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Todd Muller is Simon Bridges with less personality

Written By: - Date published: 1:33 pm, May 26th, 2020 - 68 comments
Categories: climate change, jacinda ardern, national, nz first, same old national, Simon Bridges, superannuation, todd muller - Tags:

Yesterday was an interesting day.

Jacinda Ardern managed to ace an interview during the middle of an earthquake while at the same time poking a bit of fun at her partner Clark Gayford’s love of sheds.  She again attracted International attention and reinforced what a cool head she has during an emergency.  This 30 second clip live on TV will reinforce already stellar support for her in her role.

Meanwhile Todd Muller has completed his reshuffle.  The overwhelming impression is that National’s front bench is very, very white.

Among the biggest losers, Simon Bridges who plunges 48 places and Paula Bennett who drops 11 places.  Maori will notice their treatment.  Paula is now ranking behind Chris Bishop.  If current dire polling continues this could be the difference between being returned to Parliament and not being returned.  And Alfred Ngaro dropped 9 places.  Take that Pacific brothers and sisters.

National’s ethnic representation policy is in turmoil.  They face the prospect of Jin Yang, Melissa Lee, Parmjeet Parmar, Kanwaljit Bakshi no longer being there.  National’s fundraising will take a hit.

Meanwhile Todd’s first exposure on National TV was as you say not a good start.  He kept tacking to his talking points.  He wants to open up as quickly as possible and thinks the Government is not doing enough to support businesses.  He seems to have missed the billions of dollars spent on the wage subsidy.

He came out with a few clangers like this one:

I think we would be spending money.  I’m not going to quibble over whether it should be more or less.

Can someone tell me what was meant by this.

Jack Tame has the perfect response to this: 

You are criticising the Government for a lack of detailed spending but you can’t even tell me if you would spend more or less. How is that for detail.

Muller replied by saying that he had a phenomenal team.  And that National had a comprehensive economic plan that will resonate and people will relate to it and they will support risk taking and entrepreneurship. It is clear to see what platitudes National is going to use this election campaign.

As to policy the only details that we received were that National would reverse the Government’s ban on off sea oil drilling and not increase taxes.  He also stood by National’s policy to increase the retirement age.

The strong impression I received was that Muller was not on top of details of National’s policy.  This will be a problem if it continues. 

He was asked about his relationship with Winston Peters.  He has apparently not spoken to him since being elected leader.  He was asked about his personal position on working with Winston.  he replied by saying that it was up to caucus.  He refused to rule it out. This represents national’s only hope.

The complete interview is worth a watch.  Tame did an excellent job.  The first thing they teach you in law school is to keep your questions short and look directly into the eyes of the person you are questioning. Tame did these exceptionally well.

Excuse me for saying this but Muller’s performance was Sheareresque in its quality.

Matthew Hooton must be deeply worried.  All of his twitter posting of random numbers (now under lockdown) may have not improved things for National.

68 comments on “Todd Muller is Simon Bridges with less personality”

  1. JanM 1

    I get the impression that he has been promoted to his level of incompetence. That interview last night was a looloo!

    • lprent 1.1

      It was interesting… And not in a good way for National.

      What keeps popping into my head while watching him was David Shearer being wooden. Banging out the talking points. Like the awkward reversions to Shane Reti at the end. Sounded like a tokenism

      He appears to be better at speeches than dialogue. Sluggish when having to think on his feet. He was slightly better in announcing the lineup shuffle.

      Also watched Amy Adams with John Campbell – way more relaxed and communicative.

    • Unicus 1.2

      AND Simons got hair

      Bald men don’t win elections – ask Winston😂

  2. "They face the prospect of Jin Yang, Melissa Lee, Parmjeet Parmar, Kanwaljit Bakshi no longer being there."

    So would that be 6 people they could lose?
    Or would it be 3?

    • woodart 2.1

      depends whether they have a bag of cash in each hand, free market rules dont ya know?

    • Ken 2.2

      Good question.

      There's a complex equation – I think one Chinese person is worth two Indians and three Filipinos.

      I'm not 100% sure of those ratios….perhaps someone could ask The Toddler.

  3. mac1 3

    It has to be said that at least Simon Bridges knew who were Māori in his caucus. Watching Todd Muller nod his head in agreement with his deputy pointed out the fourth gaffe he has made in four days.

    Early days so in our observations of Mr Muller’s road to discovery we must be maganaminous…….

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    "I think we would be spending money. I’m not going to quibble over whether it should be more or less." Can someone tell me what was meant by this.

    Having 50c each way? Looks like the critics are right. He has not started well.

    The first thing they teach you in law school is to keep your questions short and look directly into the eyes of the person you are questioning.

    I can see why that's optimal training for the courtroom. Also excellent training for tv reporters (if they are given it – I suspect not).

    Not my job to try & figure positive spin on his performance, but if I were Hooton I'd explain the necessity of talking to the people rather than reciting party lines. Could be his confused stance derives from the interim state between established Nat policy and the mix he wants caucus to adopt. Best gloss I can think of…

    • mac1 4.1

      Another gloss is that he doesn’t know whether more or less money should be spent. This from a self-professed businessman who in his own words is able to read a balance sheet. Pffffft!

  5. roblogic 5

    Bridges’ polling has been awful, the public perception of him was a disagreeable yapping naysayer, even alienating the base blue vote. So the Nat strategists thought a grey cipher, a temporary figurehead that says nothing of substance, would minimise the damage of the coming election

  6. peterh 6

    The 40 day wonder said he was going to give it to Kelvin Davis ,Davis just made them look like a bunch of fools in question time

    • Paddington 6.1

      It’s hard to imagine Davis being capable of making anyone look a fool except himself. he’s one of a number of weak links in Parliament (from both sides) and he’s Labour’s 2IC.

      • ianmac 6.1.1

        Trouble is Kelvin doesn't lie and in trying to be fair he, self checks all his words which slows his delivery. But today he made McClay, who looked eager for Kelvin's blood receive a bloody nose for his trouble.

        • Paddington 6.1.1.1

          Kelvin may not lie (although I find that in a politician hard to believe), but the man is a liability. He's given too many dead possum interviews to think otherwise.

    • anker 6.2

      Just watched the clip of Kelvin Davis. McLay…egg meet face

  7. Still think "Deer in the headlights" He will underestimate Kelvin because he thinks he is smarter. Big mistake.

  8. He should do well.

    He basically acknowledged Jacindas Government as being good at dealing with the Nations Health Crisis, but that now we need the steady hand(sic) of a National Government, to take care of the economy and the rebuild.

    I bet you your average National voter, who is ever so grateful to Jacinda for saving their lives, will be very relieved to have an excuse to return to National.

    He doesn't need to have as much personality as Bridges….he just needs to not have Bridges personality full stop.

    He looks and sounds like everybodies favorite family trust building Lawyer.

    He's a loaf of white bread in a Nation of bog standard white bread eaters…

  9. Paddington 9

    " Maori will notice their treatment. "

    You give Maori too little credit. And you make the all too common mistake of considering maori as some single organism. They are not.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      Que?

      I disagree entirely with your first comment. Maori society is very sophisticated and very aware of what is happening.

      I do agree with your second comment however. Brevity sometimes does not allow for nuance.

  10. newsense 10

    Muller flip flops on MAGA, Kaye knows a Maori, and National are reborn #brownout

    • woodart 10.1

      can see a blackface cartoon with todd in a hat(?) being pushed around by the three dominant females behind him.

  11. Cinny 11

    My tory boss thinks todd is hopeless, to be fair he didn't think much of bridges. But he sure loved key and co.

    He said there was nothing new or fresh about todd, or his team.

    But he does rate Jacinda.

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    3 women in the top 4. I doubt you would have seen that 30 years ago

    • ScottGN 12.1

      No you wouldn’t have. But nor should it be something you feel the need to make a song-and-dance about these days.

  13. observer 13

    Like others I expect Muller to lift National's support simply by being Not Bridges. He doesn't need to inspire and it looks like he won't.

    What I didn't expect was the breakdown in caucus discipline. That is definitely worse than under Bridges.

    They aren't even hiding behind anonymity.

    e.g.

    National's Jo Hayes told Radio Waatea the matter was concerning and she would be asking Muller about it.

    "This is not good. We need to remedy this or you need to front it and take it head on and say why. You need to give a better explanation," Hayes said.

    (and)

    "The new leadership have chosen their top team and they are the ones who are answerable for it." (Paula Bennett).

    They grumbled off the record about Bridges, but public unity was maintained. Gone now.

  14. Nick 14

    TM is SB with less personality but more hats…..he's even got a nazi 2016-2020 collectors item.

  15. ScottGN 15

    It’s surprising that, having wasted his first weekend as leader getting himself distracted by the MAGA cap he’s only made it to Tuesday before ditching it.

  16. ScottGN 16

    Not exactly a glowing review for his first day from RNZ’s Political Editor Jane Patterson on Checkpoint this evening. She made the point that his overly prescriptive line of questions at Question Time in the House today simply gave the PM free rein to extol her government’s work at supporting jobs.

    • new view 16.1

      Supporting jobs yes. Supporting the businesses that provide those jobs no. An interest free loan doesn’t cut the mustard. Or is there a lot of help for businesses I’m missing. The coalition can’t pay wages for ever,or should I say us. . I would have thought huge support for business was imperative.

      • ScottGN 16.1.1

        I would have thought that subsidising wages for staff was a pretty good way of supporting the businesses that employ them.

        • Cinny 16.1.1.1

          I would have thought that subsidising wages for staff was a pretty good way of supporting the businesses that employ them.

          It sure is and has been appreciated by many business owners and their employees, and the local business where said employees spend their wages.

          The wage subsidy provided an excellent solution, benefiting more than just the business owners.

        • new view 16.1.1.2

          The problem is a lot of those businesses don’t have enough customers at present but their overheads remain. Rent, rates, paying for stock that might sit on shelves for too long, insurances, vehicle maintenance etc just to name a few. The Government is all about the workers which is admirable, but are they starving the goose that lays the golden egg. Time will tell.

          • ScottGN 16.1.1.2.1

            So basically you’re saying businesses should lay off staff and then get help from government to meet fixed costs? I think most people would prefer the wage subsidy.

            Another way of looking at National’s GST rebate is that they are asking NZers (some in straitened financial circumstances) to keep paying 15% more than they need to for goods and services in order to subsidise businesses.

            • aj 16.1.1.2.1.1

              I think new view is suggesting the govt should support ALL business costs..

              …but their overheads remain. Rent, rates, paying for stock that might sit on shelves for too long, insurances, vehicle maintenance etc just to name a few. The Government is all about the workers which is admirable…

              Which is a very interesting proposition.

              • How long should the government support business while they do not have customers? forever?
              • At what level of customer support should the govt step away.
              • Since the level of support required may be years, what level of debt should the govt be prepared to take on
              • And remember "The Government is all about the workers which is admirable" so we must presume new view want the wage subsidy to continue as well

              Can everyone see the problems with new view's proposition? and that of the national party, which new view is echoing. Which is why Todd Muller and his party won't be pinned down on any details, they are all mouth no trousers. All piss and wind. Talk is cheap so they need to be pressured into giving details of their plans, if they have any. They don't, so let hold a sweep stake how long they will hold out before they insist that 'tax cuts' are the answer. As it is has been to every hard question the right has had to answer in the last 30 years. I give them less than a month.

            • new view 16.1.1.2.1.2

              ScottGN. You said the businesses should lay off staff, I didn’t. The wage subsidies are crucial but they go to the staff. The businesses need separate financial support and should have it. If you read the news Some businesses are folding up their tent regardless. Why is that?

              • pat

                "According to MBIE, 58 percent of Kiwi businesses born in 2010, with no employees, ceased to exist by 2015. With up to five employees the figure was slightly better at 43 percent."

                https://nzbusiness.co.nz/article/fail-exposé

              • Graeme

                So the 'government', that's actually every taxpayer in the country, should pick up the tab for business's inability to plan for a downturn.

                We're in tourism, and have been for over 50 years over two generations. Shit like this happens, and quite regularly. We structure our business to be able to cope with downturns that come every 7 -10 years. Two years ago we looked at the way the world was going with the hyper mobility that developed over the last 10 years and concluded that something like this was likely. We're hurting, but it's sustainable and we've been able to negotiate a sustainable position with our landlord and bankers.

                Around us in Queenstown are a lot of businesses that are in a similar position, they've been around a long time and will be around for a bit more.

                There's also a lot that won't, some were struggling before Christmas and this will finish them off, but that's business, they come and go. And others just didn't see it coming and are overwhelmed by events. They've got a problem of their own making. Hopefully they will learn from this and learn to plan for the full business / economic cycle.

                The government has done the right thing by looking after the staff, they aren't the ones that did the business plans, but are wearing the consequences.

              • ScottGN

                So you want the government to pay businesses fixed costs and subsidise their staff’s wages? For how long? How much do you imagine that’s going to cost?

                • new view

                  I don’t know Scott. You tell me. At present half the work force is being paid a wage subsidy for doing nothing. Waiting for the businesses to fire up. Wouldn’t it be great if there’s a business there to go back to. The subsidy will finish at election time. I hope all those businesses that you seem to think should be able to hang on until then, can. One of us will be right. If I’m right many will go straight from the wage subsidy onto the dole. If I’m wrong the re elected Government? Will last until the following election and beyond.

                  • aj

                    Dunedin mayor urges H&J Smith to remain open in city

                    H&J Smith managing director Jason Smith said the group had applied for all Government support that was available to them. It had applied for the wage subsidy and the wage subsidy extension but it was only one cost to running a business, he said. The proposal was not a decision made solely on the economic effects of Covid-19, he said.

                    Smith believed it was not the Government's role to prop up every business in the country.

                    Jason Smith is the managing director and sixth consecutive member of the Smith family to undertake that role in the H&J Smith group of companies since siblings Helen and John Smith opened the business in 1900.

                    Sounds like he agrees with Grant Robertson.

                    • In Vino

                      new view – remember when you wrote some nonsense about starving the goose that lays the golden egg? Your ilk used to do their best to sell off and privatise that goose.

                      The damage to the economy has been done by the virus: stop trying to blame the govt. Wait and see what economic damage happens to countries that have not controlled the virus as we have.

                      Far too early to make your silly judgements

                    • new view []

                      In Vino. I’m not trying to blame anyone. Just pointing out the support to small businesses has been Minimal. (Interest free loan)The wage subsidy is for the staff whose employers aren’t able to pay them at present. The Government has done a good job of looking after them. The businesses have other overheads that may mean it not worth carrying on. If you think that’s silly then you are acting a bit silly yourself. My Ilk(whatever that is) is entitled to a point of view. People like you don’t seem to get that a lot of businesses won’t survive, so soon as the wage subsidy finishes those workers become unemployed. Or do you not give a stuff about them.

                    • mickysavage []

                      I take it you do not own a small business. I can show you thousands that are very grateful for the wage subsidy and a billion dollars has been lent out under the small business loan scheme.

                    • new view []

                      No I don’t own a small business. I never said they weren’t grateful for the wage supplement. Time will tell how many won’t make it back. The Government will be hoping it’s pulled the right strings because it’s own survival will depend on it. In my opinion.

                    • Tricledrown

                      H&J Smith are an expensive place to shop , in a recession that's problematic.

                  • woodart

                    half the work force? nothing like a bit of exageration eh? I would suggest the vast majority of workers are back at work now.

  17. anker 17

    OMG Todd's pitch is that National are more competent, but already Niki Kaye saying Goldsmith is Maori and then Nicola Willis on one News when talking about Todd called him Simon Bridges, which the reporter pulled her up about "you mean Todd Muller"

    Their pitch has been that the are more competent than Labour (in a somewhat superior way). They are coming across as clowns

  18. Fireblade 18

    Todd is the new head turd polisher, but the shine has already faded. Todd is just plain boring, uninspiring and clumsy.

    Todd's performance in Parliament today was pathetic. National may have to change the leader again if they genuinely want to try and win the general election.

    Simon Bridges was National's most talented leader, even though he was unelectable.

  19. pat 19

    "Bennett’s decision to not only make no attempt to salvage her colleagues, but emphasise their blunder, means the other narrative behind the story is that divisions in the party are raw and ugly."

    https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/105220/why-todd-muller-needs-release-part-1-his-economic-recovery-plan-asap-avoid-being

    Trouble at mill

    • I Feel Love 19.1

      "First impressions count" – indeed they do.

      • pat 19.1.1

        Surprising how poorly they are performing given that Hooton had such an input…would have thought he'd be better prepared than that.

        • Bryn 19.1.1.1

          It ultimately comes down to the politician, there's only so much minders can do. Also, Hooton doesn't strike me as a genius political tactician. He usually just takes digs at Labour and hints at insider gossip, but as for sketching out a positive vision for NZ I don't see him doing that.

  20. hoom 20

    National had a comprehensive economic plan that will resonate and people will relate to it and they will support risk taking and entrepreneurship.

    Decoded means something like:

    Economic plan =tax cuts for rich & business.

    That will resonate =cut cut cut

    And people will relate to it =bump GST/other regressive tax.

    Will support risk-taking & entrepreneurship =deregulate deregulate deregulate & hock off what ever remains of Crown Assets.

  21. newsense 21

    Gotta remember Hooton is all about Kiwi/Iwi and smarmy 'kia ora's with Brash.

  22. newsense 22

    Also, there was a big stink made about Hooton using RNZ as a personal microphone for the coup and/or his PR business. But isn't Ben Thomas part of the same firm? There he is on RNZ the next day. RNZ's editorial staff have got some 'splainin to do.

  23. Muller flounders in Question Time, PM Ardern is impressive as ever

    https://ondemand.parliament.nz/parliament-tv-on-demand/?itemId=212433

  24. David Mac 24

    I like Todd, I think he's nice. I think he is making a strategic play to take over the Morrinsville fish and chip shop Jacinda worked at after school.

  25. David Mac 25

    What a chore, any bloke taking on Jacinda in September.

    Grinch vs Snow White

  26. David Mac 26

    I'm hoping Jacinda will back her 'be kind' thing and resist the urge to counter slag the opposition.

    Let them be as nasty as they want to be.

    NZ is looking for a govt that is focused on the job at hand and not a caucus absorbed with bickering with those that didn't get voted in.

    Jacinda should also be sitting down with Phil et al and discussing why they have consistently been selected by a broad range of observers as chronic under achievers.

    We need goal kickers right now. Kick or leave.

  27. Infused 27

    Act are going to get a lot of votes this year.

    What a fuckup by national

  28. Tricledrown 28

    Paula Benefit snipes leader mule head "there the ones in charge now"Looks like some unhappy campers the young talent has been sidelined .

    Pale stale males in charge geriatric brownlie takes Paula Benefits job.

  29. Cinny 29

    todds interview on Q+A was bad, his performance in the house yesterday was useless, but wow JC sure took him to task big time this morning and todd was terrible.

    Well done John Campbell for asking the questions and holding todd to account for his vague answers and party one liners.

    IMHO I think todd wanted the leadership for his own personal gain and power trip so he spun whatever lines he needed to the nat MP's to get it.

  30. Tricledrown 30

    Tau Henare dumping on National looks like the coup is backfiring.Unconcious racism.No Asian or Pacific representation in top 10.

    National getting all the headlines just they are all bad.

    No Unity

  31. JustMe 31

    In their current form and referring to the above Photos there appears to be 8 males and ONLY 4 females in Team Muller. Not exactly all that impressive or even credit worthy for National. Hardly a Equal Opportunities Party when all things considered???!!!!

    And hardly a political party worth voting for at the next general election.

    I am sure National will claim the bloopers by Muller in interviews is just that i.e bloopers and mistakes and hence a human mistake that everyone can make.. But let us all be assured National will never extend such 'privilege' of making mistakes upon any MP that sits opposite to them and will in fact drag the errant MP over the coals.

    And so whilst National will deem and preen themselves into thinking they are utter perfection upon the planet they will never care about anyone else but themselves

    All in all I am totally fed up with National trying to pretend they know what NZers are going through when in reality they didn't give a toss about us for the 9 years they were in government.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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