Will National roll Bridges before or after the election?

Written By: - Date published: 7:57 am, April 23rd, 2020 - 241 comments
Categories: brand key, Christopher Luxon, election 2020, john key, mark mitchell, paula bennett, politicans, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags: ,

I am getting to feel sorry for Bridges.

I have seen it before where for better or worse a caucus turns against a leader, gives up winning an election and starts to undermine him.

There will be a variety of opinions. Some will think it is the last thing you should do with the tantalising prospect of political success still alive no matter how faint. Others will think that you are planning for the inevitable and you should just get on with it to minimise the damage.

It helps if there is a binary approach within the party. Team A fails and then Team B takes over. But if you have multiple factions vying for power then it can get really ugly.

Which is the position National is currently in.

Clearly dissent in National’s ranks is growing following Bridges’ incredible tone deaf criticism of the Government over its handling of Covid-19. MPs talking to the media is clear evidence of this. From Tova O’Brien at Stuff:

Newshub pointed out to Bridges on Tuesday that he had been personally eviscerated in the comments on the Facebook post, and he brushed off the criticism, saying: “People are entitled to their views.”

The problem is, some of his caucus share the dim view. Here is a sample of what some told Newshub – all different MPs.

– “List MPs and marginal seats want to get the party vote up but they can’t do that with a toxic leader and toxic deputy”

– There is “deep concern about the way things are going”

– The “membership is not happy”

– There was a “tone issue” with the Facebook post

– “The timing could’ve been better”

Yesterday John Key blew a big hole in the aspirations of current MPs who think they could become the future leader by endorsing Chris Luxon as the next leader. From Thomas Coughlan at Stuff:

As National reels from the negative fallout of Simon Bridges‘ comments on lifting the lockdown, former Prime Minister John Key has showered praise on Bridges’ potential successor, Christopher Luxon.

​Key even briefly described what Luxon would be like as prime minister.

“If Chris was the prime minister, I think what you would see is a very strong emphasis on the economy,” Key said, referencing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who he believed was focused on things other than the economy. 

“To me the number one thing the Government of the day does is to provide hardworking New Zealanders, whatever ethnicity they come from, to get ahead and progress in their lives and do well,” Key said. 

So what does National do? Limp through to the election with Bridges as leader and then lose badly and then put Luxon up, even though he is completely untried in Parliamentary politics? Or go for Bennett/Mitchell or is that Mitchell/Bennett or shudder Judith and pray for a miracle?

Whatever happens it is clear that Simon Bridges’ tenure is over. It is just a matter of when.

241 comments on “Will National roll Bridges before or after the election? ”

  1. Climaction 1

    Before. When the dust clears on covid, this government will have no answers for their decisions and NZ never wants labour in charge during a recession.

    • Macro 1.1

      NZ wanted the 1st Labour govt to end the Depression. It will require the the same imagination to move into the new normal. The current crop of National MPs have shown little such imagination.

      • Climaction 1.1.1

        this isn't the 1930's. Thank god

        • millsy

          It looks like you want Austerity imposed. Is that true?

        • Macro

          With unemployment on the rise, food banks struggling amid droves of hungry people in need of a meal, and similar disaster scenarios around the globe, the effect on the global economy is going to be huge. NZ is in a better place than many others to meet that challenge, and we have a govt that is foreseeing many of the pressure points, and being proactive to reduce their impact. But we, as well as every other nation, are in for a different reality than the one that existed prior to this pandemic. We will need a government that can react and guide the country into the new normal that will be our future. National by their very nature, are simply reactionary.

          • woodart

            agree 100% macro, nats are mostly conservative, privatise assets, small government, tax cuts for the wealthy, trickledown nonsense. none of that will be much use.

          • patricia

            Yes,Macro, Tax cuts small Government and austerity will not help.

            Neither will trickle down, and a tone deaf Leader is the last thing we need.

            National look like yesterday's normal, which left a third of our citizens out in the cold.

            Let us move beyond "I'm alright Jack" to "We need to support each us through"

            Let's use technology our human and cultural capital and our world class Leadership to get through and build a sustainable desirable safe future.

    • Quinnjin 1.2

      Bullshit. It's already quite clear we have the best govt we've had in decades.

    • millsy 1.3

      As opposed to National who will cut, cut and cut more, as well as just let farmers put what they like into our rivers.

      Ruthanasia 2.0 will be imposed if National wins again. You can count on that, if nothing else.

    • Chris 1.4

      Which party has the best track record managing the books?

      Do you think NZ should want a Labour government in charge during a recession?

      • millsy 1.4.1

        Which party cut benefits by 25%?

        Which party closed down scores of hospitals?

        Which party imposed market rents and time limits for state houses?

        Which party slashed funding for schools?

        Which party cut wages?

        Which party is completely hostile to the state running or owning anything or the idea of social services?

      • Macro 1.4.2

        Which party has the best track record managing the books?

        That's easy! Labour.

        Just a couple of recent examples:

        Q. How was Bill English able to deal with the Financial Crisis of 2008-09?

        A .Because Michael Cullen had left him with a surplus he could dip into.

        Q. Who couldn't even add up the books correctly, and came out with an $11B deficit?

        A. National's Steven Joyce.

        I could go on giving example after example of National's incompetence, but frankly it brings me to tears.

        • Chris

          Yes, exactly. A pivotal task for Labour and the left generally is to dispel the myth that the party for the bankers and financiers is the most financially competent. It needs to become accepted by the general public that bankers and financiers make money for themselves, not others, so it's obvious they are not the best group to run a country. It's logical this is the case, and history bears it out. It's crucial the message gets out.

      • Climaction 1.4.3

        They should, but they don't. Labour when it's good, National when it's bad.

        the post mortem on the response of NZ vs AUS to covid will be the nail in the coffin for labour in this election.

        • Chris

          Are you saying the government should've followed Australia's response to the virus?

          • Climaction

            I am. The lack of coordination between Australia and New Zealand is terrifying, especially when they get it right more than we do

              • Climaction

                An open border being discussed is not the same as having it? Not is it the same as having business that can operate safely being open for business compared to full lock down.

                come back to me when you pull your partisan head out of your stupid arse

                [You didn’t read the article, did you? You only looked at the headline and decided to dump jump on it. It was a direct reply to your criticism of the “lack of coordination between Australia and New Zealand”, but you missed it because of your stupid denialism. We could have had a conversation about it but you decided to blow more hot air from your orifice like the good old-fashioned troll that you are. Under this Post, all you have been doing is trolling and as far as I am concerned, you can stick your oar somewhere else for a month – Incognito]

      • clare 1.4.4

        there's this ongoing myth that national is better at managing the books.

        it has never been true

    • halfcrown 1.5

      "Before. When the dust clears on covid, this government will have no answers for their decisions and NZ never wants labour in charge during a recession."

      Really!!! How do you know how I feel, or other New Zealanders? I don't remember participating in a poll or something by you or did you get that out of the Encyclopedia of Tory Lies and Bullshit"? If so what volume? Was it 6023 or 6024

      Who do you think got the world out of the shit after the great depression? It was Roosevelt with his socialistic "NEW DEAL". Also, who got Europe up and running again after the second world war?

      Again socialistic type policies by Trumans American government with the very generous Marshall plan, and in Britain and NZ socialistic policies that brought in good state housing, the NHS and modernised the education system that enabled every child to have an equal opportunity. Things that have been run down or destroyed since the Neo-Liberals gained control in the eighties

    • Nic 181 1.6

      This Kiwi most definitely wants the current government and the next one, Labour led. The blue team was out of ideas, apart from sell assets, underfund public services and give tax cuts. Look where that got us. You need to speak for yourself only.

  2. Wayne 2


    You are making an automatic assumption that the government will win the election. The election is not next month, it is 5 months away.

    By then the economy will be in very deep trouble. The double digit unemployment will have actually happened. Tens of thousands of businesses will have actually failed. New Zealand will be in a deep recession.

    In that situation, what happened in March and April will matter way less than people's confidence in the recovery plan. That is, each political party will have their own recovery plan which voters will compare. People will also be measuring the government by how well their recovery plan is working. They will compare it to the alternative.

    Already a lot of people are saying the lockdown is too tight, especially since they can look across the Tasman, and see that Australia has been able to defeat the virus with a less severe lockdown.

    In short, don't count your chickens yet. Your team still has to actually win the election.

    • tc 2.1

      Care to comment on JK anointing the next leader Wayne, a decision you stated only caucus makes….seems made already and for someone not even in parliament yet.

      What was that about chickens ……

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        Was Key's rapid elevation to leader "a caucus decision?"


        • mac1

          I am sure that they rubber stamped it, but Key came in in 2002 with that personal ambition fully endorsed and promoted by the non-parliamentary party hierarchy.

          Then the party was in its worst doldrums. Its new leader had no charisma, was racially motivated and a mysogynist.

          People did not vote for a party that they knew would lose. What was true then is feared by National again- that voters don't like to vote for a reputed loser.

          Key's rapid elevation came through personal ambition, head office machinations and a caucus that had to do something to stop the rot before National became a riven party split along urban/rural, social conservative/liberal and gender lines.

          • Wayne

            It was obvious to the majority of caucus in 2006 that Key was the best option. It was also obvious when he first turned up to National party meetings in 2000 that he was very able. Even so I understand he only just won the contested selection on Helensville in 2002. A few votes in the opposite direction would have meant he would never have become an MP.

            Obviously he was very ambitious, he made no secret of that. And he had the background and skills to be effective in the media. He also had support from a wide range of National supporters. That is perfectly normal in any political party.

            The stars stand out in any political party. Just as the PM did during her rise to Deputy Leader. From her first speech in Parliament, it was obvious to me that she was destined to get near to the top. And by the time that was she was in frame for Deputy Leader around 2014/2015, it was obvious she would become the PM, though I thought that would be in 2020.

            • mac1

              Thanks for the reply. One thing I have learnt from fifty years of membership of political parties and of committees in all aspects of life is that the best leaders are almost reluctant to come forward but need encouragement and the wisdom of others to see, acknowledge and promote the reluctant one into further and higher leadership roles.

              Part of the trick is to trust others who take on the role of promoter but also to recognise their motivations.

              I watched episode three of 'Chernobyl' last night. The Central Committee member with oversight of the KGB spoke of the 1000 year old Russian proverb,"Trust but verify".

              I may be well wrong but I see the rise of the two leaders, Key and Ardern, as the two poles of leadership success. One, Key, ambitious and as you say highly motivated by internal considerations which left him as things got tough. The other, Ardern, more reluctant to assume promotion, but accepting it has the internal motivation of quite, I sense, a deep spiritual sense of what is right and just.

              Again, the Chernobyl episode comes to mind. Those selfless heroes who risked their lives and health for 'moral obligation', who stepped forward and accepted their duty on behalf of their fellows.

            • William

              One of Key's supposed skills during his term as PM was said to be succession planning for the party caucus. He moved people on to bring in fresh and competent members. And yet look at the dearth of talent they now have to choose from for leader.

              But never fear, he's now backing a mate who's not been elected yet! I wonder if Luxon is hurriedly asking Key to back off, in the same way he got his pastor to remove some of the pastor's more nutty online postings when he announced his desire to enter parliament.

          • patricia

            Dirty politics helped Key also. That is part of the reason for Jacinda's success. She is genuine. "Nuff said!!

    • Stunned Mullet 2.2

      I was convinced that H Clinton would win the US election and would prior to the occurrence of Covid 19 have picked a narrow win to a Labour/Green government at the election.

      At this stage I agree with Wayne …..who knows where we'll be at in Q3/4 this year, all we know is that the economy will be ugly, employment will up and taxes most likely will have increased, hopefully there will be vigorous debate and lots of policies from all parties that are presented to the voters for consideration.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        "I was convinced that H Clinton would win the US election"

        I guess that throws your other predictions into doubt too.

        • Stunned Mullet

          Thank you for your useful contribution Robert.

          • Paddington

            Roberts sarcasm is silly. The only prominent commentator I can think of who predicted a Trump win was Ann Coulter, and she was roundly ridiculed. The YouTube videos of the MSM meltdown at Trumps win are classic. Pretty much everyone got it wrong. You were in very good company.

        • Peter

          If picking Clinton to win is to be the indicator of the validity of opinions or predictions there should be a lot more quiet people around don't you think?

      • Andre 2.2.2

        Hillary did win the election. It's just that the Electoral College barfed up the Douche ex Machina.

        • mauī

          😆 you would fit right in with Bill English. 2017 was stolen from him!

          • solkta

            So you don't think that democracy should mean one person one vote?

            • Alice Tectonite

              Trump sycophant (indirectly) praises Trump.


            • mauī

              I don't believe in making up election results. But hey, apparently that makes me undemocratic now…

            • Sacha

              So you don’t think that democracy should mean one person one vote?

              Democracy is not mob rule, no.

              • solkta

                So you think it is democratic for a person who happens to live in one state having more than one vote compared to someone who happens to live in another state?

                • Sacha

                  Need to find another way to express fairness than 'one person, one vote'.

                  • solkta

                    Well if you have one then please share. I'm not sure if you are saying that you think the US system of unequal representation is fair. It sounds like you are.

                    • Sacha

                      Their system sucks. That phrase has some unfortunately regressive uses, however.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      They are the "United States" and it is those individual states that select their president, as it always has been.

                      People in each state get to vote on which person their state votes for.

                    • solkta

                      Yes i understand how it works, i'm just saying it is fucking idiotic, and undemocratic, given how much power the president has.

          • Andre

            Bill English getting tossed out in 2017 was the result of the will of the people.

            Oranga bin Frauden becoming prez was the direct opposite of the will of the people.

            At the moment, it doesn't appear there's much "will of the people" involved in Bridges' leadership, not among the general population nor National party enthusiasts or even the Nat caucus. But as Wayne notes, there's an awful lot of room for things to change dramatically over the next few months.

            • Tricledrownì8⁸

              Andrew the Fact that National have been Nasty to Peter's since 1992 also it would not help leaking politically Damaging super Details , that backfired .Double dipping Dipstick from Dipton Doubled Down on dipping out.

              [Letting this one go through so that you can see how you are wasting Moderators’ time. I have left several requests for you to be more careful and your days might be numbered given that the SYSOP is not amused either – Incognito]

        • Paddington

          On that basis you could argue that Bill English won the last election in NZ, but MMP 'barfed' up a Labou/NZF government. Your argument is just silly.

          • Incognito

            Nope, National could not stitch together a coalition. Don’t blame MMP.

            • Paddington

              I'm not. I'm throwing Ander's comment https://thestandard.org.nz/will-national-roll-bridges-before-or-after-the-election/#comment-1705464 back at him.

              MMP allowed Labour to form a govt because that's the way our system works.

              The electoral college allowed Trump to become president becasue that's how theior system works.

              • KJT

                In New Zealand the majority of voters didn't want Right wing parties. National, plus the puppet if you like.

                In the USA, the majority of voters didn't want Trump,

                Can you see the problem, there?

                • Paddington

                  Andres comment was that Clinton won the election. She didn’t. She won the popular vote. You seem to be another one unable to understand that elections are won based on the electoral system, not who gets the most votes. Plus you seem to think National is ‘right wing’. How many times can you be wrong?

                  • KJT

                    I know real Democracy, one person, one vote, is an inconvenient concept for right wing supporters, and unfortunately, for some that claim to be left wing..

                    For most of us. We consider it an essential principle of electoral systems.

                    National, these days, by inclination, is far right. The only thing that stops them, is in New Zealand, is that would give them about the same proportion of the votes, as ACT.

                    • Paddington

                      "We consider it an essential principle of electoral systems. "

                      Both countries have that. Socialism tends to work against that principle BTW. I doubt 'one man one vote' applied in the USSR.

                      "National, these days, by inclination, is far right. "

                      That's nonsense. The Key government was incredibly popular, yet it maintained large scale social programs such as WFF. The idea that National at any time in the recent past has been 'right wing' is fanciful.

                    • KJT

                      The USSR, was a totalitarian dictatorship.

                      And now, it is a right wing, capitalist disaster, run by thieves.

                      Almost all "socialist" countries are, at least outwardly, democracies.

                      As you well know.

                      The only reason why National, Now! note what I said, has kept left wing policies, is because they know damn well they have to pretend to care, to continue getting votes.

                    • Paddington

                      "Almost all "socialist" countries are, at least outwardly, democracies."

                      The fact that you have to add the words 'at least outwardly' is a signifcant admission. The relaity is that most countries that have implemented anything resembling true socialism have tended to totalitarianism. It's the only way to force people to accept the misery.

                    • KJT

                      Norway, Denmark, New deal USA, 60's New Zealand, and now South Korea and Taiwan.


                      How are the USA’s, liberated to right wing capitalism, countries, doing, again?

              • Incognito

                So, you counter one silly argument with another one!? Please tell me that you’re not managing any people.

                Yet, somehow, I believe that you believed your argument wasn’t silly at all:

                MMP allowed Labour to form a govt because that's the way our system works.

                You see, a more appropriate and truthful counter-argument would have been this:

                National allowed Labour to form a govt because that's the way our system works.

                Trump didn’t hand over the presidency to Clinton, did he, because it was too hard or something? He took the ‘win’ and the rest is History.

                • Paddington

                  My comment was doing exactly that, showing how silly Andres comment was. That’s why I started with ‘on that basis’. You seem to make a habit of misreading comments. I’ve seen you do it a number of times, and it suggests a deficit of some kind.

                  • Incognito

                    I have many shortcomings but I don’t think I’m misreading your comments at all even though you don’t express your thoughts and arguments very well. Your commenting style has drawn quite a few comments from other commenters as well and some even pondered if you were perhaps a sockpuppet because your nit-picking reminded them of another infamous nit-picker here who hasn’t been seen in a while. I’d like to point out that instead of addressing the points I raised you chose to have a go at me, which is disappointing but not surprising coming from you. I thought one of your latest demonstrations of one-upmanship comparing Australia with NZ was highly typical of your debating style. I always like to think that commenters such as you can and will do better with time here on the site but I’ve learned here not to hold my breath.

                    • Paddington

                      When you can't understand the meaning behind a comment that begins with 'on that basis' and ends with ' Your argument is just silly.', you clearly do have reading comprehension issues. You're doubling down on this too, even though I explained it to you clearly https://thestandard.org.nz/will-national-roll-bridges-before-or-after-the-election/#comment-1705631.

                    • Incognito []

                      You continue to miss the point and fail to read between the lines. Consequently, you also fail to address the points, double down when challenged, and lash out against the ‘challenger’, as if it is some kind of point-scoring competition in which the last man standing wins, which is a classical mistake.

                      To put it bluntly, it is not about you but about what you bring to the conversation here and how you do it, or not, for that matter.

                      I trust you have now fully understood what I (and others) have been telling you for some time but which you have wilfully ignored and denied so far.

                    • Paddington

                      "You continue to miss the point and fail to read between the lines. "

                      The point is that YOU missed the point. You've done this before. My initial comment was crystal clear. Your motivation in hiding from the fact you didn't understand it is not.

                    • Incognito []

                      Of course.

    • mickysavage 2.3

      Hi Wayne I do comment about the "tantalising prospect of political success still alive no matter how faint". Besides it is not up to me. It is for National's caucus to decide if they want to take the risk.

      Of course there is the, currently remote, possibility that Bridges could do well. But otherwise he is gone, if not before then certainly after the election.

      • Stuart Mathieson 2.3.1

        It suits the Nats to blame it on poor leadership rather than admit their skill and value set could never cope with the problems we face. The virus, climate change, inequality, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic abuse. The Philips Curve fanatics love unemployment and low taxes.

        • Incognito

          Exactly, National lacked the leadership in 2017 to form a coalition and they blamed NZF. Now, in 2020, they are still lacking leadership. No wonder that ex-leaders feel the need to fill this leadership-vacuum with potential candidates smelling of roses and soap.

    • ScottGN 2.4

      Actually Wayne I don’t think “a lot” of people are saying the lockdown is too tight. It’s more like a few, noisy people who are claiming that. And, talking of counting chickens etc, Australia hasn’t defeated Covid, nowhere has yet.

      • Sacha 2.4.1

        Every chance Australia could go like Singapore with a big re-infection bounce.

        Mind you, so could NZ if dickheads keep behaving as if the rules do not apply to them and authorities keep applying those wet bus tickets.

        • ScottGN

          There’s certainly some concern in Australia that their testing regime is not comprehensive enough. Victoria has 1.6 million more people than NZ but the testing rates are about the same.

        • Wayne


          Why would that happen any more than in New Zealand? Australia borders are locked tight. They have a Level 3 lockdown, just like we will have in 4 days time.

          Australia is at no more risk of a re-infection bounce than New Zealand, because in essence both countries will shortly have virtually identical levels of lockdown.

          Singapore's bounce is due to their treatment of their migrant workers.

          • Sacha

            As Scott said above, there are some differences in their response beyond locking down. I guess we will all see what worked in a few months.

          • ScottGN

            Singapore’s bounce is not due to their treatment of migrant workers (though it is deplorable). The second wave there is due to a blind spot in their testing.

          • lprent

            Singapore’s bounce is due to their treatment of their migrant workers.

            Ummm – a poor economically depressed exploited and overlooked community with crowded housing.

            I sure hope that it doesn’t get into the aboriginal communities. 😈

            The problem with epidemics is that they traditionally become a reservoir in the poorest, most overlooked, and least protected communities.

            Just think – covid-19 without a viable vaccine might force our right-wing governments and even wannabe ones to start taking care of the whole population – something that they haven’t been notable for doing much about in the past – preferring instead, in my opinion, to concentrate on people who vote for them.

            I’m thinking here about the rapid rise in homelessness during the 9 years of the last National government here.

            • Stunned Mullet

              Just think – covid-19 without a viable vaccine might force our right-wing governments and even wannabe ones to start taking care of the whole population – something that they haven’t been notable for doing much about in the past – preferring instead, in my opinion, to concentrate on people who vote for them.

              No government of the left or right has had a clear majority for more than two decades, this is to a large extent why there are no severe swings in policy one way or t'other in NZ. Governments of both stripes have tended to spend very similar amounts on education, social, welfare and construction and there hasn'r been a great deal of tinkering with tax either.

              • Enough is Enough

                Anyone who lived through Rogernomics will know that is not always the case.

                The fourth Labour government (which I think we can all agree was right wing) certainly did not 'concentrate on people who vote for them'.

            • patricia

              Iprent + 1

        • aom

          There is a good chance that Australia won't have its recovery compromised by dickheads. The constabulary there make the NZ Police look very tame.

          • I Feel Love

            I doubt the blame for the recession will be on Labour, as the whole world will be suffering something similar, infact the UK and USA are going to be worse.

        • Paddington

          I woke this morning to the sound of workers from a prominent tree company setting up to remove a large tree on the council berm. None were observing Covid rules. When I challenged them, they said the tree was unstable and interfering with power lines. I pointed out the enormous girth on the tree, and the fact that it had grown through the powerlines years ago. How is that essential?

          After frayed emotions cooled, we had a very friendly chat, and the workers made it clear they didn't want to be there, and that they couldn't see any way the tree was compromised.

          This is a large business with contracts with Council and the utility company's who I suspect are deliberately breaking the rules to get $$'s.

          BTW – so many neighbours turned up they canned the operation. I'm apprently getting a call from Vector today.

          • RedBaronCV

            Could Vector call in person with the required social distancing and all your neighbours being there too so we can watch the video pleaseeeeeeeeeeees

            • Paddington

              We were all appropriately distanced! I actually feel really sorry for the tree guys. They are just doing a job.

          • I Feel Love

            That's just people "working", not everyone can do their job by zoom, there will be times where jobs have to be done within a metre, some of us workers even have to share vehicles to do our job, even the police and ambulance and fire guys are within close proximity, weren't you cheering on the Aus method the other day?

            • Paddington

              The last time I looked we were bound by the rules here in NZ. How is cutting to the ground a perfectly healthy tree essential business? I have since been told that Vector own 50% of the tree company. Something smells here.

            • RedBaronCV

              Look I have no bone to pick with the guys who turned up. I do see risks in firms (where management is still distancing) demanding that workers do stuff that is hardly essential or necessary and take the risks. There is a strong financial incentive to do that – they got three months wage subsidy so that if they get people back to work after 5 weeks generating revenue by default they wind up pocketing the other 7 weeks of the subsidy. Did the tree firm get the subsidy?

          • Sacha

            There are a lot of street trees in Auckland with rotten cores – including the huge one that took down powerlines outside my place. The arbourists knew exactly which aspects to tackle on the night to prevent further risk, and which they could leave for later days.

            It's the Council and lines company Vector that decide what to do pre-emptively, not the tree guys. Arbourists also tend to hate cutting trees down – not what they got into the profession for.

            • Paddington

              I've just spoken to an arborist who has just looked at the tree. The core is sound. I've also just found out that Vector own 50% of the tree company.

      • RedBaronCV 2.4.2

        No I don't think a lot of people think lockdown is too tight. Somewhere I saw a figure that 88% approved of where we are. What we are seeing is a tiny minority being given excessive media time ( same media that wants the government bailout!) for a minority viewpoint based largely on soundbite not facts. Aussie lockdown is tighter than it appears from the rules as many have just shut up shop. Just as some peeps here voluntarily isolated before the lockdown came in. Also if the lockdown was considered too tight by most then there would be a lot more rule stretching by individuals than we have seen.

        • KJT

          In Aussie they tell me, people that really live there, they may as well be as locked down as us, because most people are not stupid enough to frequent businesses like pubs and hair dressers.

          Business owners, I know over there, wish they had the certainty ours do.

          They are wondering about being able to get customers back within months. Not weeks, like here.

    • millsy 2.6

      Nationals only answer is austerity. Just as it was in 1991.

      • indiana 2.6.1

        Many of the people that vote today were born after 1991, so they will have no view on austerity like you may have.

    • Adrian 2.7

      Cmon Wayne, I'm sick of hearing this bullshit that Australians can do this and this and even this. I grow grapes and in speaking to a wine label owner yesterday whose largest market is mostly Aussie clubs, bars and restaurants who has been informed by his Aussie distributors that they have been told that they should not expect restaurants to be open before September. So no, Aussies can not do all those things because they are months behind us. As for the schools being open, no they are not in a real sense as parents wisely have not sent their children to them. Attendance at best is about 5%.

      And as for "herd immunity "well the WHO according to reports in British media just shot that one down as the amount of the population that have had Corona virus in most of Europe is only around 2-3%. There is no "silent spread ", so that shoots that stupid bloody idea down.

      • lprent 2.7.1

        And as for “herd immunity”

        Not to mention that of known coronaviruses family in humans, no known herd immunity can be confidently be said to have occurred.

        1. SARS was defeated in its spread because it was too virulent. So they were able to stamp it out at a hospital level.
        2. The jury is still out about even moderate immunities for MERS (they’ll know more after they get the first vaccine into human testing).
        3. The coronavirus version of the ‘common cold’ at about 15% of the common cold instance confers no long term immunity. It is probably just months rather than years.

        At this point there should be no real expectation that there is much beyond months except in severe cases. So what is going on in Sweden can be regarded is a true experiment. We’ll know more after a few years when someone who had severe symptoms gets it again, or an effective vaccine gets tested for a few years.

        Adrian is incorrect however in his assertion. I think that what he is referring is this

        The relevant bit is..

        Only a tiny proportion of the global population – maybe as few as 2% or 3% – appear to have antibodies in the blood showing they have been infected with Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization, a finding that bodes ill for hopes that herd immunity will ease the exit from lockdown.

        “Easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing in Geneva on Monday. “So-called lockdowns can help to take the heat out of a country’s epidemic.”

        Global population rather than eurpoean, and what it is indicating is that the long-term specific immunoglobulins that would be expected to form is people had mild exposure or covid-19 aren’t appearing. Typically these appear after the later phases of the immune response. So one or more of several things are happening.

        1. people aren’t getting the disease.
        2. people getting mild or no symptoms don’t always develop long-term immunities.
        3. we have lousy testing for the relevant immunoglobulins

        But whichever way(s), it means that ‘natural’ longer-term herd immunity in the way that we get it from diseases like measles or diptheria is looking more unlikely. Because that warning from the WHO (and backed by everything else I’ve read) also means it will be more likely that people can be reinfected in the short-term (ie likely within a year). They’d start spreading the disease with or without symptoms. If they get unlucky or have a depressed immune systems – will wind up with severe symptoms.

        Frankly in my inexpert opinion, hoping for a herd immunity is increasingly looking like an act of hopeless faith and not dealing the realities that should be guiding policy.

        Elimination is looking better and better. Where the target is zero cases within a region, and outbreaks can and are identified and jumped on hard and early to break transmission.

        • RedLogix

          Without quibbling with any of your points above, can I just say that the more I read the more contradictory and confusing the information torrent has become.

          But one thing is clear; this is one nasty damned bug with a lot of unpleasant surprises up it's prickly sleeve. In this elimination, however much a moon shot it may be, has to be the desired goal.

          • lprent

            Yeah, like the article about blood clots from covid-19 that published in Stuff this morning. Haven’t had time to follow that up yet.

            But that is what you’d expect at this stage of the learning cycle. We didn’t even know about the coronavirus family of viruses until the 1960s. I suspect we’re going to see more of these kinds of oddity diseases over time and as our burgeoning population pushing into zoonotic diseases, increased travel, and higher density population centres make it easier to happen.

            You have to remember that virtually all of the known infectious diseases before the 1960s were just that – already adapted to at least some human population(s), transmitted to other human populations, and with a particular set of behaviours adapted for humanity. The zoonotic diseases we were getting were mostly either from other humans or from our domesticated animals.

            Since the 1960s virtually every widespread infectious epidemic has been wild-life zoonotic with what are, for humans, ‘novel’ characteristics.

            I’d expect more of them over time.

            • RedLogix

              I suspect we’re going to see more of these kinds of oddity diseases over time and as our burgeoning population pushing into zoonotic diseases, increased travel, and higher density population centres make it easier to happen.

              I'd challenge some of the assumptions being made here.

              The first obvious one is that our population is not 'burgeoning' everywhere. In the developed world it's decidedly 'de-burgeoning'.

              More importantly these zoonotic diseases really only occur where humans are living closely with animals, and again this doesn't happen so much in the developed world. It's notable that it's China with it's very relatively low standards of animal welfare and these infernal wet markets that remains an outlier in this respect.

              Thirdly some 50% of the world's population now lives in cities, which for the most part removes them from close contact with wild animals in particular.

              And fourthly as a result of this pandemic I suspect we will collectively re-learn why our ancestors have always regarded bats as unpleasant, somewhat disgusting creatures best avoided.

              There is no reason to think this will be the last zoonotic bug we'll have to deal with, but in the longer run the threat is manageable.

              Edit: And that blood clotting article is downright well …. blood curdling . Forgive the awful metaphor.

              • patricia

                Talking about cities and infections, Rats mice pigeons cats and dogs, they inhabit cities.

                The Black Death or Bubonic Plague, was carried by black rat fleas to human victims who usually died within a week. Merchants probably brought this in their ships complete with silks rugs cloth rats and fleas which had crossed sea borders with them.

                It came in waves between 1300 and 1600 in London. The Great Fire of London stopped it.

                Modern cities have rats mice and pigeons, all of which are pests and capable of carrying virus or bacterial infections.

                We are closer to this type of pandemic than we think, though most bugs don't kill the host.

                It takes poor hygiene coupled with differing species coming into contact. A accidental? petri dish.

                Slums and poor living conditions also can be a contributing factor, though again it appears to be the wealthy travellers who brought the problem to populations from the wet markets through travel across borders once infected.

                One was a bite, the other through contact with infected sputum, but something like foot and mouth is devastating as all infected animals must be destroyed and burned. We need to be ready in all ways to deal with this and future threats.

                We have a Leader who is admired world wide. We would be crazy to vote for someone like Bridges let alone Luxton. imo.

                • RedLogix

                  Modern cities have rats mice and pigeons, all of which are pests and capable of carrying virus or bacterial infections.

                  Yes, but generally managed to safe enough levels. And far removed from the appalling conditions of medieval cities through which the bubonic plague swept. Typhus used to be so common that the introduction of industrial safe water supply and sewerage disposal was one of the single biggest contributors to the increase in human life expectancy ever.

                  Sure we will never entirely defeat our old enemy disease, but our modern world has come a long, long way into beating him back.

              • lprent

                The first obvious one is that our population is not 'burgeoning' everywhere. In the developed world it's decidedly 'de-burgeoning'.

                And the obvious rejoinder to that is that we're not getting zoonotic diseases from the 'developed world'.

                We're getting them from undeveloped, developing or lightly developed areas like the Congo (HIV), somewhere in the region of CAR (ebola) the backblocks of the Chinese / Burmese border (probable origin of SARS/COVID-19), and where ever camels are still in usage for transport (MERS). The transport links then spread them everywhere else.

                Each of these areas have been burgeoning either/and because the population grows or the affluence levels grows and they expand their usage of local resources (usually both).

                The latter is the basic cause of the wet markets because there is a appetite, especially in the cities, for higher protein foods like meat or dairy. It is usually cheaper to get meat from sources that don't have to be farmed or are farmed in recently cleared lands.

                In other words the demands that push the supply chain is the problem because the natural tendency in a newly developed economy is to get protein from the cheapest source. Often by moving live bush food to cities. Or developing grazing land or pig rooting in recently cleared bush. Certainly that is usually cheaper than getting it from NZ or established farm land. The land prices and startup costs are way cheaper.

                There is no reason to think this will be the last zoonotic bug we'll have to deal with, but in the longer run the threat is manageable.

                That really wasn't my point. My point was that zoonotic diseases are usually 'novel' for humans. They often hit us in ways that our immune systems are adapted to, They will break the 'rules' that we have developed for medical systems that largely dealt with diseases that have been around for a long time in human populations. Everything is running faster because we have large host populations in transport connected cities with wider supply chains that can sustain a disease species while it is doing the transition between species.

                Most of the diseases that we have had to deal with prior to about 1960 (with the possible exception of H1N1 in 1918) have been long present in humans, have been dealt with by normal immune responses, and didn't get to plague levels until large cities. As you'd know really large cities require good sanitation and water systems plus extensive supply chains to even exist. Rome at its height in the Roman empire got up to about a million inhabitants. Something that wasn’t equalled consistently in europe until the 19th century.

                Polio appears to have been around in the classical european world but erupted as a full-blown epidemic in the early 20th century. Measles appears to arisen in the late roman times, was probably zoonotic from cattle but didn't become a real plague until medieval times. The reason in each epidemic was some variant of a disease getting out of a locally immune population and getting into larger population centres – usually as part of the supply chains for food or goods.

                But usually (with the obvious exceptions of sequestered populations in different continents or islands) these variants diseases would have been running around in the landmass, and there would have been partial immunities until the virus or bacteria loads got high enough to overcome immune responses.

                The type of novel diseases we’ve been seeing now are different. They haven’t existed with humans for any length of time – which is why some are so virulent that the fatality rates and responses to the fatality rates stop the disease through social changes like lockdowns or rapid vaccine development. They also don’t lend themselves to the types of treatments we’re used to developing – which is why getting vaccines and treatments for them has been so hard.

                The wet markets are a symptom of an underlying issue rather than a cause. We have gained a burgeoning population over the last century (it is now nearly 3 times what it was when I was born), and one that has had an increased standard or living everywhere. Consequently in developing the resources to provide for both of these, we’ve been penetrating into biological resources that we once ignored – and finding novel diseases.

                I’d expect that to keep happening for quite some time after we hit peak population. I’d also expect a slowly increasing frequency as disease make the transition from their old hosts to the new humans hosts.

                • RedLogix

                  Very nice. Thinking around this Guns, Germs and Steel territory is very rewarding.

                  As you'd know really large cities require good sanitation and water systems plus extensive supply chains to even exist.

                  It's this multidimensional relationship between geography, technology and disease that is the underlying actor of so much of human history and development. And in turn it is also far more often the author of our political narratives far more than we give credit for. Throw in the human evolution itself and it's a complex, fascinating and informative mix.

                  It's long been my thesis that technology is one of the prime drivers of events; that social progress is the consequence of engineering development … not the other way around. Therefore as progressives we need to understand the physical structures of our society in order to best achieve the social goals we desire.

                  They often hit us in ways that our immune systems are adapted to, They will break the 'rules' that we have developed for medical systems that largely dealt with diseases that have been around for a long time in human populations.

                  A good point. That and our far more connected world means the ground has shifted. We've cleaned up many of the disease risk factors from antiquity, but unwittingly introduced some new ones.

                  If nothing else COVID 19 may well be God's way of teaching humans the meaning of R0. devil

                  • lprent

                    I wrote an essay on this process for a history paper in the early 90s. Must have been about 1995 because there was rising outbreak in Zaire that showed up in the news about the time I was writing it.

                    A lot of what I wrote above was in it as I was writing on the effect of diseases in human history. I'd just read a scifi book about a world that had a high angular motion relative to the surrounding stars and the effect of this on the intelligent species evolution. Including changing rates of disease mutation from radiation. So I started to look at human history… We didn't appear to have that, but the zoonotic theories of disease did catch my eye. Especially when I looked at HIV and ebola.

                    In the essay, like many of the people I was reading, I speculated about what would happen in the future with intrusions of human into natural environments plus the wider spread of long distance transport links.

                    Covid-19 fits that mould.

                    Incidentally, while I got a A+ for the essay, I was a 'did not sit' on the paper for the same reason as so many other papers while I've been working. I shifted from a corporate job to a greenfield startup before the end of the academic year and didn't have time at exam time to study and sit it.

                    Damned if I can remember the title and author of that book. I must look it up for a reread.

      • Wayne 2.7.2

        You missed my point, which is that Australia is at no more risk of a second wave than New Zealand. Within a few days both nations will have near identical levels of lockdown.

        • lprent

          That may be correct or it may not. The risk level is unknowable as the characteristics of this novel disease are still being figured out. We have no good idea about the level of immunity from contacting the disease at different symptomatic levels. Nor do we even know if this one of the diseases that can become quiescent in a host and flare later. We will probably find out after the fact.

          What is likely is that NZ has a lower probability of getting a second, or third (or seventh as in 1919) wave because the responses across the country have been more coherent than in the federal system. What matters is if the plans in either country have sufficiently broken the routes for infection – especially for asymptomatic people. And to the point that the disease isn’t still circulating in small reservoirs of population that expand rapidly when we drop back towards normal life.

          The only way to find that out is to do it. I think that the our chances of getting a good outcome are a order of magnitude better than australia.

          And I sure don’t want our economy oscillating in and out of lockdowns and outbreak controls over the next few years.

          Again, we’ll find out when we get there

    • Gabby 2.8

      You think the ockies have defeated the virus? Fascinating.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The calculation is surely if things look really, really bad you dump the leader before the election in order to try and get a bounce with a better leader – Look at how Jacinda got the job – or to wait until after you've lost but still have a substantial caucus and then move.

    • Stunned Mullet 3.1

      Look at how Jacinda got the job – or to wait until after you've lost but still have a substantial caucus and then move''

      Winston appointed her after he was provided his wish list, I'm hoping he's finally ejected but who knows he might be the winner again.

      • Clive Macann 3.1.1

        MMP actually appointed her.

        Winston is only one person unless you were meaning "New Zealand First"

        • Cinny

          Clive, the people voted for change, it's called a democracy.

          The fact that many tories still don't understand MMP even though it has been our electoral system for around 25 years is simply bizarre.

      • solkta 3.1.2

        Winston appointed Jacinda as Labour leader? Gee Labour do have some strange processes.

      • Alice Tectonite 3.1.3

        Winston got her appointed as Labour leader? (Or are you just indulging in creative misinterpretation?)

        Edit: snap

      • Tricledrown 3.1.4

        Stunted Mullet the Fact that National have been Nasty to Peter's since 1992 also it would not help leaking politically Damaging super Details , that backfired .Double dipping Dipstick from Dipton Doubled Down on dipping out.

  4. For a more balanced opinion on National leadership issues – see Richard Harman's piece in todays edition of POLITIK.

    Sorry Mickey; you've got skin in the game and a parochial interest in fueling rumour and speculation.

    • Sacha 4.1

      Harman has always been more sympathetic to the Nats but I guess that gives him more of an in about this. https://www.politik.co.nz/2020/04/23/those-who-could-depose-bridges/

      Should the caucus move, or should they wait until there is pressure from the party to do so?

      There is plenty of advice going to caucus members. Emails complaining about Bridges’ leadership are reported to be up and some younger party activists have circulated an Excel spreadsheet showing which MPs would be likely to lose their seats if the party polled at around 35 per cent in the coming election. That figure is critical. Judith Collins has said publicly if she was leader and the party’s polling got that low she would resign the leadership.

      There is a hint there. The party is reported to be on that figure in the private polling being done by both Labour and National though National MPs outside Bridges’ tight inner circle complain that they are never given access to it.

      This sentence also caught my eye:

      There are some, for example, the back-at-work right-wing blogger, “Whaleoil”, aka Cameron Slater, who believe that [Bennett] is behind some of the current unrest.

      Does that mean his various creditors are due some repayment?

      • Sanctuary 4.1.1

        "…Harman has always been more sympathetic to the Nats but I guess that gives him more of an in about this…"

        That piece contains one of the most annoying political axioms of our out-of-touch political observers – that National is regarded as better economic managers by "the public".

        If you drilled down on that I think you'd probably discover that "the public" = "right wing business elites" in the minds of the likes of Harman and (obviously) old man Soper.

        But they constantly repeat it as fact, when really it is an opinion. It is a classic example of how a conservative media manufactures consent.

        • Sacha

          Totally agree. Those graphs relating 'business confidence' to GDP and which party is in power are telling.

      • lprent 4.1.2

        Does that mean his various creditors are due some repayment?

        Nope. That was a personal bankruptcy, so his assets (which don’t appear to have been much at any point) are up for consideration by the official assignee. However his earning from employment are not.

        However if he wants to be discharged from bankruptcy and the constraints that it places on him, he either has to pay it debts from his earnings or wait until the expiry period. That is usually 3 years after he files a Statement of Affairs.

        My guess is that isn’t likely to have been done because I suspect that those afflicted by his irresponsible behavior that caused those debts would have been likely to point out the deficiencies and whatever bullshit is in it.

    • Incognito 4.2

      I think Micky and Harman are essentially saying the same things 😀

  5. Barfly 5

    Well Wayne (of course) is rooting for a National win at the next election so hmm what would happen then?

    Tax cuts for the rich (key)

    GST increase to screw the ordinary person (key)

    Sell the remaining power company shares (key)

    Rescind the ban on oversea buyers of property (key)

    Benefit cuts (Richardson)

    Charges for using Public Hospitals (Shipley)

    Rort the immigration rules/laws to import more low skilled doing bullshit courses at private "education entities" (key)

    Sweetheart secret deal for Rio Tinto ( pretty much everyone)

    "Reform" (slaughter) of environmental protection (Key/Smith wadeable)

    MIning on conservstion land (key)

    Sale of New Zealand laws to overseas corporates- Hobbit employment law- Anadarko anti-protest laws (key/Bridges)

    Their actions/history……well some people believe I am unbalanced in my view on the National party and ……well hell I find it hard to believe the National Party isn’t some supernatural font of evil

    • mike 5.1

      Right on. Actions speak louder than words.

      A couple more you forgot.

      Create low wage economy. (key/english)

      Rundown health system. (if you want it, go private) (key/coleman)

      Rundown education system. (if you want it, go private) (key/tolley/parata/kaye)

      etc etc

    • Hooch 5.2

      Dead right and a scary thought. If national win the next election we can look forward to generation defining disaster capitalism on steroids.

    • millsy 5.3

      Too right. National and it's supporters are chomping at the bit for austerity.

      Everytime they carry on about 'the economy' you know it's code for 'cutting wages and benefits'.

  6. JanM 6

    My pick is they will wait until they can select Luxon – he has, after all. already been anointed by the holy one and I don't think National will mind losing this election because there's going to be a lot of rebuilding to do and we know how good they are at that lol! Leaving Labour to make the tough decisions and standing on the sidelines dissing them will up their popularity with the sort of people who vote for them.

    By 2023 a lot of the necessary hard work will be completed or under way and they can sail in! Mind you, it would be better if we had another 3 years after that to fix the 9 year mess of areas like education and WINZ but I'm not sure I have that much faith in the intelligence of my fellow citizens 🙁

  7. Cinny 7

    Question please, when will the parties release their lists for the election?

  8. Ad 8

    Luxton would be near-identical to Key. Pretty good at his job in other words.

    Except with a tight elite evangelical Christian supporter club.

    We all would be ruled from Epsom rather than Parnell.

  9. Ad 9

    The better analogy, to extend Wayne's point, is why Churchill lost in 1946 to Attlee.

    Churchill triumphantly let his little country to victory in World War 2 – and faced the same scale of mammoth rebuild as we face having lost over 15% of our entire economy near-permanently in just over a month.

    Churchill was an outstanding communicator. So is Ardern.

    Churchill was globally feted. So is Ardern.

    Churchill was a total hero to his country, deservedly. So is Ardern.

    Churchill lost within months of the end of WW2.

    Steve Maharey wrote a post on this effect in Pundit the other day. In essence, winning the war is one thing, having a convincing recovery plan is another – and the voters get that really clearly.

    Without a convincing plan, Ardern can still lose this.

    • Enough is Enough 9.1


      If you have lost your job as a result of the lockdown, come September that lockdown will be largely forgotten and you will be looking for economic solutions. Who is best placed to find me a job and feed my family.

      The Greens are the only party to have put up concrete policy to date in respect of the recovery.

      I trust the government is working in the background on this and will reveal all at the budget.

    • KJT 9.2

      Churchill, promised a return to "normal". And lost!

      Attlee asked to get together to make a "land fit for heroes". And won!

      In New Zealand, Labour after the war, promised to improve things for everyone, and won. National in 1950 promised to keep the progress Labour had made, and won!

      National in 2020, promises a return to "normal"……?

      • Ad 9.2.1

        Ardern isn't making New Zealand a land fit for heroes.

        Ardern and Robertson are doing everything they can to prop up the existing economic structure – which involves keeping tens of thousands of thousands of people in work, higher welfare payments, and a higher minimum wage, among other things.

        Ardern is making this a country that keeps going.

        But for those voters with unreasonable expectations, that may still not be enough.

        Currently it looks like it will be.

        • Climaction

          ScoMo made Australia keep going. Adern shut the country down unnecessarily.

          The lockdown has been the greatest example of intergenerational wealth theft this country has ever witnessed. the young and the poor will pay for protecting the lives of wealthy super gold card holders.

          The odd under 65 who has contracted Covid and suffered a fatality is a tragedy, but statistically insignificant.

          • KJT

            And. From the lunatic fringe….

            • Climaction

              From the primary beneficiary demographic, with nothing to offer in return

              • In Vino

                You are very bold Climaction, as befits your type. I hope both countries succeed in controlling this virus, but your possibly premature confidence in Australia's success reminds me of something about counting chickens. You are going to look really stupid if things go wrong there.

                Personally, I fear that things may still go wrong here too – because even we have not been strict enough.

                But you know it all already, don’t you?

              • KJT

                The "useless mouths concept".

                As if you give a shit about the young and poor. Either.

    • RedLogix 9.3

      Your parallel with Churchill has two counter-narratives I can think of Ad.

      One is that while the Brits were indeed very pleased to have survived the war, many were also conscious of the terrible moral cost of the bombing campaign in Europe. In the last year or so of the war there is no doubt Churchill indulged in a vengeful hell of destruction on largely beaten civilian populations, Dresden being the most visible example. Many people felt Churchill's ruthlessness may have been a necessary wartime asset, but were less than keen to have the same man in charge during peacetime. The ground had shifted.

      More subtly Churchill had history; he came very much from the Empire generation of elites, and in some respects the ugly end of it to boot. He was, even prior to WW2, an already controversial figure, an often reactionary and divisive political operator. It was not at all obvious this would be the right kind of person to lead Britain into what was clearly going to be a quite different post-War, post-Empire reality.

      Churchill's idea of 'normal' was back to the old ways of Empire and rigid class inequalities. Atlee by contrast understood that a generation who had sacrificed their way through two great wars hungered for something different, and appealed to their sense of collective duty and heroism to strive for lasting change.

      • Ad 9.3.1

        This government looks like it is seeking to retain normal at all costs.

        That's because without some promise of normality, their entire social license to be government will crumble.

        There's nothing wrong with a small-c conservative impulse when members of your family are sick, had wages cut, been made unemployed, seen your entire industry destroyed, and your home is a prison.

        Ardern needs more than a health plan, Ardern needs to do what Attlee did and form the inspirational recovery plan. I don't see it.

        • Sanctuary

          My wife was talking to a supermarket checkout lady this morning, commenting on how quiet the supermarket was. the lady said that it was quiet, and in her opinion people were running out of money.

          I agree we need something inspirational, which is why if i were Grant Robertson I would send every adult New Zealander a one-off $500-$1000 government debit card with an expiry date of eight weeks, and that can only be used by NZ businesses. it would cost 2-4 billion and it would be aimed at giving the bars, restaurants, bakeries, florists, chemists etc etc etc a massive cash flow boost.

          • Ad

            The problem with sending it to every New Zealand is the same problem with giving $900 in winter to everyone on NZSuper for heating: the well off – let alone the rich – don't need and and shouldn't be entitled to taxpayer cash. The rich are already getting plenty of tax subsidy as it is for their businesses.

            I'd rather see the government make one-off payments through the unemployed benefit system, similar to Australia.

            No one is going to bars and restaurants, or hotels, until there are really clear protocols for Level 2 in place. Chemists are already creaming it.

            To your supermarket point: that duopoly have been making bank off this crisis. They're the ones who should be giving our prezzie cards. Government has already been giving out tens of millions in food grants already, and yesterday doubled it, and yet still the food bank demands are exploding.

          • newsense

            Or b) they've got good at lockdown, shopped and have a freezer full of cooked meals and are sitting in front of the tele with some fresh baking.

    • observer 9.4

      Pedantically (it's what we do!), it was 1945 and WW2 was still on in the Pacific. But that's a detail.

      Much more relevant is that the UK had not had an election in 10 years, and Churchill had led a national unity government through the war, including several Labour ministers. So it wasn't a "Tory" government, but it was (under FPP) a chance for voters to throw out Tory MPs who had been safely ensconced for a decade.

      I suspect Ardern will be chucked out if the next election is in 2027.

      • Ad 9.4.1

        Let's look back in December and see how long the unemployment lines are.

        Or in April and see whether there's been a further outbreak that tests social patience for a further Level 4 lockdown.

        Today the World Softball Champs due to be one of the major events re-opening Auckland in 2021 just got indefinitely canned.

        There will be more.

        They may well just can APEC as well, which was to be a real re-opening to the world and is also the reason we've spent billions on downtown Auckland.

        • observer

          The unemployment lines will be very long (I guess you mean September, election time?).

          The question is not just "will voters be happy?" (no) but "will they vote for the alternative?". Since the National/ACT alternative was largely based on boosting the economy by importing people, that seems unlikely. "Open up the borders, the world has got this!" will not be a winning slogan.

          • Ad

            I meant December because the employment impact will be clearer.

            I don't see any National alternative plan – certainly not an alternative government ready to go. They'd be more competitive if they did.

        • ScottGN

          Auckland hasn’t really spent billions so far preparing for APEC. Almost all the expenditure for that event so far has been the convention centre which, of course is an ongoing disaster.

          Tarting up the waterfront is being done in anticipation of the Americas Cup pay-off (which may not eventuate) and the Quay St upgrade is at least partially because Precinct Properties (and other developers like Cooper & Co at Britomart) went to the council and said we’re spending a billion bucks on an office building and shopping centre downtown, don’t you think you should do something about the crappy, shabby streetscape you’ve allowed there?

    • Not a valid comparison. Churchill lost to Attlee because most working-class people in Britain were well aware he was a Tory with a lifetime of seeing the working class as domestic servants or cannon fodder, and that any plans he had for economic recovery would try to preserve that ancien regime. Nobody's going to be seeing Ardern that way.

      • Ad 9.5.1

        Ardern's government is doing everything in its power to retain and restore the existing order. Our ancien regime is farming, and they are already being turned to as our economic saviours once more.

        I would be really wary about bringing old lumpen class distinctions in here. They don't work now.

        Plenty will feel euphoria next week as more get back to work. She'll get a massive poll bump. It never lasts. Even Bush got a bump after 9/11.

        We had a health plan.

        We need the rebuild plan.

        • Incognito

          You might see a twinkle in Grant’s eye in exactly three weeks.

        • pat

          "Ardern's government is doing everything in its power to retain and restore the existing order."

          I guess if you repeat something often enough someone will believe it regardless of evidence

          • Ad

            The evidence is writ large from the government programmes that they have rolled out so far in response to the crisis.

            • pat

              what evidence would that be?

              • Ad

                Well you could always go on the Beehive website and see for yourself. But here, check out the missing transformative innovation below:

                • An estimated $12 billion in wage subsidies so existing affected businesses can keep their staff employed, through support received directly from the Government.
                • $126m in COVID-19 leave and self-isolation support for people who are unable to work because they’re sick, self-isolating, or caring for dependants – rolled into the Wage Subsidy Scheme above.
                • $2.8billion in $25-per-week benefit increase and doubling the Winter Energy Payment for 2020.
                • $100m redeployment package
                • $2.8billion in business tax changes to reduce cashflow pressure, including a provisional tax threshold lift, the reinstatement of building depreciation, and writing off interest on the late payment of tax.
                • $600m package to support the aviation sector and protect New Zealand’s supply chains.
                • Effective bailout of Air New Zealand with loans over $700m
                • $6.25billion Business Finance Guarantee scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy
                • A leave scheme for essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance, to ensure they will continue to receive income.
                • $3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme, changes to the tax loss continuity rules and further business consultancy support
                • Review of the future of the tourism industry, and nearly forgot
                • $12 billion announced in February on major infrastructure, mostly large roads but some freight rail as well

                That's a reasonable scale of propping up Business As Usual.

                And there's only more to come.

                • Ad

                  Just announced:

                  $50 million support for our media

                  • Cinny

                    Woo hooo.

                    Hope some of that will help the free community papers get up and going again, once lock down moves down a couple of levels. Those papers rely on local advertisers.

                    It would be kinda cool if small businesses were allowed a bit of 'paid advertising' in their local community paper, via a government grant. Thereby boosting the papers revenue and letting locals know which businesses were back trading, boosting their revenue too.

                • pat

                  Propping up BAU… or ensuring that the systems that maintain life continue to function while an alternative is developed?

                  Which of those actions would you abandon (we can ignore the last as it was pre covid response) and what if anything would you have in its place?

                • KJT

                  Seems like a huge reversal of the Neo-liberal, small Government paradigm, already, to me.

                  From the finance minister.


                  “Back to Robertson – he said that while taking account of the “massive disruption to some sectors”, his longer-term plan is to also “address some of the long-standing challenges we face”.

                  He specifically mentioned climate change, inequality, New Zealand’s low productivity, and trade diversification.

                  Robertson reiterated the sentiment of a comment Ardern made on Tuesday, saying, “we must also not allow inequality to take hold in our recovery. In fact we need to take this opportunity to improve the prospects of all New Zealanders and tackle those long-standing divisions.”

                  He mentioned his “strong personal belief in the power of the state to do good”.

        • Psycho Milt

          I would be really wary about bringing old lumpen class distinctions in here. They don't work now.

          People in this country hate hearing about class, but the fact remains that there are people in NZ who own capital and run things, and people who labour for those people in exchange for wages, just like there were back in 1945, and just like there were back in 1848. People may not consciously organise along those lines any more, but when you look at who's voting for which parties you can see they sure as hell do it unconsciously.

          • Ad

            Go ahead and prove it then. Put some definitions and stats around your claim.

            • Psycho Milt

              Prove that most employment in NZ is in the private sector, and that employers are more likely to vote right and wage labourers more likely to vote left? How is that even in dispute?

              • JanM

                However, Labour voters tend to be better educated than National voters overall, so the class division is really only valid if you’re talking about money

          • aj

            Warren Buffet nailed it some years ago when he said class war still exists.

      • McFlock 9.5.2

        The thing my mum recalled was that Churchill spent the war with a unity government, then turned around during the campaign and railed against Labour with prewar divisive vitriol.

        She doesn't put it this way, but it struck a lot of people as a dick move.

      • newsense 9.5.3

        Yeh, people don't like it when he gets questioned. Did plan a certain campaign up the Dardanelles…

    • woodart 9.6

      huge difference is that churchill was a conservative, english labour wanted to share the wealth, tories didnt. britain went into ww2, mostly a nation of forelock tuggers, downtrodden after years of great depression, wealthy were mostly doing alright. vast difference compared to today. grant robertsons masterstroke, mostly missed in the rush, ws to increase benefits by $25 a week. build from the bottom up. that $25 per week is all being spent RIGHT NOW, not stupid trickledown bollocks, that might happen to a few ,sometime in the future. key is yesterdays man, currency traders and merchant bankers arent heros anymore. its mostly your lowest paid(who, dont forget, got a minimum wage rise two weeks ago, another good move). sharp dressed white man in a business suit is not going to be the winner.

  10. Reality 10

    The cold and heartless way Key & Wayne and their ilk have so little concern for people, I can never get my head around. In their view the economy and their business deals always come first, All reasonable New Zealanders know the economy is hugely and vitally important but with Covid 19 health had to supersede their business deals, not for ever, just for a few months. National has an appalling record – tax cuts for the wealthy, raising gst which affected low income people much more, charging public hospital fees etc etc.

    Dr Bloomfield has won the respect of so many but it seems some so called business leaders think he has too much influence and it has affected their money making deals.

    It was rather contradictory that after demanding people be able to return to work, some then made a big fuss that early childhood centres and schools were going to be open so people could go back to work. Business can’t have it both ways.

    • In Vino 10.1

      Huh – wait and see. Business is very good at changing argument in mid-stream, and with media support will have it every way, not just both.

  11. Tricledrown 11

    Stunted Mullet we are looking at a completely different scenario.You are Delusional so who would be stupid enough to increase taxes.Adern's leadership is being praised all over the World.Simple Soimon is popular with less than 6% of NZ .After his spoilt brat desperate behaviour showing him to be a complete Dick I think 6% would be generous.Clinton had baggage so does Trump.Totally different.

    Desperate disingenuine comparisons

    • Peter 11.1

      Ardern's leadership is being praised all over the World? How many of them are voting in New Zealand electorates. How many of them are listening to the 'most popular radio person in NZ' everyday building a mountain of distrust in Labour, Ardern and Peters and the Greens?

      Mike and Barfly (above) can lay out the reality but more real than airy-fairy stuff such as creating a low wage economy or running down the health system or wanting to build cycleways will be David Clark getting on his bike. That is the sort important reality that Mike Hosking will have in the front of their minds.

      Cinny thinks it's bizarre that many tories don't understand MMP even though it has been our electoral system for around 25 years. It might be bizarre but its not surprising.

      Small beer like "Sale of New Zealand laws to overseas corporates – Hobbit employment law- Anadarko anti-protest laws (Key/Bridges)?"

      They're nothing compared to Iain Lees-Galloway. Remember when that was the end of the world? That's the bizarre political environment we have. One dumb or misrepresented move by an MP and the balloon is popped.

      In cricketing terms you need to keep batting, don't declare at 275 for 3 or 475 for 5 thinking 'that looks pretty good', bat and bat and bat and don't give the bastards a chance.

      [lprent: You lied in the first paragraph, firstly because there are no stats about ‘the popular radio person’, secondly because you quoted without showing your source, thirdly because you made an assertion of fact that is just whaledreck as written. I have written an example of what you should be doing – mixing opinion and backed assertions of fact in a strongly robust comment. Read the policy and don’t waste moderator time. Consider this to be your warning. ]

      • lprent 11.1.1

        How many of them are listening to the ‘most popular radio person in NZ’ everyday building a mountain of distrust in Labour, Ardern and Peters and the Greens?

        You mean the person I refer to as Mike the Moron? The arse puller? as that seems to be where he gets his reckons from?.

        The answer to your question is – not as many as you think compared to alternatives. I presume that the idiot does his show between 6am and 9am in the morning. I’ve only seen snatches and segments on comments about his radio performances.

        So looking at the 4th and last survey from last year – and including all radio stations including the public ones.

        RNZ: https://www.rnz.co.nz/about/audience-research
        Note the morning report figure of over 433 thousand estimated over a seven day period

        The commercial survey for the same or similar period “Cumulative Audience (000’s) by Daypart, People 10+”
        Network Newstalk ZB 369.9 thousand estimated over a seven day period.

        I haven’t bothered to look up the morning TV shows. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he is behind them in listenership as well.

        I really despise gullible arselickers like you who assert complete whaleshit without engaging their brains. Sure, NZME spin their results especially for fools like you – like this shameless self-promotion with its lies by omission and selective highlighting.

        If you want to assert a fact then be prepared to either express it as your opinion – or be prepared to back it with substantive source.

        This comment is an example of robust debate, expressing opinions clearly as opinions, and substantiating facts – the things that you are appear to be both ignorant or capable of achieving.

        • Stunned Mullet

          Sarcasm (noun) – the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

        • Sanctuary

          he now gets his rants transcribed into the Herald, where he reaches a different audience and trashes the papers brand everyday.

          • woodart

            yes, interesting to see vast majority of posts on heralds farcebook page think hoskings is a dickhead. thought most would have been psychophants

        • Peter

          You missed the point. I put 'most popular radio person in NZ' just like that, deliberately. I did not put 'joke.'

          I can rightly claim to have posted in various places over years about the 'most popular radio person in NZ' when people have claimed that and provided details of listening figures. I have shown not just the commercial surveys but the figures of RNZ which show that Hosking is not even the most popular breakfast radio station.

          I regularly respond to the NZME spin on survey results where they don't lie but clearly distort with their headlines and their coverage and non-coverage of them.

          I have often wanted to write something like, "I really despise gullible arselickers like you who assert complete whaleshit without engaging their brains. Sure, NZME spin their results especially for fools like you – like this shameless self-promotion with its lies by omission and selective highlighting."

          I'll use it next time I'm incensed when I have their propaganda repeated back at me and embellished by some ignoramus. If you don't mind.

          The fragility of the political environment is shown when something that's insignificant can be made into something big. National fucking up the country is irrelevant when team Hosking picks up a Labour Minister saying one word that can be made to look like the crime of the century to his fuckwit listeners.

          Mike the Moron? My occasional letters to the Herald highlighting examples of him having less depth than the water in an empty swimming pool don't make the columns yet I am always polite, never call him a moron.

          We're months out from an election and chickens are being counted. Your comment might be an example of robust debate, but it also shows the sensitivity and fragility about.

          • lprent

            I did not put ‘joke.’

            It pays to or something else that achieves the purpose of making it an opinion or clear humour/satire.

            I make a deliberate attempt, whilst moderating, to respond to what people actually write. Then I follow it with a look to see if people are following one of the patterns used for various types of trolling, flamewar starting, and generally being a nuisance to disrupt debate.

            I’m not a mind-reader nor can be bothered dealing with someone being playing with words. I tend to react with a over-the-top reaction to ensure the numbskull at the far end learns to not make that mistake again. This saves my time in the long run.

  12. The comment I have had from Australia is at least you know what the rules are, also do not forget each state has different rules and movement between states is , can be difficult.I would hate to think what sort of mess we would be in if National was in control, Like the UK?

    The hard part is yet to come and if the comment about vaccination by the Boss in yesterday's stand up is anything to go by there was a hint of steel in the voice which I have not seen before but maybe those in cabinet have.

  13. Enough is Enough 13

    Wow – arrogance.

    Let's get through the next two or three very bumpy months before we start believing the election result is a foregone conclusion.

  14. Incognito 14

    They’ll keep Luxon ‘clean’ for now and when the party rises from the ashes again after the Election, as it will, the Phoenix will be called Chris. This is how it works with National, let others do the donkeywork and toiling for peanuts, cream off the profits, and take all the credit.

    • AB 14.1

      Yep – Luxon is the long-game. Nats are excellent strategic players – ruthless in the protection of their long-term wealth and economic dominance. No way they'd sully Luxon with a defeat this year.

      An opportunist like Bennett might think that there is a short pre-Luxon window of opportunity. But if she tries anything I expect she'd be quietly taken aside and told to zip it (sweetie). No way they'd let a useful idiot like Bennett actually undermine their strategy.

      In any case – let's see no gloating from Labour, They have 5 months in which to not stuff up.

    • Gabby 14.2

      I wonder how much Air New Zealand borrowed under Luxie.

  15. Dean Reynolds 15

    Both political groupings face a post covid challenge going into the election, but the present Coalition Government is better placed than the Right wing parties. The only solutions which National & its lackies can offer are the unworkable policies of tax cuts for the wealthy & a bonfire of regulations, fronted by highly unpopular politicians like Bridges, Bennet, Collins & Seymour.

    The center left Coalition, has the opportunity to promote an environmentally focused, Social Democratic set of policies, in tune with the increasing realisation that the 'free market, small government' approach is dead & that strong, active, compassionate government is the only approach that will build a better future for every citizen.

    No election is a fore gone conclusion, but Jacinda's eloquence in presenting coherent, humanitarian policies will resonate a whole lot better than Simon's negative whining.

  16. observer 16

    Bridges and his supporters will point out – correctly – that previous PMs (Clark, and especially Key) had very high poll ratings between elections, but in the election campaigns the support has dropped. And given the challenges ahead, he can reasonably hope that will happen again.

    The problem is that despite "losing" support (i.e. from opinion poll highs to actual votes cast), Clark and Key still formed their governments comfortably enough.

    An unpopular leader of the opposition can't win without a big leg-up from minor parties. Bridges won't get that from anybody, not least because he's ruled out the only one that might have helped. (ACT don't count, because their votes come from National, so no net gain).

    • woodart 16.1

      yes observer, no mates nats are desperate to kill off nz first for this very reason. and put up another lapdog party to mop up voters.

  17. Treetop 17

    Bridges could do the unexpected and resign from being the National party leader. Nothing to lose concerning his mental health.

    Bridges has a back up career which just might suit him better and pay well.

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    When the wife of a furloughed Fletcher worker writes something like this to the CEO "you have a million $ salary still while I lie awake at night wondering how to afford milk & bread" – all labour has to do is ensure that what we have is shared more fairly. I doubt that anyone sees Nact doing this. Covid has made huge existing fault lines visible to all.

  19. McFlock 19

    The nat party management plan seems to be Luxon after the election.

    Which leaves current senior MPs very little time to pad their CVs, and I suspect more than a few think that they will be able to do a last minute poll swing if they snatch the leadership at the right time, and win the PM office for themselves.

  20. millsy 20

    Can I point out here that is is technically possible for Luxon to take the National Party leadership now. All that needs to be done is for someone to be 'parliamentary leader'.

    Campbell Newman became leader of the LNP in 2012 before winning a seat in the QLD Parliament, they just had someone else lead the party in there till he was voted in.

  21. georgecom 21

    I am hoping the status quo continues

    Bridges as National leader and periodically putting his footing it and annoying people

    After the next election let Judith Collins ferment trouble as she tries without support to lead the National Party.

    • The next leader of the National Party will be decided at head office up in Beijing.

      It will be decided simply by how much in dollar terms, head office is prepared to fund the election and they will have a lot to say on that matter.

      And going by the way Key and Luxon have been romancing over the day or so, then there is the clue.

      Head office gets its man. branch office gets the money.

  22. Chris T 22

    The humorous part of this National leadership rumours people have is they think anyone in the party would want to take over leader going into an election after the spotlight Ardern and PR she has had on herself since Covid-19 kicked off.

    I mean a bit of realism.

  23. gnomic 23

    It seems unlikely in my opinion that Luxon could become the leader of the National party without serving as an MP for some time. Or Prime Minister for that matter.

    Key was first elected in 2002 and eventually took over from Brash in 2006. He was shadow finance spokesman for a time and 4th on the list for the Nats. PM in 2008.

    I can't think of any cases in which someone has become PM without a reasonably lengthy time in Parliament – anyone got an example?

    Why is Luxon thought to be a godlike figure? He might benefit from the flatness of the surrrounding countryside in the National caucus perhaps. Endorsement by John Key is not a plus except for those subject to Key Infatuation Syndrome.

    • Peter 23.1

      Luxon is a godlike figure because he was a bigwig in business. That makes him superior in every way.

      Trumpet fanfare … He comes from the REAL WORLD!!

      Speaking of which David Hisco who was CEO of ANZ was godlike too. Is he standing for Act or working for the Taxpayers Union?

    • observer 23.2

      Not PM, but Brash became leader in his first term and got close to winning in 2005.

      Ironically your chances of becoming party leader increase if your party has been trounced at the election, so the caucus has shrunk, removing possible contenders. Perhaps that's what Luxon is hoping for.

    • Craig H 23.3

      Edward Stafford, who is also the youngest ever Premier/PM, was about a year, but in modern party politics, it's Lange for Labour and Key for National. Lange was about 7 years and that was the shortest in the 20th Century.

  24. gingercrush 24

    Simon Bridges chances are over. To be honest they were probably always over. National was always a possibility as long as its main vote held up. That was the case for a while despite Jacinda Ardern doing a good job. The support was with her rather than Labour itself. Despite Simon Bridges being well useless, National was always a possibility since it has a strong core. Especially as Labour hasn’t been too good with their election promises. Covid 19 has however, squeezed any oxygen for political change. Had this happened mid term then things might have been different but as we've seen with the Christchurch earthquakes people support those leading during the event and thereafter.

    Whilst they could have moved quicker to close the border. Jacinda/Labour/Cabinet direct appeal to New Zealanders with a mostly clear Level system as to how New Zealand will operate during Covid 19 allowed New Zealanders to understand. And while we don't yet know the long-term complications of going into Level 4 or the nearly as harsh Level 3 restrictions. We know lives have been saved. Had we carried on the way things were going more New Zealanders would have got Covid 19. And while sadly we do have 16 deaths. We could have looked at any retirement village in any town or city and we would have seen death after death after death, Look at Ireland, 769 deaths. That could have been us.

    New Zealanders will support people and governments that do a good job. Jacinda Arden/Labour/Coalition should be rewarded for doing what they needed to keep New Zealanders alive. That Simon Bridges and others are just fucking stupid and don't understand is beyond me. He is a prat and doesn't deserve the vote of New Zealanders. Instead of going lets help New Zealand get through this. He has concerned himself with bullshit. He and National should have put their heads down and looked into the future. We know economically we're rather fucked and New Zealanders will lose their jobs and businesses will go. There will be very long-term effects in the future. We know people/organisations will look at raising taxes or so called Green New Ideas. Most of these have no financial grounding but as this government is going to need to incur debt that is what people will look into.

    National could have proposed alternative ways to get through the economy doldrums and look into the future. But sadly they're too busy being a bunch of idiots. It is very frustrating to watch. Not sure what I'll do come September. I'll still probably vote National but it won't be for Simon Bridges.

    Also I do have to laugh at you Mickey Savage. Of course you've seen it before. As one of David Cunliffe's greatest supporters, you've seen the damage an increasingly out of touch opposition leader can do for a party. Just a pity you spent almost 3 years defending how useless a job he was doing. (But also Goff, Shearer and Little so shall we call this nine years?).

    • Incognito 24.1

      Has John Armstrong called for Simon’s resignation yet over a bottle of wine?

      • Sacha 24.1.1

        Simon's still negotiating a gift for John from those guys who apparently have better bottles than him.

  25. gsays 25

    Does anyone else hear the 'Jaws' theme when they see the image illustrating this post?

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