Grant Robertson has failed in four years to deliver a single National ministerâ€™s head. This may seem a brutal measure of success, and it is, but aspiring leaders need to deliver heads.
The usual approach to delivering a head is to put a minister under so much pressure that they crack. This starts with lots of written questions, and is supported by ruthless questioning in question time, so every time a minister stands up their side all cringe.Â
Brutality does not need to be nasty. The best two practitioners in recent years have been Lockwood Smith and Chris Hipkins. Both have been measured and foresic in their questioning, and make ministers look bad by constantly asking questions that hold ministers to account rather than political points scoring.
A man serious about being leader would be in the media every week the house sits, making their opponents look terrible. Grant has not done this in four years, even in the easy portfolio of the environment where the tree huggers think National are akin to the devil and regularly leak information to Labour and the Greens.
Up against Nick Smith until his sacking Grant failed to get any hits on. Nick schooled the new chum, which is what happens when you put a tyro up against seriously cunning, experienced political operator with a formidable intellect. Less understandable is how Grant hasnâ€™t manage to lay a hand on Amy Adams.
Amy is not know as being particularly competent on the environment, and is pushing through some schemes that will transfer massive wealth to a small number of farmers while ruining waterways. This point may be arguable, but it will appeal to the urban voters, the workers and a bunch of other Labour stakeholders, yet Grant has yet to pin Amy on anything.
Grant hasnâ€™t even made the headlines for landing a hit in four years. All he is good for is sitting in parliament and nodding to other people putting the hits on on mindlessly uttering basic strap lines by rote as others speak. Don’t believe me, watch parliament, it is cringe worthy.
If he was serious about being leader he would man up and deliver a head. Or two. Clark didnâ€™t waste time in letting blood, and she was bloody good at it. As a former Clark apparatchik Grant has been a big disappointment.