Nobody Needs Dead Wood

When I heard about Amy Adams’s resignation, I was a bit surprised but not terribly surprised. Political life is tough, and Amy had taken a tilt at the leadership last year and lost to Simon Bridges. Chances are, as her profile has waned, she will never be taken seriously as a leadership contender again. She may have come to realise that.

With the resignation of Alistair Scott on the same day, it could be seen as a case of rats deserting a sinking ship, but I didn’t really think so. I saw it more as the renewal that political parties have to go through, particularly after a long period in government. Labour went through similar changes after Helen Clark’s demise in 2008.

It gave Simon Bridges a chance to shuffle his shadow cabinet, and give better standings to some of the up and coming MPs in his caucus.

Mike Hosking, however, has a different view. Mike thinks that National is losing faith in itself, and in its leader.

Oh dear. Guess who doesn’t think National is going to win next year’s election? National.

In one day Amy Adams hangs up her hat, followed by Alistair Scott. Both Nats, both young, both not really in the game for all that long, and both running for the hills.

Last week it was Christopher Luxon – who isn’t even in the political game yet, far less the party – and half the media had him replacing Bridges as leader.
This week Bridges is watching half his caucus basically say, “It’s been fun. But if you think I’m hanging around for another three years of sitting on the wrong side of the house, you’re kidding.”
Adams is a particular disappointment, because it was, comparatively speaking, five minutes ago she wanted to be leader.
If you want to be leader you’re going nowhere. You are dedicated to the party and the cause. And one can safely assume that, if she had won, she would be there now and fighting the election next year.
So the only conclusion you can draw is she sees defeat. And she doesn’t like not being in government.

Nobody likes not being in government, but it is a political reality for all of them, at least half of the time. Anyone who doesn’t get that should not be in politics in the first place.

Not, of course, that I blame her. Opposition must be miserable. But the trouble with Adams and Scott both bailing is the message it sends. Every time Bridges says, “We are in this”, you’ve got retirements that say, “No, we are not”.
What we know generally is that good organisations recruit well. People like to be on a winning side. Positivity breeds positivity. In other words, the queue to get in should be longer than the stampede heading out.

It is always tough being in opposition, and like it or not, historically, there are few one-term governments.This government may be the exception, but we cannot take that for granted. This means that those in National who do not want to be in opposition may have to wait over 4 years for change. For some, that is simply too long.

I also think that Mike forgets that National MPs tend to be snapped up in the private sector. Both Adams and Scott probably have lucrative positions lined up for when they exit parliament. This cannot be said for MPs from the other side of the house. The reason they all hang around for so long is that no one else wants them, unless they can find a cushy job in a local council, or as an ambassador somewhere.

Or heading a working group…

To leave it until now you either have health issues, you’re 71 and over it, or (if you’re Adams at 48 and Scott at 53) you’ve worked out the pastures are greener on the other side of the fence.

This all adds to National’s ongoing problems. Their leader, their numbers, and now their retention of talent. They simply don’t look like they’re on a roll or anywhere close to it. They don’t look like the home of the winners.

Newstalk ZB.

I can see Mike’s point, but I’m not sure I agree with him. There is some serious talent in the National caucus, which these resignations give an opportunity to develop. Contrast this with Jacinda’s cabinet reshuffle, coming out tomorrow. If ever there was a case of shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic, this will be it. Everyone is calling for Phil Twyford to be sacked, but there is no one to replace him. That is Labour’s problem. A seriously incompetent minister, out of his depth with both of his portfolios, is the best they have got. He will probably remain a minister simply because there is no one better.

And Mike thinks that National looks like the home of losers?

Regeneration in political parties is actually a good thing, and Adams will have been in parliament for 12 years when she retires. Politicians who hang round for decades don’t do our country any good. Most of them live in a bygone era, even though they may still be sitting in the house. The right thing is to give up while you are ahead.

Don’t forget what Simon Bridges said about Chris Finlayson and David Carter. It may have been extremely ungracious, but it is also a fact. Nobody needs dead wood. Labour is full of it, and makes up the largest arm of an incompetent government as a result. Why exactly do we want National to go the same way?