Judith Collins has good reason to be annoyed right now.
She has been impressive from the minute she took over as party leader. Her team though? Letting her down consistently. Barely a fortnight goes by without someone in National stuffing things up and creating the impression that the party is a shambles.
Andrew Falloon sending dirty pictures to young women. The National Party accused of manipulating their own candidate selection for the Auckland Central seat. Others involved in that contest accused of smearing a candidate’s reputation by suggesting she was once a stripper, when she claims she wasn’t. The new housing spokesperson Jacqui Dean falsely claiming her party had built 30,000 state homes when they hadn’t.
And now “Merv” the talkback caller.
To be fair, party-affiliated people calling talkback is not new. Former National MP, now Mayor of Northland, John Carter got busted calling talkback pretending to be an unemployed bloke called Hone. Former Labour hacks have admitted doing the same. There are stories about parties organising groups to write letters to the editor.
It’s not a big deal. But it’s a problem. It’s a problem because it makes it look like the National are a shambles. And it’s a problem because we’re talking about Merv instead of talking about the two Coromandel conservation parks and the gang crackdown – both of which national announced today.
Nonsense like this steals headlines which are precious during an election. And what’s more, it makes it so much harder for Judith Collins to convince voters that the National Party can run the country during a pandemic when they can’t even get their party in line.
So, as I said, Judith Collins has reason to be annoyed. Never mind her warning she won’t let Jacinda Ardern get away with any nonsense. She needs to send that warning to her party by the looks of things.