I lunched with the Prime Minister on Friday.
It was an intimate gathering – just John Key, Deputy PM Bill English, MPs Jacqui Dean, Eric Roy & Michael Woodhouse . . .
. . . National Party President Peter Goodfellow, board member Kate Hazlett, a hundred and something others & me.
One of the privileges of being a member of a political party is the opportunity to chat to MPs and to listen to them talk more freely than they do in public with the media present.
No-one was giving away state secrets, but we did get some of the stories behind the stories and enjoyed the banter between John & Bill.
After lunch I indulged in a little retail therapy. The shop assistant at my first stop asked me what I’d been doing. When I told her I’d been lunching with the PM, she said, “Gosh you’re lucky, he always seems like such a lovely bloke.”
I agreed with her on both counts.
John took the opportunity while in Duneidn to visit the Forsyth Barr stadium which is under construction and to which the government has contributed $15 million. While there he and Michael were recorded by the ODT doing the stadium’s first Mexican wave.
Alastair Bell, Kate Hazlett and Pat Seymour have been voted on to the National Party board and sitting members Scott Simpson and Grant McCallum were re-elected.
Eight people had been seeking one of the five vacancies.
Those elected today plus sitting directors Roger Bridge and Peter Goodfellow will elect a new President tomorrow morning.
Eight people have been nominated for five places on the National Party board.
Normally two or three places come up by rotation each year but the resignation of President Judy Kirk and two other directors, Wyatt Creech and Craig Myles has created two extra vacancies.
Sitting members Grant McCallum and Scott Simpson are seeking re-election. the other nominess are: Alastair Bell, Dennis Catchpole, Wira Gardiner, Kate Hazlett, Bruce Mills, Pat Seymour.
I’m pleased that two of the candidates who have the skills and personality to make very useful contributions as directors also happen to be women.
Kate served as Southern Regional chair for six years and was an electorate chair before that. Pat is East Coast electorate chair and a former national president of Plunket.
The election will take place at the annual conference on Augsut 1 and will use preferential voting.
Whaleoil gives his views on the candidates here.
I’m not sure why he’s only lukewarm about Kate. I was her deputy when she was Regional Chair and couldn’t fault her leadership.
When she took over National held only one of six seats in the region and had one list MP. In the next election (2005) National held the seat it already had, won three more and kept the list MP. Last year boundary changes reduced the region to five seats. National increased its majority in the three it held, increased its party vote in all seats, got one list MP and should another list MP resign it will get one more.
Under Kate’s leadership party membership grew and the region always contributed more than its share to the party’s finances.