“A week is a long time in politics” – Harold Wilson, two time British Labour Prime Minister
If one looks at the National Party’s last fortnight in New Zealand politics, nary a truer word has been spoken. In a 16 day period, National have lost Jian Yang, Todd Muller, Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams and Hamish Walker have all resigned, been fired or announced their retirement. It is not just the loss of so many Members of Parliament in such a short time that should be bothering National, but the manner in which they have announced their departures.
To be fair to National leader Judith Collins not all of these departures are of her making.
The departures of Michael Woodhouse and Hamish Walker were solely of their making. Both were made to pay the price for their respective roles in the leaking of details about COVID19 patients in the hope that planting a problem would make the Government take action. It back fired destructively and the public outrage was swift and massive. The Parliamentary career of Mr Walker ended when he announced his resignation from politics. Coming just a week after a racist click baiting claim that “up to 11,000 people from India, Pakistan and Korea” could be headed for COVID19 isolation in the lower South Island, a second act was unforgivable. As for Mr Woodhouse, he remains, but has been stripped of his spokesperson portfolio’s and will be hoping for a kinder public verdict on 19 September 2020. Mr Woodhouse might be lucky to survive, given that the New Zealand voting public have not yet forgotten that this is the same Member of Parliament who created a false story about a homeless man talking his way into a five star hotel.
Jian Yang announced his resignation a week ago on Friday 10 July. Mr Yang has for some time been linked to the Chinese Communist Party and has raised flags with regards to his honesty about what he really did at Luoyang University. His resignation removes a persistent distraction for the National Party. These concerns have existed for the duration of time he has been in Parliament, and whilst Ms Collins was a colleague of his in the government of former Prime Minister John Key, she was not necessarily in a position to get Mr Yang to come clean.
However, Ms Collins might be partially to blame for the departure of Amy Adams and Nikki Kaye. The former had announced her retirement earlier this year from politics, but had rescinded it when Mr Muller won the National Party leadership election on 22 May 2020. When Ms Collins won the leadership election on Monday night, Mrs Adams concluded that perhaps her original decision to retire was the right one after all. Mrs Adams achieved a high rank under Mr Key and was Minister of Justice and Minister for the Environment at one point or another. Widely seen as one of the leftist National Members of Parliament for her support of climate change measures, support for same sex marriage andHer departure reopens the race for a new National candidate in Selwyn Electorate.
Nikki Kaye spent months dealing with the effects of chemotherapy after discovering a lump in her breast one day. Ms Kaye says that during that time she realized life was too short and precious to be tied up in an all consuming role. Whilst in Parliament she was Minister of Education, Minister of Civil Defence and Accident Compensation Corporation. She was probably the most left leaning of all of the National Party Members of Parliament, and as such supported the Same Sex Marriage Act, the abortion legislation and the euthanasia legislation.
I suspect the departure of both women may at least in part have to do with Ms Collins being on the record as not having time for the Resource Management Act, wanting to rewrite the climate legislation and cracking down on gangs. Both were an asset to the Blue Green movement who I am sure will miss them.