By-election Bingo: Speculation on National deserters has started

Better Days

On Thursday both before Winston Peters announced a NZ First-Labour coalition and after, English said his continued role in the party was something to think about further down the track.

But with a changing of the guard it’s likely English will call time on his political career after failing to get a coalition with Peters across the line and losing the prime ministership to Labour’s Jacinda Ardern.

And when English calls it quits it’s likely his outgoing Finance Minister Steven Joyce will go with him.

Between them they’ve clocked up a fair few decades, more for English than Joyce.

Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has also spent a large part of his working life at Parliament and may also see Opposition as an opportunity to exit. His decision to leave is slightly more difficult given he holds the Ilam seat and if he left during the next term he’d trigger a by-election.

Other senior National MPs expected to call time are outgoing Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, Nicky Wagner and Speaker David Carter.

Two other outgoing ministers who might be less than thrilled at the prospect of leaving their office are outgoing Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Environment Minister Nick Smith, who is a close friend of English.

They both hold electorate seats though and would cause by-elections if they didn’t see out the term.

Labour rising star Kiri Allan ran a strong campaign against Tolley in the East Coast electorate and National may be worried about losing the seat altogether if Tolley bows out.

It’s possible in the case of Brownlee, Tolley and Smith that they’ll announce their intentions to retire at the next election, allowing plenty of time for successors to be found.

Jo Moir assumes a nice orderly exit without any BBQs or knives coming into play.   But the power structure has totally changed.   The big hitters now have very little power over their colleagues.  They are all pretty much out of a job, and ‘shadow ministers’ are probably going to be quite happy to put their feet up for a bit.

Luckily, for people like us, some people don’t want to go and will be made to.   This is the spectacle of a party in a reorganisational phase.  And unlike Labour, National cuts throats on the old guard without any remorse.   So much so that you don’t even get an invite to the next Party national convention.

Most will want to keep their money flowing over the holidays, so I don’t expect too many political corpses hitting the footpath this year.


– Jo Moir, Stuff


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