The latest Newshub Reid Research Poll has brought depressing new for the National Party.
It took a massive hit recording just 41.6%, its lowest in 12 years; whereas its rival, the Labour Party, rose sharply with its rating placed at 47.5%.
Nothing could be worse than National Leader Simon Bridges’ preferred Prime Minister status dropping to a woeful 5%, almost 2% less than his colleague Judith Collins.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Poll has a error of 3.5% plus or minus, political pundits are of the view that it may be time for National to burn its Bridges.
That is the bane of being in the Opposition, especially for National, which is ironically still the single largest Party in Parliament. But the nature of MMP is such that even one seat matters and National does not have the numbers to reoccupy the Treasury benches.
In his book, ‘How to Be in Opposition: Life in the Political Shadows,’ author Nigel Fletcher said that the most successful leaders are those who have adopted a systematic formula for repositioning their party to reconnect with the electorate.
It is often said that everyone has hindsight and that even the uninitiated becomes an expert in a post-mortem analysis.
But opposition can be a miserable job in politics: under-resourced, demoralised and ignored, shadow ministers nevertheless have to fulfil the important job of keeping government honest, all the time preparing to take power themselves one day. It is an often thankless task, with very little support and no handbook to tell you how to do it. Until now.
The worst and most unfortunate casualty was Bill English, whose surprise decision to step down from the leadership of the Party sent ripples of anxiety among its rank and file. But from his point of view, it was a decision taken at the right time, owning responsibility for his Party’s debacle at the 2017 polls.
Such self-examination is imperative if National has to resurrect itself and be a strong Opposition and hope to regain power.