National's next leader?

This is not easy to pick because the job is John Key’s for as long as he wants. There are plenty of aspirants but also people who won’t make it because no one likes them, they aren’t popular with the general public and donors don’t like them because they are pinko scum in the wrong party.

If John Key were to be run over by a bus tomorrow, these people would probably put their names forward. They will all be hanging around for when Key does leave, and some are known to be counting the numbers already.

Tony Ryall – No one should underestimate the power of the brat pack, who work as a pack to pick off votes. Tony is the last man standing as Bill is proven to turn voters away and Nick is too unstable.
Pros:

  • Experienced politician who has done a good job carving up the public sector
  • Good team working to promote him, using their senior positions in cabinet to provide patronage

Cons

  • Tony Who?
  • The public doesn’t know him, Key made jokes about it, because apparently after five weeks of tony getting media his name recognition was only 18%
  • Cutesy shirt and tie combos are actually pretty stupid in the eyes of the voting public
  • Bald guy, fall guy
  • Been around for too long and the brat pack are past their used by date
  • Always seen fundraising as a bit dirty and beneath him, so will be under pressure to prove he can do a lot better than Bill who left the party with 21% of the vote and a rumoured million dollar debt

Steven Joyce – Happily been responsible spending up National’s quantitative easing, meaning he gets to say yes to lots of people for things they want like roads. Favored by Key as his replacement.
Pros

  • Spent lots so positive vibes
  • Wont give Len his train set
  • Savvy political operator who has spent a fair bit of time studying winning and is behind National’s poll driven approach to everything.

Cons

  • Makes strange choices of senior staffers, including one who is so abrasive she thinks it is a good idea to yell at MPs who could well be voting for the leader one day. A number of MPs have told this blogger they will never become a “one” for Steven if he maintains his current staff.
  • Too closely associated with John Key, and when Key goes Joyce could be like Goff, unable to get traction because he is too closely associated with a failed administration
  • No real public profile, and not the most camera friendly guy
  • Neglected donors
  • Another bald guy fall guy.

Judith Collins – Crusher does have a public profile and makes sensible policy changes that work and win her support from the voting public.
Pros

  • Good tenure as Minister of Police and Corrections meaning popular with the public for making the streets safer and locking up crims
  • Not too closely linked to the Key administration as she is not part of the old boys network, so won’t fall into the trap Joyce will find himself in
  • Done the hard yards with the donors so will be able to say “I can fund a campaign just like Don did, but Bill didn’t.”
  • Staff don’t have anger management issues
  • Could take the Keating path, dropping out of Cabinet to build a power base from the back benches and offering National a genuinely different direction when Key goes

Cons

  • Not one of the old boys network so misses out on some of the advantages
  • Big brass ones may have worked for Thatcher but may not work in modern New Zealand
  • Might be too right wing to do a coalition deal with others if MMP is retained
  • Hasn’t shown a softer side that will resonate with women voters

This only looks at the current contenders. Tomorrow will consider who might come through the ranks in the future. As mentioned previously if MMP is retained National run the risk of having no coalitions partners and these politicians will have a difficult path to becoming Prime Minister.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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