No Minister

Can Collins take votes off Ardern instead of Act?

So the inevitable has happened – Judith Collins is finally leader of the National Party.

I think this is very good for the country.

The worst government in living memory is sleep-walking to victory. It cannot be allowed to continue down the path is is travelling down, without an effective opposition leader holding them to account, and firmly.

Judith will probably do that in part.

But elections are won in the middle. And Judith and National both have a lot of work to do to convince middle New Zealand to vote for her as their prime minister.

Gareth Morgan (in)famously said you can put liptick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Since MMP, National has been very wet and soft. Its policies are similar to Labour’s, except they’re just managed better. As an example, Bill English was thumping his chest when announcing his budget was more to the left than Labour’s ever could be. Recently, Paul Goldsmith has promoted giving money away, and Todd Muller has tried to “out green” the Greens on the Zero Carbon Act.

There will be undoubted exuberance and excitement amongst those on the centre right at the announcement. But history suggests National Party leaders either go into the centre for fear of rocking the boat, or face expulsion (anyone remember Ruth Richardson, Jenny Shipley and Don Brash)? National is not a party that takes risks. It is inherently a cautious and conservative party. So Collins may be a mould-breaker in those regards, but she’ll soon realise the centre is where the votes are, and merge into that.

And she’s going to have to if tonight’s Roy Morgan poll is any indication. National needs votes off Labour, not Act. The only question any serious political observer should be asking is this: can she win votes off Ardern?

Written by Nick K

July 14, 2020 at 9:24 pm

Posted in New Zealand

8 Responses

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  1. But elections are won in the middle.

    Change the middle.

    Tom Hunter

    July 14, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    • MMP redefined the middle ground which can change dependent on the issue in play. It would be great to be able to argue from a position of ideological purity but the reality is that most New Zealanders tend to adopt a more pragmatic view of life. That’s why the Greens and ACT will continue to be bit players on the left and right of the political spectrum with their fortunes waxing and waning in tandem with the fortunes Labour and National. Labour up, Greens down. National down, ACT up.

      National spent much of the last three years in a bubble comforted by the knowledge they had really won the election which they didn’t and that the CoL would implode. They anointed a leader who lacked the x factor and when push came to shove was found wanting. Collins is polarising … not doubt about that but she’s smart and seasoned and has been through the fire and come out of it hardened. She will ruffle the feathers of some of her more precious colleagues and that’s no bad thing. She doesn’t take prisoners and MPs who aren’t pulling their weight or FU will get the DCM. But above all she will take St Jacinda head on in a way no male could/can …. a Jacinda who, when pushed, and away from her controlled bubble, looks alike a possum could in the headlights.

      Dear old barely sober had it about right when he opined that National should have appointed her leader back in 2017. Too many egos in play; too many MPs being precious; too many MPs thought 2020 was low hanging fruit. They were wrong, helped along by Covid-19. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman.

      The Veteran

      July 15, 2020 at 11:57 am

  2. No, ever since 1949 National has been, for the likes of you, Nick K, and Tom Hunter, “very soft and wet. It’s policies are similar to Labour’s, except they’re just managed better”, and that won’t change under Collins. Don’t like it? Then vote ACT.

    Collins, for all her undoubted reputation for firmness, is a pragmatist who places a great store on common sense. Including her economics and also with fringe nutters within the wider gun lobby. She originally comes from a Labour family, and those of us from that neck of the woods know what it was that made us in no way ashamed to be associated with the best of Labour Party legacy in this country, why we have left modern Labour, and why we are now find our home in National. Including recognising identity politics as, at best a political fraud, at worst a means to keep supposed left wing constituencies “on the reservation” voting for policies that enslave, not empower them. Hence Waitakere Man, not the Milton Friedman club at the Auckland UniSchool of Economics is her target constituency.

    She has a fair bit of the (currently unfairly maligned) Rob Muldoon about her, and he incidentally had a difficult upbringing and was always guided by the need to protect “the deserving poor. Like Muldoon she takes a clear stand, articulates it clearly, doesn’t cave in to pressure groups or look for soft options to soften any resulting conflict , hence she has a deserved reputation for strength. And why she also polarises. Radical lefties and those who prize image above substance loathe her, while “the silent majority” rightly sense she is their champion.

    And she doesn’t panic, has learned hard lessons, and has a good sense of humour.


    July 14, 2020 at 10:25 pm

  3. …and also with fringe nutters within the wider gun lobby.


    Just because she didn’t know you need your gun licence to buy ammo…

    ,,, despite having been Minister of Police..


    Tom Hunter

    July 14, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    • Yeah, but in contrast to some of your more excitable but less-informed fellow gun owners, she did know that for NZ citizens there is no Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms, but instead it is…a privilege. 😂🇳🇿


      July 14, 2020 at 11:14 pm

  4. I think she can win votes off Ardern, but only because its unfeasible for Labour to continue indefinitely on upwards of 50% support. Given NZ’s political history, that level of support is unsustainable.

    I also think Collins has been appointed only as an emergency response unit, to go immediately into action to prevent National having a repeat of the 2002 catastrophe. Winning the election just isn’t going to happen. For all that National plays up the odd wanker who skips out of managed isolation, voters are seeing every day on the news the difference between NZ’s Covid-19 response and the rest of the world so claims we’re suffering from bad government will fall on deaf ears.

    More to the point, voters can compare the government’s performance over the last few months with National’s and easily figure out who’s done a better job. Collins might do a great job herself, but her caucus consists of the same ethical vacuums whose incompetent criminal activities were too much even for their own leader.

    Psycho Milt

    July 15, 2020 at 5:51 am

    • Again, and as per yesterday, Milt, very hard to disagree with you. National’s leader-merry-go-round has been the epitome of political incompetence. So yeah, Collins steps in with the stocks at a low, and yes, those who voted for her last night for the first time did so as damage control to save their hides.

      But then that was also why Labour threw the Hail Mary to Ardern in 2017 in similar circumstances, and it worked so well they ended up in government against their own expectations. So you never know…


      July 15, 2020 at 7:14 am

  5. So it’s Crusher Collins against St Jacinda.
    I understand the new leader doesn’t like the “Crusher” tag.


    July 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm

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