National in 'very, very dark place' - Patrick Gower

  • 25/10/2017

Newshub political editor Patrick Gower warns National is in a "very, very dark place" and leader Bill English might not make it to the next election.

Speaking to AM Show host Duncan Garner on Wednesday, Gower said National would struggle as Opposition.

"At the moment, Bill English is the right person to be there, but three years is a long, long way away," Gower said.

"I also want to come up with a different analysis to many people, regarding the National Party. All this talk about it being this great big strong Opposition because it's got such big numbers is actually a bit of nonsense.

"The key word in all of that is 'Opposition'. National has no power - it has no friends.

"It's on 44 percent and it has absolutely maxxed that out, due to a sublime performance by Bill English on the campaign trail and a scare campaign that was actually based on a couple of really big lies."

Gower said there was no clear path back into power for National, due to its lack of coalition partners.

"National has got nowhere to go, in my view, above 44 percent," he said.

"It is way off having any kind of majority, now that New Zealand First is clearly a centre-left party with a $3 billion fund to go and take votes off National in the regions.

"What does National do from here, Duncan? It has to take out NZ First, it has to hope NZ First crumbles and fails.

"What you will see, in my view, is actually a strong Opposition galvanising the three-way coalition or grouping over on the other side."

The last time Mr English was Leader of the Opposition - in 2003 - he was rolled by challenger Don Brash. Gower believes the election loss will hit National hard.

"I actually wouldn't want to be National at the moment," Gower said."National is in a very, very dark place and I would not want to be the leader of it."