Alistair Bell

The Upcoming National Party Board Election

The National Party Board has an election for the first time in many years.

Caucus favourite and all round good bloke Grant McCullum is retiring, much to the disappointment of all those who have enjoyed many late nights out with him over the years. The National Party will be a sadder place for not having Grant around, and the party needs to consider how it brings the fun-loving type onto the board as the rest are very, very boring compared to Grant.

The other retirement is the (unfortunately) underwhelming scion of one of New Zealand’s most stellar families – Malcolm Plimmer, whose health is compelling him to retire.   Read more »

Right idea, poor execution, Ctd

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The two National party officials involved in the NZ on Air debacle over the poverty documentary, Stephen McElrea and Alistair Bell, really should have known better how this would play out politically. Their ham-fisted efforts have allowed the opposition to get an early start to the new election cycle and get headlines that could have easily been avoided.

With Bell putting his name to the complaint it can now be safely dismissed as politically motivated rather than a real complaint from Mr and Mrs Jones of Warkworth….and Stephen perhaps could have got another board member to raise the issue and then recused himself from deliberations due to his perceived conflict of interest.

Instead Alistair Bell rightly faces accusations of ineptitude that a Board member would lay a complaint, allowing the complaint to be ignored. And Stephen McElrea faces accusations of political meddling. Both situations could and should have been easily avoided.

The ninth floor will be rightly indignant and probably a bit short with these two for a bit. It may well have upset Alistair Bell’s tilt at the presidency this year with such an inept performance and lack of political smarts.

What amazes me is that Bell came out of the murk, shadows and fog of the back rooms where he prefers to operate and stuck his head above the parapet. It may well be the first time he has done this, usually preferring to mount deniable whispering campaigns. More the pity is he got his head shot off.

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Right idea, poor execution

The F.A.G. are getting all up in arms about John Key’s mate Stephen McElrea having a go at TV3 for running a propaganda documentary in the week before the election.

“We have a lot of members putting pressure on us to ask Stephen McElrea to resign.

“His actions have shown poor judgment and there are real concerns that as he leads a documentary working group responsible for selecting titles within strands he will bring his political hat to the table in this role,” said acting chairwoman Janette Howe.

So what they are saying is they should be allowed to take tax payers money and attack the government with it, and then whinge about the bloke that stood up and said that is not ok?


Weasels or Meerkats

Can readers help solve an argument. Do these National Party luminaries look like weasels or meerkats?

It's all on for the Presidency

national party LogoFor the first time in a long time it looks to be an embarrassment of riches for the National party board selections. Last year the board, under pressure from caucus muffed their chances for a good president but instead elected a proven lazy man. Caucus diminished their influence by their lobbying, they won’t be listened to quite so readily again.

Today in Waitiangi though the choices for the board improved significantly with Alan Towers openly declaring his candidacy. He is the Chair of the Northern region, the largest and most critical region that National has. To fail in Auckland is to fail in New Zealand. The board knows this, the leader knows this and the members know this.

That makes Alan Towers the number one pick out of the 5 declared candidates thus far, but it also presents a dilemma. The Northern Region will easily lock in behind Towers and a small rump of Goodfellow loyalists and other disaffected groupings will split their remaining votes between Stephen McElrea (a relative unknown outside Auckland and viewed by some as a divider, though with some good ideas) and Goodfellow. Peter Goodfellow and McElrea will have to fish from the same small pond and those votes just won’t extend far enough to tip out Towers as Northern’s preferred candidate.

Lower North Island will vote for Malcolm Plimmer at number one and the South Island will fall in behind Roger Bridge. Central North Island can’t swing enough to upset the balance so the final three will rest on preferences.

Mr Goodfellow must surely now exercise some sensibility ad consider his position. The words “gracious exit” must surely ought to be muttered quietly to him, if not already then soon. My sources tell me that the 9th Floor want Bridge, however after the board election there is still some very capable candidates for president.

The two front runners though would be Roger Bridge and Alistair Bell. Both would be a massive improvement over what National has now. Bridge just needs a boot over his head in order to avoid repeats of his noisy oops last election. He understands the big picture, governance and would be a good fundraiser. It was Bridge that kick-started the Victory Fund that Goodfellow is trying desperately to claim credit for. However the true visionary is Alistair Bell, though it is by no means certain that he will put his name forward for president. Bell is smart enough to seek assistance where required and has a fantastic track record in Auckland, delivering in both 2005 and 2008.

First things first, the delegates at National Conference this year have , so far, 5 candidates to choose from to fill the three vacant places on the board. I will go out on a limb here and pick that they will finish in the following order:

Alan Towers, Malcolm Plimmer, Roger Bridge.

Stephen McElrea will come fourth ahead of Goodfellow on the simple basis that he will hoover up the remaining “anyone but Peter” vote. Peter Goodfellow will come dead last in the current field of 5, though close to McElrea. The other three will be a long way in front.

The board election will be exciting this year, even without perennial toy tosser Wira Gardiner participating.