Whaleoil transcript: Part two, National polling, a change of leader & whether Maggie Barry bullies

NewstalkZB news

Listen to the full interview here

Part Two: 

Mike

Mark, polling this week, TV1 had you guys at 46 and you guys had yourselves internally at 41, which one do you believe?

Mark

Well the Colmar Brunton poll to me, and I’ve been saying this for about a month, reflects the feeling that I get when I’m back home in my electorate.  Umm… lots and lots of engagement…

Mike

That’s your personal popularity Mark, let’s be honest.

Mark

Well I mean… no…

Stuart

You should be leader Mark.

Mike

You should be leader Mark, I’m just saying.  Here’s my question. My question is this, at 41 you need to launch your bid and get into it.

Stuart

I’ll back you mate.

Mark

Sorry mate I missed that.

Mike

Aah… we want you to be leader, both Stuart and I have decided. If it’s 41 aah, let’s just be honest about it and get on with it and get you up, give you a couple of years run in, and give yourself a good chance in 2020.

Stuart

My aah… I’ve always said this. To me when they had the leadership contest the leader that I was most concerned about was Mitch because he’s got that sort of John Key back story, he’s a really nice guy, what he’d do, he would go round the country and charm people, they’d go “You know, he’s got that John Key sort of charisma and aah… and just lightening with it…”

Mike

It’s true. Here’s the thing. Think about it, Mark.

Stuart

I don’t want him to be leader because I think we’d be in real trouble but umm… so I’m quite happy with Simon, to be honest.

Mike

So, were people… were people worried in caucus at 41?

Mark

No, and look we don’t talk about internal polls so I’m not going to react to 41, and by the way Nashie is doing a very good job of trying to talk me up because what they want, is they want a change of leader and I can assure you it’s not going to happen.

Mike

Well I want a change of leader. I mean, for God’s sakes, Simon is not doing the job for you.

Stuart

No, we don’t…

Mike

For God’s sake, Simon’s not doing the job for you. Let me ask this question Mark. Let’s say it’s 46, take the Colmar Brunton, you guys are on 46, still doesn’t get you to government but eventually you guys are going to go, well if we can get to 46 with a guy on 7, what if we got a really popular guy, could we get to 47, 48 and would that tip us over the edge? And that’s the question you are going to have to ask yourselves eventually, and that’s where you come into the equation.

Mark

No, that’s… that’s definitely not the conversation that we had and look, I’m really proud that we are united and actually we are doing our jobs in opposition. The reason that we got 46 is because we got people that trust us and they want us to go out there and they want us to be the best possible strongest opposition that we can be, and hold this government to account, and that’s what we are going to do.  And that’s what we are focused on, we are not going to be distracted by the… by the government trying to get up leadership debates, but this sort of… we are going to keep doing exactly what people in my electorate, the people in the country…

Mike

All right. Would you, Stuart, agree with Greg O’Connor’s assessment that the reason you guys fell it because of things like Sroubek?

Stuart

No, look the bottom line Mike is that I sit around the cabinet table, I see the papers come though, I know the changes going on in this country, I know the positive contribution that every single minister is making and aah… I… I… look it’s an absolute privilege and a pleasure to be part of this government and the changes that are taking place.  It’s magic, absolutely magic. (Laughter) Whatever, whatever… (unintelligible)

Mike

What I admire about you most of all Stuart…

Stuart

When no one looked at the poll we went up… we know what we’ve got to do and we are making the change necessary to…

Mike

What I admire about you Stuart is that you can say that stuff with a straight face, and I mean, that’s a talent.

Now listen, let me ask you this.  Do you Mark, feel sorry for Maggie Barry this week?  Not because she’s a colleague of yours but because she’s faced anonymous allegations, allegations that were put to somebody official, they were, they were dismissed and still she finds herself being hounded this week over finger-pointing, and a whole bunch of people who can sit in the shadows just going “She’s a bitch.”

Mark

Yeah, absolutely, I feel very sorry for her because that’s exactly the scenario that’s umm, that’s played out.  A whole lot of people in the shadows sort of wanting to throw brick bats and things at her but aah… how would any of us feel if that situation was happening?

Mike

Exactly. Which brings it back to you Stuart, because it was your mate Trevor who decides that this is a good idea to go around investigating all this stuff.

Stuart

Yeah, but the thing is… the thing is Mike, there’s no one in Labour has tape-recorded any messages. This is all a National thing. I want to know what goes on at these camps. Do you train people how to use a bug to tape conversations? We just get on with each other as opposed to taping each other.

Mike

Can you afford to… Mark, for example, can you… can you start recording a conversation by reaching into your pocket without even knowing where the button on the phone is?  Is that how you are taught?

Mark

I don’t know. I think that umm… I am hopeless with technology. Aah… no look…. The reality is we live in a different world now, we live in a world where, you know, especially you guys would know, when you are in the public eye there’s iphones and you are being recorded and videoed all the time.

Mike

But it does seem though Stuart, doesn’t it, I mean look at Maggie this week.  I mean it’s… literally, anybody can say anything, and its news and that poor person has to spend the week defending themselves, you know, dodging shadows.

Stuart

Well, let me take the other side Mike. And I hear what you saying regards Maggie, let me take the other side.  There are a couple of people out there, I don’t know how many, at least two we know of, who feel that they have a genuine case of being bullied and so I’m not going to stand up for Maggie and say, you know, she’s a victim here, I think perhaps you may find if you dig a little deeper there’s some of her staff members who are victims.  Now I’m not into recording people I have absolutely no idea how to record a phone call, to be honest, but I don’t know if Maggie is as pure as the driven snow in this case so we just need to be a little bit careful.

Mike

We will see what happens and see what comes out of it. Appreciate it as always you guys.


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The subject evoked in the collage is the debating of political issues with friends in a public place

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