Peter Goodfellow retains National presidency after attacking Ardern's 'celebrity leadership'

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 22 Nov 2020, 10:07AM
National Party president Peter Goodfellow amid National's caucus in 2020. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party president Peter Goodfellow amid National's caucus in 2020. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Peter Goodfellow retains National presidency after attacking Ardern's 'celebrity leadership'

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 22 Nov 2020, 10:07AM

National's long-serving president Peter Goodfellow has held onto to the position, beating off a potential challenge from former MP David Carter at the National's party annual general meeting.

Goodfellow was chosen as president again by the party's board on Saturday night.

Earlier in the day, the party's delegates had re-elected him to the board along with Rachel Bird.

Carter, who was an MP for 21 years before retiring in 2020, was elected to the board for the first time and was understood to be pushing to become president as well.
Goodfellow started in the role in 2009 and is now National's longest serving president.

In a statement he thanked the party for its "vote of confidence" in him and said the board was "strong and united."

"I have made commitments that I will honour covering the campaign review, fundraising and delivering the change needed to win the 2023 campaign."

Goodfellow's experience in fundraising and connections with potential donors was likely a critical factor, as well as his base in Auckland.

He had pushed for the need for the party to have some stability and continuity as it embarked upon a review of its election result. There had been criticism of the board's handling of some candidate selections, including controversy in Auckland Central.

Former Speaker of the House and Minister, and now National presidential hopeful, David Carter has been elected by delegates to the party's board.

Goodfellow has held the role for 11 years.

Former Speaker of the House under National, David Carter. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Former Speaker of the House under National, David Carter. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Prior to tonight's election, both Carter and Goodfellow had been lobbying delegates for support for weeks.

In a flyer to members, Carter told National's faithful that changes at the board level are needed or "we risk history repeating itself".

Goodfellow – who is the longest-serving president in National's history – addressed supporters directly this morning in a set-piece speech.

He took aim at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying the election was all about "a race of celebrity leadership".

He referred to the 1pm press conferences, often fronted by Ardern, as "televangelist – like gospel to the masses".

"Democracy, for a period of time, gave way to temporary tyranny."

That was the reality in a "Jacindamania world", Goodfellow said.

He then turned to the media, calling some of the coverage of the election "infectious, click-bait journalism".

Speaking to party faithful at the AGM, National leader Judith Collins was mostly forward-looking but she did take time to reflect on National's election loss.

"While the country was focused on the Covid-19 challenge this year, I felt the National Party was far too focused on itself," she said.

"We did not spend enough time talking about the things that matter to New Zealanders. The consequence of that can be seen in our election result and our reduced caucus."

Going forward, she said the only way the party will recover is by being united and sticking to its values of individual freedom, personal responsibility, limited government and equal citizenship and opportunity.

National also needs to present itself as an "inspiring alternative", to put forward bold ideas and to set the agenda.

But, above all else, Collins said National "need to listen".

"We have three years to do this work and to bring New Zealanders on board with our vision, to be bold, and to give New Zealanders a reason to vote blue.

"Three years will come and go very quickly. There is much work to do to come back stronger. But we have done it before and will do it again. New Zealand needs us to."

Speaking to media after her speech, she said National needed to focus on the people – "that's who are voting for us".

"Everything we talk about needs to be focused on the people, less about ourselves, more about the people."

text by Jason Walls, NZ Herald