Toby & Toby: The National leader wannabes, digested

10:35 am on 16 February 2018

Opinion - In a fortnight, the New Zealand National Party will have a new leader, following Bill English's very sensible decision not to get up again, again.

The task for his successor, in combating a new prime minister acclaimed the world over for speaking in human sentences, wearing a range of clothing and being acquainted with a fish hunter, is daunting.

Democracy demands a strong opposition. Amid the media maelstrom, however, it is not always easy to grasp precisely what the rivals to lead that opposition are saying.

In this cause, we have attempted to digest the bids of the would-be National leaders. Ultimately, of course, the people will decide. And by the people, we mean the National Party. And by the National Party, we mean the 56 MPs of the National Party caucus.

The candidates for the leadership on Bill English

Amy Adams: I want to take a moment to pay tribute to Bill English.

Simon Bridges: Simon Bridges wants to take a moment to pay tribute to Bill English.

Judith Collins: Who?

On leadership credentials

Amy Adams: I'm a cocktail. A blend of tough Auckland upbringing and rarefied Canterbury sheep farmer's wife. A blend of sensible and generous. A blend of conservative and liberal. A blend of urban and rural. A blend of Amy and Adams.

I'm somewhat unique, quite unique and also very unique. Let's stabilise this.

Simon Bridges: I'm a cocktail. Experienced and not experienced. Matinee idol and Pop Idol. I'm a new generation and an old generation and happy to just keep saying generation a lot generally. I'm your granddad. I'm your grandson. I'm youth adjacent and I'm oldjacent.

Relentlessly positive and Posilessly relentive. I'm pregnant, with ideas.

Let's generationalise. Let's do this brighter future. Yeah?

Judith Collins: Cocktails are for losers.

I'm a flaming absinthe, trailing blisters on the faces of the weak. Strong. Decisive. Fighty. Strongly and decisively fighting against the true enemies of New Zealand: PC virtue signalling snowflake do-gooders on Twitter.

Let's incinerate this.

Mark Mitchell: Hi!

Steven Joyce: Only a matter of time till they come grovelling to my -. [cut for space]

On policy

Amy Adams: I think people understand that this contest is not about policy, and it is not about personality. This contest is about explaining the ways it is not about personality and policy and that's why I've put my name forward.

Simon Bridges: Look, it's clear the positions which I will stake out, so many positions, the best positions, that they will be mine and also Simon Bridges' positions. We have views, many views, and Simon and I are talking through those views all the time.

Judith Collins: Fire.

On countering the Ardern government

Amy Adams: My husband's a fisherman.

Simon Bridges: Look, I'm excited. And so is Simon Bridges. He also is excited. Simon and I will say that very slowly so you can understand how unmistakably excited he and I are. We're excited. We're upbeat. We're just loving life, really, in a very serious way. Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, Simon and I are second to none when it comes to being excited and up and beat.

Judith Collins: Jacinda Ardern is a formidable opponent. And so are the cicadas that keep me awake in my Papakura citadel, and which I effortlessly silence nightly with the power of argument and fire.

Supporter endorsements

Amy Adams

Nikki Kaye, MP: Go Amy!

Maggie Barry, MP: Amy, wonderful Amy.

Chris Bishop, MP: Amy.

Tim Macindoe: Hi!

Simon Bridges

Simon: Great guy.

Mr Bridges: The best.

SB: Better than the best.

Another guy called Simon: Agree.

Judith Collins

The whisper of the sea: Judith.

The molten earth: Judith.

The ceaseless inferno: Judith!

Paula Bennett:

Just loving being, ha ha, deputy, actually, guys, never really, ha ha, wanted anything else than that guys, just very happy as deputy, ha ha, actually.

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