Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Guest Opinion: Arise Maurice Williamson

Arise Maurice Williamson
The Solution To National's Leadership Woes

Guest Opinion From J.P. Small

In much the same way as the English - Boag combination blew the election for National, Bill English's post election performance has likewise blown his brief hold on the party's leadership.

Boag paid the ultimate price for her role in the disastrous election and, just four months later, sweepstakes are now springing up around Wellington to try and pick how much longer English will last.

Commentators like the Listener’s Jane Clifton are right in saying his rolling may now be unavoidable, but most commentators are missing the obvious in their picks of possible successors.

Nobody has picked the rise of Maurice Williamson from the bottom of the party caucus to take the National Party's top job. Why not?

It makes perfect sense. The Pakuranga MP has high levels of support from both his electorate and what is left of the party membership, and is widely recognised as representing what National used to stand for - personal responsibility and choice, the freedom of business, a hands off approach to Government, a 'firm but fair' approach to welfare, the private benefit of a tertiary education.

The old National values in a more progressive package. Exactly what the party needs now.

More than that, however, he represents clear opposition to all that has gone wrong with the National Party over the last couple of years. He railed furiously against Michelle Boag's performance in the election - to the delight of many National faithful - and was both rewarded with her eventual resignation and punished by his demotion to the last position in caucus.

Like so much of what has followed, Williamson's demotion was handled appallingly by Bill English with the end result being the creation of a kind of martyrdom for the dumped MP. Ironically, his dumping now works in his favour.

He stands staunchly against everything that has failed so badly for National - primarily English and Boag - and to dump English and shift Williamson from the very bottom of the caucus to the top would be the clearest and most decisive signal the party could send that it has put the whole unfortunate experiment behind it. For the party to show it has genuinely learnt from its mistakes and wants to get back to its roots, back to the basics.

Several commentators have noted correctly that Gerry Brownlee is just not suitable leadership material and that Simon Power is not stupid enough to stick his head up now. And so it is really Maurice Williamson or nobody. Nobody else in the National caucus has the capacity, the respect or the experience.

National can't afford to let English stay in the top job any longer than another eight or nine months. They need to get rid of him and leave the party at least two years to bed in a new leader and start getting its house in order if it is to have any hope of improving on its last election performance.

Blasting Williamson from the bottom to the top of caucus would, lets face it, be a brave and radical move, but the National Party needs nothing less.

Even if Williamson spent three years as a 'fill in' leader while National's succession crisis was ironed out, it would be three years of National finally getting back on track with intelligent, consistent and capable leadership.

And so now is Maurice Williamson's time. Despite his ranking in caucus, Williamson is in the prime of his parliamentary career. All it will take for the numbers to start falling into place is for the media to acknowledge the obvious, and for the National caucus to finally wake up.

That of course may be simpler said than done..


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Rightwing Populism Will Make You Sick—Really

The four countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 infections in the world are all led by rightwing populists: the US, India, Brazil, and Russia. Throw in the United Kingdom, which has the largest infection rate in Europe, and you have a common pattern. ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Early Voting Is OK, If You Know Who To Vote For

Early voting is now open which is great for the 80% or so of the population whose vote does not change from one election to the next. They can go out and vote at their convenience without having to wait for election day. But for those who are yet even ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog