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Todd’s going … who is next?

Written By: - Date published: 7:31 am, June 24th, 2021 - 67 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, leadership, national, same old national, todd muller - Tags:

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.

From Claire Trevett at the Herald:

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?

67 comments on “Todd’s going … who is next? ”

  1. Jimmy 1

    Yes I thought (and it is only my opinion) that Judith basically told Muller to go. To be honest, he should have left when Nicki Kaye left. Only thing I'm surprised about is that he will stay until the next election.

  2. Gosman 2

    This allows more space for ACT to soak up liberal right wing voters.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      Like a dry bread-crust dropped into a bowl of sour milk? 🙂

    • Incognito 2.2

      Yeah, nah, you’re dreaming, mate. You’ll have to watch out for the old horse coming through the middle.

      • Forget now 2.2.1

        We did hear that old horse whinny just the other week. I reckon he will be timing his run for the 2024 finish line. rather than breaking cover too much right now. Though he is pretty long in the tooth, and rumours about health may affect that nag's stamina.

        National biting the bullet and readmitting Peters to the party as leader outside of parliament would be an interesting scenario. Might even win them election if Labour's gambles don't pay off. Not going to happen though.

        I am more worried that the Christian Right may instead fill the vacuum; it'll be nearly two decades since Capill was convicted of raping children next election, so that stigma won't be as burdensome. However, the CR's inability to work together may remain the best defense against that.

      • Gosman 2.2.2

        Winnie does not appeal to liberal voters. He's strictly old school conservative.

    • Sanctuary 2.3

      ACTs collection of gun nuts and lobbyists are not attractive to "liberals" unless your definition of a liberal is an aging boomer in Remmers who thinks that being liberal is having the rules apply to everyone else.

      • Ad 2.3.1

        Utes mate, follow the utes.

        At the big Auckland Contractors ball last weekend, Seymour and Collins were on hand to work the room. In a business sector employing over 10% of the working population and spending billions a year, not a single Labour or Green MP bothered to show up.

        • woodart

          "in a business sector running flat out due to gov action, orders for new utes are well up." there fixed it for you.

          • Ad

            Ardern un-fixed it by telling those ute-users to go electric.

            • Patricia Bremner

              Ministers having to stay in Wellington?
              Seymour and Collins don't hold the levers., and they are not in the driver's seat.

            • Graeme

              Must be an insular mob of knuckle draggers in the contracting world up there, around here they're talking Cybertruck and hybrid LandRovers to replace the Ram or F150.

              Although the EV uptake here is pretty high, a lot of Teslas driving around know a V8 boy who went Tesla quite early and is on his third now, keeps trading up to the quickest. There's also a Ram in his fleet for work, I'm pretty sure that'll be gone once his Cybertruck arrives.

              I'm a bit more hopeful of change, and probably quite quickly.

              • Ad

                We're all talking about it. No fleet replacement is free.

                And the way those DueenstownLakes tradies charge, it's a wonder they don't specify their Ford E150s in solid gold.

                • woodart

                  you are full of it ad. full of what is another question. double cab utes didnt exist 30 yrs ago. it was all holden and falcon utes. contractors and farmers might make loud whingeing noises about their vehicles, but as was shown in the seventies with l.p.g. and c.n.g. powered vehicles, they are very quick to change technology when pushed. electric vehicles will be no different.

        • Anne

          Maybe they weren't invited.

          Ardern might have been but too late… her diary was fully booked.

          • Ad

            OMG. Like there wasn't an MP in the entire caucus available as a client rep for multiple billions of expenditure. Yeah right.

      • Gosman 2.3.2

        ACT appeals to liberals in multiple areas. Free speech, less restrictive social rules, more choice around health and education, less economic regulation and central control. All bread and butter liberal ideas.

        • lprent

          Auckland super-shitty, 90 day rule, three strikes that just expensively raise prison numbers with not significiant changes in convictions once you take demographics into account, and some really awful 'dancing'.

          Plus of course the the support for idiots who love selling weapons to terrorists.

          Whats not appealing.

          Coded dog whistles trying to say that it doesn’t matter in the face of evidence that it does (like prison populations) tend to go down badly outside of rtacist bigots. Plus we have only have examples of ACT fucking things up stupidly.

          It is hard to see anything useful that they have proposed over decades. That includes their almost continuous calls over the last year and a bit to open borders widely in a world wide pandemic that has years to go yet, punctuated by calls to close them for a couple of weeks.

          ACT – the home for incompetent thinkers with signs of early onset chicken little syndrome.

          • gsays

            There is also the euthanasia enthusiasts.

            That wide net scoops a few votes.

      • Maurice 2.3.3

        Think of these in the Rural sector who are so seriously pissed off that they urinate in the Soy Beans before shipping them off to make Soy Milk and Toffu for the city slickers they now dislike intensely …

        Enjoy that Soy Latte'

  3. WC1 3

    The cynical might say that Todd is hanging around until he gets 9 years in Parliament and the benefits that come with that. I imagine that will never have to front up to a WINZ questioning about entitlement!

    • alwyn 3.1

      When will you ever learn?

      The "perks" you are alluding to were abolished in 1992. The last MP to qualify for them was Nick Smith who did 31 years in Parliament. In return I gather he gets a pension of about $86,000/year and some relatively minor travel concessions. They probably come to about as much as an average MP runs up in about 3 months.

      There are no current MPs who are eligible for the old scheme and there never will be another one. Let it go.

      • In Vino 3.1.1

        Fair comment. It is a pity that alwyn has to keep on repeating this.

        • alwyn

          Do you think I should give up and just leave this sort of rubbish to just go on being repeated forever?

          I find the canard that banks can just seize depositors funds to make up for their losses and then go on with business as usual equally as frustrating. Luckily it doesn't seem to be brought up nearly as often in recent times.

  4. tc 4

    Long may the cult of personality continue up top….you reap what you sow.

  5. peter 5

    Hipango finds it very lonely sitting in the National caucus.

    Is she putting that down to being a Maori woman?

    It seems there are other reasons for her feeling as she does.

    One remarkable thing is that given what is known about her and her past performance, she was the next cab off the rank. They have so few MPs yet she is ranked that highly?

  6. Ad 6

    No need to worry about the collapse of the National Party from within, because according to Chris Trotter the massive majority of Labour is but mere puffery that will soon melt away:


    "Not that you can tell Labour’s apparatchiks any of this. Their ears are blocked to any suggestion that the Government has advanced dangerously far ahead of public opinion. Nor can they be convinced that they have made themselves vulnerable to the sort of brutal, right-wing political attacks that Labour’s and the Greens’ radical policies on race, gender, culture and climate change are bound to attract."

    Covid19 hasn't just been a gift to Labour: it's been a gift to politics itself to revive the necessity of government in all its forms. That Labour and the Greens are making use of this rolling crisis as cover for all sorts of other massive interventions is simply smart politics. National would certainly done the same.

    It's great to see the right fracturing. We're well overdue for renewal.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Trotter has this strange view of politics where everyone occupies a certain segment and winning only involves putting enough segments together. He never allows for the possibility that groups of people change and evolve their thinking. My personal view is that Covid has made many of us realise the importance of community and there has been a fundamental change in the way many people think.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        Well exactly. Covid is the perfect admixture of community response and state response. But only if it's done well, and the alternatives to that are all around us and getting closer.

      • Gosman 6.1.2

        Me thinks you might be guilty of wishful thinking…

      • Chris 6.1.3

        "My personal view is that Covid has made many of us realise the importance of community and there has been a fundamental change in the way many people think."

        I hope you’re right, but I think it’s way too early to know how widespread the impact of this might be. We've had one election only, and the highly divisive Collins as nats leader. Hateful attitudes are still extremely prominent amongst the general population. Willy Jackson acknowledged this when he said releasing the He Pua Pua report to NZ First before the election could have been disastrous for the government. He's right because whipping up racial hatred – all sorts of hatred – amongst the general population is still an easy thing to do. Just look at the opposition to Covid restrictions the nats are hell-bent on generating (while at the same time castigating government for every minor Covid security slip up, of course).

        All it could take is a change of leader and the nats are back in the saddle. Sure, general attitudes have changed since Covid. But whether this is meaningful and widespread cultural change, only time will tell. Any perceived demise in the National Party could easily be due to its current leader. Let's hope it isn't, but it's certainly too early to know.

        • In Vino

          Fully agree. Hard to tell which was more influential in that last election: a new communal sense, or an off-putting performance by the Nats.

          • KJT

            The sense I get from the Chamber of Commerce types I associate with, is they are conservatives. And conservatives like to feel safe.

            National's flip flopping about borders made them feel anything but safe.

            Also for most of them business is booming. People are doing up their boats and houses, buying new kitchens, spending in local shops, etc. Instead of the overseas trips. Farm contractors are doing very well as the imported labour force dries up.

            Tourist industries and tourism shops are feeling the pinch, but the local cafes are full. Some tourist only shops have closed but a lot of the tourist attractions have done a lot better than they expected, with New Zealanders seeing the country.

      • Patricia Bremner 6.1.4

        We realised we need each other in ways not anticipated. We grew impatient with those who did not think of the collective. We appreciated feeling we were "in this together". so many middle Nats moved their thinking. Self preservation really.

        Those who push against this new solidarity find they are frowned on. That may change as we feel less threatened by the virus and get high vaccination numbers.

        The number of threats grow as climate change rolls on, and off shoots such as fungal infections disease and disruption increase. Community has replaced individual, as that "individual" stance is now a luxury and most realise BAU is unlikely to fully return.

        Trotter sees the world through a right left lens and finds tribal alteration strange.
        Just a thought Toddy leaked, how often? who were the journalists?

      • Cricklewood 6.1.5

        I suspect a big chunk of support is actually a very content home owning middle class after all many have gained on paper 100-200k in the last year…

        Trotter is right in that the current situation could very quickly change ie a wobble in house prices…

        That and issues around delivery are starting to stack up… housing, housing affordability, mental health, light rail and I'll bet the harbour crossing joins that list.

      • Sanctuary 6.1.6

        Trotter's problem is old age.

      • Sanctuary 6.1.7

        There is a quote from Apsley Cherry-Garrard in his book “The Worst Journey in the World: Antarctica, 1910-1913”

        "…The mind of a horse is a very limited concern, relying almost entirely upon memory. He rivals our politicians in that he has little real intellect. Consequently, when the pony was faced with conditions different from those to which he was accustomed, he showed little adaptability…"

        Whenever I read a Chris Trotter column these days, I am reminded of Cherry-Gerrards pony.

    • "Not that you can tell Labour’s apparatchiks any of this. Their ears are blocked to any suggestion that the Government has advanced dangerously far ahead of public opinion. Nor can they be convinced that they have made themselves vulnerable to the sort of brutal, right-wing political attacks that Labour’s and the Greens’ radical policies on race, gender, culture and climate change are bound to attract."

      I tend to agree. Two points as examples

      Cycle Bridge vs paying nurses

      Unhealthy obsession with EV vs the unaffordability of that technology for the poor people of South Auckland (of which I am one). You want me to have a hybrid – give me one

      • Incognito 6.2.1

        You want me to have a hybrid – give me one

        This is a profound misunderstanding of the policy.

    • McFlock 6.3

      One can lead, follow, or get out of the way. Trotter seems to be sad that Labour are leading.

      Thing is, no matter what Labour do they're not going to maintain this lead in parliament. All glory is fleeting. And if you can't move boldy when you have one of the most populat governments in decades, a House majority, and an opposition in chaos, when can you move boldly?

      At least when Labour's electoral twilight approaches, they'll have accomplished something more significant than lab5 managed. They haven't changed the game yet, but at least they're looking at the rulebook with an eraser and a pencil.

      • Anne 6.3.1

        And what's more, Helen Clark and Michael Cullen are right behind them every step of the way. They were able to set the scene under difficult circumstances. The 6th Labour Govt. is slowly able to bring it to fruition.

        Sad that Michael Cullen is most probably not going to see the results.

  7. Which MP is next?

    I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that Brownlee will be the next to jump ship.

    Losing Ilam was a blow below the belt for him and he won't be able to conjure up the enthusiasm to fight for the seat in '23.

    • woodart 7.1

      the brilliant unforgetable M.P. for rangitikei (whatis his name?) must have qualified for his pension . after brownlee ,he will probably jump. he is not important enough to be pushed.

      • solkta 7.1.1

        That MP has only been an MP since 2011, not long enough to qualify for the old super scheme.

        edit: the scheme changed in 2003 so wasn’t there early enough rather than long enough.

        • alwyn

          He wasn't there in 1992 you mean. That was when it was scrubbed for all new MPs.

        • Rapunzel

          Muller has only been in Parliament since 2014 – Ryall was still there in 2011 – Muller was at Fonterra & made no more impact in that role that he did in Parliament other than shredding the leadership

          • solkta

            Woodart was referring to the MP for Rangitikei, Ian McKelvie.

            • woodart

              thanks for the name solkta. he is such a dynamic performer I should remember(yeah right!). as for super schemes, he was a mayor before being parachuted into a safe nat seat, so can assume he managed to slide his council super into parliamentary scheme. not that he would need it after inheriting large parts of manawatu-rangatikei .

            • Rapunzel

              Oh my mistake – because I'm local to BOP I probably think locally

    • ianmac 7.2

      No. Brownlee will not jump now! This is his big chance to move into the spaces opening up. With so few viable National MPs left, this is his big chance.

      Big Jerry for National Leadership!

      • woodart 7.2.1

        and maureen pugh as his deputy! the south will rise again! an over the hill teacher and someone phucking useless(s.bridges).

    • Robert Guyton 7.3

      I'd hate to see Gerry going out on a limb…

  8. Jenny How to get there 8

    Love the photo.

    Looks like they are falling off the world.

  9. gsays 9

    Muller seemed too decent a person to be involved with that back-stabbing, fornicating, self serving, unfit to rule rabble.

  10. mary_a 10

    A queue seems to be forming for retiring/resigning Natty MPS, for love or health reasons. They must be so seriously smitten it's affected their health!

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