After a long dark night, the elevation of conservative Christopher Luxon to Leadership of National with a Liberal Lass Mz Willis at his side, was the dawning of a new day, for thousands of National voters who had abandoned the political party which had served as their natural refuge for decades.
Never had National seen such an exodus of philosophically inclined followers, as they witnessed at the 2019 General election when the MMP system of democracy bequeathed the nation by Jim Bolger, delivered Labour a ‘once in nine elections’ exception: To Rule Alone.
Never had I and many others, witnessed such a pitiful performance by National in Opposition, as has been parody on display since Labour took the Treasury Benches. A tsunami of supporters abandoned ship.
By his first appearance as Leader of National, Christopher won votes.
He looked the part.
His delivery – that is, speaking – a quantum leap above the other pretenders to the National party throne and totally devoid of the obfuscation, prevarication and deliberate avoidance of the issue at hand (being an art at which the current Prime Minister excels).
Having said that, in a different interview, Christopher Luxon did appear to be under some pressure when questioned about his religious beliefs. I say to you Mr Luxon:
Thank Christ for Chris – say I, a pagan.
Religion is your private business. Same as are all family affairs. So, when media enquire, tell them: “None of your business.”
Mr Luxon addressed the appalling state of New Zealand’s productive capacity although the drift toward what is now a virtual vacant factory floor may well have been accelerated under the John Key Free China Trade deal. [I mention this contributory factor as a matter of self-integrity and aim to be objective.]
He mentioned the importance of the primary sector: Farmers.
Addressing the imminent rise in inflation and collateral issues: rising fuel costs which means rising transport costs which means increased food cost et al, demonstrates that Mr Luxon’s mind is on the bits that are critical to New Zealand emerging out the other end, still in one piece.
By the time the next election arrives, the full adverse impact of rising inflation will be upon the nation. Mr Luxon’s focus on the economy suggests to me that he already has policy in mind, to ameliorate the damage.
One thing for sure is: Jacinda and her team have no idea.
He mentioned education. Perhaps he was referring to the pitiful standard of mathematics and science taught in our schools? Perhaps he was referring to the dependence on foreign student revenue to sustain our universities? Whatever. He mentioned, education.
Mr Luxon always referred to our country as New Zealand.
When it came to the divisive Maori issue, his careful choice of lexicon “We are inclusive” was prudent. Inclusive is the opposite to exclusive.
In my view, it would have been injudicious to forcefully attack Labour’s Maori policy of exclusivity, first time on the podium.
However, sooner or later, if he does not signal clearly that National is for equality of all before the law and will oppose and repeal the avaricious legally unjustifiable asset grab by Maori, then the honeymoon he is about to embark on, will end.
It will end in another divorce from a very large section of traditional National support which at this moment clamours to follow this new champion of: equality before the law, protection of property ownership and protection of freedoms fast evaporating under Labour.
The divorcee will search for a New Minor Party centre right – to take up the cause.
The next polls will undoubted elevate National at ACT’s expense.
Some would say (and I have), that ACT’s rise in the polls was largely as a result of National’s pitiful performance.
Mr Seymour has done well to respond to problems presented by Labour. But he has failed in my view, to put a firm peg in the ground on the divisive Maori issue. Nor have I seen any sage economic policy emerge.
If Mr Seymour lost the chance of a lifetime, to cement himself as the Leader New Zealand could rely on to fix the mess we are in, it is now Mr Luxon’s turn.
It is Luxon’s to Lose.
Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as a Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland spies & V.I.P. security; currently Honorary Consul for an African state, Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in New Zealand and has international business interests.