Tuesday, 14 July 2020 10:20

Muller melts after 53 days

Written by  David Anderson
Todd Muller was National's leader for just 53 days. Todd Muller was National's leader for just 53 days.

National Party leader Todd Muller's short stint as leader is over.

Less than two months, and just 53 days, since taking over the leadership from Simon Bridges, Muller resigned from the role this morning.

Muller, a former executive at Zespri and Fonterra, was first elected as the Bay of Plenty MP at the 2014 general election – taking over the seat from former longstanding MP and high-ranking minister in the Key government Tony Ryall.

Muller spent his first term in parliament (2014-17) as a backbench MP in the Key/English administration. He held his Bay of Plenty seat at the 2017 election and moved into opposition, with the formation of the Labour/NZ First/Green coalition.

He was given the climate change role in opposition and then took over as spokesman role for primary industries in August last year when former agriculture minister Nathan Guy announced his intention to retire from politics. 

Muller’s strong agribusiness background saw him warmly welcomed, across the sector, into the role. However, his time in the role was only short and in May this year, Muller mounted a challenge for the National Party leadership – ousting Simon Bridges. 

However, his 8-week stint in the role was dominated by media claims of gaffes and hiccups – including controversy over the lack of diversity on his front bench, resignations of long serving MPs, and last week’s fiasco about leaking of private health details by Southland MP Hamish Walker – which led to the latter’s deselection as a candidate and eventual decision to stand down at the election.

This morning, Muller announced he was quitting the leadership for health reasons, plunging the National Party into turmoil just 67 days before the general election. In a statement Muller said he was stepping down as leader "effective immediately" claiming he was "not the best person" to be leader.

The National party caucus is due to meet tonight and it is expected to elect a new leader then. Judith Collins is favoured to win the ballot.

More like this

Nats hit the rural hustings

National’s Waikato team of David Bennett and Tim van der Molen have been spreading the party word at a series of farmer meetings around the region.

Court case dilemma

The recent court case involving sharemilker Tony Kuriger, the son of a National MP, has created “a concerning precedent”.


Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.


Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter