Simon Bridges might be needed when the economic wheels fall off

National leader Simon Bridges

Damien Grant writes on?Stuff: quote.

Despite their leader’s low approval, National’s polling is holding up.?Newshub?has?the party at 46 per cent, one per cent higher than at the last election.

No matter what people may think of Bridges, he isn’t causing potential voters to turn against the party. end quote.

Unlike Andrew Little, who did exactly that. Ditto David ?I am sorry for being a man? Cunliffe. quote.

Still,?National is caught in internal strife as there is chatter below decks on replacing the leader and the gossip is Bridges will not last out 2019.

First. If National wants to know what happens to a party that flip-flops its leaders all they have to do is look across the aisle. Labour replaced Clark when she led her party to defeat on 34 per cent.

Over the next nine years, they went through Goff, Shearer, Cunliffe, Little and Ardern, with election results of 27 and 25 per cent?before Winston Peters gifted them the Treasury benches despite Labour staggering over the line eight per cent below National. end quote.

To be fair, Clark stepped down immediately, knowing that she had a job lined up at the UN. Damien Grant is quite right when he points out that even Jacinda couldn’t get Labour across the line and into government. Only Winston was able to do that. quote.

Second. It is a mistake to assume that the golden economic weather will continue. There are two years left before the next election and Ardern will not be facing the benign economic seas that are underpinning her current popularity. end quote.

I have heard mutterings that the September quarter GDP figures are not looking good, and they will be more of a reflection on the government’s actual performance than anything else to date. quote.

The current boom is a decade old and as fragile as the Deputy Prime Minister. The question National should ask itself is who people will vote for when they are afraid of losing their job? Who will they feel confident in when they are worried about the banks failing and the dollar falling?

The very things that make Bridges unpalatable now, the perception of arrogance, toughness and inflexibility, could be exactly what voters want when the world they understand comes unstuck. end quote.

I don’t see Bridges as particularly arrogant. I see him as probably a bit ineffective and perhaps afraid to take a strong position on anything, but a significant fall in economic performance could change all that. quote.

A man who will vote his conscience, regardless of the political cost, could be the very thing we want in uncertain times.

Nothing will save the current Prime Minister, not even a wedding if the public starts to panic. end quote.

Interesting. He is saying that Jacinda Ardern’s ?Woman’s Day? approach works well while everything in the economy is rosy. As soon as the gloss starts to fall off, the public will look for someone who can actually help them to survive. For evidence of that, take a look at Emmanuel Macron. His popularity was short-lived. quote.

People may not like Simon Bridges, but possibly they see in him the sort of toughness that will be required if the economic wheels fall off. And they will.

National should wait. As Ardern proved, there isn’t any downside to leaving this decision to the last minute if I’m wrong. end quote.

I often find myself agreeing with Damien Grant, and I do here too. The last thing we want to see is National making the mistakes that Labour did and changing their leader every 5 minutes. Look at how we joke about how often there are changes of Australian premiers. That sort of behaviour only indicates a lack of stability in the party, and National does not need that.

All the signs are there that the economy is going to start to slow down. As I said, the September quarter figures are predicted to show a considerable fall in GDP, and this will only be the beginning. We all know that the ministers of this government are not good stewards of the economy – how could they be when the prime minister does not have a clue what GDP is and their minister of finance has an arts degree?

As Damien Grant says, National should hang fire for now. Labour has already proved that a party can change its leader at the last minute and still become government… so long as there is a poison dwarf in the shadows somewhere.