The next National leader

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

Steven Joyce and Judith Collins may be involved in an unofficial leadership contest within National to take over when John Key finally leaves politics, but neither is seen as the best replacement were it to happen tomorrow, according to a New Zealand Herald DigiPoll survey.

Finance Minister Bill English is the preferred choice of general voters.

Mr English was favoured by 29.7 per cent, Mr Joyce by 25.4 per cent and Ms Collins by 13 per cent. Almost 20 per cent thought none of them.

Of course there is no vacancy, and the decision will be made by caucus, not public vote – or membership vote like in Labour.

Asked at his post-Cabinet press conference who he thinks would be best to replace him if he fell under a bus, he said initially “someone with a sense of humour”.

“We’ve got a very talented caucus and If I name one of them the other 58 … will be bitter and twisted.”

The worst thing can be to labeled a future leader at an early stage!

Helen Clark once nominated Trevor Mallard as her natural successor, early on in her prime ministership.

Might have happened!

Mr Key has previously indicated he would leave politics if he were voted out of office. The unofficial leadership battle between Ms Collins, the Justice Minister, and Mr Joyce, the Economic Development Minister, is realistically for Leader of the Opposition and would be determined by National MPs, not voters.

That’s not quite right. If National wins a third term, then it is possible John Key would not seek to go into a fourth election, and retire part-way through the third term.  National would want him to stay on, but he could well decide that eight years is enough.

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