Annette King

Labour’s List Problem

David Farrar had a very good post yesterday at Kiwiblog about Labour’s list problem.

In 2014 Labour got only five List MPs. Andrew Little only got in on special votes.

They are polling well below the level they were at three years ago. They normally lose support once an election campaign starts as minor parties get more attention. And already Winston is picking up support at their expense.

So at this stage it would be a brave person to predict they will lift their party vote from 2014, and hence their total number of MPs from 32.

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Annette King tries to make a budget increase sound like a budget cut

New leaked documents show 10 district health boards face cuts in this year’s Budget.

Leaked!

Leaked by Labour, of course.  Who got it from their union flunkies.

Yet the whole budget will go up by 340 million.  Plus, those DHBs that need it less than others are having a little taken away.   Here are the details.

Funding difference by your region for 2016-2017:

Increases:

Northland: 2.13 percent
Auckland City: 0.49 percent
Counties Manukau: 0.13 percent
Bay of Plenty: 1.49 percent
Waikato: 1.50 percent
Lakes District: 3.06 percent
Gisbourne/Tairawhiti: 2.70 percent
Whanganui: 0.60 percent
Palmerston North: 0.82 percent
Southern: 0.80 percent

Decreases:

Waitemata: -0.51 percent
Hakwes Bay: -0.01 percent
Wairarapa: -0.15 percent
Taranaki: -0.29 percent
Hutt: -0.15 percent
Capital and Coast: -1.54 percent
Nelson/Malborough: -0.75 percent
Christchurch: -0.98 percent
South Canterbury: -0.15 percent

But this is how Labour is selling it Read more »

Is Annette King Labour’s Winston?

I’ve been keeping an eye on Annette King.  She’s in good shape for her age, and clearly has been working on it.  That always raises a flag, especially when the leader’s permanence is under a cloud.

Most weekdays before sunrise Labour’s deputy leader can be found at her gym trying to do more burpees than her husband, Ray Lind.

The exercise, an up-down cross between a push-up and star-jump and favoured by sadistic rugby coaches, keeps Annette King, 68, fit for the rough-and-tumble of Parliament.

She’s not just physically fit; politically she is one of the more active and successful Opposition MPs and one of the party’s great survivors. Age has not wearied her efforts to take the fight to the Government every day.

That was demonstrated in Parliament this week during one of her regular jousts with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Having been Health Minister for six years, she knows as much about the job as Coleman, who has had just 18 months at the helm.

MPs from both sides of the House howled with delight at the Coleman and King set-to.

Apart from her need to heckle like she’s at a pantomime, she is one of Labour’s more scrappy MPs.  And she should be; she’s got the miles on the clock.   Read more »

An idea for a TV show

George commented on the General Debate about his idea for a reality TV show:

I’m embarrassed to confess, I have watch one episode of “The Bachelor”, my first and last. I was gobsmacked at the depth our quest for entertainment has plummeted. One bloke and a haggle of panting females strutting their emotional garbage in a quest to be loved by another. There will be only one winner, the bloke, providing he has no access to dignity. The women? There are no winners by virtue of the fact they have to stoop to such desperation in order to convince a bloke they are the one. But it got me thinking. I wonder how a programme “The Prime Minister” would fare with a similar format?   Read more »

Hooton on Labour’s Keytruda advocacy

Matthew Hooton looks at Labour’s new-found advocacy for Big Pharma.

Labour’s health policy czar, Annette King, has a legendary and probably justified aversion to drug companies. Not for nothing has the industry earned a reputation similar to that of tobacco, armaments, fast food and Big Sugar.

As health minister, Ms King wouldn’t even meet the drug companies or the “patient advocacy groups” they fund. She judged – again, probably correctly – that such meetings were cynical lobbying efforts to increase government spending on their particular products.

With the exception of a multiple sclerosis drug early in her term as minister, Ms King, whose medical background is as a school dental nurse, made a commitment she would not substitute her own clinical judgment for that of the experts at the government’s drug-buying agency, Pharmac.

Perhaps only Finance Mminister Bill English, another former health minister, has been as staunch an advocate for Pharmac as Ms King and for good reason: There is no doubt the agency and the model under which it operates save the taxpayer and economy a bundle that is reinvested in other health services.

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Labour Rotorua: Ministry of Health is run for profit

The Ministry of Health has asked Lakes DHB to cut 1.2% of its spending. Annette King says this will be tough and Lakes DHB is already a ‘squeezed lemon’.

But then comes the real clanger. Despite sinking $283 million into Lakes DHB, Labour Rotorua have accused the Ministry of Health of trying to make a profit by asking for 1.2% spending cuts.

unnamed

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Pharmac good governance saves $40m, Labour want to spend it

Pharmac has done a great job on getting us a good deal on drugs. They’ve saved $40 million…which has now been spent in other areas of the Health budget.

But Labour wants it spent on drugs that they choose, not Pharmac…which kind of defeats the whole purpose of Pharmac in the first place.

Nearly $40 million of savings from national drug buyer Pharmac’s negotiations is being used to cover under-funding in other areas when it could purchase new life-saving medicines like cancer drug Keytruda, the Labour Party says.

Labour says documents from the 2015 budget show that the Government decided to “reprioritise” $39.2 million of Pharmac drug savings, $9.8 million a year, intended for district health boards.

The funding was reallocated to cover “cost and volume pressures” in disability support community residential services, caused by increased complexity and higher needs for clients.

Labour has been pushing for the Government to fund Keytruda, a biologic drug for terminal melanoma patients that has produced promising results in early clinical trials, through Pharmac.

Labour health spokeswoman Annette King said the money saved by Pharmac should go back into buying new drugs like Keytruda, rather than covering under-funding in other areas of the health sector.   Read more »

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Soper gets sticky knickers over Annie

Barry Soper has shifted his glad eye from the younger set and has a real love-in about 68-year-old Annette King.

Listening to the Labour veteran Annette King banging on in Parliament’s bear pit the comparison floated through my mind.

They’re female and were born within a month of each other, both turning the ripe old age of 70 next year. They’re certainly forceful women, even though King is seen to be in the twilight of her long political life.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is in full flight with her bid to to slide into the Oval Office’s leather chair, despite the memories that office must hold for her from the time it was occupied by her hubby Bill twenty years ago. At least the decor’s changed since then.

King, who’s affectionately referred to around Parliament as Auntie, was herself in full flight, making her opponents even more grizzly now that they’re back at work after their summer holiday break. It was good, old school, tub thumping stuff reminding us of Austin Mitchell’s view of God’s Own as the half gallon, quarter acre, Pavlova Paradise.

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Little for Rongotai? Yeah, nah.

Labour veteran Annette King has confirmed she will stand again in 2017 but possibly only on the list, a step which would open up her Rongotai electorate for leader Andrew Little.Mr Little is currently a list MP and if he does not win an electorate he could be the first Prime Minister who is not also an electorate MP.

Although the party vote determines a party’s representation in Parliament under MMP, there is still some moral weight in being able to win an electorate and Labour is unlikely to want to take any risks.

Mr Little lives in the Rongotai electorate in Wellington – a safe Labour seat in which Ms King has been the local MP since 1993.

Asked if Mr Little had asked her to allow him to stand in the seat, Ms King said “that is hypothetical”.

“We talk to each other all the time, but I’ll make my announcement on what I’m going to do in the future.”

She said she would announce her decision “when I’m ready.”

King is smart enough to see this year out first.  Apart from the far-fetched scenario that Andrew Little will be PM by 2017, and it would look silly if he didn’t have an electorate (Would it? He looks silly now.), the plans hatched over smoky summer barbecues are still to be implemented, and Annette’s got enough scars to know to wait and see how all those turn out. Read more »

Some of my Labour sources disagree about my post on Annette King

A couple of my Labour sources have emailed and suggested I missed a few signals that Annette King’s continued candidacy sends.

Loved your post on Rongotai, but I wonder if you missed the steaming turd atop the turd-pile. This is being seen internally as a massive repudiation of Little. Handing him Rongotai — where he fucking lives! — would have been a vote of confidence in Little and the surest sign to date that the Grantistas have made peace with him as leader. By doing the opposite, it is clear they still regard him as a stopgap figure at best. This should be read as a sign that Little  is far more vulnerable than he appears.

Any word on coming polls? The Nats should top 50, surely.

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