26 Nov 2021

'Most qualified' candidate for National Party leadership overlooked - commentator

From Morning Report, 7:40 am on 26 November 2021

A political commentator says one of the best candidates for the National Party leadership is being overlooked.

Dr Shane Reti is just hours into his role as interim leader of the National Party after taking over from Judith Collins, who lost her job and the confidence of the caucus, after 499 days as opposition leader.

The party will elect a new leader next week. Currently the three expected to run are Simon Bridges, Mark Mitchell and Christopher Luxon. Chris Bishop has also been suggested as a contender.

 Political commentator Lara Greaves told Morning Report Reti could be a good choice but there isn't much attention on him.

"He's incredibly experienced. He's been in parliament for seven years, he's been an assistant professor at Harvard, which is incredibly competitive in heart, he's been a rural GP for 17 years, he's been literally vaccinating people up north, he's also somehow registered as some kind of chartered accountant. So, we've got like a ton of qualifications and experience.

"I think, fundamentally, our politics and the way that our politics run and this goes back to Professor Raymond Mill's idea of the presidentialisation of New Zealand politics, that we think of it as like a two horse race, we need this kind of bolshy strong, assertive leader."

Greaves said that could be the area where Reti falls down, despite having qualifications and what she called a "real streak of conservatism".

"So, I think fundamentally the way that our politics works, the most qualified candidate and the candidate with the expertise for the current crisis is being overlooked."