Game on! Judith Collins has arrived and this election is going to be great.
How impressive has her first 24 hours been in the role? She’s had three tasks and she’s nailed them both.
We’ll deal with them chronologically.
The press conference last night. Judith arrived like the stern chairwoman of the board called in to save the company before it tanks.
She was confident, she was relaxed, she had the entire caucus standing behind her and then she started taking it to the PM.
She said there is no chance at all that she’s going to “let PM Jacinda Ardern get away with any nonsense”.
“I will hold her to account”. And then: “we will be taking the fight to the government. I can’t wait to do that.”
Geez, you could just feel how much she’s going to enjoy this.
Judith Collins said the right words to give confidence to the party base, to her team, and to the rest of us that this is going to be interesting.
Task two, the morning interviews. No one tripped her up. No one got her flustered. She showed a breadth of knowledge across subjects.
And then task three: Michael Woodhouse.
Now I don’t think Woodhouse deserved to be sacked. But he needed to be. Collins needed to show she’s got the political instinct to nip a problem in the bud, the strength to do it, and no tolerance for incompetence.
She could have tried to defend him, but explaining is losing. And now, she’s made the difference between herself and the Prime Minister crystal clear.
The PM took 88 days after his lockdown rule-breaking to accept David Clark’s resignation, 150 days to sack Clare Curran and 22 days to sack Meka Whaitiri.
Collins took 15 hours to sack Woodhouse from his health shadow portfolio.
You can see the strategy. Collins is going to try to show Ardern how the job should be done.
And if she pulls it off, it could well look like the grownups have finally arrived.