Tag Archive: Simon Bridges

Only minsters may be held accountable

On Friday night, National list MP Jo Hayes sent a verbally abusive tweet to ex-Labour candidate Jeremy Greenbrook-Held. Despite this, National leader Simon Bridges has stated that Hayes will not be punished.

Hayes’ tweet was in response to Greenbrook-Held’s five-month-old photo celebrating his graduation. Her tweet said the following:

OMG Youre such a nasty person and I hope that people checking you out for future work will visit your twitter page and see how ugly you really are [sic],” the tweet said. 

Note the amazing grammar there. Also, can I emphasise the part where Greenbrook-Held’s original tweet was a) five months old, and b) about his graduation?!?!?

Anyway, when questioned about it, Bridges said the following:

The thing I would say is there is a world of difference… between a Member of Parliament and a minister,” Bridges, National Party leader, told Magic Talk’s Peter Williams.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some things that are clearly beyond the pale for MPs and require significant disciplinary reaction… Ministers though, it seems to me, are held to a much higher standard.

Bridges’ argument is that because Hayes isn’t a minister, it’s not a big deal that she verbally abused someone.

What. The. Hell.

Northcote by-election Bridges’ first test

Two years ago, NZ First upset National by winning the Northland by-election.

Now, the question is whether Labour can do the same thing in the Northcote by-election.

Stuff reported:

The Northcote by-election might look like a romp in the park for National – but in reality could be anyone’s. National launched its campaign in Northcote on Sunday, and has a lot riding on its candidate Dan Bidois holding the seat.

National’s leader Simon Bridges knows how quickly things can turn better than most. He was at the sharp end of the Northland drubbing, after scarpering up there in its early days to deliver locals the promise of 10 new bridges.

The Northcote by-election is Simon Bridges’ first test as National leader.

If National’s candidate Dan Bidois wins the seat, then Simon Bridges can feel relief that, at least for the moment, the country, and what is a safe National seat, approve of him.

If Labour pull out a shocker and win Northcote, however, then Simon Bridges should be worried, especially as Labour have to deal with the Greens splitting the left vote.

And while I do see it as exceedingly unlikely that Labour and Shanan Halbert will win Northcote, it is worth noting that Bridges was only at 10% in the preferred PM poll, compared to Ardern’s 37%.

And I can also disgruntled Northcote residents using the by-election as a protest vote.

Simon Bridges, National, and Dan Bidois must all campaign like it’s the 2020 election – there is no way they can afford a repeat of Northland back in 2015.

 

 

 

Tava’s candidacy a good strategic move

Former Green party leadership contender Vernon Tava has been tipped to run for for National in the Northcote by-election.

Tava used to be a member of the Greens and ran in the male co-leadership election in 2015 (despite not being an MP) and campaigned on moving away from a left-wing party to centrist environmentalist party.

Tava left the Greens in 2017, stating that he had joined what he thought was an environmentalist party, but was actually a socialist party. He later joined the campaign team for National in the East Coast Bays electorate.

If Tava does end up running for National, then he’ll almost certainly become an MP, as Northcote is a fairly safe seat for National.

But, the fact that he appears to be a front-runner for the nomination hints at National leader Simon Bridge’s long term plans.

Tava’s environmentalist background and the fact that he is a former Green party member makes a clear political statement from National to the Greens.

Bridges is trying to cosy up to them. Bridges is hoping for a teal deal come 2020. And if Tava becomes an MP, then the teal deal chances of happening increase.

Whether a teal deal is achievable though…. Well, that’s another story.

National focusing on Auckland

David Farrar recently compared Labour and National’s front benches. 

One of the more interesting thing to note is National has a far more MPs from Auckland.

It’s a sound strategic move from Bridges.

First, the last party leader since to win an election who was from outside of Auckland was Jim Bolger, back in 1990.

Given Bridges is from Tauranga, going Auckland heavy makes sense.

However, in the last election National actually increased it’s vote in Auckland electorates that would generally be considered Labour strongholds, like Mangere, New Lynn, and Manukau East.

So it makes even more sense for National to capitalise off their recent gains in New Zealand’s largest city, and go on an offensive to try and increase their vote there even more.

It’s a good strategy, and may just work for Bridges.

 

National’s new shadow cabinet

National unveiled it’s new shadow cabinet yesterday, and there were some definite winners and losers. 

Judith Collins took up the housing portfolio – meaning she may face off with Phil Twyford over what is possibly New Zealand’s biggest issue. That’ll be a battle and a half.

Todd McClay was another definite winner – taking Gerry Brownlee’s Foreign Affairs, as well as tourism and trade, he’s up to fifth in the rankings.

Mark Mitchell was also promoted to the front bench as he took justice, defence and disarmament. It’s clear his leadership campaign did not go unrewarded.

But there are those who were given a demotion as well.

Gerry Brownlee now sits outside of the top ten, his most major role now being the Shadow Leader of the House.

Nick Smith took a dive as well, losing his environment portfolio, and now he only holds the State Services and electoral law reform roles.

For Brownlee and Smith, the message is clear – It’s time to step aside, generational change is here.

And for the rest of the caucus, they’ll be banking on Bridge’s generational change to counter Jacindamania.

Steven Joyce gone

Well, the relics of the Key-English era are leaving in droves.

This time, former finance minister and National campaign manager Steven Joyce has left. 

His departure comes at an interesting time, after losing the leadership election reportedly being denied the finance role by Bridges.

Sour grapes?

In any case, with both him and English gone, there is a big hole of experience in the ranks.

National leader Simon Bridges will probably try to say that this is a good thing, allowing new faces to push through and accelerate the “generational change” he has been talking about.

But in any case scenario, two experienced faces are gone from the National, wounding them.

And how they respond remains to be seen.

What will happen in the shadow cabinet reshuffle?

Simon Bridges is the new National Party leader, and a cabinet reshuffle is on the horizon.

So, what could happen? Who will go up, and who will go down?

Here are my predictions:

UP:

Judith Collins – In the article I linked above, Bridges heavily praised Collins, and how she would make a “great attack dog.” Likely to get the Finance role.

Mark Mitchell – During the leadership contest, Mark raised his profile with the public and had a good try at the leadership. A possible contender for Foreign Affairs.

Jami-Lee Ross – At just 32 and already chief whip, giving him a major portfolio like Transport or Immigration would be a clear sign of the “generational change” that Bridges has talked about.

DOWN:

Gerry Brownlee – He’s been in the game for 21 years now, and was a part of the Key/English era that National will hope to shake off as they build towards the “Bridges era.” Most likely the unfortunate victim of generational change.

Chris Finlayson – Like Brownlee, a relic of the Key/English era. Also looks like generational change will force him to move over.

David Carter – There’s definitely a pattern with those who I am predicting to go down –  generational change. The same holds true for David Carter, as the former speaker of the house could well be pushed aside.

These are just my predictions though. I could well be (and probably am), well off the mark.

 

Now comes the hard part for Bridges & co.

Simon Bridges has been elected leader of the National Party.

(And typically, I completely forgot to blog about it yesterday)

But Simon is leader now, and this is where the hard part begins.

Being the leader of the opposition for a first term government is probably the most difficult and thankless job in politics.

He’s tasked with holding the government to account, like any opposition leader.

However, at the same time, he has to defend the previous National governments stance on all issues, as that is where the new Labour government will put all the blame for the country’s problems.

All of this while competing for media attention against a polarizing, popular, 37 year old prime minster who is in the midst of experiencing both a poll bump and a baby bump.

And, when he does get media attention, he has to make sure he doesn’t sound like your typical whining opposition – something which Labour almost always sounded like during their nine long years in opposition.

The one advantage Bridges has is that the majority of National’s voters still feel like they “won” the election, and for the moment at least, are sticking loyally by the party.

But, in the latest poll, National fell to 43%, meaning that National voters may be beginning to unstick.

So, for Simon Bridges, the reality of holding “the worst job in politics” may soon set in.

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