not TheNZJester

    [Fixed error in user name]

  11. observer 11

    This is very funny …

    Party unity in Ponsonby!

    (clue: Hamish Price. If National are still using him, then they really are divided and lost).

    • Gabby 11.1

      Hammish must've been taking a break from leading opinions up the garden path.

      • observer 11.1.1

        I honestly was feeling a bit sorry for Emma Mellow. She stepped into a mess, created by National's caucus, not her.

        But then she chose Hamish Price as her campaign manager. If she's happy to embrace the toxic, then she deserves the consequences.

    • Robert Guyton 11.2

      This is the best lead-up to an election, ever!

      • Incognito 11.2.1

        For some, it might end with a sickening thud and a shattering of dreams in the wind of oblivion. I just hope (!) I won’t be among those.

  12. Georgecom 12

    News today that National is struggling to find people who actually want to meet Collins out on the streets and are needing to “plant” supporters amongst the populace to make it look like Collins is liked and supported. Rent a supporter.

    • Incognito 12.1

      She could use her hubby. Vernon Tava used that trick and didn’t think it was misleading.

      • woodart 12.1.1

        no. collins has already admitted she has no control over her husband, so , hard to make him wander the streets, pretending to be a fan.

  13. weka 13

    "Bennett’s tweet is astounding."

    Incredible. Do you think it's true, or PB being vicious?

    • Peter 13.1

      Good for Bennett telling it as it is. (was)

      Of course she always tells the truth. I won't look at the calendar but I'm happy to think about a timeline.

      Hooton goes to to work in a 'role in National Party leader Todd Muller's office.'

      Muller was trying to be the leader of the party and lead them into the election to see them the next Government. Hooton clearly worked very closely with Muller and was a 'personal friend of Muller's for 30 years.'

      They worked so closely together that Hooton was not trusted with information about policy, benchmark polling, campaign themes and or a campaign grid.

      Maybe they were distinctly party business so not in Hooton's realm. No, can't be that, the leader makes the policy and announces it as we've seen this week.

      The unified party with the high calibre and ability on board were to rise like a phoenix after the Bridges debacle. Remember the photos?

      All that though was bathing in a sea of bitchiness and back-stabbing. Ah, Paula Bennett.

      It is so appropriate that Collins is the leader now and gets a chance to flaunt the bitchiness. Someone's obviously told her that's what will sell her, people like it. Trouble is she listened to someone who said that or relied on her true practised and innate self and came up with it herself.

      No-one actually told her there is a world out here. Basing your behaviour on the way the National caucus operates and just is, is slightly misguided. Bitchiness, nastiness, lack of trust, back-stabbing, arrogance and incompetence are not what people want and don't reflect what most people and communities are.

  14. Georgecom 14

    The last 2 odd days has echoes of Don Brashes last days on the election hustings back in 2005. A carefully constructed election campaign coming apart at the seams. For brash of course it was his duplicity. For Collins it is her caucus lack of respect and for her and dislike of her. Nevertheless in the final few days when the leader should be gaining momentum a series of events come along to tarnish them, cause people to question them and force them to be continually defend their position. Karma is returning to Collins at the worst possible moment for her.

  15. Really ? Photographers stalk church visitors?

    That was a very carefully pre arranged photo op by JC (?).

  16. Uncle Scrim 16

    What amazes me is why National, under 3 different leaders, has consistently thought there are votes to be gained from undermining and trashing NZ's Covid response success story. For months it was Australia had the best approach, then Taiwan was great (yay, one country in the world did better than us, good on them), then Collins tried Australia if you don't count Victoria, now it's Samoa. Sure they've wanted to tarnish Ardern and Labour, but NZers are very attuned to international news/comparisons and warmed by punching-above-our-weight stories; at worst, it risks appearing unpatriotic – why would anyone think that was a good tactic?

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