The Joyce litmus test

In the jockeying for position for National leader there is one litmus test that will dictate the outcome.

Anyone who supports Steven Joyce staying in a senior role in caucus will not win the leadership election.

There is no denying Joyce’s unbelievable talent for campaigning. He has served National exceptionally well as a campaign manager, and deserves the accolades he has received for his campaigning. Yet this does not overcome the fact that Joyce is hugely disliked in caucus.  

Joyce is regarded as aloof, arrogant and completely unwilling to reach out to junior MPs and help them with their careers, constituent issues or merely be civil to them. This lack of civility runs through Joyce’s choice of staff, staff who think that yelling at MPs is acceptable.

Instead of using his position to build a rapport with his caucus colleagues Joyce was near impossible to get to know, and even harder to get into your electorate. It was known that you could get John Key in to your electorate but you could never get Steven Joyce, and you might as well not bother asking because he would refuse or his staff would be rude to you.

Politics is a game where personal relationships matter. Helen Clark built them over decades. John Key and Jacinda Ardern are naturally likeable people whom everyone wants to get to know and get on with. Joyce is the opposite. People tried to get to know him, were rebuffed, and then abused by his staff.

This is why the Joyce litmus test is going to dictate who is the next National leader. Promise to axe Joyce and you have a chance. Promise to keep him and your chances fade immediately.

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