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

Editorial: Looking out for one another

OPINION: There was pin drop silence when former National Party leader Todd Muller recently addresses over 400 farmers at the DairyNZ Farmers Forum in Hamilton.

Quitters?

OPINION: This old mutt wonders what it is about tall, balding, ex-Fonterra executives and their (non) ability to handle life once they leave the safety of the big dairy co-op.

Time for UK to 'walk the talk'

OPINION: One of life’s commercial shibboleths is that one should be wary of going into business with close friends because emotion is always involved.

The day blue turned red — Editorial

OPINION: The result of the election result was not a surprise, but the extent of National’s demise probably was to many blue MP’s who lost their seats.

National

Machinery & Products

Made in NZ... Hansen Products

Made in New Zealand looks at the wealth of design and manufacturing ability we have in this country, producing productive…

New models mark seventh decade

Celebrating its 70th year – and having already released the fifth generation A Series in January – Valtra has just…

Kubota's new autumn offerings

Kubota, which is gaining traction in the agricultural sector with an ever-broadening portfolio, has announced some additions for autumn.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Good wicket

OPINION: This old mut would like to tip his hat to the Government for its move to extend pay freezes…

Get real

OPINION: A mate of the Hound's reckons recent over-the-top coverage about Lake Hawea station owners Geoff and Justine Ross as…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter