Duncan Garner: How is 'Mr Nothing to See Here' Todd Muller going to beat Jacinda Ardern?

Opinion 05/06/2020

OPINION: The AM Show co-host, Duncan Garner

What on earth was Todd Muller thinking?

I think his genuinely small ego got the better of him, so he took the job of leading The National Party.

But it's been cringeworthy.

Leading the Opposition is the worst job in New Zealand and the bad news for Muller keeps on giving.

The latest poll has Labour on 56.5 percent and National slumping further to just 26. The last time National was that low was in December 2002, when Bill English was in charge.

How ominous for Muller - perhaps he's on track to emulate English who took National to a record defeat in 2002.

Worryingly, Muller has identified English as the politician he most admires. Is Muller the new Bill English?

But Muller is a liberal, more likely to vote with Jacinda Ardern on social issues than English.

Despite the conservative look, Muller doesn't overtly follow an ideology, nor does he have any stand-out principles.

In short; boring, safe, and bland. So how on earth does "Mr Nothing to Really See Here" beat Ardern, who is riding so high post-COVID-19 she's on another planet?

Sure, her Cabinet is weak and her Government's record is like witnessing middle-aged people jelly wrestling.

But it seems she may be unbeatable. New data from Kiwiblog's David Farrar shows she has a much greater chance of reelection than her fellow Prime Ministers in Canada, Australia, the UK, and a much higher chance than US President Donald Trump.

Really?

Jacindamania is alive and well and Muller needs more work. Ardern won't want us to focus on those behind her like Twyford, Davis, Clark, and Lees-Galloway.

Yet, despite the baggage, it's hard to see how she loses the election from here, and therein lies the reality for National - Muller isn't there to win. He's there to save the jobs of his MPs and to get enough of them in Parliament to run an Opposition; enough staff to do research.

It's baby steps. He just needs to keep the party alive.