National surges but the real challenge remains

Christopher Luxon (INL File Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 16, 2022

The National Party appears to have reinvented itself.

For the first time in two years, things are looking up for the Party which has experienced debacle after debacle, with a turnover of leaders, demoralising the members of its Caucus.

But if the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll is any indication, the tide seems to have turned.

National is now ahead with 39%, scoring above Labour which now stands at 37%. The Green Party is steady at 9%, while the ACT Party continues to slide reaching 8%.

National overtook Labour in Party support for the first time since the pandemic, with Labour dipping to its lowest result since 2017. It came after a turbulent few weeks, with the Parliament protest ending with violence, thousands of New Zealanders being impacted by the Omicron outbreak, while overseas, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a humanitarian crisis.

Christopher Luxon, the National Carrier

Christopher Luxon reached the highest preferred PM result for a National Leader since Sir Bill English, while Jacinda Ardern, still out in front, has dropped once again to her lowest preferred PM result since before she became Prime Minister.

Undoubtedly, these developments have had the desired impact on the leadership of National as well as the members of the Caucus, rekindling hopes of returning to the Treasury benches after the general election due in 2023.

The credit for the turnaround undoubtedly belong to Mr Luxon, who has, in less than five months after being elected to leadership, has reinvigorated the Party which was losing its morale with internal squabbles and leaks. He was seen as the last hope for everyone connected with National, from the current and former leaders to casual supporters across the country.

Mr Luxon quickly proved to be the Leader in waiting; the Messiah to deliver National from its brink of collapse to the path of progress. Like a determined General, he brought discipline among the rank and file of his immediate colleagues and restored in them the sense of pride and belonging that seemed to have been lost.

Mood for change

We have known him to be a no-nonsense man; a politician striving to achieve what was once given up as unachievable. An experienced executive with a mind and heart for good business, he has travelled the length and breadth of the country, talking to a cross-section of communities and people, assessing their emotions.

The common perception is that the country is in a mood for change.

The State of the Nation Address, which Mr Luxon delivered on March 6, 2022, from his home constituency in Botany, set the pace for his brand image.

He spoke about making New Zealand a ‘Society of Opportunity,’ and allowing businesses and people to determine their future and not be dictated by Wellington. He said that he joined the National Party because he wanted New Zealand to realise its maximum potential, and to help build a society where every Kiwi can flourish and get ahead.

Mr Luxon has gained the attention of New Zealand; he should sustain their interest and encourage them to elect him and his people.

There are at least 18 months to Election 2023. People at National should not allow themselves to be lost in euphoria. Success in politics, not the least at elections, depends on policies and programmes and not promises and rhetoric.

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