National – in what was clearly a rehearsal for its election campaign – spent the weekend trying to get its message straight while it ironed out the bumps in the Government’s relationship with the electorate.
That meant one Minister, Alfred Ngaro, making a series of embarrassing gaffes for which he has now been admonished while another, Paula Bennett, conceded the Government was not getting its message across.
The party held the last of its regional conferences; this time in Auckland.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes elements of the party continue to ferment over the vote at the UN Security Council last December to oppose Israeli settlements on the occupied territories.
That concern was intensified after Prime Minister Bill English slapped down Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee over comments he’d made which had appeared to back off the resolution.
Overall, to use a favourite Government saying, it was an “untidy” weekend capped by a flat speech from English which saw delegates ignore placards they’d been given to wave when he finished speaking.