A report sits on the desk of National Leader Simon Bridges. It is labelled “Toxicology results: National Party, 10/2018”. They contain the results of a batch of tests done on the toxic internal environment of the New Zealand National Party.
The results are clear: National has a toxic internal environment that is proving hugely damaging to the party. The claims of Mr Bridges that there is no “cultural” issue within the party are those of a leader who is in complete denial of the situation.
Labour and the Greens did not get to the high placing they currently have on 1 News Colmar Brunton polls simply by turning up to work. They achieved that placing by being consistently the better performing, by having policy for a change and getting on with implementing it instead of being caught up in divisive damaging machinations. Credit to them for doing so.
When the A.C.T. Party, normally National’s friend is so disgusted with the state of its partner that the Leader of A.C.T., David Seymour is openly critical then there is a significant problem.
National’s toxicology report shows a biological culture in its Molesworth Street offices in Wellington that is not fit for human beings. It is of a place with questionable work place practices, ethics and accountability. It has hanging over it like the stink of rotten fish, the Jamie Lee Ross saga, where despite Mr Ross having been taken to a mental health unit and discharged into the care of a friend, something putrid clearly still remains.
The detritus of past scandals permeate the place as well. Several high ranking National Party M.P.’s who held significant portfolios in the previous Government are covered in muck, of which at least some is of their own making. Arch rival and former Minister of Police and Justice, Judith Collins might be in Opposition, but her reputation is tarnished forever more by the Oravida Scandal involving her husband David Wong Tung. It is further tarnished by investigative journalist Nicky Hager exposing in his book “Dirty Politics” the dirty activities of bloggers such as Cameron Slater and Ms Collins’ links to them.
Deputy Leader of the National Party, Paula Bennett is not free from blame either. Her involvement in this has brought almost as many questions regarding her conduct and future in Parliament as that of her boss on himself. Her combative nature will work against her at this time, because when Ms Bennett, like her boss, should be eating humble pie most probably she will be digging her heels in.
There will be a few National M.P.’s who will be leaving with their heads held high, dignity intact, but not for any reasons to do with the miserable muck raking of the last two weeks. They will be leaving intact because they kept their heads down, got on with their jobs and did not partake in the manufacturing of the mud that was subsequently flung to the farthest parts of the Party. Namely former Attorney General and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, as well as former Speaker of the House David Carter. Neither are seeking another term in 2020.
They are two M.P.’s that the rest of National would well do to look at for ideas on the sort of standards New Zealanders expect and which they had better achieve if National want this Government to be a one term wonder. Because should Mr Bridges fail to clean up the mess that his party has dissolved into, the 2020 election will be decided before it is even fought.