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Todd Muller is no Jacinda Ardern

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, May 23rd, 2020 - 151 comments
Categories: national, paula bennett, same old national, Simon Bridges, todd muller, uncategorized - Tags: ,

It was a big day yesterday.  I thought National’s abysmal polling would take its toll and it did.  Simon Bridges is now a footnote in the history of New Zealand and Paula Bennett is neither deputy leader nor proud to be a westie. Todd Muller is the new leader of the opposition.

Who is Todd Muller?

I have no idea and if I don’t then most of the good people of Aotearoa won’t.

Has he lit up Parliament?  He did on one occasion but it was as the interjector, not the speaker.

It was his interjection during Chloe Swarbrick’s speech on the Zero Carbon Bill that let to her retort “OK Boomer”.

This should be tatooed on the foreheads of all boomer politicians, of which as a class I am a member.  We have performed poorly.  Climate change is almost out of control.  We need to do better and should have done better.

Thus Todd Muller became an integral part of one of the most culturally significant events of the past 12 months.  But on the wrong side.

When I go through Standard posts where he has been mentioned I can only find very few. I see that he was rational about climate change and managed to get National to agree to the Zero Carbon bill. Big tick.

He was broadly supportive of the Government’s EV Vehicle feebate policy which Simon chose to attack.

But he did get into battle with Te Papa because it dared to suggest that dairy farming was not good for the environment.

The overwhelming feeling I have about Todd is one of Meh. He does not appear to be as conservative as Simon Bridges wanting to drive New Zealand back into the middle ages. He is willing to side up to Nikki Kaye and so must be prepared to be relatively liberal on social issues. He appears to be mainstream in economic terms, wanting to ensure good business conditions.

But I have no idea what he stands for.

My impression is that he is John Key without the back story and without the pizzazz. Key had the benefit of years of soft media and framing as National’s new hope.

Muller has none of this.

He feels like a relatively decent human being, from a rich background, bright enough to engage in issues at an intellectual level and to realise that the world is in a big mess.

And tribal enough to want to keep onside with his party.

But he is no John Key.

And he is certainly no Jacinda Ardern.

151 comments on “Todd Muller is no Jacinda Ardern ”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    Head Master takes over from school boy.

  2. Sacha 2

    He is also taking advice from Hooton.

    • tc 2.1

      Which indicates he had hollowmen approval so no surprises as under MMP they can't afford soimons toxicity anymore.

      Soimon would’ve made 2023 almost impossible for them so give luxo a better base this way.

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        Different factions. This is not good news for the hardcore christians behind both Luxon and Bridges.

        • Chris 2.1.1.1

          Yes, the left's now going to need as much help as it can get. It's just such a shame bennett or collins didn't get the job. National's depth of idiot polarising potential leaders is astonishingly strong, yet they go with mr bland. What a waste.

        • Tracey 2.1.1.2

          It is if Nats lose the Election. Shipley didnt survive

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Chloe got it wrong & owes him an apology. Categorising people on looks is uncool. Media commentators have pointed out that he is actually GenX.

    Muller distinguished himself by corralling the Nats into acceptance of climate change legislation. That would not have been easy and you ought to give credit where it's due. He has demonstrated leadership ability via political practice.

    I view catholics with contempt, of course, so I hope whatever bigotry he has been brainwashed into dissipates. I like that he is forthright and articulate, and wants to lead in a positive spirit. Partisan alignment is built into our archaic democracy, but he will wear the strait-jacket more loosely than Simon – if he translates his declared intent into consistent behaviour.

    I'd like to see him lead the Nats in a more progressive direction. This can be achieved via transformation of rightist political ecology. He has signalled he wants to work with the Greens. I predict Marama will be incapable of appropriate response, but James will be receptive. As for our other parliamentarians, I expect evasion instead of openness. Collaboration requires willingness to identify common ground. Partisans are inept.

    • Sacha 3.1

      Swarbrick was criticising his attitude, Dennis, in a way that young people were familiar with. It's not about looks or age. Hopefully he learned from it. Seems smart enough.

    • Red Blooded One 3.2

      I agree with Sasha, it wasn't his looks she was reacting to but his attitude when interjecting, perhaps you now owe an apology to Chloe. Even if it had been her misjudging his chronological age, still no apology would be needed, as a prematurely wizened 60 year old with a face like a dropped Pavlova I don't ask for apologies, like yesterday at the Barbers, when the automatic assumption is I was due the Pensioner Discount. I politely offer the full amount and go on with my day. Within his first press conference I learn he is a "family man" and he bases his social policy agendas on his catholic faith, this gay man ain't hoping for much more acceptance by the Nats. Hated Key but at least he knew how to "read the room" on social policy

      • Sacha 3.2.1

        Kaye as deputy will need to offer the party's more liberal supporters something to vote for. Her caucus will negotiate the limits of that between its factions.

    • Gabby 3.3

      Quacks like a boomer, probably a boomer, neocon Den.

    • observer 3.4

      " owes him an apology. "

      For what? A response to an interjection, a joke, less aggressive than you'd hear in the House any hour of the sitting day. Don't be absurd.

      The only reason anyone noticed is because it was picked up later. No MPs complained at the time (and they'll raise a point of order for anything). Literally every MP in Parliament would have to apologise if every interjection or light-hearted response was singled out in this way. Question Time would be abandoned.

      Perspective, please.

      • Dennis Frank 3.4.1

        Perspective, please.

        Okay, you can readily get that by imagining the reverse situation: he applied an identity-politics frame wrongly to her.

        There'd be howls of outrage from hypocrites onsite here, right? So my perspective is that morality ought not to be selective. Re the lightheartedness, I agree…

        • observer 3.4.1.1

          As I have just pointed out (and you ignored) we don't need to imagine anything. We know what MPs do.

          Read Hansard. Not imagined.

    • clare 3.5

      " I view catholics with contempt, of course, so I hope whatever bigotry he has been brainwashed into dissipates" what was that one about pots and kettles? encapsulated in one sentence.

    • tracey 3.6

      Progressive, so he brought in Collins, Brownlee and Hoots or is that just his ‘do anything to win’ play after which he returns to his ‘values’. Honesty aint one

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    "Climate change is almost out of control."?

    We're controlling it? Who knew?

    "Ok Boomer" was an amusing moment (James Shaw could barely contain his laughter) but no one seems to have picked up Chloe's mangling of "nuclear moment", where she says instead, "nucular moment". It's a common mispronunciation made by younger people smiley James Shaw's management of the Zero Carbon Bill, his finesse in working with National (credit goes in the main, to James, not Todd as Wayne claims) his doggedness and the restraint he showed, was exemplary and has not been properly recognised, even here. As a political operator, he is vastly underestimated, which can be a good thing, if you're a student of Sun Tzu, but irksome if you have to listen to criticisms of him, knowing the real situation smiley

    • Jilly Bee 4.1

      I also used to get annoyed at Richard Prebble's use of 'nucular' – the word was used far more often when he was a Labour MP and supposedly well educated.

      • Anne 4.1.1

        To be fair to Richard Prebble he had a mild speech impediment which caused him to slur his pronunciation. Also, he was the author of the anti nuclear legislation passed by the Lange government – in 1986 I think it was. I give Prebble credit for that legislation.

  5. "I view catholics with contempt, of course, so I hope whatever bigotry he has been brainwashed into dissipates. "

    I'm a bit gobsmacked by that broad brush statement Dennis

    I'm reserving my judgement until I see how he reacts under pressure.Speechmaking is one thing ,actions another.

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Just to clarify, Francesca, I was brainwashed by Anglicans as a child, and view them with contempt in consequence. Reading the history of christianity later as a teenager intensified my feelings considerably. Inquisition, etc. Witch-hunts. The doctrine of original sin is evil. Anyone who thinks babies are born sinners is sociopathic.

      Not all religions are barbaric. Buddhism seems benign, zen clever. Once, long ago, I wrote a paper for the Greens entitled Church of Gaia but decided not to circulate it. Becoming captivated by one's inventions can be a fatal trap. I'm too much the freethinker for that to happen!

      • Peter Chch 5.1.1

        Buddhism benign! Are you serious?

        I could mention the obvious of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, invariably led by Buddhist monks, or the part Buddhist monks played in the ethnic cleansing by the Sinhala in Sri Lanka in their civil war, but of far more note is the almost total lack of social services in most Budhist dominate nations in east Asia.

        The incredible cruelty to animals, prisoners, disabled and so on and the almost complete indifference to the suffering of others is a direct flow on from the evil me me me Buddhist teachings.

        • Dennis Frank 5.1.1.1

          Thanks for that response, Peter! Any generalisation ought to be balanced by considering what it omits, in the interests of realism. I'm aware that the Buddhist hierarchy in Tibet used traditional practices sometimes turning villagers into victims, and the invading communists got some traction on that basis. I wouldn't blame the Dalai Lama as he was young at the time and any power structure will breed abuse due to human nature.

        • millsy 5.1.1.2

          I note that the urban liberals went silent about 'free Tibet' when the Dalai Lama spoke out against mass immigration a few years back.

      • RedLogix 5.1.2

        The doctrine of original sin is evil. Anyone who thinks babies are born sinners is sociopathic.

        "The so-called innocence of children is more a matter of weakness of limb, than purity of heart."

        Augustine

        Any parent know this; that children are not born socialised, it has to be programmed into them.

        If we strip back all the detritus that has been slathered over the doctrine of original sin, at the core lies a self-evident truth, that humans are capable of both great good and great evil. And the line between the two runs down the middle of every human heart. And that awareness of this should keep us both humble and cautious of our choices.

        But like all true ideas, it has been taken too far by fundamentalists; and distorted into a doctrine that insists humans are condemned by default to be fallen and broken and can only be redeemed by their special version of belief. This is of course a self-serving sales pitch from people usually running their church/faith as a business enterprise.

      • Bearded Git 5.1.3

        The Buddhists in Sri Lanka slaughtered the Tamils.

        The Buddhists in Burma carried out ethnic cleansing against the Rohingyas.

    • Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh will be spinning in their graves. I have traveled in many Catholic countries Dennis where numerous people gain solace from the religion-it is silly to single out this religion as you have. (I’m agnostic, probably atheist)

    • Shanreagh 5.3

      I don't have a problem with a concern over Catholicism. Nat supporters talk a whole lot in MB etc about the mythical and so-called 'Communists' Labour ie obedience to a power or dogma outside of NZ.

      I view adherence to the Pope/Priests/Roman Catholicism as an adherence to a power or dogma outside of NZ. In my experience it does not matter which side they come from the effect is that they mostly exercise votes against the wish to change the lot of people for the good ie mostly against abortion, whole of life, homosexual law reform.

      There are others who do not support these causes but they have probably come to these views after their own investigations as opposed to unthinkingly taking on board the teaching of the church.

      I saw Dr Gerald Wall, Labour MP for Porirua in full flight in Parliament in the abortion law reform bill and it was so truly frightening that he held his religious zeal above a way forward. I was there with a young political group and was just about in tears afterwards at the man's inhumanity. His religion was more important than NZ women not having to suffer from backyard abortionists or endure having to travel to Australia through the SOS movement. So it is not just the causes but the whole slant on life.

      Similarly the picture of the MAGA cap. A query needs to be made about this. I don't know why you would keep an item like that on your 'brag' shelf unless you were proud of it. The two ministers, (Nat & Lab), I worked for did not put anything like that ie souvenirs in their offices unless they were proud of them.

      He 'seems' OK but I do have those two concerns about him. Would never vote for him/party in any case but Nat leaning folks should be doing due diligence on his possible anti social causes and support of Trumpian politics.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    He came across very likable on the news ,but I liked key for the 1st few months when he became leader till I saw him for what he is.

    Hopefully Muller has a more honest approach to politics.

    • Robert Guyton 6.1

      I've spoken with Todd Muller on several occasions; when he was Fonterra Man and when he was Climate Change Chap for the National Party. As spokesperson for Fonterra, he was deeply soaked in their ideology and pushing their message hard; that message was not an environmental one, by my measures, or any for that matter. Same for his climate change message; not that of The Greens, not mine. Economy First, is Muller's cry. Don't be fooled into thinking he "sees the big picture". Friendly-enough bloke.

      • bwaghorn 6.1.1

        I have little time for organic or nothing lot . I have no problem with water storage, but I am against the rampant explosion of dairy in the wrong places at high stocking rates.

        I'll be watching . That said I dont think I've ever voted national (the late 80s early 90s are foggy) and am unlikely to change that .

        • roblogic 6.1.1.1

          In the 90s, voted against asset sales – failed

          In the 00s, voted to stop child poverty – failed

          In the 10s, voted to fix the housing crisis – failed

          All NZ governments have been shit, except perhaps the current lot

          • Gabby 6.1.1.1.1

            They're mired in the shit their predecessors left lying around to bung things up til it's their turn again.

          • westgateman 6.1.1.1.2

            Thankfully he is no Jacinda, we don't need another smiling comrade who fails at all her promises Lets do this, has turned into We can't do this. Kiwibuild failed, Tree planting failed, Poverdy failed, Homelessness failed, City Rail failed, Taxes UP, unemployment UP, Economy destroyed, Socialism and control Increased.
            Did not quarantine borders early despite health expert calls to do so, allowing more Covid19 to enter. Does not take the hard decisions until pushed into a corner.
            no, we need a real leader – Todd Muller.

            • roblogic 6.1.1.1.2.1

              haha comedy gold, you should have a regular spot. especially liked the punchline at the end

            • patricia 6.1.1.1.2.2

              Toll Muddler might need to do some mahi… would he know what that is?

            • woodart 6.1.1.1.2.3

              be honest westie, until last week you wouldnt have been able to pick him out of a police lineup. a real leader, he is not.

              • observer

                Be fair, the "real leader" got 0.2% in the latest poll. Luckily Westgateman answered the phone that day.

                The "comrade" got 76% approval.

            • WeTheBleeple 6.1.1.1.2.4

              Mullers first speech as leader was full of lies. But he's different right?

              He's got that MAGA cap, but it's only a souvenir. Like he's kept it on display as he doesn't want to offend anyone with rejection.

              You know, like when your nephew paints a terrorist manifesto – and you pin it on the fridge.

            • KJT 6.1.1.1.2.5

              Oh look.

              Another unthinking, parrot. Just like Muller. Can’t you clowns even write your own scriptures.

              https://www.facebook.com/gerard.otto

              "Todd Muller's Dishonest Speech
              Todd Muller must have thought New Zealanders had short memories when he said Jacinda's government had failed on every measure it had set itself in his first speech as Leader of the Opposition yesterday.
              "Labour has failed against every measure it has set for itself in Government – KiwiBuild, light rail, child poverty, prison numbers." – said Todd.
              It was only a short while ago on 25th February that New Zealand learned 18,400 children had been lifted out of poverty around us.
              This meant the Government were on track to meet their 3 year and 10 year targets to reduce child poverty – especially because the $5.5 Billion families package had only been partially implemented in that result so far".
              • westgateman

                Far better than the useless comrade leader we have now who only got in thanks to the giving into all of old idiot Winnies demands. All she is good for is smiling and magazine cover.
                There is no way she or her lot has the experience or depth to lead us through the economic damage caused by not quarantining the borders earlier despite desperate calls from Health experts and National.

                • Sacha

                  Why didn't the gubmint just listen to that genius Mr Britches!

                • KJT

                  Was National calling for "earlier shutting the borders" the day before, or the day after, they were criticising the Government for too tough a lockdown and "destroying the tourist industry"?

                  Or when that fool, Bridges started a petition for the Government to do what they were already intending, which he already knew about. To pretend it was his idea.

                  Hint to fools. Shutting down a country is a little more complex, and takes longer, than shutting your garden gate.

              • westgateman

                NNot a lot of change in Child Poverty. It was falling faster under national.Graph showing percentage of children living in households with less than 50 percent median equivalised disposable household income before housing costs are deducted, 2013–19. Text alternative available below graph.

            • Gabby 6.1.1.1.2.6

              Look, will Todd Munter pay the mall owners the ridiculous rents they demand?

          • bwaghorn 6.1.1.1.3

            Maybe I should vote for the nats . Going backwards I've voted ,top,labour ×2,nzf, greens ×2 . I'm the kiss of death to political dreams.

            • I Feel Love 6.1.1.1.3.1

              Kiss of death, same here bw, Mana, Maori Party, … first party I voted for was Animals First (i liked their logo), those were the days!

    • patricia 6.2

      Look at the company he keeps. The members who stood up with him Gerry Brownlie and Judith Collins….

      So he, on behalf of National, is promoting "You" and your "Community" …

      Does that mean they have given up on "Individual Responsibility"???

      Or is he saying what he thinks we want to hear? A harmless front?

      I find it hard to believe they have changed to any degree. It is still "Economy" and "Power"

      • bwaghorn 6.2.1

        Will he continue the dirty politics and the list spots for sale of key and bridges or is he a cleaner type of politician.

        • Gabby 6.2.1.1

          Look, Todd Munter will know nussink about any dirty tricks. Look, he's not responsible for the happy mischief people he hardly even knows get up to. Look, Todd's hands are clean. Bathed in the blood of the lamb..

      • Gabby 6.2.2

        Look, he's of by and for Hardworking Kiwi Families Who Know Their Place.

    • Incognito 6.3

      It only takes seconds to form a first impression, which is hardwired in our evolutionary psychology. With Key, it took me 1.3 sec and I never changed my opinion of him. To be fair, I’d heard and read about him and my bias had already formed and I tend to cling to my biases for dear life. I realise this makes me only slightly unusual.

  7. Cinny 7

    Jacinda has changed the face of New Zealand politics.

    After todd's speech last night it's obvious he's inspired by her approach.

    Word on the street is… nikki has a temper which she takes out on her cellphone, apparently she has gone through quite a few of them.

    Meanwhile, I’m absolutely delighted about the demise of paula, karma, karma, karma.

    • Sacha 7.1

      After todd's speech last night it's obvious he's inspired by her approach.

      Well his speechwriter is good at echoing it just enough – watch for references to 'community' and rugby league rather than rugby.

      • Cinny 7.1.1

        his speechwriter is good at echoing it just enough

        Hehe interestingly he is wheeling out the same lines from said speech this morning on The Nation.

    • mosa 7.2

      " Meanwhile, I’m absolutely delighted about the demise of paula, karma, karma, karma "

      The higher they are the further they fall.

    • peterh 7.3

      Talk about karma. Simon gone, and the useless one had her vote

  8. Kay 8

    The few remaining practising Catholics I know (the rest lapsed long ago) seem to follow the teachings of Jesus when it come to loving thy neighbour, caring for the poor, sick, etc. and some even practice it via practical charity work. For some reason, right wing self-proclaimed 'Catholic' (or any other 'christian' politicians seem to conveniently forget about this bit. Think Bill English here.

    Any politician who claims to be a practising Christian (or any other religion) and at the same time deliberately uses their power to enact/votes for policies that harm a lot of people are not Christian.

    • MartinC 8.1

      Then there is the social conservative catholic agenda on homosexuality , abortion, drug reform [including alcohol] and euthanasia. He has come out against Cannabis reform legislation. There is a voting record that can be checked for Abortion.

    • Chris 8.2

      Yes, but many of the 'charitable' Christians, Catholic or otherwise, still shun a strong rights-based welfare system, for example. 'Giving to the poor' and 'Jesus and the cup of water' for many ease consciences. It's also at the heart of a belief that private charity is the most appropriate means of wealth distribution.

      • Kay 8.2.1

        Good point Chris, I'd forgotten about that. Probably why most of the Catholics I know are lapsed. Possibly because most people I associate with are in the lower socioeconomic group so have no problems at all with a strong social security system, and are more inclined to be involved in voluntary work anyway.

    • Marcus Morris 8.3

      Key's "inner circle" looked like a seven-a-side from St Bede's Old Boys. Interesting. Key must have been the odd man out.

      • G unit 8.3.1

        Really, who? Please name them.

        Serious, I'm interested to know.

        • Marcus Morris 8.3.1.1

          A slight exaggeration on my part – the "tight five" might have been a better analogy.

          I have included a link to an article from Stuff (obviously a little out of date now) which makes very interesting reading.

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/editors-picks/8256626/Christchurch-school-heads-NZs-Ivy-League

          • mac1 8.3.1.1.1

            Who were they? Cosgrove, Damien O'Connor, Brownlee, Carter, Dunne in 2013.

            Two Labour, two National, one former Labour gone to United Future.

            So to say that John Key had 5 St Bede's old boys in Key's inner circle is not correct.

            The motto of St Bede's is "Fide et Opere" which translates as by faith and by good works. The school had a tradition of social justice.

            I went there. I was known as the class communist, and a future MP. Sadly, or not, neither eventuated. But the social justice ethic stuck, even after lapsing from catholicism; or especially perhaps……….

            • Marcus Morris 8.3.1.1.1.1

              You are correct – Bill English went to St Patrick's College, Silverstream. Nevertheless another RC in the cohort. I'm not sure that I am happy with the inference that one needs to be an RC to have a strong sense of social justice . If, in fact that is what you are implying,then I would object very strongly. Jacinda Ardern was raised a Mormon (long since rejected I understand) and Social Justice exudes from her. Men of good will, who try to live by the so called Golden Rule can be found in abundance throughout any society, secular or otherwise.

              • mac1

                No implication meant, and hopefully none to be found. As my last sentence hints at, the schooling we had may have had little to do with it. For, and as I regret profoundly, such a lack of social justice has also emanated from the same religion.

                I did say "a tradition" and of course that means there are other traditions of social justice. I would not attempt or be able to name them all.

  9. Nick 9

    The MAGA hat in the photo of his precious items in his office cabinet, a picture tells a thousand media releases.

    • Robert Guyton 9.1

      His supporters will most likely like seeing that cap. It's only us lefties that recoil.

      • I Feel Love 9.1.1

        and that is probably the point, "this'll wind the lefties up", just more hollow bullshit.

        Regarding the Christian politicians, there's a particular sect, evangelical American, that see Jesus as a champion of the "Winner", it's particularly ugly, basically if you're poor and or sick it's just coz Jesus don't love you tough stuff buddy.

      • Sacha 9.1.2

        I doubt his supporters will care either way.

      • roblogic 9.1.3

        I doubt it. Republicans that have a brain and a shred of integrity despise Trumpism (see the Lincoln Project). Similar here in NZ I suspect, only the hard right rump like that shit, most think of themselves as moderate centre right

    • Robert Guyton 9.2

      It's interesting though, that Nikki the Deputy so admires the Trump-lovin' guy and believes him so decent.

    • MartinC 9.3

      The 'Brownshirt' among the ex mil ephemera.

    • Obtrectator 9.4

      Don't forget, folks, that MAGA has been given a local rendering (which I won't repeat here). Some reactionary type in Marlborough was on TV a while back, sporting such a cap with the altered wording plainly on view.

    • Incognito 9.5

      That MAGA cap is nothing more than virtue whistling to certain folk frequenting certain blog sites. It signals that he’s one of them. Meanwhile, the rhetoric coming out of his mouth is aimed at a different crowd. The Leader speaks for and on behalf of the Party, not the other way round. Simon had some difficulty with that distinction and he’s now toast.

    • Fireblade 9.6

      Todd Muller supports Trump.

  10. SPC 10

    So far he has moved National from jobs to community/jobs/family. And from National + 1 (Epsom Robin) to taking the place of Labour in a coalition with NZ First and Greens.

    His strategy – me and us vs Jacinda + a few (Grant, Chris … .

    His rebrand – National in the community, tea and sympathy for business.

    It's a tea for two and two for tea approach.

    Helen Clark and Helen Clarke (Black Sticks). Todd Muller and Todd Miller (rugby).

  11. Anker 11

    Disagree about the hat Robert. I think most of nzders if not the world see Trump as mad, bad and dangerous to know. Muller will brush it off, but I think it speaks volumes. Needs to be circulated on social media

  12. Nick 12

    Will he be seen as better than Bridges? It's a low bar, so attainable.

    Anyway, Muller is crap, as is anyone with a Maga cap.

    • Anne 12.1

      And the fact he displays it as some sort of prized trophy is an eye opener. He has to be a Trump admirer otherwise it would be tucked away in a bottom drawer.

      I also noted a tone of contempt for the Greens in one of his interviews about the deal he did with James Shaw. It was something to the effect that had to tone down the policy and get… all the ridiculous stuff removed. Ridiculous stuff? Doesn't sound like he has a good grasp of the C.C. issue as is being claimed.

      • Dennis Frank 12.1.1

        I agree with that. However, democracy is the art of the possible. Compromising the solution to social problems is inherent. Don't rule out the possibility that his personal view gets put to one side so he can secure the optimal deal that will work.

      • Grumpy 12.1.2

        He displays the Maga hat alongside the Hilary Clinton campaign badge. Both were given to him by the respective presidential campaigns

        • weka 12.1.2.1

          it's still a major mistake for someone with leadership ambitions.

          • Incognito 12.1.2.1.1

            Muller is a manager with leadership aspirations. What could go wrong? Then again, he could be the exception that proves the rule. The National Party portrays itself as an astute manager of the economy but don’t ever expect leadership from them; this requires a vision and bestowing people with agency to make decisions that benefit them as individuals but also their local communities and our collective society as a whole. Managers are generally ill-suited to give others agency and actively avoid it. Leaders, OTOH, depend on it and aim for it.

          • G unit 12.1.2.1.2

            Really, in that case most members of the house are guilty of accepting a gift from someone you deemed to be deplorable at some point in time.. Sorry, I strongly disagree with your statement. I'm sure if we looked on the current PM's home office shelf we could all pick something to be outraged about. Next you'll be talking about his micro aggressions.

            • observer 12.1.2.1.2.1

              Missing the point. It's not that he owns a souvenir. I've got stuff from my travels overseas, didn't throw them out because the commies were in charge of East Berlin or wherever.

              It's his defence when questioned that is so revealing. "I've got a Hillary Clinton button too!".

              Muller appears to be a rational person with some awareness of reality, and any such person watching Donald Trump says "OMG this guy is totally fucked! This is a shit show!".

              For reasons of diplomatic protocol he obviously can't phrase it quite like that. But I expect him to think it, not because Muller is a liberal but because he is not an idiot. I don't expect him to use weasel words like "not necessarily agree" or whatever.

              If he thinks that the right-left divide is Trump-Clinton, that is seriously scary. Key was delighted to be associated with Obama and Hillary, because he is a moderate conservative like them. That's what I expect the leader of the National party to be.

              He should be asked if he would prefer Ardern or Trump. The answer even to a NZ conservative is obvious, not a moment's hesitation needed. It doesn't seem so obvious now.

            • weka 12.1.2.1.2.2

              this argument only works if you think the Trump is not so bad.

  13. Cinny 13

    todd keeps repeating how strongly his faith plays a role in his vote choice.

    It should be his constituents voices that reflect his vote, not his own religious beliefs.

    Edit …. Am watching The Nation, ‘the corrupt ship’ is on the show. Wasn’t muller working in brash’s office when the ship overthrew him?

    • I Feel Love 13.1

      Hooton was working for Brash too I think, I wonder if we'll still get Hooton on RNZ?

      • Marcus Morris 13.1.1

        A slight exaggeration on my part – the "tight five" might have been a better analogy.

        I have included a link to an article from Stuff (obviously a little out of date now) which makes very interesting reading.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/editors-picks/8256626/Christchurch-school-heads-NZs-Ivy-League

      • Marcus Morris 13.1.2

        Probably will. We still get doses of the appalling biased Michelle Boag almost weekly

      • Chris 13.1.3

        RNZ didn't seem to mind Hooton disclosing where Nicky Hager lived after he heard there were Chinese businessmen who may want to kill Hager. It was an extraordinary situation – RNZ had Hooton on the air dribbling on, in the name of commentary, about sordid events he himself was in the thick of. If RNZ kept him on after that there's probably nothing that could make them want to axe him.

    • roblogic 13.2

      Muller worked for Bolger and is very much of the same mold, according to an RNZ piece I heard last night

  14. dv 14

    Interesting that Kaye was not behind Muller in the pic of the newconf yesterday,

  15. SPC 15

    Some interesting comments made when he won party nomination for the BOP in 2014.

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/03/muller_declares_for_bay_of_plenty.html

    A prediction he would beat Bridges for the leadership and he was also better than Jami-Lee Ross

  16. swordfish 16

    He's just a Pretty Communist as far as I'm concerned.

  17. Dennis Frank 17

    Farrar: "I’ve personally known Todd for around 25 years, from when he was President of the Waikato Students Union. Waikato is a pretty lefty campus so it is quite an achievement for a then member of the Young Nationals to be elected President. Todd was on the Young Nationals Executive with me and as you would expect in the early 90s there was quite a battle between the drys and the wets on economic policy. Todd was always the moderate voice in the middle, so we nicknamed him “Moistie – a little bit dry and a little bit wet” 🙂" https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2020/05/todd_muller_the_new_national_leader.html

    "He was talked about as a future leader when he was in his 20s. I even blogged in 2014 that he would be Prime Minister one day, when his candidacy for Bay of Plenty was announced."

    Someone operating in the middle like that instinctively knows the best position for leverage. Winston got there by trial & error. He will see Muller's instinct as a serious threat.

    • Lack of charisma is the problem Dennis, particularly in this social media society.

      • Dennis Frank 17.1.1

        Yeah, can't beat Jacinda if you lack the x factor, eh? However the incoming depression makes her vulnerable. If it is merely a recession when the election arrives, she'll probably win. Dunno if business folk can spin on a dime fast enough…

    • I Feel Love 17.2

      The Waikato Uni Student Union was the first to go voluntary, was he part of that? Not particularly "lefty", totally stripped the uni of student services that the compulsory union fees paid for, so Farrar twisting things, again.

      • I Feel Love 17.2.1

        and actually it's debatable about Waikato Uni being "lefty", it has a huge Management school, when I was there those big mouths were everywhere spouting Act crap, so again Dr Wayne, you're wrong & spinning.

    • Gabby 17.3

      You get fckall leverage in the middle neocon Den, stick around there long enough and you're roadkill.

      [Your ‘snappy’ one-liners are getting tiresome and your snide “neocon Den” has been over-used (six times, by my count). Take a day off for each one of those and when you come back please stop the personal mockery, thanks – Incognito]

  18. AB 18

    Muller is going to appeal to those natural National voters who have temporarily deserted. He's going to lift that 29%. I don't think there's any point pretending otherwise.

    Personally I already dislike him more than I did Bridges. He's a cookie-cutter, reflexively right-wing, born to rule, business bloke with a totally inflated sense of his own worth. A type I've seen often, and exactly the type that has already wielded far too much power for far too long.

    • Gabby 18.1

      Look, if he can show signs of being a bully he'll win a lot of electors over.

      • AB 18.1.1

        Heh. I think the whole Muller candidacy is re-asserting the myth that 'business experience' is what matters in a politician. The COVID-19 crisis sidelined business voices and gave an audience to some very smart people in the senior public service and parts of academia. This is what freaked people on the right. Muller is trying to reclaim the narrative and make business central again.

        • Bearded Git 18.1.1.1

          Agreed AB, except business AND farming. Lots of votes there though.

        • Chris 18.1.1.2

          Precisely, which is why it's crucial for Labour to actively bust the myth that National are and have historically been better at managing the economy. The ease at which Muller was able to say the government did a good job with covid, and now the country needs National to fix the economy is because that's the prevailing view. It's not true, never has been, but is a huge reason why Labour loses elections. Get the truth out there and things may be very different. This should be seen by government as a pivotal concern.

          • RosieLee 18.1.1.2.1

            100%

          • Fifi 18.1.1.2.2

            National can claim they were able to successfully steer the country through the Global financial Crisis and the two Canterbury earthquakes without decimating the economy.

            National have announced they will not raise taxes. Middle New Zealand who have experienced tax bracket creep will be listening.

            Last week Labour were sleep walking to victory, and could have governed alone, thanks to Jacinda's superb handling of Covid 19, but a day is a long time in Politics, and no longer is a Labour victory a foregone conclusion.

            Grant Robertson may well be able to get us through this, but he has few capable Ministers to back him. To date, there has been little detail on the recovery plan from Labour.

            For instance, Labour announced the Kiwibuild reset, but no detail as to how and where. Meanwhile, our construction firms are downsizing, and our building supply companies are laying off staff. Raw materials are in short supply. National will use this to their advantage.

        • aom 18.1.1.3

          Now about that myth – Muller might be just the person to perpetuate it. Two claims to fame were senior management positions, first with Zespri then Fonterra. Both seemed to have major f**k-ups that seemed to have occurred about the times of his respective tenures.

          • Gabby 18.1.1.3.1

            Did Munter actively break them, or just sit back and collect his cheque in nat style management?

          • Chris 18.1.1.3.2

            Maybe someone will ask him about that on national tele?

  19. Chris 19

    "Who is Todd Muller? I have no idea and if I don’t then most of the good people of Aotearoa won’t."

    Sure, that may be the case, but it doesn't mean those who the polls suggest Labour's taken from the nats won't vote for him. For many it'll require just the slightest excuse to return to their roots. And the fact we mightn't know much about Muller right now says more about how we need to respect him, instead of ridiculing him. Ardern I'm sure is taking nothing for granted. Bridges isn't the leader anymore.

    • observer 19.1

      Obviously he will lift National's support. Only the deluded would think otherwise. Bridges was strongly disliked by many Nats and ex-Nats. He isn't Bridges, so add 5% overnight.

      My first impressions of Muller as a media performer were favourable. He comes across as comfortable in his own skin, which is really important. Ardern has that quality more than anyone, and Key did too. People respond well to that (we're talking swing voters and the general public here, not nailed-on left or right partisans, our views don't matter much).

      We can't say much yet about the "internal" aspects of the job (dealing with caucus etc). That's a lot harder than being genial on TV. But he has definitely ticked the first box for National.

  20. ianmac 20

    To me Todd = Stolid.

  21. Byd0nz 21

    National lies, always have done, also will do, and with the 3 c's leader they have now. Catholic christian capitalist, the lie remains.

    • Bg 21.1

      They all lie.

      Kiwibuild?

      A billion trees?

      I'll be the first in the mine?

      Ending child poverty is why I entered politics?

      We went hard, early?

      Next year's on me?

      Lying is not the Modus operandi for one party, it's for all parties

      [Lying is not the Modus operandi for one troll, it’s for all trolls. Please lift your game, thanks – Incognito]

  22. Tiger Mountain 22

    Who is Todd? Well he is about to receive blanket media coverage for a few weeks Micky Sav, if the constant pieces online today are anything to go by. So the general population will know soon enough who the Nat spinner’s version at least, of Mr Muller is…

    This old school lefty can tell you who he is right now–Conservative, born to rule attitude, representing the interests of capital first and foremost.

  23. haha classic!

  24. millsy 24

    Too bad Labour didn't show the same decisiveness in early 2008 when they were polling at the same level as Bridges for several times in a row. Phil Goff might have secured them another term.

    As for Todd, I wouldn't write him off, especially with Hooton advising him.

    • gingercrush 24.1

      How would Goff have stopped Key in 2008 if he couldnt in 2011? And replacing Clark would have reeked as desperation

      • millsy 24.1.1

        Goff lost in 2011 because he wanted to increase the age of superannuation to 67 by 2020. Having to wait for two more years to go on super would have financially broken a lot of people.

  25. observer 25

    Here's one very important way in which Muller is NOT like Ardern.

    Today Muller said today that he voted against abortion law reform, and takes similar conservative positions on "conscience issues", because those are his values.

    That's fine, he is entitled to those views. Except … the values aren't meaningful. He does not want to change the law he voted against. Even if he is the Prime Minister.

    Abortion law changed because Ardern put it on the agenda in the 2017 campaign. She didn't have to. It wasn't party policy (both Labour and National have MPs voting either side). But it was an issue that mattered to her because of her values.

    So her values are not a slogan on a T-shirt. They are turned into reality, by taking action in Parliament/government. Muller proclaims his principles are strong … but he has no intention of doing anything about them. Even if he has the power to do so.

    So which one is the real leader, with real values?

    Muller interview on The Nation.

    • As with National's other religious conservatives, his "values" are both contradictory and highly contingent on voter acceptance of them. That interview you linked to highlights both:

      1. Contradictory:

      "Todd Muller says while he voted against abortion and euthanasia, he wouldn't seek to impose his beliefs on anyone else." As though voting for legislation weren't a matter of imposing your beliefs on people, or something.

      2. Contingent on voter acceptance:

      "Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013, before Muller entered Parliament. He didn't outright say whether he would have voted for or against it, but is "totally relaxed" about it now, in 2020." Like support for smacking children, opposition to gay marriage is now beyond the pale in NZ politics so National's religious conservatives have to pretend they no longer believe those things. So much for "values."

  26. Muller did the right thing for his national party.

    Bridges was wrecking any chance of electoral relevance.

    Maybe the natz should stop relying on trumpian pr advisers.

    • bwaghorn 26.1

      Yip while muller wont be great hed be 10 times better than bridges as PM if it comes down to it.

      • Barfly 26.1.1

        Yeah mine it drill it pollute it sell it – he'd be great for vulture capitalists

  27. Fifi 27

    No, he is not Jacinda, but has a better grasp of economic policy than Jacinda, and much as we'd like a Labour victory, it's no longer assured.

    • Adrian 27.1

      Bullshit. he was at Fonterra and Zespri and both fucked up pretty badly. Being a manager only requires the ability to hide under the desk when the shit hits the fan. He has even been practising with Chris Bishop.

    • Marcus Morris 27.2

      Do you really think that Jacinda makes her decisions in a vacuum. She has shown time and again, but especially in recent times, that she listens to her advisors. There are plenty of members in treasury as well as in her own party, who have much savvy on matters of the economy. You may not have noticed that she also includes business leaders in her discussions. The Nats will push the "economics naivety" for all its worth but history has shown that this is a lot of nonsense. Going back a bit in years, history has judged Arnold Nordmeyer, who was pilloried for his so called "Black Budget" did make the right calls.

  28. Obtrectator 28

    My own fear is that Jacinda could fall victim to the same kind of thinking that saw Churchill turfed out in 1945. He was a hugely popular and respected wartime leader, but was regarded – probably correctly – as not the man to oversee the reconstruction of Britain once hostilities were over. The electorate figured he'd be too likely to go back to the same old same old. They wanted better. (Whether Attlee's administration actually delivered on that is of course open to debate, to say the least.)

    Jacinda could come to be perceived – I said perceived – in the same sort of way. A great lady to have around in a crisis, but not really one for organising and supervising the sustained hard yakka of rebuilding NZ.

    It isn't a question of how many talented and capable members there are in her team, whatever "Tom Duller" might have to say on the subject. In any government, of any political stripe, there are about four or five people who really matter; the rest are just there to make up the numbers (when they're not being potential embarrassments). Jacinda would have enough of those key figures all right.

    I think it all really depends on the extent to which our own electorate will want to restore the pre-Covid state of affairs. Intensive dairy farming, cheap imports from China, welcome mat out for US prepper refugees, sod the environment? If all that continues to appeal (or at least doesn't actively turn people off), the blue flow-tide will roll inexorably back in.

    So between now and September, we need to develop our long-term vision of what a post-Covid society could look like, and sell it for all we're worth. Engage people's emotions; don't rely on pure reason (think Brutus vs Antony at Caesar's funeral). A little judicious economy with the truth (again à la Antony) mightn't hurt, either. The other lot certainly won't be too scrupulous in that regard.

  29. observer 30

    At first I was willing to cut Muller some slack, and to consider his explanation for the infamous MAGA hat … "just a souvenir". Maybe he lacks judgement, but would learn and be smarter.

    Not any more, this is very disturbing:

    Todd Muller sees no difference between Trump and his opponents.

    These are his own words, in context, not a misreporting or misunderstanding. Once you reach for "both sides" in the context of Trump, then the game is up. No defence possible.

  30. Observer Tokoroa 31

    At it again

    The Nat Trolls are out again – hopping into Hooton's shirts. Reading last century's prayer books- and suggesting that Jacinda Ardern, is as hopeless and crippled as National itself.

    Muller has sworn to get more and more money for the very wealthy landlords and farmers of NZ.

    Bridges and Kay in a new Suits.

    (Incognito – please change my name as above )

    [lprent: I count 22 distinct handles being used with this ’email’. So I can’t be bothered with someone who plays around this much. If your email works, I have sent a listing of them to you. In the meantime we’ll keep shifting it back to the most used one. ]

  31. Observer Tokoroa 32

    Money Money Muller Money

    National members know every wrought down on the farm – and every fiscal flick and twist in the polluted paddocks too.

    Sure, Fonterra knows more, because they sit in the towers saying nothing and handing out pittances now and again.

    Mr Muller is around now, to bring it all the money home – (for a few people note). He has promised he is going to make every Wealthy Nationalist get loads of Gearing and Trust stuff. Heaps upon heaps. The best money ever given to our Wealthy Wackers.

    No Nationalist will ever suffer a moment of discomfort.

    Every other New Zealander will get stuff all. That's the practiced Muller way.

    [lprent: I think that 22 handles is more than enough – don’t you? Changing this one to your most common one again. Please read my previous note (and respond soon) or face another life enhancing 6 month ban for not listening to moderators. ]

  32. Muller resembles Bolger, Kaye does not ,as yet, resemble Richardson.

    National was founded by two different parties desperate to keep Labour out of power.

    Nothing much has changed inside that party.

    The Bennet Bridges duo was never going to be an election winner

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