Mike's Minute: Simon Bridges is doomed, even if he wins

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 May 2020, 9:27AM

Mike's Minute: Simon Bridges is doomed, even if he wins

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 May 2020, 9:27AM

COMMENT:

The worst-case scenario is Simon Bridges wins.

It has been suggested by a number of people that some of the challenge depends on tonight's poll on TVNZ.

Why that would be the case I have no idea.

What are they saying? If TVNZ has National on 40, not 30, Bridges is safe? Surely the story then would simply be that, yet again, we should have little, if any, faith in polls.

Which brings us back to the original issue National seems to be failing to grasp.

Broadly speaking, forget the minutiae of any given poll. Any opposition party in the western world right now is not overly popular because of fear created by governments in lockdown, and the subsequent lolly scramble that followed once restrictions started to lift.

In a cataclysmic event where people's lives, livelihoods, and futures are being tossed asunder, politics is not front of mind. And if asked a fairly general sort of question about who's leading the place, as long as they're not called Bolsonaro you're likely to get a fairly positive response.

So, all that's achieved if Bridges wins is a group of people have been flushed out within the National caucus who we know for sure don't think their own leader is up to it.

How well do you think that's going to play in the election campaign?

The only justification for this, and it's really no justification at all, is if they've decided they're toast anyway, and Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye are a band-aid, a Mike Moore-type operation designed to save as many jobs as possible.

But what that forgets is National were leading in the polls prior to Covid-19, they're competent when it comes to economic matters, and the dark days of winter and the economic calamity hasn't been seen yet. We had Fletcher Building lose jobs yesterday, and the show has only just begun.

No, Bridges isn't the great redeemer, or even the most logical choice. But his reputation was cemented well before Covid-19, and the same people who want him gone put him in. So they have to own a bit of this.

There were similar mutterings about Sir Bill English post the Sir John Key era, and yet English came to life. He actually won the election, bar the foibles of MMP and a bitter Winston Peters picking the party who came second.

There is a genuine story to be told here about this country's future. There is more than one option and it's never been more important for genuine alternatives to be put in front of voters.

As opposed to a circus of a panicked, self-absorbed, spineless, self-interested former government that gave up at the first sign of trouble.