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National Party elects Todd Muller as leader and Nikki Kaye as deputy; Muller makes call for unity in 'Team National'

National Party elects Todd Muller as leader and Nikki Kaye as deputy; Muller makes call for unity in 'Team National'
Todd Muller going into National caucus meeting. Pool image from RNZ.

The National Party caucus has elected Todd Muller leader, ousting Simon Bridges. 

Nikki Kaye will be Muller's deputy, taking the job from Paula Bennett. 

Muller said Paul Goldsmith would remain National's finance spokesperson, even though at the start of the day Goldsmith said he backed Bridges.

“There is no Team Todd, there is no Team Nikki, or anyone else – there is only Team National,” Muller said in a statement following the vote.

“National has always been a coalition of city and country, business and community, conservatives and liberals – National is the party for all New Zealanders.

“New Zealanders need a National Government with the experience and management skills to get our country through the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War.

“My focus as leader is our country’s economic recovery and the strengthening of every community throughout New Zealand.”

'I'm not interested in opposition for opposition's sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics'

Speaking at a press conference, Muller was joined on stage by Kaye, Goldsmith, Shane Reti, Chris Bishop, Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee. Nicola Willis sat next to his wife, Michelle.

Muller wouldn't say whether all the MPs alongside him voted for him, however Bishop and Willis expressed support for Muller over Twitter after the vote. Collins wouldn't say who she backed.

Muller made a dig at Bridges in his speech, saying: "This is what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost I'm about what's best for you and your family, not what's wrong with the Government.

"And I'm not interested in opposition for opposition's sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics. I'm about ideas that get results.

"I’m proud of working across Parliament on the Zero Carbon Act. Wherever I have the opportunity to work with other parties for our country’s good, I will do so. 

"Will I criticise the Government? Yes...

"I believe in enterprise, reward for hard work, personal responsibility, and in the power of strong families and communities.

"Fundamentally, I don’t believe that for each and every one of us to do better, someone else has to be worse off."

Muller went on to say: “I am the first to admit and acknowledge that the Government’s handling of COVID-19 was overall impressive. And I think that most New Zealanders would feel the same.

“But to judge a government on your ability to manage a crisis in eight weeks in a health context, against a threshold of, 'do you have the capacity sitting around a cabinet to design an economic recovery when all your performance measures in the previous two and a half years have been a failure?' I think that doesn’t work. I think the country knows it doesn’t work.”

While Muller didn't credit Bridges in his statement, he credited him in the press conference.

Bridges taking stock

Meanwhile Bridges tweeted:  

Bridges later in a press conference said he would "take a bit of stock" before deciding what next. 

Muller said he would give Bridges a senior position in the party. 

With Bennett and his wife Natalie by his side, Bridges said: “Often at times, whether it’s COVID-19 or March 15, there’s a sense of wanting to help, but feeling powerless to do so. And wanting to react, and sometimes, dare I say it, overreacting.”

Bridges on Wednesday summoned MPs to Wellington for a meeting to vote on the leadership at midday Friday. 

The move followed a catastrophic Newshub-Reid Research Poll released on Monday and an even worse 1 News-Colmar Brunton Poll on Thursday.

Support for National fell to 29% in the 1 News poll, and 31% in the Newshub one, meanwhile support for Bridges as preferred prime minister sunk to 5% in both polls.

According to the 1 News Poll, Muller received only 0.2% support as preferred prime minister. 

Muller's speech

Here's a copy of Muller's maiden speech in full:

The past few months, our country has made many sacrifices.

You have made many sacrifices. You have put a lot on the line to get us through this crisis.

Now, we must begin taking another step forward together, with confidence. 

The confidence to rebuild our country, rebuild our economy and to restore the livelihoods of New Zealanders.

Only a National Government can provide the leadership to do that.

That is why we must win the next election.

Nikki and I, and our team, understand that the task for the next Government is immense. We’re honoured by the opportunity to lead this party.

We take it seriously.

I would like to thank and acknowledge Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett.

Simon has worked hard as leader, given the job his all, and the caucus is grateful for his service.

Both he and Paula have served the party and our country well.

Thank you to my wife Michelle and our three children for supporting me on this journey.  Kids, Dad will be home soon.

I want to pause here and acknowledge New Zealand’s tremendous response to the health crisis ravaging the world.

We should all be proud of what we’ve achieved together. 

But regardless of these efforts, Covid-19 has hurt us.

My absolute focus as National Party Leader will be New Zealand's economic recovery.

We will save jobs, get the economy growing again and we will do so by leveraging our country’s great strengths: our people, our communities, our great natural resources, our values of hard work, tenacity, innovation and aspiration.

I know the size of this task and I will bring my all to it.

Yes, I’ve run businesses. I can read a balance sheet and a profit and loss account.  I can tell a good one from a bad one.  And yes, I’ll bring those skills to the Prime Ministership.

But that’s not what drives me.

What drives me is community – the people who help their elderly neighbours with the lawns on the weekend; the dad who does the food stall at the annual school fair; the mum who coaches a touch rugby team.

This election will be about the economy, but not the economy the bureaucracy talks about. It’ll be about the economy that you live in - the economy in your community - your job, your main street, your marae, your tourism business, your local rugby league club, your local butcher, your kura, your netball courts, your farms, your shops and your families.

This is the economy National MPs are grounded in, and the one that matters most to New Zealand.

For too long this economy – your economy – and your life has been invisible to decision makers in Wellington.

This must change, and under my National Government it will change.

The economy that I believe in is the one you live in. It is the economy of your community.

If we can rebuild that, we can rebuild our country.

This is what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost I'm about what's best for you and your family, not what's wrong with the Government.

And I'm not interested in opposition for opposition's sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics.

I'm about ideas that get results.

I’m proud of working across Parliament on the Zero Carbon Act. 

Wherever I have the opportunity to work with other parties for our country’s good, I will do so. 

Will I criticise the Government? Yes.

But ultimately, values and ideas are what ground me. Like the idea that you can shape your own future and are free to do so.

I believe in enterprise, reward for hard work, personal responsibility, and in the power of strong families and communities.

Fundamentally, I don’t believe that for each and every one of us to do better, someone else has to be worse off.

Those are National’s values. They are New Zealand values.

I don’t believe the right values or the right management skills are guiding our country as it confronts its biggest challenge since the end of the Second World War.

I will lead a party that rises to the great challenges facing us as a nation.

Labour has failed against every measure it has set for itself in Government – KiwiBuild, light rail, child poverty, prison numbers.

If we continue on this track of talking a big game but failing to deliver, we simply won’t recognise the New Zealand we are part of in a few years’ time.

Because New Zealanders know that, whether or not they support National, they can have confidence that National will meet the challenges our country faces.

New Zealand, it is time for your sacrifice to be repaid and for your community to be rebuilt.

Today, that work has just begun.

Who are Muller and Kaye?

Muller towards the start of the current term of government made a name for himself as a climate conscious National MP, as he worked collaboratively with Climate Change Minister James Shaw to ensure Shaw’s Zero Carbon Bill had cross-party support.

In mid-2019 he become agriculture spokesperson - an important job for the National Party as the sector faced a number of regulatory changes around water quality, emissions pricing and land use changes to promote forestry.

Muller is also National’s spokesperson for biosecurity, food safety and forestry. First elected in 2014, he’s the MP for the Bay of Plenty.

Muller is a former Zespri general manager, Apata (kiwifruit and avocado post-harvest service) CEO, and most recently, Fonterra corporate affairs director.

While Muller was only ranked 16th on the National Party list, Kaye was seventh.

Muller is a Catholic and Kaye describes herself as an "urban liberal". 

Kaye has been the MP for Auckland Central since 2008, beating Ardern when she ran in this seat in 2011 and 2014.

Kaye is National’s spokesperson for education, sport and recreation. She held a number of ministerial portfolios during National’s previous terms in government, including education, ACC, youth affairs and civil defence.

Of particular interest to readers, Kaye is continuing to lead a campaign to try to reform the Unit Titles Act to strengthen the management of apartments and townhouses.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



Good. Time to start going after Labour for not delivering, instead of each other. Hopefully we can see a pragmatic move to the centre, where there are actually votes to be won.


If the camera does not like him National are dog tucker. From what I have heard and read he is very wooden when coming across. Aunty Jacinda will not be quaking in her boots.


They need to show they are not beholden to China or they still wont get my vote.


March 2020; "Jian Yang has announced his reselection as a list-only candidate in a press release republished by several Chinese-language media outlets, but there has been no English-language statement from either Yang or National"

Yep, leopard never changes it's spots.. National still not being transparent any more than Labour. Hard to choose any party this coming election.

On the plus side, at the moment being a list-only candidate for the nats is not a good route to parliament.


There will be threats of 80% tariffs if they don't move him up the list.

If this guy is wooden and ends up being the National version of David Sheerer then National will need to quickly adopt a number of points of difference to Bridges cohort. Foreign policy, immigration, sustainability, tax, housing, RMA, councils, poverty....are all areas where Labour have failed to deliver except where NZ First are involved. Seems the country doesn't really care what it costs to recover so should be easy to make gains across all areas.


Agreed, but given National's abysmal track record on all of the above issues, I'll believe it when they've consistently held those policies for 3 years in opposition. Until there is some pretty compelling evidence they won't go straight back to the Key playbook they can stay the hell away from the steering wheel.

Yea, to concede a well versed playbook that's worked in the past (under Key) will be incredibly hard for any National party leader. Seems to late to be able to address the party 'issues' of influencing by foreign powers. Day one, there is no credibility for this new order. Time will tell.

Agree, they need to come up with viable alternative policies.

I.e. foreign policy can't be too beholden to the CCP, immigration can't be just importing massive cheap labour, and housing cannot be just selling of NZ's land to foreign ownership and pushing up house and farm prices out of the reach of young Kiwis. They need genuine alternatives.

He handled the press conference really well. Not as wooden as Shearer. Needs to work on his stutter

Will wait until he is saying something unrehearsed and not written by someone else who had the Jacinda Ardern playbook beside when they did.

He certainly looks like Shearer, if slightly rounder and balder

You'd better to give your vote to someone else...

you do realise China is by far our largest trading partner... we are already beholden to them!

Did you not see his Speech. Jacinda is the one who will be quaking in her boots, she will be held to account for her statements

Listened to his talk with Andrew (1zb) and he didn’t fault when pressed, had a consistent message, good pace in how he answered questions and left me thinking he might have been a good choice for national 120 days out. Let’s see...

I heard that interview too... quite impressed..

Can you expand on those statements imhenry? Which ones are you upset by?

Great it was over and done with fast. Winny the King maker ready to do a deal. The Greens vote will be lucky to make 5% due to team Jacindas popularity.
All the ingredients for a close race at this election if this new bloke can deliver.....
Time to throw Bennett out.

We certainly live in interesting times if we get a National led government and a yes on the reeferednum.

Its disconcerting the referendum hasn't been pulled. Why would we vote yes to recreationalise a psychoactive substance delivered into the respiratory system via a burnt plant? Alcohol is bad enough. In a time where we will have extremely high unemployment and despair we are voting to legalise a drug that causes paranoia?


Edibles would quite nicely circumvent combustion. I'm all for it if it can improve the country's tax take and lessen tax burden on other areas.

Also, if we have high unemployment then this would be the ideal time to create new jobs in a new industry. We already know New Zealanders are good at producing cannabis, we might as well benefit from it.

Medicinal marijuana would provide a productivity boost with some innovation opportunities yet to be known. Whatever happened to smoke free NZ? Replacing one smoke with another. I suppose if you want to disconnect from reality and your unemployed with children to feed its probably better to be stoned vs drunk. Or is it better to be neither?

You're scaremongering.

99 9% of people who have used cannabis are just regular people who live normal lives and remain productive members of society. Quit with the stereotypes, this isn't the 1950s.

It's a bit like insinuating that anyone who drinks a beer or wine must be an out of control drunk who can't hold down a job, beats their family, drink drives, and will die of eventual liver failure.


Pretty much everyone who wants to smoke it already does.I know many people who would love a regulated product rather than having to take their chances of potentially strong, hydroponic weed. Same playbook as prohibition era America - making the product illegal does stop it being popular, it just makes it far more dangerous for users.

Exactly mfd.

If only we could get our heads around legalising drugs instead of going on some inane war that is totally futile.

Portugal did it 20 odd years ago and the sky hasn't caved in.

Take a look at the drug use charts that have been done for Europe, Zurich had one of the highest cocaine uses in the EU. No doubt because the banksters there can afford it better than most. Yet if you grow some weed in the back yard because you'd rather have a puff than a pint then you're breaking the law.

Dumb as phuck.

So now you think cocaine should be legalized? Addiction to drugs doesn't lead to prosperity nor productivity. I suppose P will be next.

Cocaine is pretty safe, I'd have no problem with it being legalised if it can be ethically sourced. The current system means if you happen to prefer cocaine to alcohol it's very difficult not to support cartels and assorted other organised criminals.

Not sure about P, seems to have some impacts on users and I haven't read up on it much. I'd certainly decriminalise - punishment is clearly no deterrent and only causes more problems.

Why the need to test at festivals if class A drugs are safe.

Testing at festivals is to ensure the purity of the drug. Because of the current system, users have to play Russian Roulette with the strength and possible contamination of the drug. Much better if it's legalised and they know exactly what they are getting.

Much of the current harm from drug use comes from contamination, cutting drugs with other unknown substances, and many opiate overdoses can be attributed to unknowingly buying a stronger drug than expected e.g. fentanyl.

Not saying there wouldn't be harm from legalising drugs, just that the total harm would be less than the current system.

Mate from Canada sent a pic a pic the other day of some THC based powder you can pour into your beer and get your hit. Genius. And all bought over the counter in measured in an exact dose. Brilliant.

disclaimer - I wouldn't give you tuppence for the stuff, rather drink a glass of water but that's humanity, some like P, some like running 100km in a day, others like base jumping, we get our buzz in a different way.

Now, my beer is empty so I'm off to open another from the good folks up at Mcleods brewing. :)



Because they aren't regulated. You are effectively buying drugs off criminal organisations. There is not reason they can't be used safely like alcohol is. If Alcohol is distilled poorly (without regulation/oversight) you may end up with methanol which is deadly. Same issue.

It's a pity you don't enact your moniker BPNPC.

But to answer your question, yes, 100% legalise cocaine.

If someone is addicted to the substance treat the addiction issue rather than 'ban' the drug. Can you tell me the last time 'banning' something actually worked? The speed limit perhaps? P? Alcohol...

That's right, it's never worked and it never ever will.

Check out tobacco that the good man Chris Bishop is industry front man for.

I said legalise all drugs but I'll retreat on that a bit as I'm not totally sure about the opium/heroin. But we still need to treat the addiction issues rather than demonizing people that use 'insert your drug of choice'.

I find it incredible how people (mainly of the my parents boomer generation) who say they've never taken drugs yet they take a dose of antidepressant every day and howl at the sky about someone who smokes a spliff.

Any thoughts on antidepresasnts BP? Totally legal right... What do you think about big pharma? Pure as the driven snow...???

It is concerning that so many are on antidepressants. They are used to treat a mental disorder though right?. I would vote yes for Cocaine to be legalized as a topical anesthetic just like medicinal marijuana because its useful.
I would say the majority want to do the right thing. That's why they don't speed because they know it kills, why they don't smoke P because it leads to psychosis, organ decimation, loss of brain function, teeth decay and more.
Rules do work. That's why you are typing sentences and using punctuation. May as well just ban the full stop.

Firstly 'cocaine' is already legal as a topical anaesthetic, it's used in Otolaryngology prior to nasal fracture relocation for example.

Secondly, rules aren't always 'right' and once created they certainly aren't set in stone to never be challenged again. Otherwise we'd all be burning books, women wouldn't be voting, and slavery would still be taking place.

The fact is the harm of many illicit drugs is vastly overstated, this is corroborated by actual medical research on this topic. You seem to be under the illusion that the current drug laws truly represent the risk each substance poses when actually some of the safest drugs in terms of risk profile are currently categorized as 'class A and B' under the current archaic system (LSD, magic mushroom, and ecstasy for example). The 'right thing' to do is to reduce harm from drugs, the best way to do this is to regulate and control the market while offering proper drug education and rehabilitation. Under prohibition virtually none of this is happening and we get the worst of both worlds (worse outcomes for users, no control and no tax benefits).

When I read comments like this I live in hope that people that are against drugs take in what has been written and actually consider a different point of view that might just possibly change their line of thinking.

Alcohol is legalised and that does far more damage

And what are we doing to solve that problem before creating more potential problems?
We need to ensure marijuana can't be commercialised. Legalisation yes, commercialisation no. Until the referendum reflects that my vote is a no. The devil is in the details.

No one is saying that cocaine should be legal or about people becoming addicts. Your attitude and thought processes are confused at best. We are trying to have an intelligent conversation about a referendum topic. Your head in the sand ignorance, opinions based upon 1950s is alarming. If Todd Muller holds similar views and deep-rooted bias then he is the wrong man for the job.

Smokers who caught covid19 actually did better than nearly everyone expected.

evidence is welcomed.

To be taken with a pinch of salt pending more trial data:

hmm, small pinch or a handful.

A pack of Rothmans is probably cheaper than hydroxychloroquine...

Well at least he looks like he is reasonably tall as opposed to the series of relative shorties that clamber up the slippery slope to power. Four months to go. Lot of ground to make up. Will need to have some good targets and ammo methinks, no use shadow boxing.

"All the ingredients for a close race"

You are dreaming.

Who would have thought that Labour would have won in the last election. Everyone was shocked that Labour got in.
Labour is a one person party, one slip by Jancinda and it's all over. Few to non want Labour to govern alone and they will drag the Greens with them, that would be a disaster.


"Everyone was shocked that Labour got in."

Diehard National supporters with blinders on were shocked Labour got in. Fixed it for ya.


Cindy was given the PM position by Winnie. This is her chance to prove she can win it outright. Can't wait to see Winnie get down and dirty as he fights for political survival. Karma. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of NZers get to live on $240 a week. Thanks COL.

[ It is not necessary to use personal insults. Ed ]

Sheesh,bit emotive doubt some tough times ahead and I really hope Mr Muller can articulate some real policies rather than just "its all about jobs..."
You can't blame the government for a global pandemic.National have said they wouldn't have done much different as far the initial response of getting money out to businesses etc.
By far the biggest job losses longer term are in the tourism industry and down stream.Not sure what National could do different right now....make Air NZ fly to all destinations? Let tourists from every where back in next week?
Sure there will be casualties in the hospitality sector...but as any one knows,there are casualties every winter in hospo as dreamers set up there little cafe restaurant only to find out it's a real tough closes,another opens.
Fletchers were coming to the end of a cycle,Commercial Bay is all but finished,Sky convention centre has turned into a slow reno due to the fire,of course they were going to have a slow period until the next big project...but if they say business is going to lead us out of this,they had better stop laying off all their staff and using Covid as an excuse to cover there inability to close their business for 4-6 weeks,a slightly extended Christmas break.
Some like Maccas etc did 5 weeks worth of business in the first week of re-opening,so net effect,no loss of earnings,but wages paid by the government for 8 weeks.Plenty of businesses are doing well through the crisis,but no one wants it known they are profiting through this.
Our biggest problem is the rst of the world...we will be sitting here saying oh well,thats covid dealt with,whilst every one else is struggling to get onto it.


"National have said they wouldn't have done much different as far the initial response of getting money out to businesses etc."

That's what they SAID, in hindsight, after Simon's attempt to pick holes in Jacinda's overwhelmingly popular response blew up in his face. I don't believe for a second they actually would have responded the same way. NZ would be looking a lot more like the UK if the Nats were in the hot seat for this thing.

"Plenty of businesses are doing well through the crisis,but no one wants it known they are profiting through this."

Can confirm.

ok, confirm then.

What are you asking? Some ecommerce businesses have boomed through the lockdown. Some brick and mortar businesses that were shut down are having a mini bounce to above pre-virus levels as some pent up "cabin fever" demand plays through. Others are completely out of stock due to demand surges and delays from overseas suppliers. Others are dead in the water. The impact on businesses has varied quite a bit depending on what they sell and where they sell it. Obviously the ones that boomed through lockdown are very much in the minority but they do exist. I have one client whose last 30 day revenue numbers are 120% above pre-virus levels. They're definitely an outlier, but it is happening.

I will qualify that by saying I fully expect the vast majority of brick and mortar small businesses to settle into an activity baseline lower than pre-virus levels, after the cabin fever surge is over. The logistics of social distancing pretty much guarantee that. In many cases there is a mismatch between demand and capacity to process that demand.

ok fair enough, just trying to quantify 'plenty'.

Fair - definitely a reasonably small minority

Kiwifruit is going out by the boatload,export meat is doing well...A2 milk is killing it with baby formula... Air NZ aircraft are flying freight in their bellies all over the world daily...

Ex Expat. 'Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of NZers get to live on $240 a week. Thanks COL'. Come on, that is unfair. Are you saying that you would have government put more money into Kiwis who lost their income? That is not on any political parties' agenda, certainly not that of National or Act. We will get through this together. Give the profit takers a haircut and redistribute. Cheers. Go the Warriors!

National under English actually increased their share of the vote which is unheard of in a government coming out of its 3rd term.

Labour is a one person Party out if its depth and towing the Greens. This election is up for grabs.

Labour never won the last election - coalition of losers.

Any thoughts on who 'won' the election before last wee willy?

Now correct me if I'm wrong here but the party in power was a four way coalition if my memory serves me right.

So extrapolating your 'theory' (and I use that term very loosely) one can only assume that makes them a coalition of bigger losers.

Winnie has had his day and he Knows it. Gone Berger same as the Greens

I would have thought that everyone knew y now to never write Winny off.

thrown a lifeline by muller -- huge error in judgement in his first hour -- winnie will never come back to national at next election -- he was buried and muller should have left him in cold -- straight fight labour against national -- national vote will hold up - poll was a huge anomaly -- well deserved admittedly - but 50,000 extra on dole - and another 30-50 thousand lost their jobs already but not able to claim as their partner still working -- and 100000 more as wage subsidy ends - nobody will believe that Labour can get the country back working and understands what business needs - no Business = no employees! give it 8 weeks be back to 45/40 labour and if NZ First dont get 5% nats will only need 43% + act to get in

So,if NZ First & National form a coalition...does that make them the new COL's...or are they just astute negotiators who understand how MMP works??
I guess they have had 3 years to read up on it.

If the polls remain well in Labours favour, it will give people the comfort to vote for the Greens. Nice try, no cigar


A vote for the blue team is a vote for the CCP - certain blue members are nothing but foot soldiers for the CCP


You're certainly not the only one with that view. Will be interesting to see if the new team are feeling this vibe and ready to change tack.


Certainly not the only one! There is even a subreddit called :ChinawatchNZ now


Given what's happening to Australia now, what odds would you put on National being the ones to grow a pair and stand up to Beijing? I'd put it somewhere between "pigs fly" and "snowball in hell."

Probably not. But 29% might call for desperate measures. Yes the Chinese have the aussies over a barrel with tariffs, but how is it playing politically for the aus govt?

The difference is the Aussies actually mean it.

Tradersam, Your knowledge base obviously requires some updating.

Even more so than Yang Jian, who until the recent controversy, was not often quoted in the New Zealand non-Chinese language media, the Labour Party’s ethnic Chinese MP, Raymond Huo works very publicly with China’s united front organizations in New Zealand and promotes their policies in English and Chinese. Huo was a Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014, then returned to Parliament again in 2017 when a list position became vacant.

Simon had to go, he didn't connect with the public, he hardly smiled when being interviewed.
Look at the outcome when Labour went from Andrew Little to Jacinda, the policies didn't change but the face did.


Wouldn't be out of place offering you a used car or a bag of speed.

My prediction is that Nikki Kaye will either quit or become the leader a few months before the 2023 elections.

Could be. And presumably this way she can go high enough on the list not to go out of parliament if she can't hold her seat.


Happy for National. The Comedy show is well and truly over now. Hope Todd & Nikki can articulate better than Simon/Paula about their policies and plans. Will there be a new Shadow Cabinet as well ?


“New Zealanders need a National Government with the experience and management skills to get our country through the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War."
Quite right.
And where is that going to come from?
Not from National's incumbents, that's for sure.

Hard to pick which shirt is the least dirty in this case.


In my opinion, National has to change their 'vibe', essentially the way they communicate. My generation (the lazy millennials) and GenX-ers are sick of negativity and childish mudslinging. We are also sick of the status quo due to the rapidly increasing inequality.
Promise us nice things like Labour did, show some empathy towards the less fortunate, acknowledge the serious problems that are crippling society, and you might get our votes.
Also stop licking the boots of CCP, it's disgusting (and downright treasonous).


Spot on.


Even just a vision - tell us what you would do. Tell us what you would do and why it is good instead of just how Labour is bad. There are few governments with such a poor track record when it comes to campaign promises. This should be easy.

Agreed GV, 2 comments from Muller;

1/ "And I'm not interested in opposition for opposition's sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics."
Hallelujah to that...lets see how that pans out,would be a constructive change,thats for sure.
2/ "I'm about ideas that get results."
Articulate let them fully,so we can truly fully understand what your idea is rather than "turbo charge the economy", " unleash the private sector" etc..

Also stop licking the boots of CCP, it's disgusting.

That's just self interest at play looking at the post-politics gravy train. Brash, Shipley, Tremain, Sabin all spring to mind.


"Promise us nice things like Labour did, show some empathy towards the less fortunate, acknowledge the serious problems that are crippling society, and you might get our votes."

You're basically saying to win they need to be way more left wing.

Inequality IS basically the whole National Party policy platform.

Wow. I have not read this thinking before.


"National is the party for all New Zealanders".
Almost spat out my coffee


"National is the party for all New Zealanders with a house or multiple houses"


"National is the party for the top 0.1%, if a few plebs get 'rich' from housing inflation that's cool too"


What is a little bizarre is how the average small businessman/self employed tradie etc etc doesn't seem to grasp that not so minor concept.


I know!!! Its frustrates me to hell, a lot of my friends are tradies, or unionised and fail to see how Nationals policies have made their life harder. It's an absolute farce that National is the party better for business and the economy. What the hell is the point in an economy if it is siphoning money off into tax havens or into pockets of billionaires. TRICKLE UP NOT DOWN!

You think you have it bad, I'm farming. National consistently pick the dumbest MP as Primary industries minister and then rank them at the bottom of cabinet. Happens Everytime and yet still they believe.
The labour ag ministers by contrast are highly ranked and hard working despite having to fight the generally anti sentiment in the party.
And still they refuse to see.

Nathan Guy is ranked 12th on the National Party List and Damien O'Connor is 18th on the Labour list - would hardly call O'Connor highly ranked.

and Nathen does not have to fight his party every inch on teh way - Oconner is pissing int eh wind with his caucus

didnt they try to get rid of oconner by giving him a very low list spot so he had to win the seat or else bye bye

Guy was 16th in cabinet. But I stand corrected in terms of O'Connor being lower than hand I thought.


The small businesses and self employed tradies don't surprise me: it's the experience of dealing with the IRD that does it. The one thing IRD does efficiently is create anti-big-government sentiment.

What does baffle me is how effectively the Key government was able to whip blue collar employees into a frenzy about benefit fraud, which causes a tiny fraction of the economic harm of corporate tax evasion, housing bubbles and selling off the country to a foreign dictatorship. But as recent experience with the virus has shown many self-proclaimed "economically literate" Nat voters can't do basic data analysis to save their lives.

'Benefit fraud' that the same as hard working small business owners like tradies doing cash jobs i.e the black economy....or are they just entrepenurial?

Not paying taxes is noble because the government doesn't deserve it.

Getting extra benefits is ignoble because the beneficiary doesn't deserve it.

"National is the party for all New Zealanders who supports China - our masters"


Personally I am going to miss Simon referring to his deputy as "Paula Benefit."
Always made for a good chuckle.


Their leader can be a cross of the better elements of Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln but while they have a spy on their list I will not vote for them which is a pity since I like my local national MP. And I almost forgot - do something about dodgy donations.

be interesting to see who sits on the front bench for national , there is bound to be a little payback, i expect paula benefit to drop right down the list

Hopefully not Goldsmith...What a wet lettuce that guy is.

Probably only there as he his connected to the banksters. Names a dead give away.

Paul Goldsmiths bio....he is the guy looking after National finance portfolio;
Goldsmith was born in 1971 in the Auckland suburb of Mount Eden. He attended Auckland Grammar School and the University of Auckland.[1] Goldsmith then worked as a press secretary and speech writer for Phil Goff (Labour), Simon Upton (National) and John Banks (then a National MP).[2] In 2000 Goldsmith became a public relations adviser and worked for Tranz Rail and the University of Auckland.[2]
Goldsmith graduated with an MA in history.[1] He has written the biographies of John Banks, Don Brash, William Gallagher, Alan Gibbs and Te Hemara Tauhia as well as a history of taxes, Puketutu Island and a history of the Fletcher Building construction company.[2]


Yes, the reshuffle will be one to watch. Muller and Kaye might have quite a different values-base than many of the National MPs. The party also needs a new campaign manager as I can't see them leaving Paula to run that one. But it's policy that looks different - innovative and moving away from the traditional neoliberal mindset - that is needed. And agree, they've got to do something about the CCP-sympathiser view. Simon, with his most recent visit to Beijing made that insidious connection even more scary/concerning.

already seeing tweets coming out with chris bishop and matt king along side muller, looks like they are trying to get up the list

Matt King?! He makes Trump look like an intellectual

Matt is a bit of a unit haha

Oh, that's good, we have been running a little short of Tobacco Lobbyist expertise in parliament.

Yes! How dare any MP have work experience outside of Student politics, teaching or civil service.

You mean like Nationals finance spokesperson;

Goldsmith was born in 1971 in the Auckland suburb of Mount Eden. He attended Auckland Grammar School and the University of Auckland.[1] Goldsmith then worked as a press secretary and speech writer for Phil Goff (Labour), Simon Upton (National) and John Banks (then a National MP).[2] In 2000 Goldsmith became a public relations adviser and worked for Tranz Rail and the University of Auckland.[2]
Goldsmith graduated with an MA in history.[1] He has written the biographies of John Banks, Don Brash, William Gallagher, Alan Gibbs and Te Hemara Tauhia as well as a history of taxes, Puketutu Island and a history of the Fletcher Building construction company.[2]

There are others with far better experience than being a lobbyist for tobacco. Poor attempt.

Since Peter Dunne went full time writing thinkpieces for parliament just hasn't been the same

That would be Muller & Mullet then...

He's a big guy so will automatically get attention in a room. Apparently he is well regarded in BP, so once they do a make over and all the media advice he will receive from experts within, he may well get some traction back. Given his track record I think he be able to go toe to toe on the financial side came debating time.

Never heard of him before, but he is giving an impressive speech right now. Really contrasts to Simon.

He reminds me of Scott Morrison.

Written by someone else and well rehearsed by him, not exactly something to hang your hat on

FCM...with a head like his,he will get attention...all he needs is a couple of bolts in his neck.

He's coming across well and articulate on day one and even cracked a joke with Hillary on 7 sharp. I think he's got a fighting chance. More then a fighting chance actually.

I think the Labour chickens are coming home to roost now. Their neglect to deliver and focus on their leader instead may well be their undoing.

I already stated on my intent to vote National regardless of leader. I think my exact words were I'd even vote for a donkey in charge.

However Muller's no donkey. His appointment today gives me a bit of confidence and I don't think they have any issue being only 120 days out. Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind.

Can they pull off a win though? They'll have to capture that middle ground and newly unemployed with actual, workable policies.

It’s taken time, but a vast number of people now realise the damage national caused to society over those 9 years. I feel it’s too early to forgive and forget

Not a conservative fanboi but this was the right move - Bridges is a belligerent buffoon - surely Muller couldn't be worse - could he?

Now that Simon has gone watch Winston cuddle up to National, based on Labour's current polling they won't need Winnie and for National to have any chance at the election NZF could be a friend of sorts.

Winston is dead meat. Gone,Gone for good I hope

He's toast at the moment, hasn't polled above 5% since last election. But if he wanted to have a laugh, and maybe give himself an electoral chance then he could collapse the coalition and form a new one with National - pretend that he has had a change of heart with the new leadership or some such rubbish and try to regain some votes from the right, if nothing else would give him a huge burst of publicity.

With four months to go until an election, if Winston did that, Jacinda would just go to the GG to dissolve Parliament and call an election.

If Winston ever did such a thing, the unintended consequence could be that Winston is severely punished, and voters flock to Labour to ensure they can stay in power for a full term and not be concerned with minnow parties.

bad move - as puts Winston in stronger position if he can go both ways -- needed to just keep the squeeze on - the poll is a reflection of two months of pretty good crisis management -- they achieved what they said they would right or wrong - and wall to wall coverage of her and nothing else - people associating very competent government employees with labour- not civil servants like they are - and billions of handouts -to all and sundry -

reality will kick in long before the election for many many people families and extended families -- not just the 200K that are losing their jobs - remember if your partner works - you cant claim jobseekers - and way more two family income households than one family income households - so teh true figure is way higher than an extra 50000 on the dole

I do hope that Labour address that ridiculous partner means-test associated with the Jobseeker benefit. And they should look at benefit abatements as well. They should not leave those changes to the election campaign. Do them now and let the electorate see whether National would take the stand of reversing them. If Labour wants to improve our stats on poverty and social disfunction - these are must change aspects of our benefit system.

I'd suggest Labour do it now because if they don't National are unlikely to ever get around to it and we'll remain a society of haves and have nots.

Whoops...accidentally reported this comment. And there's no undo.

Is that Luxon in the photo?.. Perfect.. Just needs Key sitting on the photocopier in the darkened room.

Yes,he hasn't even been elected to parliament and he is sniffing around...hopefully this puts paid to Luxons leadership aspirations for a while.

Looks like Luxon....and Todd has just told him "and you can feck off"


Yes, I wondered that too. Who’s the guy on the desk, a CCP official?

Ha ha well said..

No it's not Luxon

It's Matt Doocey


Yeah, exactly.

never heard of him.. Googled. It appears hes part of the Chch old boys network. Doesn't look like hes ever worked outside of the health sector, but I suspect the resident righties will of course overlook his lack of experience in the private sector.

In their universe not having real private sector experience is only a problem if you're a leftie. The most hilarious example being David Seymour, who has never had a job outside of politics and think tanks.

Wow speechless,well spotted,who would have guessed with the rhetoric from him about the current government...
This is his complete bio on wikipedia;
"A graduate of the University of Auckland, Seymour worked in public policy in Canada,[2] before returning to New Zealand and contesting for election to Parliament. He entered the House of Representatives in 2014 as ACT's sole MP, after which he was elected as party leader, replacing..."

Haha, yep. Jacinda's time in the Morrinsville chippie shop automatically makes her more qualified to talk about the real world than David Seymour.

And this is Paul Goldsmiths bio which is even worse given he's Nationals finance spokesperson;
Goldsmith was born in 1971 in the Auckland suburb of Mount Eden. He attended Auckland Grammar School and the University of Auckland.[1] Goldsmith then worked as a press secretary and speech writer for Phil Goff (Labour), Simon Upton (National) and John Banks (then a National MP).[2] In 2000 Goldsmith became a public relations adviser and worked for Tranz Rail and the University of Auckland.[2]
Goldsmith graduated with an MA in history.[1] He has written the biographies of John Banks, Don Brash, William Gallagher, Alan Gibbs and Te Hemara Tauhia as well as a history of taxes, Puketutu Island and a history of the Fletcher Building construction company.[2]

A history of taxes. Jesus Christ, I feel bad for his wife.

Who'd have thought that reading the comments section on Interest on a Friday night would have one in fits.

Well done Speechless

No worries mate just doing my bit to bring some levity to these trying times

She married him because she was an insomniac...

I wonder when he wrote about the history of taxes he mentioned the bit about John Key promising not to raise GST?

And the seat Seymour 'won' was gifted to him by National !!

at least he didnt have to have a cup of tea to get given the seat

David Seymour? Just a place holder National outlier for the desperate.

My mistake,short bald guys all look the same from behind...

It's hard to tell them apart from a thumb sometimes

ICBC, CCB, BOC, ABC, BoCom and many others welcome them to join the board membership.


Good riddance. Bridges was and is a waste of space.

Small correction - Nikki Kaye beat Jacinda Ardern in Auckland central in 2011 and 2014, not 2017

Correct... Jacinda concluded the only way to win an electorate was to run in Auntie Helen's Mt Albert in 2017 after being beaten in Auckland Central by Nikki Kaye in 2011 and 2014.


Yep and expect Nikki Kaye to get Plenty of media time as well, she will take some of the gloss of Jacinda, and will have the same appeal to many....this may get quiet interesting

Especially considering that the prior working/business life to the one in politics is little different from that of the PM

They never used to have the same appeal imo. I was a voter in Auckland Central during those terms (while at Uni) and Jacinda came across as intelligent, kind and value based. Nikki came across as self interested and aggressive. I believe she played some dirty games throwing mud at Jacinda to win which came to light later. Jacinda could have but never lowered herself to that level and paid for it with the outcomes at the time.
But that was a long time ago and who knows how life has changed them both.

You're right. Corrected. Thanks and apologies!

There and Thus goes the Key to the National Party.

Maggie Barry straight out said she was going to vote for Todd Barclay when she arrived at Parliament.

In case people don't believe me.

Surely she didn't say Barclay - worse gaff than Paula Benefit.

I just put the video link in an edit above.

Myrtle rust must go!

Oh dear - lol.

Good god, they're all as thick as mince. We let these people run the country? They wouldn't get a job flipping burgers in the real world.


The new boy has got pretty decent business credentials. This is good. As his background is in the real economy, lets hope for somebody who can finally demonstrate that he is not a puppet of the NZ Ponzi housing scheme (as National has been for a long time), and who has got the balls to decisively re-orient the economy towards better efficiency, increased productivity, and away from parasitical housing speculation, out-of-control welfare, wasteful public money spending and political correctness. Bridges would have not achieved this, from what I had seen thus far.

Well, he's a practising Catholic, socially conservative and voted against removing abortion from the criminal act.

Should slot in very nicely then hey...

Either way, he's going to be a lot better that Ximon.

As a practising Catholic the first thing that Todd Muller needs to attend to is why the Marist Catholic School for Girls has proved to be such a basket case in the fight against the Covid virus. It really is a disgrace.


Maybe they needed to pray harder?

I'm sure I'm not the only one that laughed out loud at that.

I could not care less about his faith. He could be a Zaraostrian for all I care. However you are right about his social conservatism, with which I personally strongly disagree. But at the moment I would even have the archbishop of Canterbury or the Pope himself if they could prove to have the business savvy to sort out the mess we are in, with low productivity, rampant parasitic house speculation, an incompetent RBNZ damaging the economy with its desperate efforts to keep the housing Ponzi scheme afloat, over-indebted households, a bloated welfare system, council spending totally out of control, and a tourism industry in tatters because it had been over-reliant on international tourism. I don't give a toss about social issues right now, to be brutally honest. Let's get out of this economic hole first.
And I could not care less if it is a Blue or Red Government, I only care about who has got the balls to resolutely move NZ to the right economic direction.

I sincerely hope the same vitriol dished out the PM about her previous experience will be aimed the deputy leader by those who do such dishing out.

national party radio (newstalk zb) is talking up the winning of the next election now the leader has changed, i have no doubt he will get a short term bump in the polls but i can not see him getting enough to win especially with no mates, john key had a bunch of parties to help him and he cultivated them to make sure he had plenty of room

You're right, changing leader still doesn’t magically provide national with any mates to govern with.

Time will tell if he's able to do more than just say "economy" in every sentence

That is their whole campaign strategy

As Bill Clintons strategist once said "It's the economy stupid".

So I'd be worried if he isn't saying it in every sentence because now COVID is behind us the economy should be the most important focus for NZ.

The National Party is now under new Management but they have no services or products to offer but they need customers..


Excerpt from Todd Muller's maiden speech:

"We need to be careful that our innate and subconscious awe of our environment does not blind us to the opportunities that it presents us. We have one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world. Close to 90 percent of our water flows to the sea. We have a productive basin underpinned by sustainable practices that are admired by many around the world. We have trading partners who see value in what we can offer and are willing to pay for it. Let us use our natural resources to their fullest potential. I am not advocating plundering New Zealand with 19th century tools and ideas; I speak of alloying the world’s best technologies and innovations with some of the greatest natural resources and talent in the world for the betterment of our people.

There is always risk in any endeavour, but I firmly believe that there is greater risk in inaction. Not only will we deny ourselves the opportunity to improve our standard of living for generations to come, but we are, quite frankly, denying history. Since the dawn of time, scarce and valued resources are rarely left untouched. We have the opportunity to use our natural resources and advantages for the benefit of our people, or to know for certain that some other people of some other age yet to come will do the same."

Executive summary: let's plunder every natural resource we have now, using modern technology to expedite that process, in order to enrich ourselves and maintain power, future generations be damned.

Unfortunately, a lot of people won't care about sovereignty or the environment as long as they get a job and their house price doesn't crater.

Almost like being able to afford food and shelter actually matters, huh.

I meant "unfortunately" solely in the sense that immediate and pressing need will drive policy that may be short-sighted.

Hope Muller has better policies on shelter than National's previous "good problem to have". That's what he needs to bring.

Yeah that line might have some credibility if Key hadn't left an ever growing chunk of the population in a demonstrably worse position to afford the basics. That's how inequality works.


Ah yep. Mine it, drill it, sell it to the Chinese. What a f-king surprise.

He should consult the Nauru government,they did well...

Ohs noes, water is flowing out to sea. That is not what nature intended for it to do. Is it?

Yes, people actually don't get that do they? They really think it running all the way out to sea is a waste...

Nature intended for viruses to pick off the old and unhealthy. But we don't seem to agree with that.

Well you're definitely not a psychopath.

If we let nature take its course,we'd all be dead by forty and half the woman would die giving birth...

It's called balance mate, we don't all live on 10 hectares self sufficient block's with windmills.


While National has CCP moles they will NEVER have my vote.

I wouldn't even call it a mole, the word mole implies they are trying to keep it a secret.

Good timing, it had to happen. I expect National to now bounce back in the polls. National were ahead a few months back before this Covid-19 came along and that was with Bridges still there so now its anyone race come September. Its going to be all about the economy going forward and we are going to be in deep shite come the September election and people will be wanting change and change fast to their circumstances. The Virus will be forgotten by then but peoples financial pain will be cutting deep.

"National were ahead a few months back before this Covid-19 came along"

Why do you guys keep saying this as if the virus hasn't changed everything?

"The Virus will be forgotten by then but peoples financial pain will be cutting deep."

Ah okay you don't understand how viruses work, that's why.

you're wrong... we see the protests in America from small business's, unemployed and those cueing for handouts - in a country where Covid is raging.

Covid has trashed travel, tourism, hospitality and reset the economy. But fundamental needs and drives of life have not changed. Fear of covid will fade when fear of destroyed welfare rears its head!

You posters are a tough lot to keep happy. Let's see what unfolds from both sides over the next 4 months. Then let's vote.

did anyone else notice crusher right behind muller and kaye, looks very much like she is taking over the mantle of power broker from nick smith

She's waiting for Muller to lose the election, then roll him.

100%, she's an old hand of politics.. she wouldn't be stupid enough to be a leader of a party that has no chance at the next election.

It will have even less of a chance with her as leader. A Collins coup would be a fantastic outcome for Labour.

I will just keep reminding people that back in 2012 she simply binned the recommendations for changes to MMP without even allowing them to be discussed, let along voted on (which they should not have been, it was the people's say) after the public review of it.
For that mostly, Judith Collins will forever have my disdain.
Someone needs to resurrect them and put them in place

If polling numbers do not shift dramatically in the next month or two, I wonder how many 'National' voters will start to drift towards NZ 1st as the only potential curb on the terror of a solid labour majority, or towards Act (if you're going to 'waste' your vote anyway, may as well go for principles)...
Interesting times ahead :)

I'm fully expecting a Labour/Green coalition Govt after September.

They'd have more chance if it was Kaye, as he has more appeal than an old potato. After all, Jacinda did it at the last election!

Wash out yer mouth!

Impeached at Waikato University for using student union money to buy kegs for his mates. Fits in well with NZ politics.

Did you not notice the slippage in funds in NZ uni politics in the 1980's (pre the crash that shall not be mentioned) by all "Parties" A spare keg for a party here... spare keg over there.... left over keg here etc etc etc? Many on both sides of politics stood around aforementioned kegs in Green and Blue SteinLager hoodies and debated politics (Where where Red hoodies?).

Nats need to set firm policy on not supporting further selling out to foreign interests. Aka foreign property sales and debt enslavement of NZ taxpayers. It they dont make that clear commitment, they are done regardless of leader.

Spending student money on a keg...for students, wow. When compared to that having no commercial experience except running the young communist party, I'd probably take the keg. Hardly dirt.

Left must have nothing better, but finishes the week off on a laugh so well done both ways.

Doesn't really bother me but pointed it out just the same. What it says to me is that the sense of entitlement was ingrained early on.

It does bother me...from memory student union fees were compulsory at a time I was broke. No student loans then to fall back on, and fees had already started skyrocketing. And then to steal those funds to ingratiate yourself to your mates?...sounds like he is well suited to politics or upper management. That's Strike 1 Todd.

Be interesting to hear The Hosk's take on this Monday morning...I am assuming he will be doing a complete 180 on his comments below,no doubt,Toddy is the new messiah,the National Party have pulled off a master stroke by replacing their leader...
"If National are stupid enough to try and roll him, or fuel rumours about unrest and dissatisfaction, they deserve everything that's coming to them. Panic is the weak man's game, and the election which is what they should be facing up to, is four full months away. This health crisis isn't even two months old, and look what's happened in that time."

of course he will, he flip flops all over the place, lock the borders, open the borders, lock us down, dont lock us down.
im surprised he can find his way home.
the only thing constant is his love of the national party and his daily party political brodcast

First question I would liked answered. If re-elected would you abolish the foreign buyer ban on New Zealand residential property as Simon said he would?