I wrote an editorial on Luxon getting the leadership yesterday once we got wind of it in the afternoon, about an hour before their caucus met and before Luxon spoke.
But I had to throw that out and start again once he spoke, because when he did, he changed my mind.
I was pleasantly surprised, actually, I was impressed.
He came out swinging, got straight into all the issues, he talked up achievements over announcements, he gave farmers a long-overdue high five, had a solid answer for the faith question, (he hasn’t been to a Church in five years, FYI) he confidently addressed a Three Waters question, while balancing the underdog card — admitting he might make mistakes because he’s new to politics. And on that, do we overplay that new to politics thing? I mean don’t we just want the best person for the job?
And isn’t a wide range of skills from being strong in management, to having sound economical nous, critical for us as a country going forward? You want the smarts right? Not necessarily the longest term of being an MP. I mean there are a hell of a lot of MP’s, and Ministers for that matter sitting around parliament for an incredibly long time, and still not much chop.
I mean what’s one of the most common criticisms of the current government? That none of them have any real-world experience, barely any of them have run a business. Career politicians are not necessarily a good thing. They can be disconnected from reality, too entrenched inside their Wellington centric bubble.
So yes Luxon’s new to politics, but he’s not new to management or problem solving or getting results. He’s spent years living overseas, he’s got experience in life. That’s a plus.
I thought he made all the right noises yesterday, powering up the economy, productivity, people generating more income, improving quality of life, investing in multigenerational infrastructure, improving education, mental health.
He says the difference with a National government is that they trust people, and they get the job done. Fewer platitudes, PR spin and announcements, he said, and more vision followed by execution.
Deputy I thought might be Bridges by way of a deal, but Nicola Willis is a sound choice. She’s a solid performer, and together I think they make a solid pairing. The key is they’re new, and they feel fresh.
Which is just what National needs.
So fresh team, fresh faces, fresh challenges, the critical bit though will be fresh poll results.
Luxon says that he’s “built a career out of reversing the fortunes of underperforming companies” and he'll bring "real-world experience to the role."
All of National’s hopes are now pinned on him doing both of those things.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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