We are disturbed by this; it is astounding that an MP has such poor judgment as to be able to think that they could survive this mess.
And the situation is so bad that even senior National Party members are going public. Ele from Homepaddock is a long-serving, respected member of the party, and currently serves as Chair of the Southern Region. And she has blogged this letter today:
If you were at the Mainland Conference in Hanmer to the end you’d have heard West Coast Tasman MP Chris Auckinvole’s final words.
You might remember him talking about the importance of the two wings of the party, the MPs and the volunteers, and the good that can be achieved when they’re working in unison.
That was before we knew you hadn’t been at the conference dinner as any MP who took his responsibility to the party seriously, and respected the volunteers, would have been.
The party understands the competing demands on MPs – parliamentary duties, electorate work, family commitments – but just one weekend a year we ask you all to come to your regional conferences.
It’s an opportunity for volunteers to discuss policy with you, air concerns, get to know you. The social functions are an important part of that.
That you chose not to grace the conference dinner with your presence might have been overlooked. Your behaviour at the dinner you did attend can’t be and everything that’s happened since has made it worse.
I was part of the committee which met in 2011 to rank the party’s list.
Our deliberations are confidential but the rankings are not.
You were the lowest ranked sitting MP and anyone with any humility would have worked out why.
Once a list is ranked and put before the public at an election the party can’t change it. But someone can, as Paul Quinn did, turn down the opportunity to take up a place with his dignity intact and get on with his life.
You didn’t take the hint from your list placing and claimed the vacant seat. Why?
You’ve been reported as saying that you have enough money to live on without needing to work so it can’t be the salary.
I don’t know if you did any good in the few weeks you’ve been back as an MP but in the last few days you’ve done immeasurable harm.
John Key and National have retained a fairly high and reasonably constant level of popularity in polls for several reasons. One of those is party discipline.
Both the wings Chris talked about have been strong and flying in unison.
Your antics are threatening that.
The Prime Minister has lost confidence in you and the president says the party is disappointed.
That is putting it very, very mildly.
If there’s one thing that gets volunteers riled it’s an MP who doesn’t understand the importance of discipline and unity, doesn’t uphold the standard of behaviour expected and puts himself before the party.
What on earth are you thinking?
If your words and actions are anything to go by it’s not what’s best for the government, the party, parliament or the country.
What will it take to make you understand what you’ve done wrong and what’s the only thing you can now do to make it right?
Yours in disappointment,
We have the utmost respect from Ele, and know that she would not have gone public against one of her party's MP's without much soul-searching. We commend her for articulating her view so clearly.
So we'll post an addendum to Ele's letter in the hope that Aaron Gilmore will read it:
Aaron - when even moderate but respected party members are calling time on your career, your days are numbered. It was the National Party that gave you this opportunity; twice. Now you are doing significant harm to the party by clinging on to your place in Parliament. Search your soul as Ele has done, and you will find that there is only one conclusion. Write the letter, then put us all out of our misery.