Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Frank Newman: Straight Talk - National is its own worst enemy

Labour's cleverly orchestrated campaign to undermine National's leadership is now gaining traction within the National caucus. 

A challenge to the leadership of Simon Bridges will be held on Friday (22 May).  

That campaign went up a notch today when former National Prime Minister Jim Bolger publicly backed Todd Muller to replace Simon Bridges. It was a direct swipe at Judith Collins, the other frontrunner for the top job.

The mere fact that Todd Muller is a serious contender for the leadership of the National Party shows the party has a fundamental problem that has very deep roots. It appears to have a culture like a 1970s government department: Boring, lacking in personality and having a snobbish air of entitlement. The John Key era was an exception, which may explain why they did so well.

It is no surprise that Jim Bolger would promote Todd Muller as a potential leader. In many ways they are alike: they suffer from charisma deficit. Having a conversation with Jim Bolger is a cure for insomnia. If it could be bottled and ingested it would be declared a miracle cure. 

The National caucus needs to first decide whether it should change the leader at all. That essentially is an issue of timing. Should National fail to regain the treasury benches Simon Bridges would be replaced anyway. Perhaps the Muller/Kaye ticket think this is their best chance, ahead of other more attractive contenders emerging after the election.

 If National does choose to change its leader now it should at least select a leader that comes across as genuine and authentic, and not a born-again Jim Bolger.

Should the Muller/Kaye coup fail, will they stand down as MPs? Given Mr Muller's comment that National can't win with Simon Bridges as it's leader, standing down would be the right thing to do.

Frank Newman, a writer and investment analyst, is a former local body councillor.


And/orsum said...

The National Party revised their 1936 founding principles in 2003. Now reads, what we stand for; our values. I believe every prospective National Party candidate should sign a pledge that they have read these Values and will abide by them.
They also really need to define what they mean by "Strong families and caring communities", and does it square with their other values of "Equal citizenship and equal opportunity;
Individual freedom and choice; Personal Responsibility".
And also National really have to look at "Sustainable development of our environment". Just what are they sustaining; for whom and for how long. Does the National Party buy into human caused increase of global temperature, when so much science {starting from Null Hypothesis} doesn't support that stance.
The "snobbish air of entitlement" seems to be still quite true. They have to present more than "we're not as bad as Labour," even though we have much the same policies.
Muldoon used to sneer at many proposals because "that won't win many votes". John Key used the same criteria - "if I did that I wouldn't get re-elected". Why get elected? Why be in Government? What are you actually achieving? ~other than power, for power's sake

maic said...

Has National learned nothing from the Australian political shambles when politicians became terrified of poll results and dumped a series of leaders?
One day it might occur to the mandarins in the National Party to actually ask the non left citizens what are the issues and policies they want dealt with.
May I dare suggest that policies which reflected the aspirations, values and concerns of the real people out there
might carry more weight than that of a so called charismatic leader with uninspiring policies.