What if I am threatened that association with certain people will be bad for my career?
Ask them how they are going to influence the selection process and if delegates will actually listen to them. Also ask them if they will be around when you want to run.
People who make threats like this are bullies and should be stood up to. This can be done safely in the knowledge that the ability for anyone in the party to influence the choice of 60 delegates is extremely limited.
Just look at Bill English…no one would have shed a tear if he had been rinsed after the 2002 debacle and his association with Michelle Boag, but there he is as Deputy Prime Minister. Likewise Maurice¬†Williamson…Michelle Boag tried very hard to rinse him after he called for her boil on the party to be lanced on election night 2002…he not only stayed, he is still a minister.
The National party is a broad church and anyone making silly threats such as those above should be asked to explain how a party that welcomes freedom of expression and association would look if all of a sudden it started to shut down good, honest, open debate and ideas?