Garner says pick Collins

Duncan Garner can see sense:

Contemplating Judith Collins as National’s next leader must have some in the caucus shaking in their sensible mid-priced shoes.

If Collins is the answer as National’s next leader then what the hell is the question again?

The great white hope wears her ambition with pride. Her philosophy: Why step over someone on the way down when you can kick them and chuckle at the same time. Maybe that’s harsh and, as strange as it sounds, there is a lot to like about Crusher.

Leaders must be liked and trusted by voters, but Collins is different. She brings anything but that level of warmth, she brings fear and an evil giggle to the table amongst other traits.

Some fools are saying she can’t pick up support from working-class voters. They ignore that she has been returned time and time again in Papakura. You can’t get more working class than that.

If Labour worries about Collins becoming leader then I say pick her.

Question is this: Who can intimidate Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, get up in her grill, patronise, giggle, and mock her and possibly win the next election?

It’s as simple as ABC, Adams, Bridges or Collins? It may actually in the end be D, duh, none of the above, but National hates opposition – the born to rulers want out. If they want out, pick Collins.

Most of these Nats still believe they won the election anyway. It’s called entitlement.

So MPs have their hands hovering over the nuclear button labelled, ‘Crusher Collins.’

That is why you are seeing a desperate rearguard action from the old troughers in supporting Amy Adams, and her wilful disregard of the rules set down by Bill English.

Yet, as is always the case with a secret ballot of 56 MPs, it’s unclear whether many hands are willing to push it because Judith Collins screams trouble.

Big, big, massive gigantic TROUBLE for both sides of the House.

Collins is by far the most risky of the candidates. More downside than up maybe but MPs must be considering her.

I reckon she’s the only option if you want to lock in your base support and niggle the living stuffing out of your opponent. This Government was created for a mouthy and cocky opposition home-run hitter like Collins.

Risk could bring reward and a return to the treasury benches. Risk is good when you’re a loser, it worked for Labour – Jacinda Ardern couldn’t command a seat a year ago, now she owns property on the cover of every local women’s mag. How vogue.

Wannabe Amy Adams isn’t ready and speed-speaks in riddles. She wouldn’t answer a question I put to her this week on whether she’d pick tax cuts or health and education spending if faced with that choice. The public don’t want cute evasion, they want authentic honesty. Fail.

Amy Adams is trying the tried-and-true Boag/English tactics of trying to scare people into backing her. That’s why she ignored the agreement not to have public support. She was hoping others would rush to declare. They didn’t. Another fail.

The lying from the whip and Adams has turned MPs off her campaign. She is left with the old tuskers and can now hardly claim the mantle of a generational change, especially with all the grey hair supporting her.

She is putting it about that she will short circuit the process set down by Bill English on Tuesday, but the only way she could do that is to deal with Simon Bridges and, given those who are on Bridges’ team really don’t like Adams, I see that as unlikely. Connected sources and good numbers people are telling me it is neck and neck between Bridges and Collins, and Adams is coming a distant third.

Bridges fancies himself but he looks like a secondhand car salesman who swallowed one of Tauranga’s finest kiwifruit that is yet to be digested. He’s actually funny and bright and good company but TV doesn’t show that yet – although it might.

Bridges should swallow a slightly bitter pill and cut a deal with Judith Collins to be her deputy. His time will come, with a bit more refinement. Plus, if Judith fails he will be in a prime position to step up.

National has only one option. Collins. If she wins – surprise. If she loses, she’s gone and the next leader might be PM.

The time is right for the Crusher to show us what she’s got. No one will die wondering and Collins will take someone out in a hail of bullets, perhaps herself even.

Under Collins her own political suicide beckons but so does oblivion under another candidate.National needs a hardman and it comes via a woman with the balls to say publicly what she really thinks.

Collins also offers a contrast to Ardern. The others offer the same without being as good. Ardern looks and is young. The others are young fogies trying to sound cool.

There is no way Amy Adams could have a crack at Ardern. It is laughable. Bridges might have the balls to do it, but will immediately be labelled a misogynist.

Politics is about winning – on that front National has nothing to lose. They already lost.

So could Collins be leader and is she up to the job?

Yes and yes, if you want a screaming roller coaster with evil sound effects.

I wrote a piece about Collins a number of years ago saying her links to and behaviour around Chinese company Oravida   were shady and she should resign.

Sure, she was disciplined by the then-prime minister John Key, but she went on to do a Winston; bide your time, hang around, rehabilitate yourself a bit, cause more acceptable trouble, and people have short memories.

And she’d be right. We forget, forgive and most barely care.

The real story behind all of that will no doubt come out one day and it might not end well for all those who did the pushing.

The time is right for Collins – it’s perfect actually. 2018 is all about the power of women. Collins versus Ardern – at least National would be in the game. Is National bold and brave enough to do it? Not long now till we find out.

National caucus members need to do right by the party, and not keep the status quo in place. May as well crack into some change now. It’s as good a time as any.



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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.