Pity Simon Bridges, he knows not what he believes. Judith Collins knows. She believes she should be leader.
New polls out have seen Bridges quickly taking on the appearance of Andrew Little, with a dismal 9 per cent of New Zealand seeing him as preferred Prime Minister in the Newshub Reid-Research poll, and 12 per cent in the TV1 Colmar Brunton poll.
There's a lot of reasons why Bridges may be struggling to connect with New Zealanders. And most of them come in pairs.
He promised us he was the new environmentally friendly face of the Nats but then crapped the bed when Labour announced a long-drawn-out exit from oil and gas exploration. He told us he represented the fresh new 21st century National Party but also voted against marriage equality and thinks the current abortion laws are just fine thanks. He kept telling us that Labour was a tax and spend party but then accused them of not spending enough after the Budget. Simon vs Bridges would make for quite the battle.
I'm not going to attribute his appalling rating to his accent because that's ridiculous and belittling to those of us who shorten our vowel sounds. Besides, John Key once referred to people making allegations as "alligators" and that didn't hurt him.
No, it is more likely the incoherency and inconsistency that is damaging Bridges. Every day in the house when him and his quiffed hair leap to their feet, ready to hold the Prime Minister to account through the artful act of questioning her, he barrels through about 18,000 different topics without seeming to focus on anything. It's the dog that barks at every single passing car. Except this dog likes to rock Brylcreem and doesn't want gay people to get married. Hair product and values from the 1950s.
The Nats are still polling well as a party which is lucky for them. Though Labour is still well up on its election night result. And in this day and age, leaders seem to count more and more. Our current PM is a great example of this. Her message was just a kinder version of the same message that Little was peddling and yet she got Labour into Government when Little risked relegating Labour to minor-party status.
This isn't a new phenomenon either. Don Brash didn't suddenly pick up new ideas and run with them when he became National's leader. He just had the paternalistic personality to deliver the racist, separatist arguments that National in the mid-2000s was preaching and so he was able to take National to the cusp of Government while Bill English v1.0 could barely manage 21 per cent.
The appearance of Collins in the preferred Prime Minister's poll is interesting. Having a personality as large as hers looming over you is terrifying at the best of times. And for Bridges, now is not the best of times. It's destabilising for any party leader to have someone ready and waiting while your numbers look weak. Just ask Phil Goff. And David Shearer. And David Cunliffe. And Little.
Some of this could be down to the fact that National doesn't really have a policy platform beyond "not Labour" which is very similar to Labour's "not National" policy they ran from 2008-2017, and when you're the delivery boy of the "not them" policy, it doesn't reflect well.
It's unlikely Bridges' position is under threat while his party polls so high, but if he can't get an alternative government to poll ahead of the current one then Collins may seize her opportunity.
David Cormack is the co-founder of communications and PR firm, Draper Cormack Group. He has worked for the Labour Party, the Green Party and for National.