The National Party elects Todd Muller as leader and Nikki Kaye as deputy; Muller calls for unity in the ‘national team’
The National Party caucus elected Todd Muller’s leader, ousting Simon Bridges.
Nikki Kaye will be Muller’s assistant, taking over from Paula Bennett.
Muller said Paul Goldsmith would remain National’s finance spokesperson, although at the start of the day Goldsmith said he was backing Bridges.
“There is no Team Todd, there is no Team Nikki, or anyone else – there is only the National Team,” Muller said in a statement. after the vote.
“National has always been a coalition of cities and countries, businesses and communities, conservatives and liberals – National is the party of all New Zealanders.
“New Zealanders need a national government with the experience and management skills to enable our country to weather the worst crisis since the end of World War II.
“My goal as a leader is the economic recovery of our country and the strengthening of all communities in New Zealand.”
“I am not interested in the opposition for the sake of the opposition. We are all tired of this kind of politics’
Speaking at a press conference, Muller was joined on stage by Kaye, Goldsmith, Shane Reti, Chris Bishop, Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee. Nicola Willis was seated next to his wife, Michelle.
Muller won’t say if all MPs alongside him voted for him, but Bishop and Willis voiced their support for Muller on Twitter after the vote. Collins didn’t want to say who she was supporting.
Muller gave Bridges a dig in his speech, saying, “Here’s what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost, I’m on what’s best for you and your family, not on. what is wrong with the government.
“And I’m not interested in the opposition for the sake of the opposition. We’re all tired of this kind of politics. I’m on ideas that work.
“I am proud to work through Parliament on the zero carbon law. Wherever I have the opportunity to work with other parties for the good of our country, I will.
“Am I going to criticize the government? Yes …
“I believe in business, in the reward of hard work, in personal responsibility and in the strength of strong families and communities.
“Basically I don’t believe that for each of us to do better someone else has to be in a worse situation.”
Muller went on to say, “I am the first to admit and acknowledge that the government’s handling of COVID-19 was impressive overall. And I think most New Zealanders would feel the same.
“But to judge a government on your ability to manage a crisis in eight weeks in a health context, against a threshold of, ‘do you have the capacity, sitting around a cabinet, to design an economic recovery while have all of your performance metrics over the previous two and a half years been unsuccessful? I think it doesn’t work. I think the country knows it is not working.
Although Muller did not credit Bridges in his statement, he did credit him at the press conference.
Bridges take stock
Meanwhile, Bridges tweeted:
More time for my most important work. Thanks New Zealand. pic.twitter.com/q47X9r3bK8
– Simon Bridges (@simonjbridges) May 22, 2020
Later, at a press conference, Bridges said he would “do a bit of stocktaking” before deciding what to do next.
Muller said he would give Bridges a leadership position in the party.
With Bennett and his wife Natalie by his side, Bridges said, “Often times, whether it’s COVID-19 or March 15, there’s a feeling of wanting to help, but feeling powerless to do so. And wanting to react, and sometimes, dare I say it, overreact.
Bridges summoned MPs to Wellington on Wednesday for a meeting to vote on leadership at noon Friday.
The move followed a disastrous Newshub-Reid Research poll released Monday and an even worse 1 News-Colmar Brunton poll on Thursday.
Support for National fell to 29% in the 1 News poll and 31% in the Newshub poll, while support for Bridges as preferred prime minister fell to 5% in both polls.
According to the 1 News Poll, Muller received just 0.2% support as Preferred Prime Minister.
Here is a copy of Muller’s inaugural address in full:
In recent months, our country has made many sacrifices.
You have made many sacrifices. You have invested a lot to help us get through this crisis.
Now we must start to take another step forward together, with confidence.
The confidence to rebuild our country, rebuild our economy and restore the livelihoods of New Zealanders.
Only a national government can provide the leadership to do this.
That is why we must win the next election.
Nikki and I, as well as our team, understand that the task of the next government is immense. We are honored to have the opportunity to lead this party.
We take this seriously.
I want to thank and thank Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett.
Simon has worked very hard as a leader, given his work, and the caucus is grateful for his service.
He and Paula have served the party and our country well.
Thank you to my wife Michelle and our three children for supporting me on this trip. Kids, daddy will be home soon.
I want to stop here and salute New Zealand’s formidable response to the health crisis ravaging the world.
We should all be proud of what we have accomplished together.
But whatever those efforts, Covid-19 has hurt us.
My absolute goal as leader of the national party will be New Zealand’s economic recovery.
We will save jobs, revive the economy and we will do it by leveraging our country’s great strengths: our people, our communities, our great natural resources, our values of hard work, tenacity, innovation and aspiration. .
I know the magnitude of this task and I will do my best.
Yes, I have run businesses. I can read a balance sheet and a profit and loss account. I can tell a good one from a bad one. And yes, I will bring these skills to the Prime Minister.
But that’s not what motivates me.
What motivates me is the community – the people who help their elderly neighbors with the lawns on the weekends; the dad who runs the food stand at the annual school fair; the mom who coaches a touch rugby team.
This election will be about the economy, but not the economy the bureaucracy is talking about. It will be the economy you live in – the economy of your community – your job, your main street, your marae, your tourism business, your local rugby league club, your local butcher, your kura, your netball fields, your farms, your businesses and your families.
It is the economy that MPs are rooted in and the one that matters most to New Zealand.
For too long this economy – your economy – and your life has been invisible to Wellington’s policymakers.
That has to change, and under my national government, that will change.
The economy I believe in is the one you live in. It is the economy of your community.
If we can rebuild this, we can rebuild our country.
Here’s what you can expect from my leaders: First and foremost, I’m on what’s best for you and your family, not what’s wrong with the government.
And I’m not interested in the opposition for the sake of the opposition. We are all tired of this kind of politics.
I’m on ideas that get results.
I am proud to work through Parliament on the Zero Carbon Law.
Wherever I have the opportunity to work with other parties for the good of our country, I will.
Am I going to criticize the government? Yes.
But ultimately, it is the values and the ideas that found me. Like the idea that you can shape your own future and that you are free to do so.
I believe in business, in the rewards of hard work, in personal responsibility and in the power of strong families and communities.
Basically, I don’t believe that for each of us to do better someone else has to be in a worse situation.
These are the values of National. These are New Zealand values.
I don’t think the right values or the right management skills are guiding our country as it faces its biggest challenge since the end of World War II.
I will lead a party that will rise to the great challenges we face as a nation.
The job failed on all the measures it set for itself in government – KiwiBuild, streetcar, child poverty, number of prisons.
If we continue on this path of talking about a great game but fail to deliver, we just won’t recognize New Zealand that we’re a part of in a few years.
Because New Zealanders know that whether they support National or not, they can be confident that National will meet the challenges our country faces.
New Zealand, it is time for your sacrifice to be repaid and your community to be rebuilt.
Today, this work has only just begun.
Who are Muller and Kaye?
Muller towards the start of the government’s current term made a name for himself as a climate-conscious national MP, as he worked with Climate Change Minister James Shaw to ensure the zero carbon bill of Shaw enjoys the support of all parties.
In mid-2019, it become a spokesperson for agriculture – important work for the National Party as the sector has faced a number of regulatory changes regarding water quality, emissions pricing and land use changes to promote forestry.
Muller is also National’s spokesperson for biosecurity, food security and forestry. First elected in 2014, he is MP for Bay of Plenty.
Muller is a former Managing Director of Zespri, CEO of Apata (Kiwifruit and Avocado Post Harvest Service) and most recently Director of Corporate Affairs at Fonterra.
While Muller was only 16th on the National Party list, Kaye was seventh.
Muller is Catholic and Kaye describes herself as an “urban liberal”.
Kaye has been an MP for Auckland Central since 2008, beating Ardern when she ran for that seat in 2011 and 2014.
Kaye is National’s spokesperson for education, sport and recreation. She has held a number of ministerial portfolios during National’s previous terms in government, including education, ACC, youth affairs and civil defense.
Of particular interest to readers of interest.co.nz, Kaye continues to lead a countryside try to reform the unit title law to strengthen the management of apartments and townhouses.