Dr Liz Gordon – Treat her bad, be mad: National’s election strategy


Looking at the weekend’s press releases from National, there is a clear theme coming through.  One from Michael Woodhouse was entitled: “This government can’t be trusted with anything”.  One from Todd Muller-Whitebread says “Labour can’t and won’t deliver anything”.

These are bold statements and a long way away from the persona of the friendly, straightforward and fair guy who took over leadership of the National Party.

Meanwhile, Michael Woodhouse is playing the angry man card at every opportunity. He needs to tone it down a bit.  In his press release ‘cannot be trusted with anything’, he finishes by saying:

Something as simple as keeping confidential information confidential should not be a difficult task, but if there is anything we have learnt from this shambolic Government it is that they cannot be trust (sic) with anything.

I have a major problem with Woodhouse’s language here. It is abusive. Woodhouse is scarily angry. To me, he sounds like the angry man who has had a few, gets home at night and chastises his wife because his dinner is cold.  “You can’t be trusted with anything”. And far too often such messages are accompanied by intimidation or even violence in the home.  

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Because Muller and Woodhouse are doing this in tandem, I think I smelleth a strategy.  Is it possible that National has been zooming with the angry young(ish) men of Crosby Textor? And do you think the instructions have been to bring Jacinta down to size, treat her just like the Sheila next door, bully her a bit? Diminish her just for being a woman, and her party for being led by one.

And, just to make it not personal, not real abuse, do not name her at all. Blank her out, while unleashing the tirades of anger at her.

Whatever the reason, there is no room for this kind of snarling nastiness. If you think I am being fanciful, I have just read Jami-Lee Ross’s account of going after Clare Curran, where he talks about the strategy to bring her down: “Parliament turns normal people into savages.”  Indeed.

The media needs to pull up its socks in this regard. There are two possibilities.  The first is not to report abusive comments. “Now listen here, we are all going to be kind”.  Hah!  Some chance of that.  The second is for the media to interrogate the National Party on what their strategy is. Is the Woodhouse/Muller anger thing just them being blokes of a certain kind, or is it a deliberate ploy to attract back lost voters?

We are entitled to know this.  As my friend Brian Bruce notes in another blog on these pages, there is a massive mismatch between what has actually occurred and the level of criticism coming from National. The government’s nearly perfect response to the Covid pandemic is ignored, but a single woman allowed to pop over the fence to get out of quarantine (what was she thinking?) has them screaming “The sky is falling”.  You would think a dangerous mass murderer had escaped from maximum security. 


Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.


    • countryboy – Bless you. As a mother I was thinking how crushed I’d be were he my son – sick little bully; shocking thing is he’s a parent and role-model- clean people should cross the road if they sight him.

    • And silly little Hamish Walker/ Michelle Boag( although she’s trying to distance herself given the slime that she is) where does this “dirty politics ” end?

  1. Agree 100% with this piece.

    Michael Woodhouse has proven to everyone what sort of human being he is. A despicable one.

    I believe this photograph and all the connotations etc associated with it needs to be put up in lights for every Kiwi to witness.

    Woodhouse himself claims to have little recollection of it. Really? Such diabolical action against a female rival must be common place for him to have little memory of it. I would say confidently that if any other person did such a thing and witnessed the devastation and total humiliation it caused to it’s target, they would NEVER forget it. He also claims there are more important issues confronting NZ at this time than what he did. Really? So we should not concern ourselves with such reprehensible abuse of a female rival because other people are suffering more elsewhere? I don’t think so. Has he not noticed the “Black lives matter” movement and what unfolds when people attempt to divert attention away from the situation by saying “All lives matter?”

    Woodhouse has learned NOTHING, and continues to treat rivals especially female rivals with outrageous contempt. If this is acceptable then let what’s unfolded with this P.O.S just drift off into oblivion and explain to your daughters and granddaughters why it was no big deal.

  2. Total desperation from the Natz. Ha Ha Ha. Their shit is not sticking. The tough guy macho rhetoric does not gel, except with a minority of meatheads. We’ve had a taste of love and kindness and the people like. The Natz are gonna get smashed at the election and they know it. Look at the haunted eyes, you’d think they were all going to be hung at dawn. Ha Ha Ha.

  3. First of about 300 National Party admissions that are needed. First step is always the hardest and National are not known for owning any of their shit. Deny deny deny, deflect deflect deflect along with I can’t recall has been their M.O for many many years. We know it’s faux ownership where they turn their own shit into an attack on the Government but it’s a start.

    You know National are finally moving in the right direction when they admit the “Rock Star Economy” was the biggest con ever inflicted on NZ……I won’t hold my breath.


    National Party admits it sold too many state houses
    Thomas Coughlan
    09:36, Jul 07 2020

    National’s new housing spokesperson has admitted the party was wrong to sell and convert more state houses than it built when it was last in office.

    Nicola Willis, who took the housing portfolio in a recent reshuffle, told RNZ the net reduction in state houses under the last National government showed that governments needed to continue increasing the number of state houses.

    Willis said National sold or converted “a couple of thousand” state homes.

    “I think what we can see from that is yes, the Government needs to build state houses,” she said.

    Willis accepted there was net loss of state houses under National.

    “What I don’t think is that that was good; what I would like to see is the Government continuing to build state houses, that’s absolutely a policy that either National or Labour needs to continue in the years ahead”.

    She said about a thousand of the houses that were sold were moved out of government hands and into community ownership, which she believed was the right thing to do.

    The current Government had continued to use community housing providers.

    Christchurch social housing advocate Stephen McPaike lives in one of 1219 existing council-owned units that have had a heat pump installed so far this year. (First published in May.)
    Willis was speaking on the news that the number of households waiting for state housing had hit a new high.

  4. “This government can’t be trusted with anything”. One from Todd Muller-Whitebread says “Labour can’t and won’t deliver anything”.

    Isn’t this all just based on the evidence of the last three years?

    I fondly remember the days of the ‘rock star economy’, but sadly those days are long gone. 🙁

    • Well if you believe in.the rockstar economy then you believe in a gold coin under your pillow when a tooth falls out or the big man.coming down the chimney at xmas!

    • Dear oh dear Andrew, do you remember the good ole days of Nationals “dirty politics” well, THERE BACK!

      Michelle Boag( although she’s trying to deny she thought the National MP would use the information) leaked the covid 19 private details to Nationals Hamish Walker. He in turn leaked it to his favoured media to make political gain. He has been stripped of his portfolio. Not dismissed, what an effing joke, the most corrupt party in politics is. Now back to Boag, what an absolute troll, she has no credibility( not that she had any) and to stoop as low as she has, stinks to high heaven. Winston Peters may like to talk about her in light of leaked information. So Andrew the National party CAN”T BE TRUSTED ON ANYTHING!

    • National party leader on covid 19 patient leaks…

      “Muller told RNZ the breach was “quite staggering” and “unacceptable”.

      “Is it a deliberate leak or is it accidental? It doesn’t really matter at a level … it’s loose, it’s shabby and it’s a reminder these guys can’t manage important things well.”

      His own minister leaked it! Clearly it doesn’t matter at a level Muller is loose, shabby and a reminder Muller can’t manage important things well. But for Muller to call it “an “error of judgment”, shows you what a loss Simon Bridges is. Who would have thought Bridges had more credibility than Muller. Nothing except Walkers resignation is suffice. Let’s see how Hosking spins this shit!

  5. Looking at evidence, National sold off far too many state houses by their own admission. Based on evidence many New Zealanders are better off financially under Labour than 9 years of Nationals Rockstar economy myth. If you like Rockstar economies please, please migrate to America.
    One from Winston Peter’s ” A Labour government was best placed to handle the social and economic welfare of New Zealanders “2017 Election.

    By the way, can you site evidence for all those that benefitted during the Rockstar years nurses, teachers,health workers, cleaners, beneficiaries etc, or was it just you? Happy to debate.

  6. Come on Liz , this isn’t ‘male anger’ issues or anything like it. What it is a political war. And in warfare your opponents will use any device, ageism, sexism, racism and the like. It doesn’t excuse it , but the aim is to demonize. And women aren’t immune to indulging in it either.

    Tokyo Rose as a good example.

    The idea is to discredit, to win hearts and minds of those so inclined, to destroy. The very crude principles of the propaganda wars. That’s all it is. Soft cop hard cop routine. All we are seeing is a deliberate strategy , which , once recognized, can be countered.

  7. Michael Woodhouse has ‘little recollection’ of it. Clare Curran has been traumatised by it. And bullied out of her career by it. This is an example of sexism writ large in New Zealand society. There would never be a co-existing scenario where female politicians degraded a male politician in the same way. They simply couldn’t. I’m going to leave it at that.

    • whanganuiriver 100% correct

      Well said.

      Have a look at: Guardian News on Youtube

      Former prime minister Julia Gillard’s 2012 ‘misogyny speech’ has been voted the most unforgettable moment of Australian TV history by Guardian readers. Here is the speech in full
      Subscribe to Guardian News on YouTube ► http://bit.ly/guardianwiressub

      Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech voted ‘most unforgettable’ moment in Australian TV history ► https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-ra

      This is accessible on Youtube right now, and shows that women can shame men without having to descend to their level – I’ve watched it three times because it is powerful, empowering, and immensely encouraging for all women – and what good men there are.

      I’m going to leave it at that too – but I needed to see something like this.

  8. Well well well…it seems that Ms Boag and Hamish walker have been caught assisting private health information into the public domain and then blaming labour because it was apparently “easy”…isn’t that the same as a burglar saying that their victim had substandard window locks so they deserved to have their home ransacked?

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