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.

Featured

Meat quota rates remain vital

A jump in the value and volume of New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports to Europe and the UK shows why preserving WTO tariff-rate quotas is so important, claims the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

 

Lamb price down, but not weak

While lamb prices are starting the new season at around 16% below last year’s levels, they are not outright weak, according to the BNZ.

National

It’s all kosher – Taggart

Farmer-owned cooperative Alliance Group says it has already returned $17 million of the $34.3 million it claimed from the Covid-19…

Machinery & Products

JCB releases new loader range

Originally scheduled for a June Fieldays release, which was stymied by the Covid crisis, JCB has recently unveiled its third…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

He's back!

OPINION: This old mutt understands that former Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings has landed himself a new gig back in his…

Utu?

OPINION: Your canine crusader understands that the farmer’s favourite politician – Environment Minister David Parker – not content with implementing…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter