Time for a White Knight

Wira Gardiner must be a worried man. Firstly he puts out a letter trying and failing to address the elephant in the room with his candidacy, that of his perceived and real conflict of interest. Secondly by enlisting the aid of the nation’s top blogger and an NBR columnist to try to run his lines for him.

To be fair to David Farrar his post is entirely non-commital which is David’s way of saying he thinks Wira has shot his bolt and hasn’t got a chance, he is just too diplomatic to say so. Matthew Hooton though has a more complex arrangement that he has to manage.

Hooton’s mother in-law, former 1970’s President Sue Wood, appears to have ghost written the article for him this week. She is remembered as the President who single handedly squandered the Party’s property and cash reserves during her term.

My sources tell me that the Ninth floor is said to be furious that the PM’s genial comment to Gardiner of ‘good luck’ when Gardiner told Key he intended to stand for the Board has been interpreted by Gardiner as a personal endorsement. Hooton continues this spin in his column.

All candidates have been thoroughly vetted, with Mr Key’s preference said to be party stalwart Wira Gardiner. Mr Key judges, correctly, that Mr Gardiner – a businessman, former senior public servant, soldier and Mr Fixit for both National and Labour governments – has the administrative backbone to prepare National to take the fight to Labour. Moreover, Mr Key sees Mr Gardiner as important to securing a third term, given the Maori Party will hold the balance of power in 2014, if not 2011.

Key knows better than to get involved in internal Party politics. He has no interest in backing a fair-weather friend. He needs people he can trust not to throw their toys out of the cot when the going gets tough.

What I, as a voting delegate, wants to know is how come Gardiner didn’t offer to stand when there was work to be done and tough decisions to be made?

Gardiner’s fatal flaw is the conflict of interest. Being married to a current MP means if elected he couldn’t possibly hope to carry out the role of a Board member – he’d spend more time out of the meetings than in them.There is little point in electing Wira Gardiner to the board when he is so hopelessly conflicted and it is conflict that cannot be resolved. If he can’t sit on the List Ranking committee then he is of little use as either a board member or as the President.

Gardiner being backed by three failed former Presidents …. Sue Wood, Geoff Thompson & Michelle Boag.

National has moved on from the old presidential blood wars but these old warhorses from yesterday haven’t noticed. And neither has Matthew Hooton.

They are yesterday’s people fighting yesterday’s wars.

There is no mood in the Party to go back to the bad old blood on the floor days.

Hooton gets much wrong and if he gets those simple things wrong then the rest of article including the supposed endorsement of John Key is also similarly wrong.

He wrongly says the Boag brought John Key into the party. In actual fact it was my father that recruited John Key. He also wrongly says that Scott Simpson is John Slater’s man…to my knowledge he hasn’t picked anyone as a favourite and he certainly wouldn’t tell anyone let alone Matthew Hooton.

Basically though Wira Gardiner represents the worst aspects of the old National Party when it didn’t understand MMP.

And Matthew Hooton berates National’s new structure but the results show clearly it works and that the old system didn’t.

Nearly ten years after the last presidential civil war (Slater/Boag) the Boag/Thompson/Wood camp still haven’t moved on but the Party has – leaving them out on the cold – little wonder Wood has time to write Hooton’s NBR column.

Delegates in Christchurch will back candidates who have a real record of Party work and dedication, not some carpet bagger who is a fair weather friend.

It may well be the time for the proverbial White Knight to come charging through the middle ready or not.