Mike Williams on National’s changes


Mike Williams comments on changes within National last week:

The last week in politics saw some watershed events including the election of a new leader of the opposition, the departure of a former prime minister, the launch of a key government initiative and some overdue and welcome attention to a long standing problem.

The election of Simon Bridges as National Party leader was concluded without rancour, though the media seemed to have greeted this event with a prolonged yawn and his first few days in office featured a bungled attack on Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. 

That was just silly and we saw another screw up on the Nation on the weekend. Caucus won’t tolerate constant screw ups. Bridges needs to sharpen up. None of this ‘learning on the job’ nonsense.

Leaders like Simon Bridges who take over defeated parties have a very hard task – think Jim McClay and Phil Goff – and we know that there are at least four other National MPs who think they can do better.

The next few political polls will tell observers a lot about Mr Bridge’s fate. If Bill English takes a chunk of support with him and National support drops, leadership rumblings won’t be far away.

Judith Collins has effectively nominated a plunge in support to 35 per cent as a trigger point for her renewed interest in a leadership bid; however, I can’t see this happening soon.

There would have to be a pattern of low polling but 35% is a good line in the sand. Bridges only gets one go at this.

Bill English left politics with the dignity and good humour we’ve come to expect from him over a 27-year career and must go down with Bill Rowling as one of the unluckiest politicians.

Bill Rowling led the Labour Party when it got more votes than National in 1978 and 1981 but had only a brief term as prime minister following the death of Norman Kirk in 1974.

In his valedictory speech Mr English virtually pleaded for attention to his flagship social investment policy whereby state assistance is focused on those most vulnerable and in need and the new Government should take this belated initiative seriously.

I’m amazed that Bill English is banging on about this. You also have to wonder why none in the media are calling him out for rank hypocrisy over it. He spent years undermining Judith Collins and roundly and publicly attacked her for precisely the same policies. Now it seems he is trying to claim he was the architect of it all. Then again, that was always Bill’s claim to fame: undermine people then claim their successes as his own. When someone always takes the credit for other people’s work it is always good to blame them for screw ups too. Thankfully he is going and it can’t come soon enough.


-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.