Claire Trevett writes:
But Luxon’s first press conference as National Party leader showed why Key had such confidence in him. He was assured and answered most questions succinctly and with confidence.
His first speech could almost have been delivered by Key.
It spoke of Luxon’s belief that while New Zealand was small, it had ambition. It spoke of opportunities and prosperity. There was even a reference to boats. In an interview afterward, his answers on the economy and debt could also have been delivered by Key.
He was inevitably asked about his religion – it is pointed to as a liability for him, mainly by those who sit on the other side of politics but also some in his own tent.
It will be to Luxon what the “rich prick investment banker” tag was to Key – always there but as time passes it will become increasingly irrelevant unless his religion does indeed intrude on his politics.
The target of his first speech was clear in his reference to the 413,000 voters National had lost since the last election.
He told them he would win them back. He is not John Key, but on his first day he certainly put on a good impression of being Key – and that may not be a bad thing.
It could give him a chance of hauling back those old National voters who will see him as representing the stable National they used to know in the Key days – not the fetid mess it has become since.
Luxon was very good yesterday. It was the right mixture of ambition for the future, while pointing out the current failures.
National now has a great opportunity to attract back traditional supporters and even gain those who voted for Labour on the basis of their promises, and have realised they have no capacity to deliver.