And Joyce makes five

The Herald reports:

Steven Joyce has confirmed he will contest the National Party leadership.

Joyce told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking he would become the fifth candidate to replace Bill English.

Joyce said lots of colleagues and regular New Zealanders told him to put his name forward.

“My view is it has always been about the National Party, it’s not about me personally.”

Joyce said he was not troubled by National’s three-point dip in last night’s 1 News-Colmar Brunton poll.

Instead he took it as a reminder to people that being the largest party was not a given and good polling was not a given.

“You actually have to go out and earn every day the respect of the public and the right of the public to contest for the election in 2020. It’s a contest of ideas and a contest of how well organised you are. And that’s the challenge for our party.”

Great to see so many credible candidates to choose from. This is effectively the first open leadership contest in many decades. Previous leadership elections or changes were either a coup against the leader or a clear front runner who ends up being confirmed without a vote (English 2016, Key 2006).

Go back further and Brash, English, and Shipley all became leader through direct challenges to the incumbent leader.

Go back further and 1986 was Bolger rolling McLay. In 1984 there was a three way vote on the leadership but it included the imcumbent leader Muldoon so not a true open contest.

1974 was Muldoon rolling Marshall. So really the last open one was 1972 when Muldoon and Marshall both stood to replace Holyoake.

Before that 1957 was uncontested with Holyoake replacing Holland. Back in 1940 it was Holland rolling Hamilton. The only other uncontested vote was at the party’s founding in 1936 when Hamilton defeated Wilkinson.

So this is the third open leadership contest in National’s history, and the most contested one with five candidates. This again makes it less likely anyone gets 29 votes on the first ballot, and it may even need four ballots to get a winner.

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