If there’s one thing a Prime Minister has to be recognised for, it is being on top of their portfolios.
Helen Clark and Heather Simpson were all over ministerial portfolios like a rash. John Key is likewise at the top of the game, and while preferring a more managerial style, he certainly expects his Ministers to deliver on the workload expected of someone earning over $260,000 a year.
Leadership candidates need that sort of reputation to come through strongly right from the start.
In this ongoing series, we explore the push to have Simon Bridges positioned as a future leader of the National Party, and look at some of the criticisms coming through about Bridges, including the view that he’s captured by officials and close to the unions.
Let’s put aside for the moment the 200,000 acres of parkland that’s now got the Green Taliban’s puppet-masters Greenpeace calling for his sacking.
That mess won’t imbue him with National’s Blue Greens, who are now seething at having to explain that the park didn’t have schedule 4 status. We all know explaining is losing.
Let’s look at Simon Bridges handing of the Labour portfolio. National party members hoped that he would be a breath of fresh air after the shambolic tenure of Comrade Kate Wilkinson.
There’s a growing perception within the National party rank and file that Bridges is captured by the unions – just as Comrade Kate was. Party insiders are frustrated that National’s much touted changes to the Employment Relations Act have gone no-where fast.
For 6 years National’s supporters have patiently waited for changes. The question they rightly ask is whether Simon Bridges will continue to pander to the unions or will he HTFU and see though changes that in his own words will ensure more fairness, flexibility and clarity.