Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Is there anyone left who thinks Judith Collins is a future PM?


Is there anyone left who thinks Judith Collins is a future PM?  

If you were still unsure last week then Friday’s outburst about Siouxsie Wiles surely decided things for you.  That was unbecoming of a PM in waiting. Regardless of what Dr Wiles did or didn’t do, Kiwis do not like it when our politicians punch down or launch personal attacks. We expect our PMs to be statesmanlike and that was anything but.  

If you were still in Camp Collins, welcome to reality. The rest of accepted Collins is not a future PM a long time ago:  either because of the shouting match with the young interviewer on Breakfast, or the weird decision to pray in front of cameras during the election campaign, or the apparently vengeful decision recently to demote Chris Bishop during a lockdown even though he’s one of National’s best performers.


But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to roll Collins just yet. I don’t think Friday’s outburst changes anything about when she should be rolled.  I still think next year is better than this year  

There were commentators at the weekend arguing it’s now urgent that National cuts Collins, mainly because the government needs to be held to account during a crisis like this.  

And fair argument.  But isn’t that already happening? I’d argue ACT and Chris Bishop and Erica Stanford are doing a great job of that.  

Frankly, the middle of a covid crisis is a huge political risk for any National party leader. Just look at what the first lockdown did to Simon Bridges, who has been proven right on most things he said at the time.  

People become irrational during an outbreak and start believing crazy things like the borders need to stay closed forever. How can you talk sense as a political party leader if that’s the kind of irrational reaction people have to covid.  

So, if you do roll Collins this year, how do hold the government to account and give them gypo for their mistakes, without irrational, fearful people hating you for and labelling you destructive?  David Seymour can do it because he attracts 1 in every 8 voters at the moment. It’s a lot harder for the National Party leader, trying to attract 1 in every two voters.  

Really, the real opposition to Labour is not National or ACT. It’s Covid. If Labour handle this outbreak well people will reward them. If they don’t, people will be grumpy at them.  And there’s not really a lot an Opposition leader can change about that.  

I think the smartest thing for any future national leader in that caucus right now is to sit this outbreak out and know that we all know Judith Collins is just keeping the seat warm. 

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Phil said...

I have been a bit dismayed by Judith's comments on Souixsie Wiles and also noticeable anti Souixsie campaign at the BFD site. This isn't an election winning strategy.

Anonymous said...

Sure she might not be the greatest potential PM, but she's better then what we have now!

DeeM said...

Collins has been a big disappointment. Mind you, the whole National Party has been a big disappointment.
There is only one real opposition party and that's ACT.
And when Collins is rolled who will replace her...Christopher Luxon? That really would be the end of National. Corporate Chris is well schooled in wokeness and has already indirectly signaled that he broadly supports Labour's pro-Maori He Puapua agenda. He strikes me as a Tony Blair type figure, trying to pull "New-National" more to the centre-left, woke side.
Surely, there must be a significant group of National MPs who are aligned more with ACT's position. If not, then National deserves to die a lingering death, like the UK Labour Party, with no clear direction and original policies.

Phil said...

I have been starting to warm to Luxon in the hope he will provide credible economic management. He belongs to an evangelical church and will come under severe attack from the media. Will he buckle under the pressure like Todd Muller. ACT will not let him pursue He Puapua.

Ross said...

Nothing wrong with what Judith Collins said. Wiles got caught breaking the "rules' she preaches about and should be called out. But as expected the MSM quickly tries to cover for her.

I do not think the average Kiwi, especially those in Auckland would be fooled.

I agree DeeM --Luxon would kill National.

Jigsaw said...

Are you moonlighting for the Labour party Heather ? To say a Prime Minister needs to be statesperson like and then the say that if they handle the pandemic well Labour will likely be reelected seems at the very least to be all but blind to all of the other miss-steps and miss-handling fiascos that Labour has been the author of.
Judith has handled a most difficult job very well in my opinion and the opinion of many many others.
I agree the National party needs to sharpen its act but that applies even more to people like the dripping wet Chris Luxon that it does to the leader.

Janine said...

I totally disagree that Judith is not a good leader. Who do you want in her place? Most of the others touted by your media mates are pretty much similiar to Labour in their views. Luxon, Bishop and Stanford. Judith's problem is the woke candidates that were selected by the party in the past.

I agree she needs to scrap all this Treaty nonsense though. Apart from that she would probably be a much more capable leader on the other issues.
If you and your media colleagues had played the game fairly and reported Nationals policies, notwithstanding all the media bribes, as much as the huge publicity you gave Labour on their policies things might be different.

I am not affiliated to any party.

Anonymous said...

How could anyone be an effective leader when one looks at the indecisive troop she has to lead? Does the caucus know what it stands for? Is it for a 50:50 Partnership with Maori for example? At the recent conference, it added the Treaty of Waitangi principles to its constitution - something promoted by Deputy Leader Shane Reti. At the same time ACT is stating its position on that matter clearly - so votes coming from Labour are going to ACT not National.

The left is of course targeting Judith Collins on many fronts: Notice how the cartoonists are on a relentless attack (ridicule works), and the left media are doing Labours work. Todd Muller shot National in the foot and Labour knows that if they topple Collins now they will have enough time before the election to discredit the replacement as well. And you know what, National is dumb enough to fall for it and put Luxon on charge.

What National needs is for its caucus to grow a spine and stand up for what's right. Time they started supporting their leader rather than believing what they read in the left-wing press. And they should stop feeling sorry for themselves. Labour has created a dream environment for an opposition politician and the National MPs are sitting in a corner sucking their thumb.

Anonymous said...

I am getting sick of the vindictive campaign against Collins. Cartoonists like Tom Scott have clearly got a vindictive campaign underway. The Nats should unite behind Collins and fight back at people like Tom Scott and others. The Nats should also realise that Ardern should be the target. She is Labour's greatest strength and their greatest weakness.

Anonymous said...

Heather, I have a quote for you:
You know a country is in big trouble when the press criticizes the opposition instead of holding the government to account. (can't remember the author)
You show your colours Heather (or paycheck?) more than anything is your critique. We don't need you to tell us what we think about something. - However if you have a good, well written, critique on the PM why not go for it? We want truth these days Heather, ya know. Nga mihi