In an otherwise good article explaining why Nick Smith won more Politician of the Week awards than anyone else based on his principles and willingness to have a dust up with anyone over ideology, Matthew Hooton has a shocker when describing potential replacements.
The tragedy of his departure is that, like too many of the appointments after the 2011 election, he is likely to be replaced with a below-average-intelligence, grey, provincial yes-man, unwilling to challenge the status quo and valued simply as a safe pair of hands.
Hooton seems to think that the provinces are inhabited with troglodytes who haven’t succeeded in the real world based on intellectual rigor and their own hard work.
In Tauranga Simon Bridges is Oxford Educated, which not many westies are, and he is far to refined to have leopard skin on his car. In Rotorua Todd McClay build a substantial lobbying business in Brussels, which is arguably not the real world but it was bloody successful, created links with many New Zealand businesses and did a lot of diplomatic work for Pacific nations. And succeeding in lobbying at one of the biggest parliaments in the world may not be my idea of success but it is better than being a successful unionist in a backwater like the New Zealand union movement.
Louise Upstonâ€™s mastery of policy details and background in leadership training means she is a safe pair of hands and has the potential to lead, not to just to administer.
From Hawkes Bay Chris Tremain turned a moderately successful family business in to a highly successful one, at the same time as making huge contributions to sports in HB. He is not in parliament â€śsafe pair of handsâ€ť, going on record to upset the small minded in Napier, challenging the status quo on amalgamation. Craig Foss may have a gay ute but he was as successful in banking on an international scale as John Key before entering parliament.
Chester Borrows is a bit too wet on law and order, when he could man up and back the prevailing wisdom which is working world wide. His willingness to take a stand that is unpopular in National show he is not â€śunwilling to challenge the status quoâ€ť.
In the Wairarapa highly intelligent former diplomat John Hayes has well over 40 years of standing up for what he believes in, and not being afraid of a turn up for a good cause. At Lincoln he tried to remove the students association from the New Zealand students association, allegedly because they were a pack of communists, radicals, pooftas and other misfits. John can rest easy at night knowing he fights the good fight and is not one of Hootonâ€™s â€śbelow average intelligenceâ€ť.
Further South Amy Adams has shown herself to be willing to take on difficult issues, and no one has ever accused her of being a â€śyes-manâ€ť. Jo Goodhew is hugely popular in her electorate, and it is a travesty for Hooton to describe her as grey.
Michael Woodhouse may not be favored by the voters in Dunedin but he came to parliament with a track record of success in a difficult industry, where challenging the the status quo is an important part of success. Anyone that knows Michael knows he has a fine intellect, and is definitely not â€śbelow-average-intelligenceâ€ť.