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Bridges edges Collins as 2nd favourite to replace Key

Justice Minister Judith Collins has taken a hit over the Oravida controversy - at least in the eyes of iPredict punters.

According to the Victoria University political marketplace, Ms Collins’ chances of being the next National Party leader have fallen sharply, with just 20% probability of succeeding Mr Key, down from 30% last week. 

Steven Joyce is the main winner, with 43% probability of being the next leader, up from 37% probability last week. 

The other big winner from Ms Collins’ weakening position is Simon Bridges, who moves into the second-favourite position, with 23% probability of succeeding Mr Key compared with 13% last week.

The Prime Minister initially defended Ms Collins after it emerged she visited Oravida - a company of which her husband is a director - and endorsed its product during a taxpayer-funded trip to China last October.

But yestday, after it was revealed Ms Collins had also had dinner with the milk company's head, and a Chinese government official, Mr Key said the perception of conflict of interest was "unacceptable".

The PM said while the Justice Minister had not breached the Cabinet Manual, ""I wouldn't want to be in her shoes if there was a repeat of it."

Chipper for Nats overall
The Collins controversy aside, National’s political position has significantly strengthened this week, according to the combined wisdom of the more than 7000 registered iPredict traders.

The party now has over 70% probability of leading the next government, with or without the backing of Winston Peters’ NZ First Party which is now within a whisker of the 5% threshold.  

Labour is on 31.71%, down from 32.14 last week.  The Green Party’s expected vote has recovered to 9.74%, compared with 8.96% last week.

Of smaller parties, NZ First is again expected to narrowly miss out on the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system when parties’ likely support is adjusted to sum to 100%, but continues to creep up.  Winston Peters’ party is expected to win 4.97% of the party vote, up from 4.94% last week and 4.92% the week before.

The Conservative Party is back to 3.73% from 4.15% last week.

ACT  is now below 2%.  The party is now forecast to win 1.72% of the party vote, compared with 2.18% last week, 2.86% the week before, 2.10% three weeks ago and 2.30% four weeks ago.

Popularity of potential Cunliffe replacements
The market now indicates a 76% probability that David Cunliffe will depart as leader of the Labour Party by the end of 2015 (up from 71% last week, 62% the week before and 59% three weeks ago).  There is an 80% chance he will depart by the end of 2016 (up from 77% last week, 73% the week before and 70% three weeks ago).

Grant Robertson’s chances of succeeding Mr Cunliffe have recovered to 50% this week, up from 40% last week. Jacinda Ardern remains second favourite with 18% probability, up from 17% last week.  Shane Jones is on 15% probability, up from 14% last week and Andrew Little is on 13%, up from 11%.

When will Key hang up his hat?
In National, there remains a 36% probability John Key will depart as leader before the end of 2015 (steady), a 60% probability he will depart by the end of 2016 (down from 63% last week) and an 80% probability he will depart by the end of 2017 (down from 82% last week).

Comments and questions
28

Bridges models himself on Key. He tries to talk like him, copies his mannerisms and even avoid answering questions in the same arrogant way. But he is not JK and will only ever be a poor imitation - not that NZ needs another one - one was bad enough!

If Bridges is a serious contender to replace Key, now that the voters have seen how Collins dismisses a clear conflict of interest - she is so egocentric she can't even see what she has done wrong, the Nats are clearly in trouble.

clearly in trouble? polling high 40s and with cunliffe and labour as the opposition???

Is that you David? Hiding behind the name "Sarki" seems silly...!

If you seriously dismiss Sarki's comments so easily and really think Bridges will appeal voters in the same way as Key, you are way, way out of touch with New Zealand voters.

I thought it was Rodney Hide.

For the sake of consistency and even-handed treatment, I wonder, if John Key will encourage Pansy Wong to get elected into Parliament again, so he can put things right with her. He was very quick to throw her into the fire, but rushes for the fire extinguisher at the first sign of rising smoke coming from Judith Collins.

Hes just so "Prissy"
Lacks maturity and wisdom required to be a leader of NZ.

Collins and Bridges? Are they really the only choices?!

I can't decide whether to laugh or cry.

National Party is running out of a capable successor...

At least the "Nats" don't change their leader every 100 days, the "Nats" are as sound as the pommie pound!!
Look at the current Labour leader, he has tried really hard to get dumped the last couple of weeks, but the "Red" Kindergarten has run out of Graduates!!!

Bridges would be a great choice. He doesnt have the bully boy persona of Collins or Joyce and will appeal widely to the voting public. He also untainted.

Key needs to at least demote Collins out of Cabinet and show he is a strong leader.

Bridges would be death for National. Youth - yes. Arrogance - no.

Good one Sarki. They must tremble from fear of losing the election with every new poll showing their dire position.

What Minister of Justice - Judith Collins did - was not a 'perceived conflict of interest' - it was a REAL conflict of interest.

In my considered opinion, as an anti-corruption campaigner, who has now attended three international anti-corruption conferences, listened to the experts, met the experts, studied the literature, and applied what I know to the New Zealand situation, I am sad to say that New Zealand is rotten with corruption, particularly at the highest levels.

If 'all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' - then God help us if Judith Collins ever became Prime Minister!

If Prime Minister John Key does not sack her forthwith - from Parliament, never mind Cabinet, then, in my considered opinion, he too is guilty of a corrupt cover-up, and he too, is NOT 'fit for duty'.

What worries me is that she said she was only having dinner with personal friends. Is the border control Chinese official (who was at the dinner with her) a personal friend?

Pay your rates Penny.

Well said. Why will Collins not name the offical.....because China is cracking down on corruption and this person would be at serious risk. China at least is trying.

Three interactions with one company. How many other companies did she visit. How many did she turn down. In asia perception is important her presence is important. So she would know it benefited her husband and very good friends.

So is it a conflict of interests if you accept council services yet don't pay rates?

no

I do not think he can "sack her from Parliament." This year he will not sack anyone as it's election time.

Bridges as National leader? Sounds like complete spin to me. Bridges is no John Key or Steven Joyce. Looks like someone is believing the self-promoting hype that comes out of the Women's Weekly puff piece about Bridges.

i could certainly see Bridges as a Liberal leader in Australia. Key is little more than the ventriloquist dummy for English and Joyce. Or so , it seems, for now , it seems, Key finds Collins so distasteful that maybe he'll drop her.
Banks, Collins and Tolley operate on the basis of contempt for the electorate and constituion. They have a patronising attitude and treat the public like a criminal court jury from which anyone of intelligence has been challenged and purged.

So do you think all of this is Bridges inspired to test the market (so to speak)?

Given Collins and Cunliffe are both Harvard alumni and both seem to have a habit of regularly being economical with the truth in conjunction with overwhelming hubris, can one stand to reason that there is something in the water at Cambridge Massachusetts or is it simply a trait identified and required at admissions time?

David Cunliffe and Shane Jones both have Masters from the Kennedy School of Govt at Harvard University. The list of distinguished alumni on wik, lists them as both holding Masters of Public Administration, David Cunliffe claims however, it a Master of Business Management on his wiki, I believe. Judith Collins only appears to have attended this Massachusetts, university for an executive leadership course, two or three weeks of buffets and drinkies, doutbless.

If this is all that National's pundits can dredge up,the country is in a dire state!
Surely there is someone out there who has the capacity (and dare I say,integrity) to be a leader??
The last two have let us down badly; is there still hope?
paleo

Its clear ro me that rhe Chinese should treat Oravida with some concern.
It seems if you partake of this product you may become self delusional, bicker with colleagues over their clothes sense, be forgetful of recent events and a host of other symptoms which should certainly preclude you from running a bath let alone a political party.

Penny Bright is right. We are now far from a corruption-free country. PM Key is perceived to be as smooth and slippery as an eel. Multimillionaires are buying their way into this country, cosying up to government ministers who are bending the immigration rules to oblige.

Meantime, Pacific Islanders' free entry is over-loading us and causing us problems, and hard-working English immigrants, including family people investing their own savings in enterprising new businesses, are being told if to go home they don't make enough money in two years.

This is a disgraceful business. Our present government is seen as undemocratic, dictatorial and now basically corrupt. The Big Boys rule, OK?

For example? NZErs have no say in List-only, never even-elected(!) Chris Finlayson's handing over hundreds of millions of dollars to tribes inventing new, unsubstantiated grievances. Not a squeak from the mainstream media... And the government is permitting very wealthy Communist Chinese-backed individuals and corporations to buy up our housing stock and rent it out to desperate families - while gradually mopping up this country's businesses.

The Govt and OIO have even now given a Chinese owned business- the right to buy and own Synlait - and to actually buy Crown land- which belongs to all New Zealanders! What fools we are. Land isn't available for sale to anyone in China...

It's too late to trying to justify this and doze on. New Zealanders are being robbed of their land, the possibility of owning their own houses, and driven out of business.

And now, our ruler John Key has another agenda: He want to change the flag. no wonder. Apparently he is very uneasy about what it actually stands for.

No wonder - those links with the past, with our forebears and their values - what this government is seen as bent on discarding.

Heaven help us. Labour are no better. In fact it's only the politician that the adolescents of the media most love to condescend to, Winston Peters, who articulates so well what has happened to this country.

We've nearly lost it all. It serves us right if we do - because those who could and should are not fronting up on these issues.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. The Swiss people would never put up with their government selling out the country.