Election 2023: Former ACT Party press secretary Trish Sherson's advice to National as party soars ahead in polls

  • 23/08/2023

Former ACT Party press secretary Trish Sherson has offered advice to National as it pushes to turn around its landslide election loss in 2020.

Sherson, a right-leaning political commentator, told AM National needed to "appear ready to be the Government" before New Zealand headed to the polls in October.

"Of course, they've got to get out their big tax policy which will be important for them and that's not one they can afford to stuff up," she said on Wednesday. "Otherwise, I think it's really just holding the line [and] getting out on the ground - that will be their real advantage over Labour this election."

Based on polling earlier this week, National would get 48 seats - up from 34 - while Labour would lose 28 from its majority win at the last election. 

Sherson said, overall, the "chippies are down" - referring to Labour leader Chris Hipkins' 'Chippy' nickname.

And, while National suffered a massive defeat in 2020, Sherson said there was someone the party's leadership has now that it didn't have then.

"I think what National have on their side this time around is Nicola Willis in that finance role - she had an enormous win around that centrepiece policy of Labour's," Sherson said, referring to Hipkins' promise to remove GST from fruit and vegetables which was leaked to National last month.  

"[Willis] ran that really well to the point where by the time Labour announced it, people were actually saying, 'Are you really still going to announce this?' Because it had been so widely panned.

"I think she will be all across the numbers - no one wants a repeat of Paul Goldsmith's fiscal hole [in 2020]." 

On the whole, Sherson was confident "there's a mood for change".

But Hipkins said on Tuesday the campaign was only just getting started.

"I'm absolutely into this," he told AM. "I'm ready, we're getting out onto the campaign trail and we're going to win."