National accuses Labour of leading ‘celebrity government’

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National Party president Peter Goodfellow has led a tirade against the Labour government, accusing it of tyranny and calling it a “celebrity government”.

More than 550 people have turned out for the National Party's AGM at Te Papa in Wellington.

National leader Judith Collins took the stage to a standing ovation. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

More than 550 people have turned out for the National Party’s Annual General Meeting at Te Papa in Wellington.

The fate of the National Party’s president Peter Goodfellow following a disastrous election result will be decided today.

He, along with South Island board member Rachel Bird, are both seeking re-election at the annual general meeting in Wellington.

Three board positions are up for grabs and four people, including Goodfellow and Bird, are in contention.

In a speech, Goodfellow began by thanking leader Judith Collins saying members “couldn’t be prouder” of her, to which the room clapped.

Goodfellow then went on to both praise and slam the Labour government’s Covid-19 response and election campaign.

He said “reasoned debate became treasonous” during the campaign and it was a race of celebrity.

Goodfellow then went on to “give credit where credit is due” and praised Jacinda Ardern for her clear communication over the Covid-19 crisis.

In nearly the same breath, he characterised the daily Covid-19 updates as being “televangelistic”.

He finished his speech with a call for the National Party to rebuild and reunite over the next three years.

Leader Judith Collins took the stage next to a standing ovation.

She began by thanking the outgoing MPs and the party members, then turned her attention to the next three years.

“We must give New Zealanders a reason to vote for us,” she said.

“We must be bold and inclusive.

“We need to listen,” Collins said.

She said National will be a robust opposition that will hold this government to account.

“New Zealand needs us to do this.”

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