Mike Hosking on the National party leadership race

Mike Hosking shared his view of the race so far:

So let’s deal with what we’ve got so far. Simon Bridges, Amy Adams and Judith Collins. Aged 41, 46 and 58 – if age is an issue for all those gripped by this generational change bollocks.

Generational change is fine but not if that’s all it is, let us never forget the value of experience and talent.

So who’s winning? Collins, hands down.  

Judith Collins had a brilliant start.

On the Herald website, look at their pitches. Adams was clever, she turned up outside, flanked by Maggie Barry, Nikki Kaye and Chris Bishop.

Bridges turned up by himself in the hallway of Parliament. This should not matter, but everything matters. Looks matter, sound matters, dress matters, what you say matters and how you say it matters.

And that’s why Judith Collins wins so far. She came out swinging, she articulated a couple of critically important things. One, she lined up her opponent in the Prime Minister, the other two didn’t. She gave her credit and due respect – but left no doubt the fight was on.

And two, she had a message, she had a plan, and she had a plan in plain speak. It’s hard work, it’s a tough game, and we are here to win. The other two were talking CVs. Adams especially.

That is because Judith Collins was talking to the membership and Bridges and Adams were talking “turnsies”.

Adams was wonderfully articulate, she ticked all the boxes she undoubtedly wanted to tick. Kids, family, solo mum, humble beginnings, urban, rural… look at her pitch it was all there. But no fire, no message, it was ‘hello I’m Amy, and I’m a nice person”. We need more than that.

No plan. She just thinks it is “turnsies” and she is the status-quo candidate.

And then we had poor old Simon Bridges. Upside? He’s good-looking and dresses well. And that counts. But he sounds dreadful, he sounds a mix of uncertainty and upward inflection. His head bobbles from side to side, looking like he’s not quite sure what he’s saying next.

I don’t think he is sure at all. Again, no plan and no forethought.

Now you can argue none of this matters given none of us are voting, and that, in part, is my fear. What the caucus vote for might well be more about them and jobs promised, than what’s good for the party ultimately, and the country in the long term.

No candidate can promise any job. There are no jobs to promise. Any candidate who does is lying. You need to win government before jobs become an option. Therefore, what is needed is a plan to get a government with 61-plus seats. I doubt Amy Adams or Simon Bridges has such a plan, after all they didn’t have a plan for when Bill quit, and you may be sure Amy Adams was given a heads up.

Being internally popular, I would have hoped, would come second to being externally plausible.

And you can argue that Bill English struggled with words. John Howard was so boring, he made paint fascinating. Both though, successful.

You don’t have to be a David Lange or a Bob Hawke or a Mike Moore, or dare I suggest a Winston Peters… either of them… to make it to the top.

But when you’re coming from behind, when you have a Jacinda to outshine, polish counts. Polish and policy. Polish, policy and confidence.

And of the three, Collins has the lot in spades. If this is the race, from what we’ve seen, the race should be over.

I agree, but unfortunately the caucus think they can ignore their members.


-NZ Herald

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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.