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The strange tale of the Auckland Central selection and Merv from Manurewa

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, August 11th, 2020 - 57 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Dirty Politics, national, Politics, same old national, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

National truly is the party that keeps on giving.  Every day there is a new scandal, a new event that casts doubt on National’s ability to organise a piss up in a brewery, let alone run a country.

Yesterday it was the the chance for Roger Bridge, who apparently also goes by the description of Merv from Manurewa, to shine.  From Tova O’Brien at Newshub:

Newshub can reveal allegations that a senior National Party figure attempted to derail one of the Auckland Central candidates’ nominations with a peculiar midnight phone call to talkback radio pretending to be someone he’s not.

Roger Bridge is a big deal in the National Party. A Queen’s honour recipient, he’s on the party’s board as its Canterbury representative. But Newshub has been told he has a secret alter ego, sometimes going by ‘Merv’.

‘Merv’ called into Marcus Lush’s talkback show last Monday just before midnight.

Although Bridge denies it was him, several National Party sources, including MPs, have listened to the audio and told Newshub ‘Merv’ and Roger Bridge are one in the same.

“Look I’m in Manurewa and I’m a bit confused because there’s billboards all over the place with this Nuwi girl,” ‘Merv’ told the talkback radio show.

‘Merv’ was confused that Nuwanthie ‘Nuwi’ Samarakone was National’s Manurewa candidate but was also pitching to stand in Auckland Central to replace Nikki Kaye who resigned from politics last month.

“She’s already standing in Manurewa and I was ready to vote for her but now I understand she’s going over to Auckland Central – I’m that confused.”

He was seeding doubt about her candidacy and casually dropped in a line about a photograph.

“I’m that confused and then I have this photograph come through today.”

Bridge denied it was him but the Herald has reported that Merv from Manurewa rang from Bridge’s phone.  Maybe he was at a party and someone else used his phone as a prank.

The video in Tova’s story is very funny, nearly as good as that of Todd Muller’s early days as leader and the emergence of Paora Goldsmith.

Twitter last night burned with the light of a thousand suns.  Merv trended big time at the very time that National wanted clear space for its newly selected Auckland Central candidate Emma Mellows to get some positive news exposure.

Labour’s Manurewa candidate Arena Williams reached out to Merv and invited him to get involved in her campaign.

 

Questions were asked about National, whose leader says there is nothing wrong with her being white, whose last leader was the proud owner of a MAGA hat, whose front bench is remarkably white still, whose Palmerston North candidate has some pretty racist stuff released on social media, who had one MP retire after saying some really untrue racist stuff about returning kiwis, whose list has seen the demotion of its strongest performing Pacifica MP and whose sole Sri Lankan candidate just got shafted, and its commitment to multiculturalism.

And Judith Collins denied that she was the leader of the National Party, even though National’s own website says she is.

This incident, although at one level trivial, neatly summarises National’s problems.  An apparent ham fisted attempt to skewer a selection away from a woman of colour by a very senior Party official, multiple leaks from within National, gee they must hate each other, and a level of disorganisation that makes the phrase “cluster fuck” appear to be too tame.

Please keep it up National.  You really are convincing the country that you are not fit to govern.

57 comments on “The strange tale of the Auckland Central selection and Merv from Manurewa ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    The Sri Lankan woman doesn't know how lucky she is!

    • greywarshark 1.1

      Link? I'm not up with the latest.

      • Chris 1.1.1

        My guess is that there isn't a link, although you could just look at anything about the national party that's been published in the last couple of months.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Its in their Nat DNA…John Carter aka "Hone" callin' up the ol Banksy line

    • I Feel Love 2.1

      & gawd knows how many others, perhaps the whole talk back radio is a sham, just National MPs & members being "long time listener, first time caller"s.

    • lprent 2.2

      I'm always just astonished that people still engage with or listen to talk back radio. I think that I last heard it back in the mid-1990s in a taxi.

      Mind you I saw a fax machine the other day. My immediate response was to wonder why such a historic relic was left out in public and wasn’t in a museum.

      But I guess the centennial light bulb is still burning after 119 years in its workspace. It has only been turned off a few times in its career. It is like the innovation of conservatives – running at a apparent 4W to preserve it. Seems like a Merv approach to politics.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centennial_Light

      • Tricledrown 2.2.1

        Talk back radio dominated by exclusive Brethren moning about communism by stealth.

        The EB have gone to ground quitely working behind the scenes .there is always lots of meetings at their churches running up to the election.The National party rely on them to do pamphleting ,pushing policy and cynically trying to undermine the left on sqauk back radio.

    • No "Hore" was his monica, and he became speaker "The keeper of the rule book"

      Now how "National" is that?

  3. Brian Tregaskin 3

    https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/marcus-lush-nights/audio/merv-from-manurewa-talks-with-marcus/

    Full 10 minutes here, you have to feel sorry for the candidate.

    • No, sorry, you almost have to feel sorry for the Natz party if that is any indication of the level of intelligence (even if assumed) in their higher echelons.

      Even Marcus doubted Merv's ability to vote, lol.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    "I was ready to vote for her", said Merv.

    "Are you trying to be humorous?": Marcus.

    "I'm that confused!"

    "How confusing is that?"

    "I don't think it's confusing at all". Marcus.

    "Do you think you should be voting?" Marcus.

    • Gabby 4.1

      Maybe Marcus could ring him up and ask for Merv, well, this is the number he called from, you must know him at least, etc.

  5. swordfish 5

    But Newshub has been told he has a secret alter ego, sometimes going by ‘Merv’.

    Puts me in mind of the Right-leaning ACT-supporting Merv who used to comment on Brian Edwards Media Blog a decade ago. Poor bloke often had the piss relentlessly taken out of him … not least by Brian himself … do wonder now if he was the same deep-fake "Merv".

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    “Merv” the perv?…getting into creepy territory here. Nuwanthie might be seen as an aspirational grasper, but she got physically fit and was proud of it, and that would not do at all it seems for some of “old National” in the leafy suburbs.

    Oh well, Auckland Central is still definitely in play. Emma who?

    • PaddyOT 6.1

      Emma the Dilemma!

      What does it mean when a banker says,
      "Our community, like the rest of the country, is worried about the future. What our economy will look like, whether they will have a job and how they will support their family."

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=12281044

      And as if attending Jehovah school before her door knocking campaign repeats the same false dichotomy
      " They certainly don't need tax increases adding any more pressure on their household budget. But that is exactly what Labour and the Greens will do, adding a wealth tax on hard-working New Zealanders, going after their income, their house and their KiwiSaver."

      Knock knock, ” Hi I'm Emma and I'm worried about getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect you from each other. "

      • AB 6.1.1

        " getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect you from each other"

        Indeed – Mellows sounded like she should be in managed isolation somewhere deep within the bowels of the ACT party.

        Disclaimer: I am not Merv

        • greywarshark 6.1.1.1

          Heard this quick-speaking, authoritative young woman this a.m. If she came up with that sentence she has got an interesting new line of vicious political spiel.

  7. Incognito 7

    The National Party has been boaged by scandal and appears to be unmerved by the fact that it is still leaderless.

    Where’s Max?

    Jaaaassonnn!!

    Matty?

    Crickets …

  8. observer 8

    It's great fun, and I was laughing as much as anyone last night as Merv went viral. But it's also serious, and let's just recap what has happened here:

    A senior National Party operator deliberately and dishonestly undermined his own party's candidate. He then lied about it to the media. We know about this only because other National people exposed him (probably tipping off Newshub, and certainly confirming his identity to the reporter). And although we don't yet know, given the background of attacks on Ms Samarakone (photos, allegations) we can reasonably infer that Bridge was not acting alone.

    So the National Party is being undermined by at least two camps – Bridge/Merv and friends, and those who outed him.

    And their leader pretends this isn't happening.

    • ianmac 8.1

      I watched the clip while surfing across the channels late last night and watched the alleged Merv deny (blatantly lie?) that he was Merv. Cannot be true. A senior integrenous National member could never lie. Impossible.

    • greywarshark 8.2

      Time for a cliche vid here. Rinse the blood from my toga anyone. It could become a traditional roll-out at every election, like Santa Claus appearances at Christmas.

      (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR_5h8CzRcI

  9. Descendant Of Smith 9

    To be fair National did promise to deliver more Bridges.

  10. mauī 10

    I do feel sorry for Merv.. this sort of confusion does happen from time to time where people think they are entitled to 2 different electorate votes and aren't entitled to a party vote.

  11. National had an opportunity to move on from their homogenised old fossil image. This clusterf*ck shows that the old boys network is fully in charge now.

    • ScottGN 11.1

      Goodfellow must be seething right. One of his attempts to overcome National’s worsening ‘diversity’ problem has been thwarted by those old fossils.

      • roblogic 11.1.1

        I suspect the Nat candidates are selected on their ability to bring in big donations, personal attributes (or morals) are not a factor

        • woodart 11.1.1.1

          yes, as with many things in life, "follow the money" has worked for the nats. always interesting to see different candidates competing ,and work out who has the most ability to bring in the $$$. rural nats think they still control the nats, but usually are to tight to give much. maybe the nats are finding it hard to get the yuan this election.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.2

          Morals are definitely a factor in choosing National candidates – the party funders prefer that they don't have any.

  12. Macro 12

    It's obvious why Crusher is not the Leader – it's such a "Strong Team" that they are all Leaders. Problem is they all want to lead in different directions.

  13. greywarshark 13

    This is all very unmerving! What next? Leading off in different directions – they are trying to copy these stunts.

  14. mac1 14

    I'm looking forward to the September Herald headline. "Auckland Central Mellowed Out: Greens in." The subheading might read, "Auckland Central voters via their ‘spliff’ votes send a joint message to National heads to get their s**t together."

  15. ScottGN 15

    I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for the late ring-ins who were lined up at the last moment to save the party from more embarrassment after the higher ups decided not to bother following the rules. None of them had any real chance of getting selected. I guess they got told their time was coming…?

  16. I Feel Love 16

    I'm reminded of this https://www.salon.com/2017/12/04/alt-right-women-are-upset-that-alt-right-men-are-treating-them-terribly/ RW women surprised that RW supremacist attitudes are against them too. Also the Young Act bullshit.

  17. Marcus Morris 17

    Still think that Labour doing an "Epsom" is a good ploy. Two strong leftish candidates could well split the vote and let Mellow take the seat. Green for the electorate vote, Labour for the Party. A “win win” outcome.

  18. observer 18

    Let's play a game of "Campaign Conundrum"!

    You are a candidate, official or even leader of a political party. One of your team has chucked a hand grenade into your campaign. Do you …

    a) strongly condemn and demand resignation(s)?

    b) distance yourself, but with weasel words?

    c) support him?

    OK, you might think b) is weak and c) is obviously absurd, nobody would be that stupid … but you'd be wrong:

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/423260/judith-collins-on-roger-bridge-allegations-it-s-not-something-i-approve-of

    Dale Stephens is a National candidate. Or Labour double agent, who knows?

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 18.1

      Bridge "is one of the most honourable men he has met" ..Well if he's only met National party men that could well be : ).

      Rest of NZ laughs ass off

    • OnceWasTim 18.2

      Gawd! Dale Stephens even tried to 'rescue' me once in the dim distant, even though I didn't need rescuing. I think someone might have made a movie about him once upon a time. Something about a 40yo. Pure as the driven, and just as naive.

      I'm surprised he didn't opt to become one of Hannah Tamaki's little projects

      • greywarshark 18.2.1

        He's got a nice crinkly smile, sort of I'm an okay bloke like Bill English. Goes far in National circles. Song – 'Let a smile be your umbrella, on a rainy, rainy day.' I think they'll need one.

    • greywarshark 19.1

      I've just been reading a book that talks about philosophy 'means and ends'. He has probably wrestled with them there high-falutin' theories that he operates under.

  19. roblogic 20

    Tau Henare is pretty confident that “Merv” is Roger Bridge

    https://twitter.com/tauhenare/status/1293013694436188162?s=21

  20. gsays 21

    With that selfish, opportunistic streak, I am surprised that Nuwanthie ‘Nuwi’ Samarakone isn't higher up on the list, therefore safe in a job come November.

    Job security, I assume, was her motivation for wanting to switch electorates so late in the piece.

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