Penk wants to be Prime Minister | The Jackal

22 Jun 2021

Penk wants to be Prime Minister

Unless you’re a bit of a policy wonk you probably haven’t heard of a guy called Chris Penk. He’s a former Navy officer who is now one of the new old boys in the beleaguered National Party.

Penk, who likes nothing more than to antagonise lefties all day on Twitter and has written a book all about how bad New Zealand's Covid-19 response has been, was interviewed recently on Newshub Nation's the Pitch.

It was an awkward and uninspiring performance that I watched so you don’t have to.

On Saturday, Newshub reported:

Welcome back to Pitch, where Newshub Nation gives an MP just 5 minutes to sell you on their ideas.

He's a former lawyer, submariner and now Chris Penk is National's spokesperson for Courts and Defence. And he isn't ruling out a run at the top job - one day.

Finn Hogan started by asking him how he'd clear the backlog as Courts Minister.


Penk obviously blew the interview. Not only was the National Party MP nervous as hell, he also got some pretty basic things wrong! To begin with Penk claimed that the Dispute Tribunal couldn’t sort out bad debts, which is entirely incorrect.

The Shadow Attorney General (of all things) then confirmed that National would maintain the status quo when it comes to New Zealand’s drug laws. Colour me surprised! But what was even lazier thinking was when Penk promoted policy that has already been implemented. In fact Penk’s pitch was almost word for word what the current National Drug Policy states as the goals to minimise harm from alcohol and drug use.

Penk then went onto claim that the New Zealand Defence Force currently didn’t have much of a social license to carry out its work. So what is his big plan to fix this hypothetical problem? Make the average New Zealander “understand” the debt they owe to the Defence Force. Just make them understand Penk.

It was such an awkward display that I almost felt sorry for the guy.

Penk’s inability to promote any new ideas and apparent lack of knowledge when it comes to all things legal isn’t the only problems standing in his way. The would be Prime Minister obviously doesn’t have the support required to roll Judith Collins, let alone enough charisma to attract any support back to the National Party.

So what was their biggest mistake leading up to National's monumental electoral defeat in 2020? The blue “team” apparently talked too much about themselves. Penk then left the interview to tweet more pictures of himself holding a spade and with his big blue ute.

Unless the National Party wants to spend eternity floundering on the opposition benches, their MPs will need to do a lot better than that.