We can’t ignore the fact the winners in Muller’s new line up – are women.
For a party accused of being pale male and stale, Muller has managed to surround himself with some strong women and in good high positions.
Amy Adams – an undeniably strong talent has been bumped up to number 3, she’s a competent and extremely safe pair of hands. Nikki Kaye as we know is Deputy. Judith Collins.. picks up economic development, regional development and Pike River re-entry. She’s also been made the Shadow Attorney-General. Keep your enemies closer.
And then there’s up and coming rockstar Nicola Willis. She‘s gone from unranked to number 14 and in the shadow Cabinet – by all accounts, a significant jump.
The only woman to hit the downhill slide is Paula Bennett. Predictably demoted.. and I’m not sure replacing her with Gerry Brownlee as election campaign manager is the smartest move, but time will tell. My experience of Brownlee is that he can be perceived as quite negative, which would be at odds with Muller’s alleged desire to run a ‘positive’ campaign.
I actually don’t believe all this positivity talk, as much as we didn’t believe it when Jacinda said it.
Politicians who promise to be positive, usually find themselves fighting for their lives at election time and all ‘positivity’ seems to fly out the window. Ardern is famous for her slap downs, the fact she does it while smiling, doesn’t make it any less negative.
Muller could be accused of beginners optimism and being a bit green around the gills if he thinks politics is all unicorns and rainbows. But back to his team.
He described his caucus as ‘bursting with talent’.. but beyond talking about them, he needs to actually make them visible.
Actions speak louder than words, and while Ardern defends her team and endlessly talks them up, she also gags them from speaking in public, answering reporters or fronting anywhere that she could instead.
The ‘I’ve got the best team’ talk needs to see a bit of rubber hit the road.
Where Key did well was he has happy to delegate, he was happy to let his team shine.. he deferred to his ministers and let them run their portfolios. The strength of his team was evident – he didn’t have to keep telling us they were solid.
Rule of thumb.. the more you have to tell us something is so, the less it probably is.
This is where National could get some much needed cut through against Ardern.
But where in all of this, is Simon you ask?
Simon Bridges is taking time to think.
Fair enough. But he probably can’t afford to think for too long.
For us to truly believe the Nats caucus is as tight and cohesive as Muller says, he needs everybody locked in and on message, quick sticks.