The hounds of the parliamentary press gallery are smelling Nat blood.
More particularly, they are smelling the blood of National Party leader Judith Collins, who is reported to be shrugging off talk of a leadership challenge.
Poor polls – she contends – are due to her party holding the Government to account.
Holding the Government to account explains why a recent opinion poll shows the party’s popularity sinking to just 21 per cent?
We wonder if something might be missing from that analysis and that inadequately holding the government to account might be a factor in the Nats’ poor poll showing and the rise (comparatively) of ACT and David Seymour.
Whatever one makes of Collins’ reasoning, the National leader has declared a grim determination to stay put and never to resign.
Former leader Simon Bridges, meanwhile, is declaring his disinclination to roll Collins from her job.
The story is told variously in a raft of reports recorded today by Bryce Edwards, who monitors the media for the Democracy Project.
Claire Trevett (Herald): Simon Bridges declares himself a man of no intentions on rolling Judith Collins (paywalled)
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Judith Collins says she will never resign as National Party leader
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): National Party leader Judith Collins says she will never resign, not even if polls dip to record lows
Henry Cooke: (Stuff): Judith Collins won’t resign as National leader – even if polls slip below
20 per cent
At that time she was vying for her party’s leadership in the wake of Bill English’s resignation.
National was polling at about 44.5 per cent in those days.
Collins said Labour had shown what the tipping point was before a leader ran into trouble.
“Once things start getting under 35 per cent people start saying ‘can we win?’ And I know I am putting a mark up there which at some stage in the future, if I am successful this time, that people will say ‘well, you set that mark.
“Yep, let me set that mark.”
We wonder if she had any memory of those remarks when the prospect of a leadership change was portended by the poor poll performance reported under the headline Covid-19 NZ: New poll has National at 21 per cent, ACT not far behind at 15 per cent.