Explaining is losing Bill, something you know all about

Bill English has spent the week fending off questions over his leadership and he has spent altogether too much time explaining himself.

National Party leader Bill English says he’d be very surprised if any of his MPs raised concerns about the leadership at the party’s caucus retreat next week.

Mr English’s state of the nation speech was overshadowed yesterday by reports that some of his MPs were agitating for a change in command.

Some National MPs have privately told RNZ there is discontent about the party’s deputy Paula Bennett.

But Mr English dismissed that as “gossip” and insisted he and Mrs Bennett had their colleagues’ full backing.

The party will head into a two-day caucus meeting in Tauranga next week. Mr English said he didn’t expect any leadership talk to come up.

“If anything, a bit of a burst of speculation like this has probably hardened up support,” he said.

“We’ll be spending time on working out how to hold to account a government that’s made a number of early mistakes [and] shows every sign of losing momentum pretty quickly.”

Mrs Bennett also told reporters leadership was not set to be discussed at the caucus retreat. “No plans for that at all,” she said.

The reason why there is not going to be any leadership questions at the caucus retreat is because some muppet, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to invite 5 or 6 non-MPs to the caucus retreat.

Now those non-MPs are very interesting. They are the next four on the list:

47 Maureen Pugh West Coast
48 Nicola Willis Wellington Central
49 Agnes Loheni Mangere
50 Paulo Garcia New Lynn

Plus an really interesting attendee:

72 Dan Bidois List

I can understand the first four, they will be the replacements when four old tuskers exit parliament, and the fact they are being included this early in the year suggests that the exit of four MPs is imminent. But including the number 72 Dan Bidois is rather strange. There are many more candidates above him in the list. I suspect he is there because he is being groomed to take a seat from a sitting MP planning on resigning.

Caucus isn’t happy with these five attending, not one bit. They see it as a bid by Bill English and Paula Bennett to shut down leadership debate because those five aren’t yet in caucus.

Another thing that won’t be discussed is a performance review of the election campaign. My board sources tell me that the board won’t be looking at it and neither will the campaign team, despite claims by Bill English to the contrary.

I can hazard a guess as to why they don’t want a review, mainly because the review will conclude that the campaign was fine and that the problems lay with a failure to understand how precarious the existing support parties were, a failure to reach across the house to Winston Peters and then a bunch of muppets deciding to attack Winston Peters with leaks and finally a bunch of drop-kicks at the negotiating table who could cut a deal. The buck has to stop at the top for all those failures.

What will be interesting is seeing who the Nats push under the bus first. My pick is it will be one of those on Winston’s lawsuit…which will indicate who was responsible.

Meanwhile Bill English has instituted a witch-hunt to find out who is leaking to me. It would be easier to trace who isn’t.



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