28 Apr 2021

National proposes fixed rules for its future leadership bids

12:59 pm on 28 April 2021

National is considering setting fixed rules for future leadership bids with more constraints around its MPs to ensure a "fair process" and "acceptable result".

Judith Collins

National leader Judith Collins says she will not pre-judge what the members might decide. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The proposal is one of a raft of recommendations arising from two reviews into the party's dismal election showing which were sent to members on Tuesday night.

Members were asked whether the caucus should maintain its control over how the leadership can be challenged or whether the board should have more influence.

The review panel believed the board should be "engaged in the process earlier to opine on a fair process as well as an acceptable result," the report said.

Currently, the board has the power to veto a leader selected by MPs, but no further oversight or control.

The report recommended that clear rules be established to guarantee "a consistent, fair, and robust process".

"The party leader process needs to be considered and hard-coded into the constitution to create consistency and clarity," the report said.

The 18-page report also highlighted "strengthening leadership" as a key task for the party.

"Succession planning across all levels of the party needs to be encouraged and talent developed to take on roles in the future," the document said.

"Bad behaviour needs to be called out and dealt with quickly across the party."

The document also has a key focus on diversity with recommendations to rebuild a representative caucus and to embed the Treaty of Waitangi into the party's constitution.

National leader Judith Collins told RNZ she would not pre-judge what the members might decide to push ahead with.

"We've got thousands of members. The last thing I want to do as leader of the National Party is to try and pre-judge ourselves.

"There's nothing secret in it, but the membership will be the sole determinants of what is actually adopted."

Members will soon discuss the document in a series of regional conferences before a special general meeting to be held in Wellington in late June.