Mr Affable, am I getting that right? The "most decent person" his deputy Nikki Kaye says she's ever met. No nonsense, too, smart as a tack and very determined.
Just in passing, how splendid that politics, at least for now, is firmly in the hands of people who have studied the arts and humanities. Todd Muller's degree is in politics and history. Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson, Paul Goldsmith, they're all tainted. I love it.
Muller quoted the New Zealand poet Allen Curnow in a Herald interview this week, that famous bit about the child who will "learn the trick of standing upright here". He misquoted it slightly, but knew that he had and said so. There's a lot in that: the proud use of a local cultural reference, the power of the image and what it means, the self-reflection as he speaks, the honesty to admit the mistake.
So is National now ready to lead us into the promised land? I don't know. Literary allusions aside, the party wants us to think it's strong on business and yet very few on its front bench have business experience.
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Muller himself does. He flew high at Fonterra, the corporate with the worst culture of pigs-in-the-trough salaries, worst record of environmental damage and, adding injury to insult, worst profit-and-loss record in this country. I reckon a good school teacher learns more useful skills for political leadership than a Fonterra manager.
His main message now is that National has the better team to lead the economic recovery and rebuild. What nonsense. In its last nine years in government, National failed to plan for almost anything, and especially for the risk factors staring it in the face: poverty, population growth and climate change.
It ran down the public service, most obviously in health, where it spent less, as a proportion of GDP, every year from 2010. In Auckland, it allowed both housing and transport to become deeply dysfunctional. It simply did not know how to look ahead. National is a case study in not good economic management.
As others have noted, in times of major economic crisis – like the Great Depression of the 1930s and after World War II – it's the centre-left that has proved itself able to rebuild economies and societies. When the centre-right has a go – after the 1987 crash, say – they've made things worse. Here and around the world. Sorry, but it is what it is.
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So what is Todd Muller's National Party now? What have they got? They can't promise tax cuts – nothing would be more irresponsible. For poor Simon Bridges, the answer was law and order, but Bill English before him had another answer: social investment.
His plan was to use big data to reinvent welfare. Put the focus on practical measures to improve the lives of those who needed it most. It's harder to do than you'd think, as he discovered, but it's a serious political programme.
Muller has given social investment to Louise Upston, ranked 8 in the shadow cabinet. Upston impresses her colleagues in ways that remain mysterious to the rest of us, but then, she is not alone on either side of the house for that.
The real power lies with Amy Adams, raised from the dead all the way to number 3. Adams used to be in charge of social investment under English and now has the title of "Covid-19 recovery spokesperson". Her actual job is far bigger: Muller has put her in charge of all policy development.
On Monday he called her "one of the most extraordinary people I've ever worked with". That is, in passing, a scathing put-down of Bridges, who could not keep her in the team at all.
Both Labour and National will roll out their rebuild proposals in the coming weeks. Will either have valuable things to say about welfare? I sure hope so.
Let's be clear that the rebuild will not be about who can "read a balance sheet". All last week we were told that Todd Muller knows how to do this, like it's his superpower.
Duh. It's not hard to read a balance sheet. But the phrase doesn't mean what it says: "knows how to read" is code for "knows how to spot opportunity", which in turn is often code for "knows how to plunder".
That's a Christmas-bonus skill right there, if you're running a corporation with shareholders who demand greater profit every quarter. But that's such a pernicious function of corporate life and it is not, absolutely not, the core measure of good government.
"Reading a balance sheet" so easily translates into, "Don't bother me now with your climate crisis and your low wages and job losses, I've got some money to make."
There's a better way to measure the economic management skills of National and Labour.
It's revealed in their ability to rise to the challenges we face now, which include but are not limited to: climate crisis, poverty, sovereignty and national security, building resilient communities, the tech revolution, creating new economic opportunities, reducing inequality and making our society both fairer and more just.
And, obviously, strengthening the health system and managing us all through the pain of pandemic recovery.
Labour has not yet demonstrated it can do this. Nor has National. Bring on those rebuild programmes.
Meanwhile, one week in, the big thing we have learned about Muller is that he has a tin ear. Why is that? The absence of Māori from his front bench and his attempt to cling to his MAGA hat are two aspects of the same problem: culturally, he's in lala land.
He's not a closet Trump fan, but it took him an age to grasp that sometimes a souvenir is not just a souvenir. He told us he has talent to burn all through his caucus, but couldn't find a way to put a single talented Māori near the top.
Muller presents as a wealthy, successful, middle-aged white man who thinks the only important things in the world are the things he cares about. He can't understand why anyone makes a fuss about anything else.
What price his "decency" in the face of that? Will Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams stamp it out of him or will he treat them as window-dressing?
Have you noticed? National is rather good at putting up a "good man", with women standing by, beaming supportively, while he talks about family.
"Family" is Muller's slogan. I'd be fine with that if it meant dealing to the things that are most damaging to family: domestic violence, bad housing, low incomes, poor health. Poverty. And if "family" wasn't shorthand for patriarchal nuclear family.
Cool, bring it on. But is that what the affable Mr Muller really means? So looking forward to finding out.