The past 10 days have been a whirlwind for the National Party, with Judith Collins ousted as leader and replaced by Christopher Luxon, who completed a rapid rise through the ranks having only being elected to Parliament at the last election.
Since being elected leader of the party on Tuesday, Luxon has had some ups and downs.
- Securing an uncontested vote – even if it was at the last minute. Perhaps now understanding voters aren’t that keen on internal fighting. Simon Bridges did the sensible thing and didn’t drag his nails down the chalk board gripping onto the hope of leadership.
- Going to Simon Bridges territory in Tauranga to announce the finance job. It didn’t work out because Simon Bridges got called away when his son got injured but it was a smart political move to have the two together so early on. From a TV perspective it would have been great pics of the two men in a fruit shop … what could have been.
- Four days in, Luxon seems to genuinely enjoy the attention of being leader. He’s lapped up the media interviews and has energy on and off camera - let’s hope that lasts.
- The caucus picking Nicola Willis as deputy. She knows the political press gallery, she’s been an MP and a staffer for many years. She’s got what he doesn’t – political years behind her. She may need time to win over the hearts of some in the caucus but she’s a good choice.
- The rebranding has been swift. We’ve seen a lighter blue, smiling Instagram posts and good graphics. It’s been smooth.
- Luxon should have sold his four Auckland investment properties before coming into politics. The housing crisis is a massive political issue and he’s diminished his ability to speak on it passionately when he’s seen to be contributing to the housing shortage. That’s politics.
- Not giving an olive branch to Judith Collins in the first few days. She’s been a minister, is capable and he should be publicly reaching out. National supporters desperately want to see a united caucus.
TESTS COMING UP
- Monday is a massive test – Luxon will be announcing his shadow cabinet. The balance is critical and unique to politics.
- Let’s see how he goes in the debating chamber on Tuesday when he goes toe to toe with the Prime Minister. Will he look Prime-ministerial?
- Can the caucus swing in behind him? Let’s see.
- And ohhhh what will the polls say… stay tuned.