National must focus on diverse MPs, with board taking more control of selecting new candidates: review

The National Party must have an absolute focus on diversity and selecting candidates from a variety of backgrounds, according to a secretive review of the party's first term in opposition.
The reviewers recommended the National Party board take a greater role using candidate selections and list placings to ensure the partys caucus was more diverse after the next election, according to sources familiar with the review.

Currently, members in most electorates are in control of candidate selections.

While these can be influenced by the board, who must still approve which candidates run for selection, and make their preferred candidate known, in practice the final say is had by members.

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This could change.

Party President Peter Goodfellow has already told members that the board will fully accept all of the reviews recommendations in an email to all members last week.

Our process to review, rebuild, and renew, very much starts with this report as our core foundation for decisive change, Goodfellow said.

The party's lack of diversity caused it serious problems at the last election. Former leader Todd Muller was lampooned after his caucus reshuffle left the partys front bench dominated by white MPs.

The recommendations are being shopped to National members around the country who are being presented with a version of the report and recommendations. Auckland members were briefed over the weekend at a three hour meeting attended by over 300 people, Stuff understands.

The recommendations could be seen by some as a power grab by the party board from members who jealously guard the power they have over local candidate selections and the party at large.

National Party leader Judith Collins is a anggota of both the party caucus and the board.

Potentially as a way of curbing the power of individual board members, the review has also recommended term limits for individual board members.

This could be a problem for Goodfellow himself, who has been president since 2009.

Local National Party officials will also likely have less of a say at the board level.

The review panel recommends that board members shouldnt be allowed to hold other positions in the party. This would be a problem for some recent board members who have held local posts while also serving on the party board.

Those recommendations appear to have the support of many in the party. They were also recommended by another recent review of the National Party, carried out by former leader Jim McLay.

"The thing that will be quite potent is when you have two groups sharapg the same tune and it will test the partys systems, said one person familiar with both reports.

These are things that you should have done 5 10 years ago.

National Party members throughout the country will be briefed on the contents of the report throughout the week.


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