Yesterday I put up a short post about a National MP who apparently had spent Parliamentary Services money on a Television that may have been placed in his or her home and there was some weird comment about how he or she had done something with a sofa.
It was clearly an inside job. The only questions were who was it and who leaked it and what did this say about National’s internal civil war?
The day got worse for National. In the afternoon there was the announcement that the MP involved was Harete Hipango, she who had recently replaced Nick Smith after he jumped after being told by Crusher Collins that there was a Parliamentary Service inquiry into his behaviour (hint alert the irony is extraordinary).
The story about Nick has never appeared. Questions have been raised, was this a sabotage job by Judith?
Then Hipango readied herself to take over. But it transpires that she had a few Parliamentary Services issues of her own that she had to deal with. Because it was confirmed that the MP who allegedly misused Parliamentary Services resources was none other than Harete herself.
A week ago there was this hit job of a Newsroom piece on the prospect of her return.
From Jo Moir at Newsroom:
A liability and not a team player.
That’s how some in the National Party caucus have described returning MP Harete Hipango, who is next in line after the resignation of Nick Smith.
Known for her strong opposition to abortion law reform and euthanasia legislation, Hipango was only in Parliament for three years, but in that time raised the eyebrows of her colleagues with some of her more controversial takes.
One National MP told Newsroom she “sailed her own waka’’ and seemed to think the party should be honoured she had agreed to join, rather than being grateful for the opportunity to be in Parliament.
Several National MPs said she wasn’t particularly well-liked in the caucus and didn’t have a lot of friends.
Hipango alluded to this in a recent interview for RNZ’s Matangireia, saying it was very lonely during her time as an MP and Māori woman in the National Party caucus.
She went on to say, “the Māori voice in the National Party is still yet to be truly valued’’ and there was a serious diversity problem.
After the astounding announcement that National’s newest MP had Parliamentary Services spending issues Todd Muller announced that he will stand down as an MP at the end of this term nominally so that he can eventually spend more time with his family.
But then the real reason leaked out, he had been told that he had to go. He was not allowed the dignity of drifting out of the public consciousness but was further collateral damage from National’s civil war.
National MP Todd Muller’s resignation announcement followed a late-night caucus meeting in which Muller admitted he was one of several unnamed MPs criticising returning MP Harete Hipango in a media article.
Muller has confirmed to the Herald that he admitted at that caucus meeting to making a comment that was quoted in the media.
“I did not leak. I made a comment to a journalist that was subsequently quoted. Yesterday I admitted to that and apologised for this.”
He would not comment further on whether that was a factor in his resignation, or whether National leader Judith Collins had demanded he resign.
Collins is understood to be furious about Muller’s admission.
One source said Muller was threatened with a move to suspend him from caucus if he did not announce his resignation.
The next morning Muller announced he would resign at the next election, saying it was a “difficult decision” but he had “decided that I need to prioritise my health and family and move on to the next chapter of my life.”
The tit for tat feeling of what was happening is extraordinary. Every action is met by a crudely balanced nuclear option of a response. Talk about giving back double. Maybe Muller was the one who said that Hipango “sailed her own waka” but this appears to be accurate rather than disloyal.
It seems that the most vulnerable in each faction are going to be picked off as all eyes are on the leadership spill numbers. And the moves do not bode well for National’s climate change response as Muller was the sane one who brought National behind the Zero Carbon legislation.
From a left perspective this is great fun.
I really hope Judith succeeds and hangs on. The liberal wing of the National Party, the most important wing, is clearly being decimated because of Judith’s leadership goals. National is becoming more conservative and more irrelevant.
The question has to be asked.
Which MP is next?