National Party

Hooton on English’s next steps

Matthew Hooton writes about Bill English’s next steps once he is installed as Prime Minister.

It’s odd that John Key abandoning the prime ministership has been interpreted as noble.

Certainly, the decision makes sense for Mr Key. He leaves office the week of the best economic and fiscal forecasts of his prime ministership and with his poll numbers still strong. He has sidestepped any blame should either head south.

But whereas a week ago there were questions about whether Labour could even survive as a major party, the main effect of Mr Key’s resignation is to radically raise the probability of the Labour-Green menace taking power next year. That risk has only been compounded by Mr Key’s uncharacteristically clumsy attempt to seamlessly transfer the prime ministership to his deputy and maintain the hegemony of his inner cabinet of Bill English, Steven Joyce, Murray McCully, Gerry Brownlee and Paula Bennett.

Broadly, the plan was to continue the Key government without Mr Key. Mr English would become prime minister, Mr Joyce would take over as finance minister, Mr Brownlee would return to MBIE, Mr McCully would carry on as foreign minister and Ms Bennett would be social policy czar and deputy prime minister. Everyone else would stay roughly where they were, perhaps with the exception of English loyalists Nick Smith, Nathan Guy and Michael Woodhouse, who could expect a little bit more.

Securing acquiescence from National’s backbench relied on shock and awe and there is no doubt the shock part occurred on Monday. National MPs who have never known anything other than Mr Key’s leadership, and have never really understood that true power lies in the caucus room, initially reacted like the distraught children of divorced parents: daddy had just walked out and they were desperate that mummy, in the form of Mr English, not desert them too.

As the week developed, they worked out it might be time to grow up and take over the running of the household themselves. The irony is that assertiveness on the backbench should ultimately be to Mr English’s advantage.

Read more »

Bridges to quit race, English’s “Dream” team is annointed

The hand over planned by John Key and Bill  English months ago now appears complete.

The bullying, standover and threats have worked and now Simon Bridges is withdrawing from the race.

Simon Bridges is expected to withdraw from the contest to be National’s deputy leader today – handing it to Paula Bennett.

Bennett had public declarations of support from 23 MPs last night to Bridges’ 10 – and was understood to have enough private support to get her over the 30 votes needed in National’s caucus of 59.

The caucus was due to vote on it on Monday, but unless there is a last minute entry at that caucus meeting it appears set to be a pro forma appointment.   Read more »

Bennett v Bridges: two token choices, either a mistake

When you are built for comfort not speed entering via the back door is often easier.

Labour are salivating over the apparent ascendancy of Paula Bennett. They are hoping like hell that Hekia Parata and her bullying team keep threatening backbenchers to declare for Paula.

They have more than enough dirt on her, including one of their own who has intimate knowledge of Paula Bennett. Then there are all the stories of her revolving door for staff and staff issues. Screaming at staff like Jake the Muss for not fixing her some eggs with alacrity isn’t really the way a deputy should behave.

Simon Bridges is promoting himself as the person to, hold Bill English in check, but he doesn’t have the bullying teams helping him that Bill English does. Affectionately known as “Justin” by his former girlfriends he is lagging behind in the deputy stakes.

Radio NZ reports:

Bill English might have cemented his position as Prime Minister but National Party MPs still have to decide who will be his deputy.

Barring any last minute candidates the MPs have to choose between westie Paula Bennett or the more urbane Simon Bridges.   Read more »

How dirty is Bill playing?

You’ve got to admire Bill English. He has managed to achieve a coronation. His team worked hard, but then again they had two months to plan to gazump everyone else.

But there are some concerning anti-democratic tendencies starting to emerge from the fog of war.

By convention whips are supposed to stay out of the fray. Of course, John Carter broke that in rinsing Bill English the first time. However, the whips were very active in backing Bill English, especially Jami-Lee Ross who was running the numbers for Bill English and was the person who leaked to Patrick Gower.

What was astonishing however was the appointment to two other MPs to act as scrutineers in Monday’s vote. Hekia Parata and Chester Borrows were appointed and there were cries of foul deeds. Hekia Parata is well known as a Bill English supporter and so is Chester Borrows. Hekia told caucus that she could be trusted and fair to much sniggering behind people’s hands.

You might think that isn’t too bad, so what, why am I making a big deal?   Read more »

Now that Bill is going to be PM what do the opposition think?

Bill English has bullied the caucus into getting across the line. He will be our next Prime Minister.

The Maori party wanted him, the Media party wanted him, Nicky Hager wanted him…and my good friend Brian Edwards really wants him:

I like Bill. Bill is just great. Really, really great. And – sorry to blow my own trumpet – but if anyone should know, I should. Well, me and Judy really – the team that brought you Helen Clark. Back from the dead, some would say, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Anyway, back to Bill. Did I say Bill was great? What an understatement! Bill is stupendous, charismatic, a master of oratory and, no point in denying it, a real stud. The stats never lie. And here’s the thing: I’m a dyed in the wool Labour man. A socialist, to be strictly accurate.   Read more »

I wonder how many of these guys Bill promised a ministerial portfolio for their public endorsement

A whole bunch of MPs declared earlier today for Bill English. This ultimately led to Judith Collins jacking in the race. But, at least one of them at least was promised a ministerial portfolio if he did so…that will come at the expense of Jonathan Coleman who will get stabbed first for daring to interrupt his coronation.

Judith Collins is likely to get stabbed too because Bill English has such a deep and abiding vindictive streak.

Bill English’s bid for Prime Minister continues to build momentum as more MPs declare their support for him today.

Twenty-one MPs have now committed to backing English in a vote on Monday, while none have yet publicly backed the other contenders Jonathan Coleman and Judith Collins.

To get a majority within the National caucus a candidate will need 30 votes.

The growing level of support for English could put pressure on Coleman and Collins to withdraw from the race.

National’s Jami-Lee Ross, Jonathan Young, Todd Muller, Chris Bishop and Brett Hudson are the latest to say they will back English.   Read more »

Collins withdraws and Bully Bill gets to be PM

Bill English’s bullying of MPs has worked, he has the numbers to become leader of the National party. As a result Judith Collins has quit the race.

He has threatened MPs still waiting on selections that they would be rinsed if they didn’t declare, he’s promised others jobs, and now the retribution will start.

After months in the plotting, the plan didn’t go as smoothly as Key and English hoped but he has got there in the end.

A great many bridges have been burnt with John Key’s petulant quitting and there exists now deep divisions inside National.   Read more »

Labour are dreamin’ and Steve Joyce sledges them hard

Labour, who have had four leaders in the past 8 years are trying to fly the kite that having three people contest a leadership bout is a sign of divisions.

Did they forget they have a four-member leadership contest a short while ago? And a three person contest a short time before that?

Steve Joyce is not one to pass up an opportunity to kick Labour in the slats points out some uncomfortable truths:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said a leadership contest was a reality, not a sign of disunity.

He said whoever finally got the role would have the full support of caucus.   Read more »

While Mummy Bill wants to keep the family together, Collins outlines some policy platforms

Bill English is using a mixture of bribery and fear of the unknown to cajole caucus into supporting him.

Judith Collins is offering up a policy prescription that shows she  isn’t a one trick pony with tax cuts like Bill and John were.

Judith Collins says she will not go ahead with tax cuts and may review iwis’ role in planning decisions if she is made Prime Minister.

Her policy agenda would also include major reforms of health and safety laws and the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Collins is standing for Prime Minister John Key’s job alongside Finance Minister Bill English and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. She is the outsider in the contest, and has not yet received any public declarations of support from MPs.

The Corrections and Police Minister is known for her hardline stance on law and order, which has led to tougher bail laws, harsher sentencing for some offences, and the crushing of boy racers’ cars.

She supports the Government’s position of not reviewing the age of eligibility for pensions. For people who worked in manual labour “65 was a long time to wait”, she said.

But her stance on other issues, including tax cuts, means she cannot be easily categorised as right-wing. She is socially liberal and is the only one of the three candidates who voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

In an interview with the Herald today, she said tax cuts were not a priority for her. No constituent she had spoken to was asking for tax relief – which has been proposed by Key, possibly in the form of a “family package”.

“What they’re saying to me is, and certainly my area in the South Auckland … is we need infrastructure,” Collins said.

“Most people don’t work in the Beehive. They don’t live in luxury homes. Most people actually get by, and they don’t want to spend an hour and a half or two hours getting to work.”

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Daddy left home and now the kiddies are worried that Mummy will leave too

The National party caucus are acting like a bunch of blouses and sooks.

The pitch from Bill English is that if they vote for him then it is steady as she goes. Except it won’t be. I know of one person who has been asked to declare publicly for Bill English on the promise of a ministerial portfolio. The dimwitted fool believed Bill, until it was pointed out to him that for that to happen someone has to get bulleted. Quick as a flash he pointed out that Coleman for sure will get bulleted and probably Judith Collins, so he’s alright jack.

This is classic broken family scenarios. Matthew Hooton came up with this idea on Radio Live this morning, and I’ve decided it fits perfectly.

Daddy has been keeping the family together through a mixture of fear and love. But Daddy has had enough and packed his bags and left. Mummy is left and trying to hold the family together.

Caucus are mewling like cut cats that there is too much change and that if Mummy goes too then so does Cousin Gerry, poor retarded Cousin Nick and Uncle Steve as well. They don’t want a broken family so they are contemplating staying with Mummy even though she is dead set useless at organising the family with the sole exception of the finances.

There is a problem with their little fantasy that Bill will keep the family together…he has a history of fratricide. He also went on the list so in the event of a bad election result he can bolt quicker than everyone else. If he is leader then a bad election result is guaranteed. Read more »

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