National Party needs a 'crystallised message' - commentator

Source: 1News

The National Party needs a "crystallised message" about what the country would look like as it appoints a permanent leader on Tuesday afternoon, a political commentator says.

Composite image of Simon Bridges and Christopher Luxon.

Josie Pagani told Breakfast National needed to stop its "Hunger Games personality contest" and "playground Hunger Games" and get on with holding the Government to account.

Judith Collins was dropped as National's leader last week after she demoted Simon Bridges. There had been a complaint around a serious misconduct allegation.

The situation spurred a four-hour caucus meeting on Thursday, with Collins losing the leadership in a vote of no confidence by the MPs.

It was later revealed Bridges made an "inappropriate" comment in front of Dean about five years ago about conceiving a girl.

Pagani said it had been "damaging" to the party that caucus not to pick a leader last week. Leaving it until Tuesday had sent an "indirect message" the party could not pick anyone.

This was damaging internally and with voters, she said, and had "kneecapped a future leader".

Five candidates are reportedly vying for the leadership — Bridges, Christopher Luxon, Mark Mitchell, Nicola Willis and Chris Bishop.

However, Pagani said the party now had a chance to do a "reset" and "stop barking at every car".

Also appearing on Breakfast, political commentator Brigitte Morten said it would be a "really close race" between candidates, but disagreed with Pagani National should have picked a leader last week.

Morten said the caucus needed time to put together "leadership teams" and ensure they chose a leader they could "all fully get behind".

She said the party had been on a "downward slide" and the events of last week "no doubt" meant National had lost support.

Morten said the new leader of the party needed to be "aggressive" and have "grit" as Leader of the Opposition, so interim leader Dr Shane Reti was not a good pick because he was an "obviously nice man".

Pagani said Luxon seemed to have the numbers and was the "obvious candidate". When talking about a reset, Luxon had the "edge", she said.

Pagani also said National had to have a woman step up as deputy leader and named Willis.