The base is angry, I am being copied in on hundreds of emails to the National party. This is a selection of some of them.
To Whom It May concern.
As a loyal National supporter of the past few years I wish to express my disappointment with the choice of the National caucus in their leadership vote, in which the views clearly expressed by members, supporters and the public at large clearly have been ignored.
Any political party that ignores it’s supporters, does so at it’s peril.
I could have stomached Bridges if he had dumped Bennett for Collins. I think that you need a blend in the leadership mix, youth and experience. National is not and never has been, a progressive party. Certainly not in the way it means these days. Liberal Conservative, yes.
Playing up to Maori is a fail I mean, look at how Maori ran back to Labour in the last election. I don’t think that there are enough ‘aspirational Maori’ to make a difference in any case.
The party is forgetting the make up of it’s core constituency, and driving a racial wedge between it’s supporters by playing up to Maori through it’s current leadership is not helpful. Having a ‘blended leadership’ mix would have been more helpful and less decisive.
Cuddling up to the Greens is also a losing bet. They will never change and will never go with National under their current setup and leadership. Since Donald died and Fitzsimmons left, they have become less and less of an environmental party and more a Social Justice Warrior one. Just look at their stance in government with the proposed marine sanctuary in the Kermadecs as recent evidence of this
I will watch and see how it goes, but presently I am sitting on the fence under the current leadership set up. National does not need a generational change, simply because a young thing is PM right now. National doesn’t have to rush in to be in lock step with that circus.
Politics is a contest of ideas and by aligning your ideas/policies too closely with Labour, and in fact stealing many ideas between 2008-2016 (which worked well while it lasted), it means that voters in 2020 will see little difference between you and them, aside from the colour on your election hoardings.
What National needs under new leadership is a change of course to bring it back on course towards a centre right philosophy and one that allows the maximum degree of personal freedom and the maximum degree of individual choice for people, the least interference necessary with individual rights, and the least possible degree of state interference. You may recognise these words as they are from a 1959 speech by Keith Holyoake.
You may have heard of him.
I’ll not be renewing my membership or donating to the party and I have unsubscribed from future emails. I will though be observing closely and weighing my options. Remember that on election day 2020, all voters in NZ get 2 votes. I’ll be weighing mine carefully, unless of course I decide not to vote at all.
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: Leadership
National has really stuffed up with more of the same. And Paula Bennet as deputy again, really.
Over the years I have voted for most parties apart from Labour, neither have I ever not voted.
Guess next election may be the exception to the rule.
Please unsubscribe me, at least the Labour newsletters are hilarious.
National’s reply to Michael was:
From: Joshua Whitford
Date: 28 February 2018 at 11:22
Subject: RE: Leadership
On behalf of Peter Goodfellow and the National Party, thank you for your correspondence regarding the leadership election.
We congratulate Simon Bridges as the winner of a robust caucus selection process, and we hope that you will reconsider your support as Simon leads our unified and talented caucus to hold this current government to account.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write to the National Party.
NZ National Party
To: National MPs
Sent: 27/02/2018 13:43:41
Subject: National Party Leader
The National Party obviously failed to listen to their support base; numerous comments on social media and numerous polls since Bill English resigned suggest majority support for Judith Collins she is the only one with experience in opposition, none of the others have been in Opposition before.
National caucus will now have the same old politically correct and liberal-elite nonsense, and Labour-lite leadership style, they are out of step with their voter base and have consigned themselves to another term in opposition, kiss goodbye to the election in 2020.
Simon Bridges is the continuity leader, the status quo. It seems members of the caucus haven’t yet realised that they lost the election with that behaviour. His constant referencing of his Maori heritage is off-putting, National voters are well aware that, despite spending literally billions of dollars settling claims for Maori and implementing billions more via Whanau Ora, Maori simply do not vote for National, besides he is 81.3% European.
Simon Bridges, murdered vowels, apparent thick enough skin that he’s got no idea how badly he comes across and short fuse to boot; National are guaranteed to lose the will and interest of the public in anything National has to say. They will just switch off. Can’t take him seriously at all.
The National Party just alienated many of the people who have stuck by them. They learnt nothing from post-election where they were are so assuming and arrogant and have continued in the same vein with the election of Simon Bridges as leader.
Will not support or vote for National until such time as they elect a strong leader that will ‘straighten’ the party and move it more towards the centre, preferably centre right. National missed an opportunity not electing Judith Collins.
A now ex National supporter and voter.
Sent: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:54 PM
Subject: RE: Leadership
This is disappointing news. As Minister of Energy and Resources, Simon Bridges was less than effective.
It appears that the National caucus has not listened to the membership.
Until there is a leadership change I will not be supporting the National Party, my vote and preference is now for ACT and David Seymour.
And National’s reply to Phil was word for word the same as the reply posted above. It seems boilerplate answers are all the rage these days at National party HQ.
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 12:15 PM
Subject: Party Leadership
Good afternoon. I’m writing to you regarding yesterdays leadership result, which I found to be an appallingly bad decision. Every poll was showing Judith Collins to be the preferred leader by the voting public, and everyone with a vested interest in the National leadership going badly were running her down. This should have been a leading indicator that they really didn’t want her as opposition leader because she was the best candidate.
She was head and shoulders above any of the other candidates in the run up to the vote and the only one who looked anywhere near like a prime minister. There was a prime opportunity to elect a leader who could really expose the Labour Party and its partners and they will be laughing like drains at Simon Bridges becoming leader.
I fear the National Party are headed for an extended period in opposition, and despite being a long loyal National voter I will be looking for alternatives in 2020. Too far left now, and not focussing on the things that are important to your support base.
Best of luck in opposition guys, wasted opportunity.
And Hayden’s reply was word for word the same reply that Phil and Michael got. There is not a single letter different.
National’s members have had a gutsful of being treated like the proverbial piggy bank. They get taken for granted, ignored when expressing opinions and now they are being given pretty cheesy flannel in response to concerns over the leadership.
When members are treated this way they cease to be members and they cease giving donations.
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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.
Mehdi Hasan is a presenter for Al Jazeera and wrote this piece for The Guardian. If that gets your bullshit…