OPINION: It’s the end of the week and while most of us are winding down and looking forward to a relaxing weekend, those in the National Party won’t be.
Instead of chilling with the family or relaxing at the beach or doing some shopping, National MPs will be madly hitting the phones and crunching the numbers.
The party is in disarray.
Actually, disarray is probably not a strong enough word.
Kamikaze Collins has obliterated it.
Her coup-stopping dirt on Bridges backfired, she was ousted, the party imploded and from the debris is now a scramble for the leadership from a number of contenders.
Those contenders will now be building their cases.
They’ll be building their teams too - the ones who will rally around them, and lobby for them.
MPs’ phones will be running hot all weekend.
They’ll need a battery pack to keep those phones charged.
Those on the fence will be getting it from all sides - Bridges in one ear, Luxon in the other, and probably copping it from Nicola Willis, and Mark Mitchell, and Chris Bishop too.
There will be deals too, portfolios promised if you support this person, or ministerial roles if you support the other.
There will be spreadsheets, with a YES column and a NO column. The most important column is the MAYBE one.
It’s a brutal game. But it’s politics.
Some contenders will realise they’ve got no hope, and they’ll fall on their swords.
Others won’t fall on their swords, and instead risk humiliation in caucus.
Parties always claim to be united and on the same page.
But leadership spills, and leadership races are divisive.
Candidates are fiercely argued over. It’s a ruthless examination of what they bring. Too white? Too conservative? Too liberal? Too boring? Too christian? Not enough kids? Not married? Divorced? Too controversial?
Who can be sold to the public the best? Who’s most marketable? Who’s a great talker? Who can beat Ardern?
It’s a stripping back of all the layers and it can be very brutal.
The contenders will hit the phones and lobby MPs. They’ll make their cases, give their vision for the party and for the country, they’ll sell themselves, and they’ll make promises.
And it’ll last all weekend, and all the way up until caucus on Tuesday.
It’s a brutal process.
But it’s politics - it begs the question: why the heck would anyone go into it?
Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk.