Another one bites the dust, with Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman deciding to retire from politics. He follows Bill English and Steven Joyce out the door, as the party’s cleanout continues. So, who’s next?
The trickle is fast becoming a flood. In the space of about six weeks, the National Party has lost three of their heaviest heavyweights. All three held senior portfolios in the last government. All three launched bids for leadership. All three were men in their 50s who had been in parliament more than a decade. And now, all three are gone.
Like a snake shedding it’s skin, the National Party is regenerating itself. At their 2018 party conference, they invited their next four candidates on the list to come and have a look around, see how the coffee machine works, get a slack login, that sort of thing. At the time, the party denied that meant resignations were coming, but now two of those four are in parliament.
With that in mind, if you want to run a particularly nerdy office sweepstake, here are The Spinoff’s Official Odds on which National MPs will be gone before the end of the term.
Gerry Brownlee – $1.20
Surely the absolute front-runner. Gerry Brownlee has had the quintessential National Party MP career. He once got the chance to use excessive force on an unruly protestor, was personally attacked by another protester with what appeared to be a bucket of shit, was personally insulted by Winston Peters as an “illiterate woodwork teacher;” (for legal reasons we must confirm Gerry Brownlee can, in fact, read) It’s fair to say Gerry Brownlee has a very strong highlights reel. Unfortunately, it seems like Christchurch is liking him less and less all the time. The National Party suffered a big swing against it in the city in the last election, and Brownlee’s personal vote count in Ilam has dropped every year since 2008. More pertinently, he suffered in the latest National Party reshuffle, losing the foreign affairs portfolio, and dropping from 5th to 11th.
Nick Smith – $1.25
A form horse in this race, Nick Smith is one of those ministers who always seems to front up for interviews no matter how badly he’s about to get mauled. And he’s been in plenty of portfolios offering the likes of Guyon Espiner and Mike Hosking the chance to really unleash themselves: Conservation, housing, education, ACC. He’s been in parliament since 1990, but his enduring legacy may well end up being the statue of him without pants, which intermittently tours the country. Given how chill he was about the statue though, there’s every chance Nick Smith will decide that he may as well stay on in parliament and keep taking punishment indefinitely.
Chris Finlayson – $1.50
The former attorney general and treaty settlements minister presents himself as the smartest person in the room, and depending on the room, he probably is most of the time. That aloofness has been part of the reason why he’s never won an electorate seat, but the other reason for those failures is that he’s always stood right in Labour’s heartland – the Mana and Rongotai electorates of Wellington. Would probably enjoy not having to suffer the “stupid actions” of others any more if he wasn’t in parliament, but might perhaps miss it a little as well?
David Carter – $2.00
Former speaker of the house, typically a position occupied by someone who’s in their last big parliamentary job (Jonathan Hunt, Margaret Wilson, Lockwood Smith, and let’s be honest, Trevor Mallard) Has been list-only since 2014 in order to focus on being the best Speaker he can be, which is proving difficult now that National aren’t in power any more. Would make a really good valedictory speech, just saying.
Nicky Wagner – $2.80
Dropped from 22nd to 40th in the latest reshuffle, after losing Christchurch Central in 2017. Take the hint.
Maggie Barry – $3.50
A dark horse in this race, North Shore MP Maggie Barry really really backed the wrong candidate in the recent leadership election, lining up behind Amy Adams. Weirdly, the list rankings of most of the MPs that openly endorsed Adams seem to have all stalled or gone backwards – see also Hamilton MP Tim Macindoe and Hutt South MP Chris Bishop.
Jian Yang – $4.50
This is a tricky one, given nobody in the National Party, including Jian Yang himself, is willing to confirm or deny the existence of Jian Yang.
Nuk Korako – $7.00
Now that he has accomplished the titanic task of changing how airports advertise lost luggage auctions, Nuk Korako can retire satisfied, safe in the knowledge that he has done his bit to make New Zealand a better place.
Judith Collins – $65,000
Judith Collins will never retire. Judith Collins will never die. Judith Collins will fight her enemies to the ends of the earth.
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