Heather du Plessis-Allan: Nikki Kaye's resignation is a Muller, not a Collins, problem

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jul 2020, 5:04PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Nikki Kaye's resignation is a Muller, not a Collins, problem

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jul 2020, 5:04PM

It’d be really easy to read Nikki Kaye’s resignation as a protest over Judith Collins’ leadership.

I get the feeling it’s less of that, and more the end-result of her role in the Muller coup. 

I can’t imagination it’s much fun for Nikki and anyone else involved in that Muller coup to be fronting up to their colleagues in the National Party at the moment.

They’d surely be feeling a bit sheepish for helping to install a leader who clearly wasn’t ready for the job given he hadn’t achieved much in six years in Parliament.

They’ve wasted 53 days for the party ahead of an election and can take a lot of the responsibility for the ‘shambles’ narrative that is now starting to stick to the Nats. 

Add to that the fact that the best case scenario post-election for Nikki Kaye just got a lot less attractive in the last few days.

Last week, her best case was that she could be deputy prime minister. This week, her best case was that she would be education minister. Been there, done that.  She was education minister under Bill English.

And then there’s the fight to win back her Auckland central seat. And it would’ve been a fight.

Her margin on that seat’s always been slim - 600, 700, 1500 votes - even when the Nats were in government.

If you factor in this year’s swing towards the Labour Party, it might’ve brought that margin down and made the fight a lot harder. 

However, Kaye’s resignation is not a good look for Collins.

Kaye’s been arguably the most prominent urban liberal in the party. She’s been very important to balancing out some of the really old-fashioned socially-conservative thinking in there.

She’s young, she’s beaten Jacinda Ardern twice, and she’s done a job of the portfolios she held as a minister.

It never looks good to have MPs quitting immediately after a leadership change – especially two in one day.

But I’m not sure this is a Collins problem.  It feels more like the leftovers of a Muller problem that Collins is having to deal with.