At the end of the month, National will elect a new President – indirectly. With Judy Kirk retiring this is the first vacancy under the new rules, where the members elect seven Directors to the National Board, and the Directors (including the Leader and a Caucus Rep) elect one of their own as President.
This has made predicting who will win much harder, as you have to get elected to the Board first, before you even get a chance to convince your peers to make you President. And to make it harder, many of the Board nominees are of sufficient calibre to be a viable President.
Two of the seven elected Directors are part way through their term, so are guaranteed to stay on the Board. They are Roger Bridge, the Canterbury-Westland Chair, and Peter Goodfellow from Auckland – a long time party activist. Both Bridge and Goodfellow are potential Presidents, regardless of formal declarations. They would serve if asked/elected.
Leader John Key and Chief Whip Nathan Guy also get a vote. Presuming they vote as a bloc, they will be influential. Key, Guy and whomever becomes President makes three votes out of nine. They only need two more.
Incumbent Director Scott Simpson is standing again. A former Auckland Regional Chairman, he is also a Presidental candidate. Fellow incumbent Grant McCallum from Northland is also standing again and as far as I know not seeking the Presidency.
According to Whale Oil (I have not had time to check directly with HQ), there are six other canddate for the Board. They are:
- Alastair Bell, current Northern Regional Chair
- Dennis Catchpole from the CNI Region
- Sir Harawira (Wira) Gardiner, former Maori Vice-President
- Kate Hazlett, Southern Region Chair from Southland
- Bruce Mills, Rangitikei Electorate Chair and long-time LNI Regional presence
- Pat Seymour, East Coast Electorate Chair for many years
Of the six non incumbents, only Wira Gardiner is also a Presidential candidate Alastair is a potential candidate also but I think isn’t seeking it at this stage.
Whale Oil makes his preferences quite clear, not being a Wira fan.
However Matthew Hooton in the NBR this morning wrote:
All candidates have been thoroughly vetted, with Mr Key’s preference said to be party stalwart Wira Gardiner. Mr Key judges, correctly, that Mr Gardiner – a businessman, former senior public servant, soldier and Mr Fixit for both National and Labour governments – has the administrative backbone to prepare National to take the fight to Labour. Moreover, Mr Key sees Mr Gardiner as important to securing a third term, given the Maori Party will hold the balance of power in 2014, if not 2011.
I’m not sure whether or not Matthew is correct as to John Key’s preference. I suspect John is keeping his opinion fairly tight as he has to work with whomever gets elected.
I know reasonably well all the Board candidates (except Dennis Catchpole) and have warm friendships with many of them. I think National is fortunate to have a good range of talent to choose from.
I won’t be blogging my preferences, as I’m not a voting delegate. But also because I designed the voting software they use to count the vote, so it is generally inadvisable for me to enter the fray in case anyone suspects I have a secret sub-routine in there that will favour my preferred canddiatesTags: Alastair Bell, Bruce Mills, Dennis Catchpole, Grant McCallum, John Key, Judy Kirk, Kate Hazlett, Matthew Hooton, Nathan Guy, National, Pat Seymour, Peter Goodfellow, Roger Bridge, Scott Simpson, Whale Oil, Wira Gardiner