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Todd Muller resigns as National Party Leader, saying the role has taken a toll on him personally and this has become 'untenable from a health perspective'

Todd Muller resigns as National Party Leader, saying the role has taken a toll on him personally and this has become 'untenable from a health perspective'
Nikki Kaye, Todd Muller. Pool image taken by RNZ.

Todd Muller has stepped down as National Party Leader, saying the role has taken a toll on he and his family, and this has become “untenable from a health perspective”.

The news was broken to the National caucus via a teleconference this morning. Muller wasn't on the call. He didn't do any media interviews over the weekend either.

There will be an emergency caucus meeting in Wellington tonight, at which MPs will vote on a new leader. 

Muller said he wasn’t the best person to lead the party, which needs its leader to be “comfortable in the role”.

His resignation, which comes less than two months after he overthrew Simon Bridges, is effective immediately. He will continue serving as a National MP for the Bay of Plenty.

The party's senior whip Barbara Kuriger said, “Our thoughts are very much with Todd and his family at this difficult time as is our compassion and love for Todd.” 

She said the party wouldn't comment until after the caucus meeting this evening. 

Muller was criticised for lying last week, when he told the media personal details of Covid-19 patients were only given to National MP Hamish Walker, by former National president Michelle Boag, when in fact he knew they were also given to the party’s health spokesperson, Michael Woodhouse.

Muller tried to cauterise the problem, by pushing Walker, who leaked the information to media, to resign. However, for days he denied others in the party may have had the information too, and didn’t take the matter to the Privacy Commission nor Ministry of Health.

National was due to make a major infrastructure policy announcement this afternoon.

Nikki Kaye is now acting leader.

National MP Judith Collins reportedly hasn't ruled out running as leader. Meanwhile Bridges tweeted:

According to the latest major poll - a 1 News-Colmar Brunton Poll conducted between June 20 and 24 - Muller had effectively taken back some support for National, lost to Labour under Bridges’ leadership in recent months.

Support for National was up 9 percentage points from mid-May, to 38%. Meanwhile Muller received 13% in the preferred prime minister ranks.

Some polls done pre-Covid-19, indicated National would’ve had enough seats to govern with ACT.

The election is only two months away.

Here’s a statement from Muller:

I have taken time over the weekend to reflect on my experience over the last several weeks as Leader of the Opposition.

It has become clear to me that I am not the best person to be Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the New Zealand National Party at this critical time for New Zealand.

It is more important than ever that the New Zealand National Party has a leader who is comfortable in the role.

The role has taken a heavy toll on me personally, and on my family, and this has become untenable from a health perspective.

For that reason I will be stepping down as Leader effective immediately.

I intend to take some time out of the spotlight to spend with family and restore my energy before reconnecting with my community.

I look forward to continuing to serve as a loyal member of the National Party team and Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty.

I will not be making any further comment.

Please respect the privacy of my family and me.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement:

I have just heard the news about the resignation of Mr Muller as leader of the National Party. No matter what side of parliament you're sitting, politics is a difficult place. I have passed on my best wishes to Mr Muller and his family.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters released a more barbed statement: 

One’s sympathy goes out to Todd Muller and his family. Todd is a good man, unlike most of his colleagues he does have commercial experience, and he will bounce back.

Leading a divided and incompetent caucus would have tested even the best leader. ‘The National caucus now has the unenviable job of selecting its fourth leader since the Coalition Government took office.

The National caucus, like too many parties in parliament, lacks business experience, life experience and political experience. Heaven only knows who will be the next cab off the ranks selected to lead such a dispirited and incompetent lot.

Todd never had a chance given the fault lines of ambition, personality, and ideology that run deep through the National Party caucus.

National has demonstrated to voters as clearly as it is able that it cannot govern itself.

During a time of crisis, when stability and real experience is what the country needs from its politicians and their parties, National’s instability and hubris takes it out of the running for the coming General Election.

Voters will now focus on which parties have demonstrated stability and exhibited the experience required to help guide New Zealand through its present challenges.

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.

262 Comments

Note to others: leader of National has to be a sitting National MP, so it rules out Joyce, Key, English, Don Brash (lol) etc.

Winston or Seymour would be a right fit...

Popcorn for breakfast! Noms!

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And it rules out Luxon thank goodness.

Sir John is not influential any more..

An opportunity for Crusher Collins??

TTP

nz will become popular for the wrong reasons

I do not like the national foreign ownership/immigration and quite a few other approaches of national - hence swinging away last election. But I do believe Collins is the only choice for National - and her toughness to sort out the socialist policies being promoted at present is needed.

All policies implemented currently sit within the neo Liberal framework. Are you referring to the socialist policies propping up big business?

She is no less socialist.

You reckon she'll abolish ACC? Or is she just slightly less socialist than the rest?

She won't touch subsidies for landlords, non-means-tested benefits for older folks etc. She clearly understands that some animals are more equal than others.

Wouldn't it be odd having the Minister for Oravida being leader of the opposition and just at a time when the world is starting to see the need to not allow so much CCP influence in domestic politics! Or worse, heaven forbid, as leader just at a time when more thinking of the country is needed.

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Yeah, let's cauterize the dirty politics and corruption with, um, more of it?

Well...err...that'll fix the moral rot in National, just so!

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Why not Jiang Yang? They can cut out the Kiwi middleman.

Oh, he's off too.

Very droll bahah

Maybe he'll pull an Amy Adams and suddenly not wish to spend more time with his family.

Yes going to be super interesting whether she goes back on her word and jumps ship given her reason for coming back was that “the nation needed national!” and Todd was the man to make that happen...whoops

She's a good contender to come out as leader after this, though.

Given how devious Judith Collins has been in the past, and how corrupt they have shown themselves to be, yes, she would make a great leader for National

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Decent bloke. Politics and his MPs did him in ? Who next ? The Crusher ?
May be National should merge with ACT and make Seymour as Leader. More charismatic and reasonable guy.
He can win it....

ACT can gather disaffects National followers on its own.
Seymour doesn't need the National Party - never has. It's the other way around.

Done right, Labour could put an end to MMP. How many Minor Parties will survive another term in the wilderness if Labour gets in on its own, in a landslide? Probably none.

Good grief. The only reason Ken from Epsom survives is because of misplaced National Party generosity. Conventional wisdom says the middle ground wins NZ elections. So Nat does right plus middle, and Labour does left plus middle. They both think a coalition partner further from the middle than themselves will get them more middle and thus the government. Except of course nobody is further left than Jacinda, but our sycophants in the press haven't turned on her yet. Remember Hamish gave them the info on condition they didn't mention his name. How honest were they there? Whoever thought NZ politics could get even more entertaining than it was yesterday?

Ermm, just to set things straight, the only reason Seymour is in power is because National gifts him a seat. Post Prebble/Hide, Act became a National Party construct under John Banks, whose only purpose was to rort the party vote system and give National the coalition partner it did then, and does now, struggle with. Act’s philosophy is grounded in the works of Ayn Rand, a lovely woman who was strongly opposed to gay rights, supported the right of colonists to steal land from indigenous people, said Israelis were fighting Arab savages, and had a 30-year amphetamine problem.

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And here lies the rub: National is still in the midst of a 2005-era lurch to the right like it was under Brash. There is a strong religious conservative faction which is prone to credibility-destroying Republican-style talking points (SOCIALISM!!!1!!1) which preserves ineffective MPs and stops the party coming up with innovative policies (more roads!) and embracing things like urbanism.

Kaye could become the leader, but the current direction of National is still staunchly conservative and she is definitely a pragmatic liberal. She'd suddenly be fronting a lot of policies that conflict with her own personal brand of politics. They would have to give her free license over policy and a broom and I don't think they're willing to do that.

They don't really have enough time to do a wholesale clear out of their existing policies anyway, just like Jacinda didn't with Labour.

Probably make policy on the hoof . Likely to relax overseas ownership. Mass immigration, post covid if that eventuates.

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Agree 110%. I would consider myself economically conservative but I just can’t vote for a socially Conservative party with religious undertones that are anti progress and rely on the grey vote. Mike Hosking got them all their votes but I think maybe he less popular these days with his Covid stance.
National should have looked at the UK Conservative party that just spent 30 billion pounds on cross rail for example. They appealed to all types of voters except the extreme left and right nutjobs. They managed to win despite the brexit debacle. They didn’t just rely on the grey vote and Mike Hosking.

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Absolutely agree! The idea of voting for a party that has any religious or extreme ideological issues turns my stomach but it really does look like the world is headed into an era of hysteria, hyperbole and tribalism.

I still think most elections are won in the centre (except for maybe the US where you can win with 30% or so of the vote). Labour were almost obsessed about trying to be an economically trustworthy govt and win business confidence, even shelving their capital gains tax. Had they instead gone nut job left I don’t think they would be in such a strong position.

Indeed. As an example, all the UK middle ground fled the UK Labour party at a rate of knots in response to Corbyn's old school socialism delivering a landslide victory to the Tories. And that is after, arguably, some fairly major fails and own goals on behalf of the UK Tory party but people would still rather choose a flawed mid-ground Tory party than an extremist left Labour party there.

When I lived there Tony Blair was leader of Labour and they were very strong. I didn’t pay too much attention to politics (unless it was on TV at the pub) but he seemed to be very sensible and centre. But he was also a very strong personality and a likeable guy. Hard to know why those people are so hard to find these days; the US have 350 million people and not a single likeable centre politician!

Oh, you mean the Tony Blair who invented wmds so he could join his mate Bush in the Illegal invasion of Iraq. Great guy.

I thought the Media took Corbyn out, a huge misinformation attack from the MSM.

Yes. He had real flaws, but there was incredible media pile-on against him, a lot of it incredibly unfair. He seems an unusually principled and decent guy - probably too much so to succeed in politics.
It's hard to get far when you're being attacked with equal ferocity by the Telegraph and the Guardian.

brisket,

Are you quite mad? "He seems an unusually principled and decent guy". Blair had NO principles other than attaining power and a.... licking Bush. I lived in the UK for most of my life and while the Conservatives were well passed their use by date in the mid nineties, I thought it was obvious that Blair was a straw man even then. I was very unfortunate that had it not been for his untimely death, John Smith the Scottish leader of the party, would have made an excellent PM.

I was referring to Corbyn. Not a fan of Blair at all, smarmy warmonger IMHO.

Yo Blair says it all...

That was definitely part of it but also, that's just common or garden MSM in the UK politics don't you think? The media always have a huge impact on voter behaviour wherever you live, but in the UK if the left don't have tabloid support, or worse still, have become a tabloid target, you can forget it. Corbyn didn't engage with the media and play the game, so they put his head on a chicken's body. It was fairly predictable and UK politicians know that they need to win the media over. You can't put your head in the sand on the issue and expect to win an election based on your grass roots social media contingency. But it wasn't just Corbyn either, Momentum and a huge faction of the recent UK Labour party have become fairly extreme. They cancel anyone who doesn't use the agreed terms and stance of that moment. And the agreed terms and stance can change rapidly, so it's very easy to fall foul of the "rules".

GN. As soon as Muller stood up and said he was religious his house was cooked. There is no place for religion in politics now days. Hopefully they can cull it and the CCP out.

The Labour Party is chock full of extreme ideologues. Their religion is the state, but they worship all the same.

When they inevitably win their majority it will be interesting as this dawns on many people.

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Did the world cave in under Clark and Cullen? I seem to remember some very strong economic growth. If anything they were too right wing!

Cullen did an exceptional job to ensure his socialist leaning colleagues didnt spend up large and completely empty the coffers.

They really aren't.

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This comment suggests mainly that you need to broaden your newsletter subscriptions.

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I'm sure there's a word for gross inaccuracy and falsehood. But yeah they really aren't.

By the way, a stronger state than previous neoliberalism governments has guided us through this pandemic.

If you need an example of deliberately running down the state look at America

I'm dumbfounded that the hive mind of this site genuinely believes that Labour 1) is not neoliberal and 2) had any impact on the handling of the virus whatsoever that any other previous NZ government wouldn't have. Praise be our dear leader I guess.

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I suspect that you'll be dumbfounded by many a simple truth if you believe that the National Party would have managed this (COVID-19) in the same way.

Labour is neoliberalism based. They have engendered a stronger state than the previous government.

Mike Hosking would have had our border open, closed, open then maybe in between in the space of 10 days.

His job is to polarise opinion, so just cuts his cloth accordingly.

Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum spout forth. New contributors on here folks, born only two months ago only two days apart. And today’s comment only 2.22 hours apart. Or perhaps an alter ego mix up of the left hands.

Can you be clear about your accusations? And be careful - I've been commenting on this site for approximately two months. If you disagree with anything said feel free to provide a coherent response.

I am me. No one else.

res ipsa loquitur.

That's a funny way of saying sorry but I'll take it

vox nihili

Yawn

Auribus teneo lupum

Or maybe you think only those with views from the far right side of economics have the right to comment?

Not me Flower.......I am anti Political, all Parties....Anti Bwankers too....All corrupted and way, way too long in...power. Knowing what the right hand and the left hand are doing....Fiddling the Books....each and everyone of em. And you can bet the House on that....cos they do.

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Which covid stance was that Jimbo?

The one ranting about not closing the borders soon enough, or the one ranting about closing the borders?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP2S-IzLoWo

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Yeah, the right can't seem to see beyond headline measures such as GDP, trade and job growth. Somehow the Nats still view the low-value sector-driven population and economic growth in the 9 years under Key as NZ's golden period.

Not entirely Advisor, don't forget the fundy-Christian-extremist relish on the side of the immigration/propertymarket main course.

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Yeah, I don't think they realise that not everyone looks back on the Key years as a golden age. Some people made out like bandits, of course, but increasingly it looks like an utterly wasted period. Some nice roads, I guess.

Word of the week - Untenable

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Off home for a cup of tea and a lie down...

Totally. Made me think of Cartman: "Screw you guys, I'm going home".

See...... Toddie can be decent and honest. But what about all the hard work put in by the cartoonists on him?

maybe he saw yesterdays cartoon it was quite funny
https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/114832270/jeff-bell-cartoons

its time for Mark Mitchell to step forward, JC would be good too but she has baggage

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Good god no. Red neck gun runner who would happily use divide and conquer tactics. A jock.

Elected via dirty politics. Perhaps will govern via dirty politics?

I really hope Kiwis wouldn't vote for an actual mercenary.

Surely you wouldn’t have expected being leader of the opposition to be a walk in the park?

I’m surprised by how quickly he’s thrown the towel in - has there been internal polling showing National support has fallen further than what the general public know yet?

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Chris Trotter yesterday said the latest internal polling put them at 32%. So no real improvement since Bridges, and that polling likely is before the Boag fallout last week.

Seems like Muller thought he had a team of MPs and party apparatchiks be could trust to do their jobs and he'd just be the front man, but turns out they're a bunch of illdisciplined graspers who need firm management that he wasn't up for.

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National clearly needs a very firm hand rather than a Müllerlight

Very nice. I fully smirked.

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Think he was shocked, as would be any honest soul, by the duplicity of Boag peddling with great insistence confidential details of individuals. And following that he was dropped right in it by Woodhouse. If in that position those around you are untrustworthy you are naturally doomed. He has realised that and acted because he could see the corrupt culture is embedded, it won’t change.

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I don’t think that culture is new though - but I guess Key was much more comfortable or experienced at lying to the media about it.

Yes the greasy pole of high level corporate executives undoubtedly a great apprenticeship for politics. The other advantage was that Labour as an opposition were woeful. That really allowed National to get the bit between their teeth and ironically that period of unchecked extravagance and associated hubris, has lead their undoing.

Shocked? Given that party's track record corruption runs deep. More people will have known what went on

Perhaps he took a leaf from the John Key playbook, though at least JK gave a week’s notice. There’s more to Muller going, he must be implicated in some fashion and know it’s going to come out. Woodhouse, too, is Mollenburg, aka toast in waiting. Clever of Hipkins to launch an inquiry, rather than just go on the attack. Had he done that, the media would have moved on by now. It is extremely hard to keep an issue top of the public mind these days, but Labour seems to have better backroom staff than the Nats. The Thick Of It stuff, lol. Bet Collins regrets that book, now.
And regarding the comment by dcnbwz, neither Mitchell nor Collins will stand up to close scrutiny.
Their baggage will be a distraction in the run up to the election. So, who? I wouldn’t rule Bridges out in a caretaker role. Even Bennett.

"untenable from a health perspective" sounds a bit concerning.

Definitely, I wish him all the best.

Audrey Young says confidently that he had a mental breakdown.

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He was clearly uncomfortable having to lie about Woodhouse- Collins. good on him for putting himself and his family first .

Although he did just roll bridges and it’s not like lying isn’t an obvious part of the role.

Surely, they aren't trying the play Labour made just before the 2017 election?

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Wasn't this guy the leader of a party coup to replace soy man?

Now he resigns because he doesn't feel up to it?

As much as National disgust me, we need a viable opposition to keep the other side in check.

Not sure I agree with 'National disgust me' but do agree an effective opposition is important.

We saw under Key he had a free pass for many years because Labour were completely ineffective.

I fear without an effective National Party in opposition we will face another three years of bumbling ineptitude from Labour.

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Bumbling ineptitude - that has you and I living normal lives, unlike the vast majority of the world's population. I suggest you take your nose out of the rightwing news feeds you follow, and look at the real world.

I'd also suggest Key and National got a free ride from the press rather than labour missing the mark. What's happened of late pales in comparison to much of the lies and bollocks of mine years that for whatever reason much of the media let go, why does it suddenly matter now?

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Interesting day ahead. Guess lying wasn't his thing and it took a heavy toll. What a mess. Wonder if Hooton is still on his Christmas card list (and vice versa).

Hooton - someone I have come to respect highly as a commentator over the past couple of years - has not come out of this well.

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Respect and Hooton in the same sentence, that's a good one.

Wow, shocker.
I do actually feel sorry for him though. He seems like a good person.

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I don't. He rolled Bridges because he thought he was better. He hasn't lasted five minutes.

It's odd alright. Maybe found the skeleton is missing from his closet?

How could you feel sorry for someone who has treated our political system like a petty game? You can't just cause all the chaos he has and then step back and let others deal with it. How utterly dishonourable.

I feel sorry for his because he's human, and generally seems a good person (politics automatically has an element of nastiness). He obviously misjudged his ability to be leader.

Perhaps he misjudged the depth of the rot and nastiness.

I think you could be right

Everyone's (rightly) focusing on the leader, but what is going to happen to the MPs that supported Muller in knifing Bridges?

The caucus meeting is virtual, so we can't check for blood seeping under the caucus room door.

The National Party version of the papal fumata.

National may just keep changing leader until someone works. It did work for Labour.

We'll see them in 6 years, then?

Difference being that the labor caucus were united on the decision to being arden in, National not so much.

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last time they elected the least objectionable and there was only one,this time they might go for the most obnoxious and there are more candidates to choose from.,

Good riddance. Not that I'm attached to it, but you did a spectacularly good job of messing up the National Party Mr Muller. I find it difficult to believe you developed health problems in the few weeks since your cowardly toppling of Bridges.

Now if Nikki Kaye wouldn't mind following him out the door that would be wonderful.

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It's not their people are the problem - it's that their message is past it's use-by date. This isn't yin/yang, left/right, worker/boss, tenant/rentier anymore.

This is about the future of the species.

Which makes it quite amusing to read comments from those who think such hair-split differentiation makes any difference.

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Passing the baton

National only have one baton in its knapsack - and that's tax cuts. Tax cuts don't work
The Nats prescription won't work

Ding ding ding.

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Arguably it's more a truncheon than a baton, one they've used to pummel the wealth out of the younger generations into the assets of the older generations. Which means they have little to offer younger generations of voters.

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'Tax cuts' (essential service cuts) + 'build roads' + 'mass immigration' + 'real estate bubble' = National Party economic strategy

I mentioned religious ideologues above and none worship more consistently and piously than you, PDK.

We're more in a battle against the doomsday zealots peddling their Marxism than anything else.

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Mixed metaphor. I've read Marx, but I have more volumes by Churchill.

Both came from a time of assumed unlimited-ness.

As do others, obviously. Don't worry, your biggest battle is with depletion, degradation, pollution. Call it over-consumption. Coupled with unrepayable debt. Don't wast time blaming the messenger :)

Agreed pdk

No it isn’t about the future of the species. It’s about corruption and incompetence in the National Party. Power down to a pie that’s 50pc of the current one, and politics will still be about whether 1pc gets 49pc, or a 50/50 split. It’s about allocation, not amount.

Really good bloke Muller. New Zealand is a nasty brutal place.
I have noticed even in the last few weeks even worse personal abuse of politicians, coupled with the argument being less on the issue and much more personal abuse.
Outrage is the thing now.
Muller deserved better.

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Was Muller's toppling of Bridges not nasty and brutal? Why does he get a free pass?

Yip. Simon didn't resign or stand down voluntarily, in fact he forced Muller to put up or shut up. Simon went into the meeting thinking he had a majority backing and then lost. Definitely nasty and brutal.

Tough indeed, but not nasty and brutal. It was very well handled without personalised attack from either side.
Nothing wrong with tough and hard fought.

It wasn't personal abuse. It was solid, unrelenting questioning, of him by a seasoned reporter. Thumbs up to our journalists.

Oh come on. Point to personal abuse from any journalists. Metiria Turei was torn apart by feral gotcha journalists in the last election for a lot less, the left generally have to face this all the time.

At least the journalists did their job this time. The National party did the rest.

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We are going to have to stop and look at ourselves and the combative form of politics we have slipped into, or we will never have any leaders that are not sociopaths

I wish this was possible, but I have a horrible feeling that it isn't. If you look down the centuries of politics, even back to Cicero's accusations against Catiline, or the 17th century illustrations across Europe. Politics has always been a brutal game of mud slinging and populism. We seem to go through phases of more or less political dignity and it feels like we are currently headed into a very undignified phase.

You have hit the nail on the head Andrew.
Probably can blame the advent of keyboard warriors making nasty personal attacks. Twenty years ago a politician only had to deal with MSM.

A few decades ago the likes of Fox News also came about specifically for such purposes. Social media followed, but mass media had adopted the weaponising of information for political purposes.

It's definitely more extreme since the advent of social media. Much like it worsened after the printing press and the streets became full of pamphlets and cartoons smearing politicians and spreading gossip. Social media amplifies all our traits but the traits were always there. It's just now they're on crack.

Agree. And creates echo chambers into which facts struggle to penetrate. I've joined a few local ones just to observe....frightening what is peddled in them.

This is the problem of the rapid fire ability of communications that can reach all points of the compass globally in seconds. Thoughtful and measured data is lost in the bumf. sad to say a tremendously effective vehicle for ignorance and misinformation has been created

Some ask if we've lost the ability to argue with ourselves and blame the media. But we live in an era of disruption - and social media gives a platform to those for whom traditional media sidelined. If the first casualty of war is the truth, then in a post truth era I wonder if info war is simply the state of play? Certainly paragraphs like this one are too long for the average thumb swipe message of no more than two sentences.

Yep, that would be good advice for National to follow.

Nikki Kaye... Hilarious

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My take on National is they are political victims of the collapse of the neoliberal globalist order.

They should focus on getting local, sustainable, resilient and putting the interests of NZ'ers first.

What "collapse of the neoliberal globalist order"? Neoliberalism is a live and well I'm afraid. In just about every country. It's just a matter of if you want a red team or a blue team implementing it.

No. Globalism peaked a long time ago. The media extended the mood, by continually peddling the rhetoric, unchallenged. But a long time ago it was. Since, the elite have had to try harder and harder to keep the show on the road, but the debt is becoming not just a joke, but unmanageable even by sleight of hand.

We are watching the centre unfold. Forget the Dow - even if our so-called Public Radio peddle it ad nauseum - that merely reflects the lack of any other place to park proxy.

Hi Davo36, I'm using "collapse" loosely.

You're right, it is alive and well at the mo but is about to get waterboarded before the flogging starts.

If we look at the big picture of depleting energy (on EROI basis), resources, fish stocks etc., we reach a point where we can no longer cover up diminishing returns by shipping people around the world to work for less, whilst the local population see its relative wages decline, covered over by increasing amounts of debt.

All I'm saying is that arrangement was coming to an end even before covid, but it's demise is now on steroids.

Guess it's time for those same Christians to get their spiritual house in order in preparation for the return.

Labour and NZ First and Greens are currently updating their 2020 manifestos

I bet Jacinda has to make some serious sacrifices to be PM, it's no place for a Mum with young children, I bet she has made some tough choices. Will she go next?

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Andrew
That's a 1950's rural comment.

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I don't think so, I bet she has had a shit time, I see the marriage is on hold.

And that rural comment is another slur thrown around to stop debate, we can do better than this.

Be kind.

im being compassionate

It could be the Ardern/Gayford marriage is on hold for a whole different reason - nothing to do with politics ;-)

Politicians have a difficult time with relations, I against judging them, it's a hell of a job.

Yep, and at the same time I think we need a majority of politicians to have kids -to clue them in on the challenges and difficulties

I think what you are implying without any substance doesn't deserve a cheeky wink...way too personal.

Doesn't strike me as a mean comment -- if anything, it's a flattering comparison for Ardern that she's still there (and looking strong) with a baby to worry about, etc.

As someone says below, sexist crap.

you are judging people. It's wrong.

It's sexist crap.

Somehow, I don't think the urban 1950's were any kinder

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Jeez, more sexist crap.

Scroll down and listen to Cassie Jaye

http://theredpillmovie.com/

I don't think it matters whether one is a Mum or a Dad - the sacrifices are much the same. We're all quite happy to criticise our politicians, but how many among us would put our hand up to serve the country in that way?

Just like many of the 'calling' type professions, such as nurses, doctors, teachers - I think there are two types of politician - those with the 'calling' and those it in for some other reason (i.e., a job, notoriety, change in career, etc.).

Alternatively she has a tight team that is supportive of her role and despite the cockups are still acting as a team within caucus.

Maybe Muller was the smarter one in seeing what was coming. The only hope Ardern has is in a UN post after being PM. The Right have mostly never rated her and the Left will likely turn on her based on a lack of legacy as their hope of results never materialised. She will have put a few dollars aside though, albeit divisible with Gayford.

UN role for an unmarried mother? You're dreaming. A substantial portion of world are extreme misogynists that stone adulterers and murder gays

I am sure we will have a wedding announcement or possibly another baby when polls show a more negative rating

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Ms Ardern has put up with far more than Muller and is standing tall. She is a leader and I have the utmost respect for her in that regard. We’re lucky to have her. Just hope she ditches the Greens.

I'm with you, I think for someone who appears quite approachable and kind she is a survivor, normally it's more the Judith Collins types who push to the top in politics.

She's a strong woman and a good leader.
But one with a very limited team.

I'm not so sure about the limited part but I'm starting to think that limited or not they are a team which right at the moment national are most certainly not.

Winston is going to be like a Cheshire cat.
Not going to be able to contain himself both with the press and in Question Time.

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In a house full of liars, he manages to be the biggest liar of them all.

Where would he be without politics? Running a ponzi scheme? A racing bookie? Second hand car dealer? Defence lawyer of choice for seriously guilty crims?

Davo
Totally agree with you. That is why he is going to be wallowing in it.
He will be so hot that Parliament is not currently sitting. I bet you he skipped showering and shaving this morning to get on the first flight to Wellington to dance about in front of the tv cameras for 6 o’clock news sound bite.

arguably he is all that , plus a side line as a politician .

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This makes me feel ashamed of our country, so what if he had strong religious beliefs, I would have thought a leader who believed in judgement was a good thing. This aggressive take down of anyone who does not share your beliefs in unacceptable. I am sure he was a very good man and compassionate, lets see how you enjoy the sociopath that comes next.

Look around you everything you see is God.

AJ - actually, we need to be beyond being ' led' by believers. Of anything.

And there is a difference between believing in a mythical man (appendaged?) somewhere up there, and making sound judgements. I'd suggest the two are mutually exclusive, at this stage in human affairs.

Our Prime Minister is a believer of socialist economics. You're only interested in your ideology having power, which is kind of the definition of ideology.

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Firstly, I'm not a supporter of our PM. Secondly, I'm not a socialist - although I can tell you that the only social integration that will fit the post-growth period, is an egalitarian one.

And I don't advocate 'power'- I advocate the survival of species; ours and others. Can't see much point in anything which doesn't. Have you offspring, or offspring of offspring? Do you ever stop and ask whether they'll thank you for the bushfired, plastic-souped, antibiotic-steeped, contaminent flooded, resource-depleted, overpopulated planet you're handing them? Or do you think they'll look at some digits on a screen - and say 'well done'?

Everyone's a believer in "socialist" economics. I don't see ACT campaigning on removing the non-means-tested pension, nor the landlord subsidies through which we redistribute wealth presently.

"Everyone" - did you just seize the means of producing one's own opinion??

Or the taxpayers union handing back the subsidies they got during the lockdown.

I don't think NZers want religion in their politics and fair enough. Looks around the world and see how well that works!
If we knew more about him we would know whether he could put his beliefs aside while leading the country or not. From memory English was religious but had proved over a long period to be able to leave that at home. But Muller kind of came out of no where, it was hard to know if he wanted to push his beliefs on the rest of us.

When I look around I see religious people persecuting a lot of what is supposedly god!

no one puts their beliefs aside, they make us what we are.

Every Christian / conservative party in NZ has ended with a sex /fraud scandal involving the leaders.

Bugger! I agree with you. Belief (in whatever not just the all powerful in the ether) gives us a solid base from which to act. And action produces change.

We've been heading down the path of secularism as a country for the better part of 40 years. Now we're reaping the outcome of those choices. Relativism being the accepted dogma of the day.

The church has done little to convince the populace otherwise too. If God exists though, he is still in control by his very nature.

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My experience in teaching ethics is that those with strong religious upbringing are often deontological in their ethical bias - they act/make decisions based on the duty/rules as set by whatever the religious teaching. Lying or being evasive and/or economical with the truth goes completely against their will. I think Muller realised that there were going to be too many situations where he had to be economical with the truth - so he resigned.

The teleological/consequentialists on the other hand find it morally acceptable to be economical with the truth, if such lying/evasiveness is the right/necessary thing to do in the circumstances.

The virtue ethicist is more circumspect and considers what their intentions are - looking for a middle ground - not a simple yes or no. They need time to think. They are comfortable with saying, I don't know or I need more information.

Based on my experience, it's likely that more than 75% of us are consequentialists.

Wow. Excellent post.

Unfortunately, many who claim this belief are the very same people who treat their fellow citizens deplorably. Determined to keep those below them down in the mud, while looking after corporations and wealthy individuals, lining their own pockets along the way. I don't see anything of God in these people. I don't blame anyone for their utter distrust of those who claim such a belief.

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Religions either are, or quickly become, instruments of mass control. Give 'em a fear, give 'em a carrot, and tell them there's a home for them above the bright blue sky.

Later. After life is over, conveniently.

The problem is that the religions - and thus the followers - fit the current narrative. Indeed, they may well have written it. Then Darwin comes along, and instead of welcoming a newly-discovered truth, the power-wielders need to go to great lengths to deny it. We are in that situation now, and too late to wait. So we need dispassionate thinkers

Yes. It's certainly not just the leaders. The followers are very often complicit in the corruption and deception. I have extended family that are deeply involved in the evangelical church and a few in other denominations. All claim to value the truth, yet they are more than willing to hush up any issues to save face. Anyone who dares call their practices and integrity into question, is harming the church.

They want people to simply fall in line and hand over the money. Their followers encourage, enforce and maintain this mindless acceptance. Critical thinking is the enemy to them. Just another self-serving den of thieves. It's beyond disgusting.

It's the old dichotomy between religion and religious belief.
As I have said before, I have known Christians who are incredibly honorable to their religious belief and are incredible 'advertisements' for their beliefs, then others who are the opposite!
That doesn't mean necessarily there is a problem with the religion. Rather, there is a problem with the individual!

It's also fascinating how some Christians are so right wing, while others are so left wing. I read the Gospels and think their fundamental teachings lean more to a left wing perspective.

Muller’s the Christian whose first move was to employ that master of the dark arts, Matthew Hooton. Long spoon when you sup with the devil...

Dark arts? Yes. Master? Not even

Bloody hell, blame JK for all this mess..

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and the rest... that's what happens when you elect a self-serving narcissist

Look back at her record, the only thing notable is her sarcasm and ability to make Jack Nicholson eyebrows

On the other side of the ledger Jacinda accomplished .. oh wait .. she has has the teeth.

I'm starting to think JK didn't leave the sinking ship... He *was* the ship.

Only the Greens can stop Labour now. 10% pv for NZF anybody ? I was saying watch this space last week - obvious that the Boag leak still had as many legs as a centipede. Funny if Collins gets the nod. Then you really will see a divided caucus. She is loathed.

Her time hasn't come. She'll pick up the pieces after the election

Collins is Labour's greatest asset atm. With Kaye in charge, she will be incandescent with rage. The National caucus right now = Snakes on a Plane.

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After his speech at Te Puna he came to the realization that he's accidentally joined the National party and not Labour. Thought he would try wing it for a while but it became unbearable.

I'll agree - in that moment he did have that exact "oh sh*t" look.

Winston is clearly positioning NZFirst as the replacement for National and has pretty much ruled out working with National after the election - I think the first time Winston's actually done that under MMP.

Of course this means that the conspiracy theorist who claimed Muller was in fact working for Winston Peters to drive conservative votes towards NZ First by destabilising National was right on the money
/s

Mark Richardson in TV 3 seemed shell shocked , which reminded me of Mike Hoskins during the last election
It seems incredible that declared National party supporter can be trusted to give any unbiased opinion or analysis
Free media in NZ ? Only one newspaper which is posted by Real Estate and Business interests that intersect with National Party
In case anyone thinks I am a labour supporter, the answer is No, I have voted for both Lab and Nats

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Well... National do support 3 month trial periods.

Yep, national still searching for a method to combat the COL.
Promotion of Mc Cain 08 / Romney 12 candidate type will bring further disappointment.
Amongst the wreck there is a great opportunity.

Morgan would rearrange that last sentence

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Ah yes, National. The strong, organised, reliable, self-proclaimed experts.
How this party has managed to commit complete suicide in a mere 3 months is beyond my understanding. The party's image of being "the experts" completely destroyed for the next few years. What an unorganised mess.
I hope National 2.0 will be a proper center-right party with decent policies.

National need to go full Palin on this!

Ngaro 2020....

Wow, what did he see behind the curtain?

Who's keen to fire up the Interest party

Who needs Super Rugby or reality TV when we have this!!?

So what does this mean for the election? Big swing from the Nats to NZ First and Act? Obviously many Nat loyalists will always vote Nat.
Regardless, it looks like Labour will be able to govern just with the Greens

Comment of the Day:
This will lead to a popcorn shortage.

And the spike in champagne sales expected just before election day brought forward by 2 months.

So...anyone want to buy some freshly printed billboard skins with Muller's face on them? Going cheap.

Edit: Now off the market. They're keeping them and will just re-use them when Luxon is anointed saviour.

So what are peoples' picks? Crusher, Kaye, Adams, Bridges....surely not the latter, that would be a horrible look.
Surely it's Crusher vs Kaye, too close to call? But I will go for Kaye

I think amy adams or crusher, nicky kaye will not get it does not have the support
my pick would be Mark Mitchell

Wouldn't Mitchell scare more centre right voters away than even Crusher would?

And do half as good a job as crusher, at least crusher is a seasoned campaigner.

Mitchell seems the exact opposite of a move away from dirty politics ethos, given how he was elected. Could be a hard sell from a PR perspective.

Then again, he has a good understanding of the party's grubby methods, and he's supposedly a tough guy.

Yeah I just read Kaye won't have the numbers. So surely it's Crusher. There's no way it can be Simon, no matter what the Herald thinks. That would be farcical and political suicide.

Ding ding ding we have a winner

Collins has a strong faction within the party, but is toxic to actual voters. Nikki Kaye projects well but is unpopular in her own party. Bridges has become an alpaca farmer. Bennett is probably wishing she hadn't resigned. Mitchell is an ex-mercenary. Bishop's only job outside Parliament has been a stint as a tobacco lobbyist, a la Todd Barclay. Goldsmith as compromise candidate/sacrificial lamb? Why would he even want to? Maybe they let Collins come in and take the hit on this one; if she leads them to a record defeat it might keep her faction quiet for a while.

Amy Adams 'unresigned'. No reason Bennett couldn't.

They can't win people around by just picking a new "leader". There's too many religious nuts to allow a clear out.
Mitchell would just come unstuck like what's-his-name.
Still think Woodhouse ought to resign (but sounds like Muller did instead, so totally dysfunctional caucus). This isn't like Labour post-Clarke. It's total free fall.

Collins is the rational choice and would be good, under the dire circumstances. But no.

The idea that committed right wingers will suddenly switch to the left because the leadership of 'their' party is in flux, is wishful thinking. The nats under unpopular Bridges still polled strongly in Feb and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Judith, if she is selected, could transform herself into stateswoman mode sufficiently enough to stem defections. ACT will be the primary beneficiary of those who do switch but it is the easily influenced politically unsophisticated mobile vote that will decide the outcome and no-one in the nats can match Arderns appeal to the social media butterfly set. The Greens are in desperate scorched earth survival mode and know they are a hairs breath from annihilation. Peters is finished as he seems to realise, judging by his bitter outburst this morning. Labour has its media army out in full dancing cossacks mode trying to fabricate a kooky religious crusade faction within the nats narrative and the country teeters only one more quarantine cock up from economic disaster. It's all rather wondrous really; NZ's dull political landscape transformed.

The Gnats are in desperate scorched earth survival mode and know they are a hairs breath from annihilation.

Fixed it for you mm. ;)

Devastating comeback. You got me.

The idea that committed right wingers will suddenly switch to the left because the leadership of 'their' party is in flux, is wishful thinking.

They'll just stay home like they did in 2002 when National got 22% under Bill English.

Ha, 2002. A lifetime ago. The past a foreign country. The percentage of non voters is growing, sadly, but ACTs sharp support growth trajectory suggests mobility inclined nat and NZF voters remain politically engaged and are not 'staying at home'. Ardern would still win a two horse race and if the Grim brothers in green sneak over 5% Ardern will have a solid mandate to create a new socialist workers paradise.

National's policies still seem to be stuck in the past, and a foreign country. They need to fix that first.

They need to evolve into a much more modern form of 'centre-right'. One that embraces sustainability (ie. ''Blue green)
There's a potential sweet spot there of being more progressive without going too woke (which wouldn't work for them)....
But they are bereft of people who might take them in that direction, Nicky Kaye notwithstanding.

I agree. The country needs a good party that embodies some actual conservative values and brings some concern for the country and the multiple generations of the people of this country. National as things currently stand, do not.

@middleman..."easily influenced politically unsophisticated mobile vote that will decide..."
wow,that's a little condescending...

Possibly. But try to explain to me the mindset of the sizeable group who have little interest in policy, are largely ignorant of basic political history and who are still undecided a few days out from the election.

That would be like trying to explain the dogmatic party support voters who pretend to listen and intelligently absorb the debate but who already know who they will vote for and just slag off all others as ignorant.

False equivalence. Dyed in the wool ideologues think about their politics. The people I'm talking about make no effort.

Erm...it's called populism? Add to that a lack of basic education around international geopolitical realities and a steady diet of entertainment values.

I'm waiting for Foxglove to make some abusive comment and follow up with an obscure phrase from a dead language..

Reading winnies comment is interesting.

One’s sympathy goes out to Todd Muller and his family. Todd is a good man, unlike most of his colleagues he does have commercial experience, and he will bounce back.

I'm sure he wanted to put a full stop after 'colleagues' so it read like below rather than above.

One’s sympathy goes out to Todd Muller and his family. Todd is a good man, unlike most of his colleagues. He does have commercial experience, and he will bounce back.

I am curious as to why posters think National voters will move to NZ First in significant numbers.? there is always the option to simply not vote.
The situation also brings into play a situation I don't think we have had yet . a party (National ) that wins large number of seats, and has negative list MPS . In other words , say they get 50 % of the electoral seats , and only 30 % of the party vote.What happens then under MMP?

solar. In proposing disillusioned nat supporters may not vote I suggest you underestimate just how unsettling the prospect of a greens/labour coalition is to many right of the centre. Shaw and co have gone full class warfare and the prospect of the combined comrades receiving a significant majority of support is terrifying the aspirational classes.

See your point, though Adern has promised no capital gains tax on her watch. And NZ First would have to hold the balance of power.
Ironic that Winston may survive because of the actions of the Nats he loathed.

Watch for Adern to bow out after September win.. off to the UN with Aunty Helen. CGT back on the table with no NZF to block it and Greens baying for "rich listers" blood probably get both taxes, CGT AND wealth tax.

Hook. Not so sure. Labour is a one trick circus, its ministerial talent with very few exceptions obviously and desperately lacking. An Ardern mesmerised media suffering deep separation anxiety could keep her shrine front page for only so long. My pick for their capital tax is a deemed rate of return, based on readily available valuation matrixes such as council rating or tax depreciated value, discounted to discourage valuation disputes.

Solar. Yes, ironic indeed but I suspect he is sub 5% goneburger and Jones winning Northland a long shot despite the millions of taxpayer money he has expended to buy the seat.
Note the only capital tax Ardern has ruled out is 'gains'. All other capital taxes remain possibilities. If she is post election beholden to the melons she'll be under pressure to deal a body blow to the country's wealth generators.

An overhang, and more seats added to make up proportionality. This has happened before.

Yes, but only one seat I think. ( which was never removed ???) I talking about an "overhang" of around 10 seats? Which I think is possible.
I guess there are rules to cover it.

This whole thing smells bad in IMO. 53 days? And you are worn out? Shortest tenure in party history. Couldn’t even last as long as basic training in the NZDF and you thought you could lead the country? Pure speculation but I figure he knew more about the Boag fiasco and or was involved and is saving face. Otherwise your strategy should be to pivot and incinerate the old establishment and create a clean slate. On the flip side if he had nothing to do with it we just dodged a bullet. You don’t need this weak leadership in a time of crisis since he can’t handle this silly saga. The Nats are weak sauce.

Agree about the sauce. Apparently we must be nice to Toddy but to purport you didn't know the stress that came with the job is far fetched when you've watched it all at close quarters. If that's his real reason then it's weak as weasel urine. Which leaves a health issue or there is more dirt. If the former and the health issue was unknown when he signed on the dotted then best wishes, adieu. If the latter then its lousy judgment and he was never cut out. Which poses some serious questions about the nats selection process and people responsible for the deep dive which is always done on a high level candidate. Hipkins smirking face indicated he knew about the Walker/Boag affair before it was announced, likely meaning he'd been tipped off by a treacherous journo in whom the gumshoe Walker or Boag confided. If Muller was also briefed Labour will know.

Pre cancerous. So very minor. Not that then. And tummy bug yesterday, not the best time to be having lesions removed. Plot thickens.

If Judith goes for it and gets it - her book sales will skyrocket. I would then feel obligated to hear her side of the story :-).

The only good thing to come out of this, is that the Nats have now realised ( or should have) that any chance of a respectable showing is gone. It'll flush a whole bunch of unknowns off the decks and hopefully instill some discipline and focus into the remaining ranks. Nothing like another 3 yrs to focus the mind. Collins would probably make a good 2IC, Kaye probably leader, Adams highly ranked. Brownlee screwed up the CHC rebuild so he's not bankable. Mitchell's past also makes him a non starter. National needs some discipline (stop the press leaks on pain of dismissal/demotion) and get some coherent, simple but effective policies in front of the electorate. Some believable "greening" wouldn't hurt either. As would some effective Animal Welfare moves and maybe a bit more "arms length" treatment of Fed Farmers.. it's all about perception

Hook. These days approaching 30% of people in NZ were not born here with the Ardern style kinder and fairer world abstract concepts having for many a pleasing novelty resonance that contrasts with the every person for themselves culture many came from. Many traditional nat supporters cheering crusher on don't appreciate that Muller understood the need for the party to reflect the new zeitgeist. His replacement must continue; Judith addicts can be given a bus ticket to ACT party HQ. I doubt Kaye has enough chutzpah to be a credible challenger to Ardern but she probably has the best chance of stopping the rot. She must though quickly lose the executive assistant in the bosses shadow mein.

I disagree. I am one of those 30% ; I call BS on Adern's "kindness" spiel and am not minded to vote for a party that parrots it.
Of course I do not speak for the 30% - but you do so even less.

So you see through the spin. Good for you. Voting analysis that I've read indicates a lefty bias for newer kiwis and I'm being presumptuous that its not all due to a perception of labours excellent performance and visionary economic policy that drives this support. But as always happy to be proven wrong and to consider data showing otherwise .

For those thinking about Winstone Peters as a leader, and he does feature prominently in the article, I repeat the post I made earlier today:

"Talking of Winston Peters, it appears he has gone to ground after committing the biggest gaffe of any politician this year: he appeared on the TV news one evening about 3 weeks ago strongly suggesting (virtually demanding) that NZ open the borders with Australia. The very next day Covid spiked in Victoria and it has now surged again in other locations in Australia. Then a loud silence from Peters until a short news item the other evening saying he was going into hospital for a 'small operation' but said he would be resurfacing in time to participate in electioneering before the election: How convenient !!!!
Peters has been 'found out' big-time.......that he has had to stoop to this level to avoid the inevitable ridicule from his premature NZ/Aust border opening push is revealing, and pathetic."

So it's remarkable how he has suddenly bounced back into robust good health to comment on Muller's resignation; the article devoted a lot of space to his comments! Peters is the biggest opportunistic politician of all time.

Heard that Muller was very unhappy about having to hide the truth, be obscure, etc as required of a Leader of an OPPO party. These clashed with his Christian beliefs and he is supposed to have not been able to handle the guilt well. Too good for politics, may be.

For your narrative to hold up he'd have to have been in a vacuum over the last two terms; never been required to be economical with the truth, never to have seen the boss Key et el be forced to do the thin ice skating routine that goes with the territory. Saintly apparel is more a Jacinda thing.

if you cannot stand the heat - do not call yourself the head chef.

NZ Herald says Judith Collins has been selected and is asking who is the deputy ?

Brownlee.