Prominent right-wing blogger and long-time supporter of John Key Cameron Slater has ditched his support for National – and he hasn’t left quietly.
Slater has deep links within the party, claiming to be a personal friend of former leadership contender Judith Collins and boasts outgoing Prime Minister John Key in his mobile contacts. His father, John Slater, served as President of the National Party in the later months of the Shipley government and left when Bill English first became leader in 2001.
Despite this, Slater the younger is also no fan of the centre-minded English. He’s come out lashing, accusing the Prime Minister designate of “bullying” MPs into supporting him.
Slater wrote on his blog WhaleOil “[English] has threatened MPs still waiting on selections that they would be rinsed if they didn’t declare, he’s promised others jobs, and now the retribution will start.”
“We are back to 2002” he added, citing English’s humiliating election defeat that year.
“For my part I can no longer support the National party that is led by Bill English. I expect an immediate tanking in the polls”.
Slater also added that the leadership contest had opened “deep divisions inside National” and that English would “make Andrew Little look dynamic”.
For many on the right Judith Collins represented a last gasp at reclaiming the leadership in this term of government. Collins had promised a ‘tough on crime’ style of leadership, one that has earned her the nickname ‘the crusher’ as a cabinet minister. Collins also promised radical changes to the Resource Management Act.
Collins pulled out of the leadership contest Thursday afternoon as it became clear Bill English had more than the 30 required MPs supporting him in his bid, leaving only 14 MPs to be divided between her and fellow challenger Jonathan Coleman.
Bill English will be sworn in as the 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand on Monday, when John Key formally resigns the position.
Cameron Slater was the subject of a major controversy during the 2014 election campaign following the publishing of Nick Hager’s Dirty Politics. The book claimed to expose an operation between right-wing bloggers like Slater and the Prime Minister’s office, but it did not cause National any major harm in the polls.
Most controversially Slater has described earthquake victims as “scum”, and once penned an article titled “Feral dies in Greymouth: does world a favour” following the death of a young man in a car crash.
– Bennett Morgan, Capital HardTalk.