Review of day one of the leadership challenge

MP Judith Collins

Yesterday was day one of the search for the person to replace Bill English as leader of the National party.

I think it is safe to say the day was Judith Collins’.

She announced first, utilising Twitter and Facebook to side step journalists and deliver messages. When journalists like Lloyd Burr are moaning that that she didn’t put out a press release and then they all had to call Judith to make appointments then you know she was exhibiting true leadership in making the media dance to her tune.

By going first she showed she was ready, willing and able and she was able to quickly dominate the media with blanket media coverage before Simon Bridges had even brylcreemed his hair. The other candidates were slow off the mark and looked like they were reacting to Judith.  

She spent the day delivering well studied and rehearsed lines on every topic the media threw at her, even questions about me. She showed she had a plan, that she had planned, and that she was up for a good old-fashioned donnybrook.

“You don’t get to be resilient unless you’ve been through stuff, and I’ve been through a tough time, and I’ve had great times, but what I do know is this: I love a good fight and I’m up for it.”

Most of her comments however were smacking up the Labour party and in particular Jacinda Ardern. In interview after interview she scotched any squeamishness about giving Jacinda a hiding and she talked good conservative language about smashing up virtue-signalling and political correctness.

“We’re not up against an ordinary candidate in Jacinda Ardern… this is extraordinary times and we need to take quite different steps than what everybody’s going to be comfortable with. We’re never going to out-Jacinda Jacinda.”

On day one she dominated media, and dominated social media.

I’d say Amy Adams came second, by a long way. She never talked about how National could get to 61 seats and spent an awful amount of time talking about her “progressive” credentials. Does she even know she is standing for the National party leadership not the Labour party leadership? Her constant virtue-signalling and having four nodding heads behind her was just plain dumb. No one cares about climate change, gender issues, gay marriage or any other rubbish like that.

Talk of generational change is ridiculous. Jacinda Ardern was not elected because she was “youth adjacent”. She was selected by Winston Peters, a 72-year-old pensioner. Some generational change.

Identity politics might work for leftists but it doesn’t work for National party members.

Simon Bridges has had a disaster of a campaign launch. He’ has spent the whole of Christmas sucking up to caucus members and this was his chance to shine. He bombed it. I think his chances to make the leader are now slim, and any support he did have will ebb away with the constant media mocking of his third-person reference to himself.

All in all a good day for Judith Collins with complete media domination. Two weeks of this is going to be so much fun. If Judith Collins continues her shock and aw campaign then I think she will get there.

She is the only one who showed she has a plan to get 61 seats and win back the government benches.

In politics there are only three options, lead, follow or get out of the way. Collins showed she can lead, Bridges should follow and Adams should get out of the way.

If the National caucus selects either Bridges or Adams then when they hit 35% it will be all over. Which by the way was a brilliant set up by Judith Collins against her rivals. She is showing she is performance oriented, and not into nepotism or playing favourites.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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