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Chris Trotter says National's leader Todd Muller should emulate Donald Trump's 2015-16 strategy of running against his own party, telling National's voters he will 'drain the swamp' of the waters polluted by years of dirty politics

Chris Trotter says National's leader Todd Muller should emulate Donald Trump's 2015-16 strategy of running against his own party, telling National's voters he will 'drain the swamp' of the waters polluted by years of dirty politics
Todd Muller by Ross Payne.

By Chris Trotter*

Someone I was listening to said someone he’d been talking to reckoned National has lost its “licence to operate”. That first someone was the veteran political journalist Richard Harman, speaking on RNZ’s Sunday morning show. The second someone was an unnamed senior former minister in a National-led government. As “reckons” go, his comment is crushing. Businesses and individuals only lose their licence to operate when convicted of the most egregious moral and/or legal transgressions. Whoever that senior former minister may be, the implication of his (or her) judgement is clear: Todd Muller must undertake a root-and-branch reform of the National Party – or risk its demise.

Can he – should he – attempt to do this two months out from a general election? The old political lags, veterans of many difficult campaigns, would snort derisively at the very suggestion National should engage in such a suicidal political exercise. To the charge that the events of the past ten days have cost National the trust of the people, they would say – like the mafia boss in Godfather III – “He who builds on the people builds on mud”. Headlines are transitory things. The memory of the voting public is short. Scandals are hard to sustain. Muller needs more distractions – not more confessions.

But, are the old political lags right? Much depends on whether or not all of the explosive charges associated with the Hamish Walker-Michelle Boag Scandal that can be detonated have been detonated. If Michael Woodhouse’s confession is the last, then the old campaigners’ predictions will likely prove correct. On this matter, however, opinions are sharply divided. Many seasoned observers are anticipating the imminent detonation of more explosive charges. They reckon that National’s foundations are about to be tested – perhaps to destruction.

Let us suppose – for the sake of argument – that they are correct. That the reason Muller hasn’t demanded an absolute assurance from every member of the National caucus that they have not been compromised by Michelle Boag, is because he doesn’t really want to know how far the rot has spread. How is that likely to play out?

In the very worst case scenario, what the voting public will witness is something akin to the destruction of one of those ghastly public housing projects from the 1960s. One by one, the tower blocks succumb to the demolition team’s carefully placed explosive charges. When the resulting dust-cloud finally settles, all that’s left is rubble.

The key question here is: who will play the role of the demolition team? Will it be Michael Heron QC? Will his final report to Health Minister, Chris Hipkins, by exposing the full magnitude of National’s moral turpitude, blow up what’s left of the Opposition’s political credibility? Will it be the mainstream news media? Anxious to assuage the rising level of public disquiet at their own involvement in the Walker-Boag scandal, will the nation’s political journalists do their best to turn it into New Zealand’s Watergate? Or, will it be one of the warring factions inside National’s riven caucus: ideological zealots determined to secure the rise of a new, purified, National Party phoenix out of the ashes of the old?

Perhaps National’s crumbling political project is about to be blown up by all three demolition teams at once!

Right now, the question Todd Muller and his advisers should be asking themselves is not how much damage would be inflicted by initiating an immediate, full-scale, house-cleaning of the National Party, but how much further damage it is likely to sustain if they refuse to very publicly pick up a broom and start sweeping?

The latest “leak” of National’s poll results puts the party at just 32 percent – a number which, presumably, was derived from responses recorded before the Walker-Boag scandal broke. Though still a very long way from National’s catastrophic 2002 Party Vote of 20.9 percent, the recent purported trajectories of David Farrar’s Curia Research results have all been in the wrong direction. If any of the scenarios outlined above (let alone all three!) are played out over the next few weeks, the nadir reached under Boag’s presidency in 2002 may yet be outdone.

Hard though it will be, Muller’s best course is to emulate Donald Trump’s 2015-2016 strategy of running against his own party. Like Trump, Muller should tell National’s voters that he will “drain the swamp” of all the waters polluted by years of dirty politics.

The Walker-Boag scandal offers Muller an opportunity to fully develop the narrative he began at Te Puna on 17 June. It allows him to argue that a “kinder, gentler” National Party, driven by the common sense and decency of the average National Party member and voter, will be far better placed to secure the Treasury benches than any radical, far-Right, religious alternative drawn from the margins of acceptable politics in New Zealand. He is well-placed to characterise the individuals who inhabit that political space as having little in common with the easy-going, non-ideological Kiwi voter. Going further, he can fairly accuse these far-Right zealots of using the National Party as a cover for ideas and policies which, if advanced by newer, smaller, right-wing parties, would elicit the overt condemnation of all responsible citizens.

As a line of attack, these allegations possess the added advantage of being true. Over the past 15 years there has been a concerted effort on the part of the ultra-conservative Christian churches to drive the National Party towards policies more attuned to the values and ambitions of their fundamentalist evangelical faith.

Before 2005, right-wing Christianity in New Zealand had pinned its hopes on winning 5 percent of the Party Vote for its own political vehicles: Christian Heritage, Future New Zealand. The debacle of 2002, however, demonstrated how electorally counterproductive it was to divide the right-wing Christian vote between multiple conservative parties. Three years later, the clear message to Christian voters (masterfully co-ordinated by the Maxim Institute) was that the godless Left could only be defeated if people of faith swung their support solidly behind the National Party. The quid pro quo was that National would facilitate the regular selection of conservative Christian candidates.

Understanding, now, that he is unlikely to win in September, Muller has the chance to put a stop to the relentless white-anting of the National Party by ultra-conservative Christians. Inspired and assisted by America’s Christian Right, National’s evangelical MPs cannot be relied upon to repudiate their mentors’ conviction that the movement’s sacred ends justify the most unholy of means. Once a political party succumbs to this toxic creed, the chances of staging any sort of rescue are slim. That’s why it is so important Muller accesses the strength of his moderate Catholic convictions to ensure that electorally – and morally – National’s “licence to operate” is renewed.


*Chris Trotter has been writing and commenting professionally about New Zealand politics for more than 30 years. His work may be found at http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com. He writes a fortnightly column for interest.co.nz.

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121 Comments

The formatting of this article is bad - lines cut off on the right.

Like Todd's lines ? May be intentional, aye.

Doesn't read very well!

How ironic. If we could see the right hand side it still wouldn't read very well for Toddie. But it is all okay. He went to confession in the weekend, so has a clean slate now! That's another thing he and JFK have in common!

Muller is now irrelevant. Under MMP neither National nor Labour have governed alone. Neither Clark nor Key at their popular peak could achieve that. National today is a weakling when compared to those two governments. Even without the embarrassments last week National had scarce hope of succeeding without a viable coalition partner. Muller will then not last as leader much beyond 2021. That is why he is now irrelevant.

It's not hard to imagine a world where Jacinda's popularity results in would-be Green voters shifting to vote Labour, resulting in the Greens falling below 5%. If that happens, then who wins the election is anyone's guess - if NZF gets in, then they get to play kingmaker (again...), and if they don't its a question of whether National + Act gets more than Labour alone (unlikely, but possible).

The biggest reason that Winston went Labour in the last election was that National had been in for several elections and their historical longevity was coming to an end and would most likely only get one more term.
Winston is most likely stepping away from politics a few months after this election and he would like to leave NZF in a strong position to stay in power for a couple of election cycles. The best prospect would be National and let's face it, Muller would be easier to push arround than Jacinda now days.

As long as Labour has a larger percentage of the votes, by about 2-3%, than the other parties in Parliament, they'd still form a government.

So lets say Labour got 45%, National got 35%, Act got 3% + Epsom and NZFirst got 4% + Northland electorate, the Greens, TOP and others make up the wasted vote and none get into Parliament.

Labour at 45% is still more than N + A + NZFirst at 42%, so Labour would still be able to form a government alone.

The 2-3% buffer is because what matters is seats in Parliament and the method of calculating who gets which seats can be swing in one parties favour or another by just a few thousand votes, so 2-3% is a big enough buffer to ensure rounding in those calculations won't upset the seat distribution.

Lanthanide or someone, can you help me here. If ACT hadn’t been gifted Epsom and National took the seat, that would obviously have increased National’s numbers by one, but would it have been any different than that overall. My point being if that is so National may as well have had the use of another MP.

No, it doesn't increase National's MP by one. It means they gain an electorate MP (Epsom) and they lose a list MP, because their party vote entitles them to many more MPs than they get through electorates alone. It's only when they have a low party vote relative to electorates that winning more electorates directly increases the number of seats they get in the house (and creates an overhang, like the Maori Party did for several elections - and Act have been in danger of creating overhangs as well, an extreme example is if they won Epsom but got 0% party votes, they'd be in overhang and parliament would expand to 121 seats).

Under Andrew Little Labour was in this danger zone, there their party vote in the low 20's was low enough to raise the prospect of getting 0 list MPs - including Andrew Little himself. But then we got Jacindamania and the rest is history.

I recall reading somewhere that a political scientist had done a variety of simulations and concluded that on average the Ohariu and Epsom situations where Peter Dunne and Act won the electorate at the expense of National were on average worth 0.5 seats in the house to National's coalition, so on balance it was always in National's favour to lose these seats to other parties that were happy to go into coalition with them.

Thanks. Yes that was a huge pivotal event, the entrance of JA, then the surrender of Peter Dunne, the fading of The Maori Party. New Zealand went about like a schooner in a Cooks Straight nor wester.

But that's assuming Labour gets more than Nat + Act + NZF, which is far from guaranteed with 10 weeks to go. Flip 2% of voters from Labour to one of the others and its a different calculation entirely, with Labour (43%) losing to non-Labour (44%). Or take three points from Labour and add them to literally anyone other than Greens and Labour would be in huge trouble.

I do hope you are right because the prospect of a Labour/Greens government on their own is alarming to say the least. Would wager the nation will be in an uproar within 6 months. That prospect should alarm Labour too if they have any commonsense, Therefore some strategic voting to get Jones across the line would be a means to keep the ship steady, and deprive National of a seat.

Would wager the nation will be in an uproar within 6 months.

If the majority voted them in, then I'm sure that for the first 6 months the majority won't be in "an uproar" (whatever that is).

True it might take longer than 6 months for the Greens to lay all their cards on the table, but when they do, there will undoubtedly be some long-standing ambitions, out of left field, that have been kept under wraps, and are at the ready.For instance, love it or hate it, the revelation of their wealth tax generated over 500 posts on this site. That was in itself, if not exactly an uproar, then a sign of controversy being potential.

ps. Uproar, on line dictionary definition “a public expression of protest or outrage“

I remember, in early 2018, many predictions that the coalition government wouldn't last 6 months.

Agreed but you cannot dismiss the experience and input of WP & NZF being in the mix and actually in cabinet. Likely NZF will not return this election and the Greens this time will be in cabinet. An entirely different kettle of fish obviously.

I think what you mean though is that Mike Hosking/Duncan Garner and the mainstream media will be up in arms there Foxglove? ;)

I think a lot of people would find Lab/Greens a shit tonne less alarming than a Nat/Act govt.

But at the rate ze nats are going, getting elected seems like pie in the sky talk, and rightly so, they're not fit to govern at the moment.

Yes, but that is also assuming that Greens won't get 5%, which I think is very unlikely. This was also assuming that NZFirst won an electorate seat, which is clearly uncertain.

If Greens are polling above 4%, enough Labour voters will strategically vote Greens to ensure they get in, barring some huge scandal.

It's more likely that both NZFirst and Greens don't get in at all, than it is that NZFirst get in and Greens don't, which is the only situation that Labour really have to worry about, given polling still puts National in the low 30s.

The Greens will be returned because they had a whopper of a scandal just prior the last election and still made it. There is part of the electorate that will vote for them willy nilly, and as well, the perception of the high profile of The Green political movement, Greenpeace et al, internationally is not unhelpful.

looks like everybody is queuing up to put the boot into todd,if we cant take a kinder view of him,maybe we could find a better cartoon image that doesnt look like herman munster without the neck bolt.

Todd seems to be trying to please too many in the old guard. Witness the resurrection of Simon. Wodehouse got a free pass on a big blunder. Todd is not the Smiling Assassin, for sure. Time for him to take private tuitions from the SA. Schedule a Golf meeting with the Sir JK, Todd. Will benefit you more than any day spent on the stumpings.

Simple answer. National voters need to support ACT in greater numbers to force change. Labour is morally bankrupt (various sex-related offences, Sroubek etc) and National seems to be sinking to their level. Seymour is untainted. Dare to be different in voting for the values that NZ aspires its politicians to have.

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seymour is tainted, he is beholden to national so will never call them out when his party stance disagrees with them. instead he supports the national position

Yeah right.

The NRA, oh hell, I keep doing that, I mean ACT, are going full noise flake

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'Labour is morally bankrupt'

That's a top notch 'pot/kettle black' effort there expat.

Have you read anything about Michelle Boag in the last week or so?

Read what I wrote. I’m supporting ACT. Seymour is squeaky clean.

ACT also had their scandal re not taking complaints of sexual harassment in the youth arm seriously. So, if you're measuring Labour by their handling of sexual harassment complaints you'd also need a strike against ACT.

However, I'd agree that ACT - possibly a virtue of their size - has had fewer sex-related scandals than anyone else.

National seem the most morally bankrupt of the lot presently. Collins is still there, for starters. As is Bridges, Woodhouse etc. Bennett is going, which helps, as are Walker and Boag. But they have a lot to clean up.

Labour Youth Camp was February 2018 and we are STILL waiting to see if the offender is named. BIG money being paid to save someone’s bacon. Even worse there are two people rumoured so if he isn’t named then one or more people are defamed. I won’t mention the others as this a finance site. It suffices to say that there are some serious issues with the Labour Party and its supporters. I wouldn’t let any of them alone with my children.

Seems the courts discharged without conviction (plead guilty to two assault charges of other males, presumably some sort of fight) and the battle over name suppression is ongoing: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12323390

I would agree there's a problem on occasion in NZ with name suppression for convicted people in business, sports, or connected to power.

Tricky if they're not convicted of the charges you wish them to be publicly vilified over, however.

Seymour is now beholden to gun-nuts and the anti 1080 rabble.

What sex-related problems had Labour had, you know, the actual MPs or party officials?

Gun nuts wow... by this I take it the law abiding people that own guns of which 99% abide by the law.
If it wasn't for these 'gun nuts' NZ would have to increase it's pest control budget by 3 x's to control pigs, deer, goats, rabbits, possums etc. That is some seriously staggering pro we know what is best for you Labour and Green PR. How would $400,000,000 per year pest control budget sit with the public?
The increase in the pig control spending alone would be substantial to allow farmers to continue.
Let's look at how private enterprise actually not only controlled the deer population when the Govt couldn't and created a massive industry to boot. Now Land Corp is the biggest supplier of Venison in NZ. They certinally wouldn't want less 1080 being dropped that would allow more the more favourable wild meat to be harvested and sold that would lower their returns.
You may go for walks in the bush but if you actually got off the beaten track and spent some serious time in there you would see that 1080 is ineffective and creates a boom bust cycle of pest populations that have the ability to breed faster to capitalize on the increased food supply. That is basic science but somehow DoC adds a supper toxic poison and basic science is thrown out the door.

Gun nuts wow... by this I take it the law abiding people that own guns of which 99% abide by the law.

No, the gun nuts, who are the minority of gun owners.

Not all gun owners are gun nuts. But all gun nuts will be gun owners.

If it wasn't for these 'gun nuts' NZ would have to increase it's pest control budget by 3 x'

People who aren't gun nuts go hunting with their legally owned guns, too.

That is basic science

Usually when someone asserts something is "basic science" they're trumpeting anecdote over actual science and data.

Gun nuts shouldn't have licences. You are still spouting pro Labour Green PR.
Gun nuts, how many people with gun licences in NZ have committed murder? The system works well and was working well untill the police didn't do their checks and let one person past. Somehow all firearms licence holders are not at fault not the police.
If you want me to show published facts please show the amount of firearms licence holder that have committed murder to show that NZ has 'gun nuts'. That is something you can not show but is a the bases of your comment.
Like it or not, guns and the people that own them built this country. Somehow Labour is spouting that these people are a threat to NZ. That could not be further from the truth.

You obviously have a very different definition of "gun nut" than I do, given that first you assumed I was talking about all gun owners, and now you assume I'm talking about only murderers. Hint: it is neither of these extremes.

Like it or not, the majority of gun owners agreed with Labour's legislation.

Somehow Labour is spouting that these people are a threat to NZ.

I mean they factually aren't, so...

I would love to see the political party break down of the amount of criminals.
Better chance than average that Labour would have the vast majority if criminals, followed by the Green Party with their pot heads.
If you want to look at 'nuts' let's consider all forms of crime instead of the 0.000 something 'gun its'.
We could exclude all people who have committed a crime in the last 10 years from voting. That would be a game changer.

Not sure why you're obsessed with the idea that you're only a gun nut if you've committed a crime.

Well actually, being in possession of a fire arm that was supposed to be surrendered is a crime. So there probably is a high correlation to being a gun nut and a criminal, now that I think about it. Such people certainly don't meet the standard of being 'fit and proper person[s]".

You are talking about 0.0000000 something percent of the population of NZ.
Again let's look at the percentage of criminals that vote Labour.
'Gun nuts' NZ has very few amd what there are should not have a firearm at present.
Meanwhile Labour wants criminals in jail to be able to vote. Murdered, rapeists, and all the rest.

No, the gun nuts who think our gun laws should look more like those in the USA, those gun nuts and there are more and more of them around, get to much of their ideas from America, and think we actually have the right to bear arms in this country - them.
We had a good wild venison industry up till the time 1080 was discovered on a carcass at Mair processing plant in Hokitika, cannot remember when. The most efficient method of control was shooting from a helicopter, but boy that was hard on the local population, saw too many young men die in the pursuit of deer from choppers.

We now have the framed veni industry that brings in some good money. Land Corp SOE is the biggest producer of venison in NZ. They do not want wild venison going into the market at a premium price lowering their earn. Let the 1080 drop and make compliance costs high to kill that market.

You're a right laugh aren't you expat. Is someone paying for this satire?

You have no idea. You haven’t been on this site for long so have a Google. I’m the Boomer you’ll love to hate. I represent everything the Left loathe.

Sounds like you take pride in that, each to their own. There's nothing stopping you being civil or factual though.

Seymour's policy would see many in poverty. NZ does not aspire to tax cuts for the wealthier and poverty for more Kiwis.Nothing different about 18th century economic thinking.

Funny that because Cindy has more kids in Poverty. Does that mean ACT will be even worse that the Commie Princess?

I was in a country pub down past Gore a few weeks ago.
I asked the landlady if she knew anyone that had a farm that I could hunt on and that I didn't mind forking out bucks for it.
She asked a guy within earshot of me and said, 'he's a real person, dosent want something for nothing, he's not a communist' I laughed and said 'communist that 's that funny. That's the way it is, two kinds people, normal people and communists. Gold.

But don't touch their non-means-tested pension or their landlord subsidies. Nor relax zoning laws to free their neighbours to build on their own land.

Just different flavoured socialists and authoritarians, these folk. They clearly hold that some animals are more equal than others.

I've noticed Muller using seven or eight words when Key would use one. He doesn't have to be a great orator, he just needs to cut to the chase with journalists and be blunt. At the moment he's sounding more like Shane Jones than anything else.

David Shearer.

Disagree. Jones has kissed the blarney stone, has a large vocabulary and has never I think said "Arr/Err" three or four times before starting his sentences. Muller is a train wreck every time he opens his mouth.

Jones is a bloviating self-important blowhard, so it's good that Muller isn't emulating him. He just sucks in other ways.

And needs to stop sweating when he is lying!

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Neither the Left nor the Right, have a valid message, facing what we are facing. Both have no plan beyond debt and growth. On a finite planet, both were always going to be short-term posits.

I look forward to the first future-appropriate Party (actually, to the second; the Values Party were well on the way. Pity we wasted so much time).

Cull out time but I doubt that Muller will be able to oust the church that was behind his rise.
Time to throw religion to the curb in politics. If religion wants to be involved in politics they must be taxed like every other business.

Unlikely. They tolerated one of their own MPs talking about possibly starting a Christian values party, in an electorate with the worst performing Labour MP that should be a winnable seat. Instead he spends his time holding prayer vigils on Facebook and will probably lose the seat to him again. It's maddening.

but we don't have a president we have a party which is all powerful. Attacking the party would lead to a very short life span.

lets also cut the B/S that these parties are broad based, party membership has been decimated since MMP. You only have to look at the conservatives in the UK, when Maggie Thatcher was in power her party had 2.4 million members, today it has 140k. Same has happened in NZ, the two big parties have far to few members, which makes it hard to raise funds and allows a few big donors to have undue influence, even if those donors are foreign.

CT is a seasoned political commentator, and I suspect i detect a wee bit of cynicism. Having said that i think he is hoping for the same thing I am; that of political parties who function with integrity , transparency and the country's best interests at heart. Whether this is the Government and setting policies, or sitting in opposition and challenging those policies. I don't for a moment believe that Nicky Hager was wrong in challenging National over dirty politics, but nor do I believe that Labour is innocent of dirty politics as well. But dirty politics is about power, not the country's best interests, and while I abhor Hager's methods, the need for tough, unbiased investigative journalists that can hold our political parties, and Government to account has never been stronger.

You know I sat here and thought long and hard to remember a journalist, of that ilk, who was non partisan to one party or the other. Couldn’t come up with one. Warren Berryman, Jane Clifton perhaps.

the days of a journalist not showing which way they lean and conducting themselves in a professional non partisan way are long gone.
we even have some telling people which way to vote on live TV , (Mark Richardson )

Richardson is a TV personality not a journalist. He lives around the corner from me in a Deepest Blue area. At least makes it clear who he supports. Plenty of others in our media run with the hounds and hunt with the fox.

Yes, Harman was on fire on Sunday RNZ w Kim Hill about National as a morally lost Party.

Muller is too much of a nice guy -
1. He let a minor MP bully him through a QC for one and a half days. Lame effort. Couldn't take control of the situation and bring Board into it immediately.
2. Can't sack or even control Woodhouse.

In the list of things that are bad.
In describing some group as being bad.

Morally Lost, is a pretty low level accusation.

Morally lost is a lovely talking point.
Means everything, means nothing, means something different to each one of us.

Henry that's a load of floury bullshit.

In the list of things that are bad, leaking private details for political gain is about as low as you can go, esp when there are very real health risks to the general population that aren't passed on to those who can do something about it.

And that means the same thing to every one of us, namely - people like that should not be in power. Period.

muzled...agreed that is about as low as you can go...and then deriding the government about the leaks when you know it was your own party doing the leaking,well that is about as stupid as you can go.

Vman, can you describe the "leaks" you are referring to, plz.

You are probably correct henry,I should have said the deliberate forwarding of sensitive information via email to a 3rd party...probably more illegal than a leak.

Yep, MoH has some explaining to do. Any teenage gamer could tell you the problem with email + attachments.

Muzzled, where were you over the weekend?

https://www.cert.govt.nz/individuals/explore/data-breach/?topic=data-breach

The leak, the data leak was by MoH, putting sensitive data into unsafe and untrusted environments. (Sent as email and attachments to all and sundry).

Data breach
A data breach is when private and confidential information is released into an unsecured environment. This usually means that the information becomes publicly available. It also means that others can use it for personal gain, or to cause harm to a business or individual.

Further the MoH is under obligation to report it's own shortcomings.

The alternative view is that Walker was whistle blowing the rubbish MoH system & procedure to the press,
Note no patient details are in the public domain.

For some reason the press appear to have said, "we have been leaked upon". When the data leek is MoH using email and email attachments.
Walker seems to have disclosed something (in confidence?) to reporters, the press, but not put anything, put nothing in/on public domain.

As disingenuous as ever henry

? What do you feel is missed....

Your declaration that you're running PR for the National Party.

And here is the data breach.
This is a dreadful admission by MoH.
Trying to normalize this stuff as a "well established process" is linguistic slight of hand of the worst kind.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/421112/boag-provided-private-email-...

"The team had explicitly sought from all the organisations who were receiving that information for a very particular purpose in a well established process...what the appropriate email address was to send the information to," Bloomfield said.

This will be driving IT people nuts.
What this does say is that failure was designed into the process on day one.

It is hard to see anything worth while happening anywhere in parliament these days. Standards are not high as I'm sure you've noticed. Many have lost faith in the parliamentary system which is populated by people who cannot (or will not) work in the real world. The UK's state services have been undermining the 2016 Brexit vote since it was announced. Johnson & co are only now beginning the clean out. America's twin bureaucracies of federal & state make running anything over there bloody hard work, especially when most of the states are deliberately working against the feds most of the time. The same can be said of Australia. And as for the EU? Well, that's a shambles from beginning to end, & for many reasons. What was set up to govern over 200 years ago is now looking very dated indeed. It seems to attract the wrong sort of people, hence poor governance outcomes pretty much across the board. And, it is not going to improve. Our education system is still spitting out dead heads, our ethics are very dark both personally & professionally, so where's this fabulous future going to come from? If you can see it, you're a better person than me.

Nikki Kaye fronted on Q+A yesterday morning.

She ought to be the leader. Far, far more experience and nous.

I thought to myself, they lost the election when they decided not to put her up against Ardern.

I agree she's the best option, but I haven't always been *that* impressed with what she's had to say.

I always liked her but when she pointed to goldsmith as maori, I thought on no she has lost the plot, and when he stood beside her and said no im not maori but I have far back relies that are, she looked befuddled

She is better at spinning than Toddy that’s for sure, I am sure she believed what she was saying in regard to Todd lying about what Woodhouse had, knew and deleted!

I must say the China Communist Party has quite lots of experiences that any political party on the eaeth could learn about.

Not much experience with MMP though...

hahah, zing...

Careful of your social credit score!

Comrade X is overexcited it seems. He or she has jumped from infiltration to subjugation without passing through subversion.

Sorry Xing, the parties that could learn the most from the CCP, the German Nazi party, and the Italian Fascist party have both been outlawed.

Their negotiating skills are second to none. You don't agree, bang, bang.

It's all cyclical. The Nats will rise again and Labour will fall again. Who knows what the parties will look like for the 2023 election.

Maybe, unless climate change or another emergency shows the electorate that National's policies aren't the answer and the whole political centre shifts left / towards environmentalism.

Like the stuff powerdownkiwi keeps going on about.

Environmentalism doesn't necessarily have to be to the left. That Blue Green party would have been very handy right now if they had managed to put it together.

Sorry, but that idea makes no sense. Smaller, buisiness and farmer friendly government is not an environmentally friendly one, and never will be.

He missed the boat . To take the moral high ground he had to be very clear about what he did or did not know , form Tuesday , I think . to be debating with the press on wether he lied to them , or just wasn't very clear on Thursday/ Friday , was a terrible look . Not as bad as Key's smarmy who cares if you know I'm lying , but he doesn't have Key's following to carry it . Ask Judith Collins .

Blah , blah blah , what utter tripe .

Who cares about the release of 28 names , and Labour is behind this whole thing anyway .

Its just too much of a coincidence that the list was "sent " to the leader of the National party .

How is it the Ministry or Health was even e-mailing anyone with this info in the first place ?

The whole thing stinks to its rotten core of Labour dirty tricks ( a-la Nicky Hager) , we see it from them every time there is an election .

All this righteous indignation from Labour................ they who have cocked up everything in 3 short years are the last ones who should be throwing stones

Boatman,maybe you should heed some of Michelles words...at least she understands how serious it was.
"The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics.
"Unfortunately this passion has put me on a self-destructive path. ",
"My decisions to share this information were wrong, driven by my distorted view that providing that information would help the National Party to hold the Government to account. In fact it was harmful, not helpful, and it is time that the National Party and I parted ways."
" my loyalties have severely clouded my judgement. "

@vman you are missing the point completely .

Michelle was set up by a Civil servant , who should be fired , but will not be

How is it that private medical information was mailed to anyone in the first place?

I suspect that some ministry of health staffer decided that Michelle Boag should get the info "leaked " to her , knowing full well it would lead to trouble .

Somehow I suspect the truth may never come out , but I reckon she was set up in a scam.

.............and she walked right into it .

Its a Labour modus -operandi to stir crap in the run up to elections , they do it every time

@boatman, I guess we will have to wait for the enquiry to find out the 'source',but on the face of it,there maybe legitimate reasons to disseminate information on covid patients to emergency services...it in no way lessens the crime of forwarding on this information.
most emails from organisations will have a legal clause at the end of them such as "..if you are not the intended recipient etc,etc..."
Hence Walker & Boag have fallen on their swords with no arguement from the party leader.

“She walked right into it.” Indeed so she did. A hugely experienced, hardened political exponent of machiavellian games, walked right into it. Yet she was in fact in the process of setting her own trap. Hoist by her own petard methinks. Just deserts too.

If I had $1 for every conspiracy theory revolving around in your National party brain, I would be on my private jet winging my way to........ oh, that's right...... maybe just flying out around Great Barrier & coming back again!

Heloooo....can you hear me from down that rabbit hole?

Guess you just need to wait for the inquiry to finish, and then your questions will be answered.

DE-LU-DED

I feel your anger but I think you are wrong.

Are you for real? What a profound lack of insight and honest reflection

The “draining the swamp” type of narrative would bring National more into line with their obvious coalition partner, ACT. Currently National looks more like “Blue Labour” though, not even opposing Labour in some cases or making an embarrassing mess of things and discrediting themselves in other cases.
I am historically a National voter, and certainly fit all the National voter stereotypes but I am looking to vote ACT for the first time this year. Interestingly amongst the farming social media groups I follow, ACT seems to have more support than National now, though there will be quite a large amount of older people not on social media who are probably more likely to still vote National.

David Seymour always comes across really well in interview. To have got the End of Life Bill through to a referendum is a real accomplishment. I would be disappointed to see him go from Parliament, but any more than one MP and you really have no idea what else you might get. I don't think the gun lobby lady was a good choice for them. But then I don't think many other folks were putting their hands up.

Funny thing ...........this fool is predicting the implosion of the party .

What utter rubbish .

We know full well that the Labour COL has been an unmitigated disaster for New Zealand , bumbling incompetence from day 1 when they could not even get the arithmetic right to elect the Speaker .

National is our only hope of salvation as a nation

God help us, if that is our only hope. We're stuffed.

Thank god National weren’t in power during this pandemic the world is battling with, we all know which way it would go in a choice between $$ and the health of the 99%

Agree. I would have expected a National government to have the same confused and selfish thinking that has hurt the people in UK and USA.

Yes, definitely - chaos.

National has already imploded. Losing MP's left, right and centre. They smart ones see the writing on the wall.

Muller was only supposed to play the nightwatchman role. Stop the wickets dropping and see them through the night. But he's doing both those things terribly. Which is a shame, because he seems like a nice guy.

Stong team is nothing more than a strong joke.

Strong team is nothing more than a strong joke.

Initially, Toddy spoke of the depth of National's values. However, it seems they are a shallow pool of deceit, selfishness, monoculteralism and backward thinking.

Values he has learnt from the church.

Shallow as a bird bath, it would seem.

Woke up today to the news he just quit. Wow that was a bit of a bombshell. The nats are now shot for the next election. Unbelievable that there is no talent in NZ politics. The swamp got drained and there is nobody left.

Winston to take over National ? Crushed deputy ?

A decent bloke done in by Politics. Simon, where are you ? Hiding behind the Crusher ?

Done in by his colleagues more like it...their dirty tricks were indefensible and he was left holding the baby.

Puleeeeeeze! He was complicit in a coverup and got caught out. He wasn't left holding any baby... just maybe the one called his conscience.

Was going to catch up on interest.co.nz reading this morning - and start with reading this, but don't need to now!

Chris "kiss of death" Trotter?

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Days to the General Election: 38
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