Former Speaker elected on National’s board – now David Carter wants presidency

Former Speaker of the House and Minister, and now National presidential hopeful, David Carter has been elected by delegates to the party’s board.

He joins Rachel Bird and Peter Goodfellow, who were both re-elected – Grant McCallum has missed out.

Goodfellow is the sitting president of the National Party – a position he has held for 11 years.

But he is facing a challenge from Carter, who hopes to unseat Goodfellow in a vote later tonight.

Both Carter and Goodfellow have been lobbying delegates for support for weeks.

In a flyer to members, Carter told National’s faithful that changes at the board level are needed or “we risk history repeating itself”.

Goodfellow – who is the longest-serving president in National’s history – addressed supporters directly this morning in a set-piece speech.

He took aim at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, saying the election was all about “a race of celebrity leadership”.

He referred to the 1pm press conferences, often fronted by Ardern, as “televangelist – like gospel to the masses”.

“Democracy, for a period of time, gave way to temporary tyranny.”

That was the reality in a “Jacindamania world”, Goodfellow said.

He then turned to the media, calling some of the coverage of the election “infectious, click-bait journalism”.

Speaking to party faithful at the AGM, National leader Judith Collins was mostly forward-looking but she did take time to reflect on National’s election loss.

“While the country was focused on the Covid-19 challenge this year, I felt the National Party was far too focused on itself,” she said.

“We did not spend enough time talking about the things that matter to New Zealanders. The consequence of that can be seen in our election result and our reduced caucus.”

Going forward, she said the only way the party will recover is by being united and sticking to its values of individual freedom, personal responsibility, limited government and equal citizenship and opportunity.

National also needs to present itself as an “inspiring alternative”, to put forward bold ideas and to set the agenda.

But, above all else, Collins said National “need to listen”.

“We have three years to do this work and to bring New Zealanders on board with our vision, to be bold, and to give New Zealanders a reason to vote blue.

“Three years will come and go very quickly. There is much work to do to come back stronger. But we have done it before and will do it again. New Zealand needs us to.”

Speaking to media after her speech, she said National needed to focus on the people – “that’s who are voting for us”.

“Everything we talk about needs to be focused on the people, less about ourselves, more about the people.”

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