John Carter

Good riddance to bad rubbish, Sabin resigns

Mike Sabin has resigned before Prime Minister John Key was going to have to do the inevitable.

His position was untenable and if the likely charges are what I expect them to be it was never a survivable situation.

The stupidity of the whole situation was that the National party has known about this since before Christmas and people who should know better ignored the warnings and let the situation fester.

At least he is now gone.

Northland MP Mike Sabin has announced he has resigned as a member of Parliament, effective immediately.

There have been reports Mr Sabin was being investigated by police over assault-related allegations, although neither Mr Sabin, the police nor Prime Minister John Key would confirm that. Read more »

The coming by-election in Northland

The National Party have been slow on the uptake, with the stories about Northland MP Mike Sabin’s repeated offending being known for about a month.

Police have been investigating an assault complaint against government MP Mike Sabin.

The investigation is related to events in Northland, but detectives working on the case are based in Waitemata, north Auckland.

The investigation was moved south from Whangarei because Sabin was a police officer based there until 2006.

The officer in charge, Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper, refused to confirm Sabin was the subject of an investigation.

The story itself, which National have sat on for weeks, is almost too horrible for words, and there is little doubt that there will be a by-election in Northland.

This is the problem you get when you have an ethically challenged party hierarchy.

Northland was a strong National seat under John Carter, but it has lost a lot of its members and organisational knowledge since he has left.

Even so the by election will be won by National, as it the majority is currently 9300, and Labour‚Äôs well regarded Willow-Jean Prime is pregnant so it is unlikely she will be able to contest the by election. ¬†¬† Read more »

‚ÄúThere are many things I can accept about Winston Peters, but the one thing I cannot accept is he tells fucking lies.‚ÄĚ

Cameron wrote this last year, and it has stuck in my mind as one of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen him produce. ¬†Due to his unique place in political history, we are afforded a glimpse inside a meeting that became a pivotal point in New Zealand’s political history.

A meeting, the results of which continue to reverberate through the political landscape like thousands of aftershocks.

Had those present known what would happen to New Zealand Politics because of this, would they have made the same decision?

by Cameron Slater

…it was a dark and stormy night… really it was, as best I can remember. It was in Wellington in 1992.

I was in Murray McCully‚Äôs office, observing (I guess you could call it that) a most memorable event. It was the night that key members of the National party caucus met in McCully‚Äôs office to draft the expulsion motion to throw Winston Peters from their caucus and to set in motion his eventual resignation from the party and the forming of NZ First. ¬† Read more »

Local Government Success Story – Hon. John Carter

While the nation shudders at Len Brown’s antics we should continue our focus on some local body winners who haven’t been running one up a mistress for two years straight.

John Carter is a good bastard…who rinsed Wayne Brown.

He is one of the campaigning legends of the National Party who departed for the Cook Islands in 2011, then returned earlier this year to stand for Mayor of Far North. ¬†¬† Read more »

Once upon a time…

…it was a dark and stomry night…really it was as best I can remember. It was in Wellington in 1992.

I was in Murray McCully’s office, observing (I guess you could call it that) a most memorable event. It was the night that key members of the National party caucus met in McCully’s office to draft the expulsion motion to throw Winston Peters from their caucus and to set in motion his eventual resignation from the party and the forming of NZ First.

Many MPs were there, including Doug Kidd, Doug Graham, Maurice Williamson, John Banks, John Carter, Wyatt Creech, Max Bradford, John Luxton, Philip Burdon and others, all perched on chairs, arms of sofas, tables and desks. Some like Ruth Richardson popped in for a few moments to read over the document, such as it was, and nod and give the assent or to suggest a change of a word or two.

I was there because my father had been summoned to help draft the motion, he was the Northern Regional Chair and sat on the party¬†management¬†council who were ultimately going to have to deal with the fall out. We were supposed to be going for dinner…we were very late.

It was a scrappy little document, much dog-eared and rumpled from all the handling and scribbling. Finally a call was made and Bill Birch was summoned and the drinks came out.

Bill Birch came down and perched on the edge of McCully’s desk, he was handed the scrappy little piece of paper…he pulled out his glasses, perched them on the end of nose and peered at the document. After a few moments he nodded and placed that piece of paper in his suit breast pocket. Then he picked up a Glass, it has barely a finger of Scotch in the bottom…and he toyed with it.

Someone asked in the hushed tones if this was the right thing to do…Bill Birch stared imperiously around the room and then launched into a quiet speech about all the things that he like about Winston…then all the things he could tolerate about Winston.

I can’t ¬†remember it word for word but Birch explained how he could accept his drinking, his drunkenness, his philandering, his absenteeism and many other faults…it was a substantial list…but he came to the conclusion.

“There are many things I can accept about Winston Peters, but the one thing I cannot accept is he tells fucking lies.”

And with that he put down the glass with the Scotch untouched, turned and walked out commenting as he went that he better go and tell the Prime Minister.

The next day Winston Peters was suspended from caucus and the rest, as they say is history.

It should be noted that ultimately Winston Peters tried to sue the party in the High Court when they subsequently banned him from standing, after his loss he resigned and formed NZ First contesting the 1993 election and winning Tauranga with Tau Henare winning  Norther Maori.

I have never forgotten that night…for many reasons, but two which stand out was hearing Bill Birch swear, it was the first time and only time. The other was watching him toy with that glass as he listed Winston Peters’ many, many failings.

Now Winston has his own situations that has many of the hall marks of that wintry, stormy night in 1992.

HR for political parties, Ctd

I have been sent a suggested list of possible methods of creating KPIs for politicians by a National party insider. Labour would do well to look at some of these suggestions.

There clearly needs to be a mix of indicators. An overemphasis of one at the expense of others means you get an MP who will coast.

1. Party votes – the ultimate indicator of worth. Obviously this needs to be subjective since every electorate is different in terms of worth to the party, but there can be some kind of assessment whether the MP did a great job of winning the PV in their seat. Did they beat the previous election result, did they over or under perform against the average result, is the result reflecting the kind of PV needed in a “blue” or “red” seat. ¬†Deb Mahuta-Coyle is probably regarded as next to useless because of her appalling result in Tauranga for Labour. She may never get a decent Parliamentary opportunity again because her colleagues know she can’t win votes.

2. Electorate vote – Obviously, people who win seats are better MPs. Sadly, list MPs who only go for PV are not quite as recognised for effectiveness, since they don’t bring in extra resources that come with a seat, not have the ability to keep an organisation going. MPs who win marginals and hold them should be highly regarded. The obvious KPI is “Did they win?”, followed by “Did they over or underpeform against the swing”. Louisa Wall will be regarded well in Labour for winning Manurewa well.

3. Membership - MPs who support organisations that grow membership have power that grows with it. A good MP is one who finds good people to help run their seat and grow membership, hold functions, engage in report backs and fundraise. John Carter would have to be regarded as a superior MP in recent years on this KPI, whereas Paula Bennett and Murray McCully would score dismally in this regard.

4. Media coverage – obviously positive news rubs off on the character of the MP. For a backbencher, that means getting into the local suburban paper for useful things showing community benefit. This doesn’t mean posing at ribbon cuttings for a community hall that was commissioned by the council, but rather posing with community constables recently coming into service due to boosted police numbers.

5. Name recognition Рclosely linked to media coverage. Lots of people know the names of Simon Bridges, because he is successful for Tauranga and gets good media. However, other politicians get name recognition because they get drunk and piss on trees, or maybe they they want to compulsorily arm Muslim taxi drivers. Everyone knows who those idiots are. The KPI in this category would need to carry plus scores and minus scores.

6. Parliamentary business – again subjective. Large numbers of PQs might only suggest they have a staff member who can ask loads of questions. But unless you ask questions, you don’t get answers that help drive stories of public concern to win votes.

7. Fundraising – an MP who can bring in money for their party is valuable. Someone who has good connections to fundraising sources is indispensable. Someone who is too frightened to ring around the Rotary Club asking for $100 from each member is probably not going to hack it as a successful MP. Even a good left-wing electorate MP should be able to raise a bit of money from small business people if they are personally liked.

8. Campaign skills Р Does this MP run a decent campaign Рnot just an election, but an issues campaign that crops up during the course of the term. Do they take the lazy way of campaigning and wave signs around or bother shoppers at their local supermarket or pub? Do they aggravate people on social media? Or do they take a professional approach, using skilled volunteers to identify pockets of potential support and then work them over with doorknocking, phone calls, written material and more? Do they work over the media about their campaign, and can they find decent photo opportunities to make their point. For example, Nikki Kaye had a technically competent campaign that helped withstand the tactical voting tricks of the Greens and Labour.

9. X-Factor – ¬†Either you have it or you don’t. Amy Adams and Simon Bridges have X-Factor. David Shearer and Mark Mitchell do too. Richard Prosser doesn’t. Neither does Colin King. While those MP don;t have X-Factor, Darien Fenton has the exact opposite of X-Factor turning away more voters than than she wins, if any.

10. Mark on Parliament – What laws have they passed, and what have they done for us lately? What initiatives have they started that improved the lives of people? Brian Neeson weakly raised the fact he helped microchip dogs when he was challenged by John Key. People didn’t care. He hadn’t made a mark on Parliament in the years he was there. Jackie Blue did well with herceptin for women, but seems to have gone invisible since then. Are they an attack dog, perhaps an effective debater who makes logical useful points that other MPs want to listen to? Or are they just a drone who can’t string two sentences together even when some hard working researcher gives them everything they need to say?

Winners and Loser’s, Ctd


Sam Lotu-Iiga –¬†In Auckland only one National MP increased his majority. ¬†Sam increased his majority by 845 in the formerly safe Labour seat of Maungakiekie. Sam was blessed by having Carol Beaumont as his opponent.

Mike Sabin –¬†John Carter had a huge reputation as a vote winner. So it is a huge surprise that Mike Sabin increased the majority in Northland by 601 votes. Well done Mike.

Stuart Nash –¬†Hard to describe as a winner as he is no longer an MP but he reduced Chris Tremain’s majority by ¬†5,636,¬†¬†the biggest fall in majority of any National MP.


Labour Party for ranking Stuaert Nash behind unpleasant, unelectable vote losing MPs like Carol Beaumont, Carmel Sepuloni, Sue Moroney & Darien Fenton. Labour needs to learn that success as a unionist where ideological purity, general nastiness and willingness to do years of drudgery doesn’t translate to winning votes.

Blue Seats, Red Seats, and Seats that go one colour

David Farrar is obviously traveling around New Zealand promoting his pinko world view in a warm up for this years blog mobile, and stopped off in Napier.

Had a breakfast coffee this morning in Napier with local MP Chris Tremain.Was amused that around two out of three people walking past stopped to greet him ‚Äď one seat where the MP has no problems with recognition. Also noted that he seemed to know most of them by name also ‚Äď one of the nice things about provincial seats.

In the current parliament there are three guys who have earned a reputation for holding their seats because of a personal connection with everyone in the seat. John Carter, Nick Smith and Clayton Cosgrove. When times are tough for their side they still win. They all have a huge personal premium that is only attained my massive hard work of a long period of time.

National Party     15,378         SMITH, Nick    NAT    20,471
National Party     17,703         CARTER, John    NAT    19,889
Labour Party     12,702         COSGROVE, Clayton    LAB    16,360

These guys are all veterans who have proved their worth to their electorates. Cosgrove routinely gets mocked by this blog for his performance in Wellington, but as MP for Waimakariri he has built the kind of personal connections that is very hard to beat unless you have a really good opponent.

National Party     16,772         TREMAIN, Chris    NAT    20,898

Chris Tremain hasn’t been in parliament as long as the others, but he has built a massive majority over the party vote that only comes from knowing people in the electorate. Like Nick, John and Clayton, Napier is Chris’ seat for as long as he wants it because of the hard work he has put in as MP, and because he is known by so many voters.

For that reason Stuart Nash really would be better advised to pop over to Tukituki with his Fire Engine where a red fire engine beats a gay ute any time and where a campaign slogan like “Rooting for the Bay” will really get some¬†momentum.

National Party Selections round-up


Front runner, all round bloody good guy and National Party stalwart Grant McCullum has dropped out of selection making it a relatively open race. The five that remain are Sarah Davies, Matt King, Ken Rintoul, Mike Sabin and Mark Tan and they will have huge shoes to fill in replacing John Carter. John’s one of the most liked guys in caucus and a man who has friends all over the country due to his easy going nature and willingness to help out with campaigns. Cactus Kate has already dealt with the inappropriate-ness of Sarah Davies.


This blog has said what it thinks about Rodney, so wont be saying any more other than if you are a fundamentalist christian go and be a missionary, don’t try to impose your religious views on the National Party and the country.

North Shore

It looks like we will see Maggie Barry emerging as the successful candidate there. Despite Maggie being beaten in Botany by Jami-Lee Ross, she has intimidated out some potentially good candidates so is left with opposition that is very weak. Former Councillor Paul Goldsmith is not likely to woo many delegates as he is too austere to be likable.

Maggies impending selection is probably good for New Zealand, as our politics has shown a disregard for older candidates, yet in other countries politicians do not reach the peak of their careers until much later in life. Maggie will appeal to a group of voters outside North Shore that probably would not vote National.


The meet the candidates events have finished and it appears to be a two horse race between long time Whaeloil friend and long time party servant Scott Simpson and Megan Campbell. This is a tight race and this blog wishes both candidates all the best for the final night. One note however is that silly games and rumour-mongering seem to have started in the lead up to the selection on the 19th. Those games should stop otherwise I might have to expose them. One thing I know for certain is that claiming endorsement from the hierarchy or leadership almost certainly leads one to destruction. Playing negative is not rewarded in National party selections because at the end of the process you all have to work together and a campaign for selection run with rumour, innuendo and spite is detrimental to that. National party delegates like to save that for the enemy.


Sadly the tragedy afflicting the Guy family has meant Nikki Guy has decided not to proceed with the nomination. This blog has only heard exceptionally good things about Nikki and fortunately she is young enough to be an MP for National at some stage in the future.

This leaves Manawatu Mayor Ian McKelvie as the front runner, and like Nikki only good things have come through the tip line. Ian would bring a sensible rural voice to a caucus that is becoming increasingly dislocated from the rural economy.

Wellington Central

Paul Foster-Bell is the presumptive candidate after the first meet the candidates meeting, but is unlikely to be a threat to the incumbent Labour MP, Grant Robertson.


Few candidates are putting their name forward for a really tough red seat.

Dunedin South

Another tough red seat where the likely and highly regarded candidate has left for Australia.

National Party Selections Roundup


Congratulations to Jonathan Fletcher who won the selection for Rimutaka, and commiserations to Alastair Scott who has a very good reputation but needs to retain campaign professionals if he is to win a nomination. A number of delegates have told the tip line that Jonathan won because he worked the room very well and spoke better than Alastair.


Nominations have closed. Megan Campbell, a former parliamentary staffer and active party office holder in the CNI Region, appears to have the inside running¬†against local girl made good Heather Tanner. Megan has spent some considerable time in the¬†electorate¬†working hard with the locals doing the basics of gaining a nomination well. A detailed¬†post on this race will follow soon. The one uncomfortable¬†fact facing both ladies is there is a high profile party¬†figure rumoured to be in the race. There are a couple of other names in the race but they aren’t likely to set the delegates interest alight.


A tighter than expected race, with long serving National Party salwart and current board member Grant McCullum not dominating as expected. Word from Northland, where there will be a massive number of delegates (1 delegate per 15 members) is that Grant is getting out worked by several other candidates including Mike Sabin and Mark Tan, with others also coming across as more personable and less entitled to the seat vacated by John Carter, one of the most
loved local MPs in New Zealand history.

North Shore

Maggie Barry is NZ's favourite grandmaThe party is frantically casting about for high quality candidates with Paul Goldsmith, Ewen McQueen, Maggie Barry and Matt Kemp putting their names forward for a safe blue seat. Word is that none are finding much favour with the party at large. Matt is apparently a tax manager at Fonterra meaning he might be useful at working out how to close loopholes for rural tax dodgers, and he could be a good bet as a long term MP that will last until National is next in government. Unfortunately for Kemp he has annoyed a large faction that supported Steven Joyce ascending the North Shore throne. Ewen McQueen is the former (and last) leader of Christian Heritage, a position he took up after Graham Capill went to jail for fiddling with kids. Paul Goldsmith has all the personal charisma of a parking meter and the charm of a parking warden.

Unfortunately it is hard to imagine Maggie making it through¬†without proper advisors, and while she has a lot to offer, her status as New Zealand’s favourite grandmother means she¬†is unlikely to last until the next National government,¬†meaning a career on the back benches or in opposition.

Failed Palmerston North candidate Karen Rolleston, who is an impressive speaker, well presented and works a room well may be running which would provide another option, and she has the advantage of having run a business in the electorate. Unfortunately her unwise run in Palmerston North means her reputation for making good strategic decisions has been compromised.

Other names may come forward as this is a very safe blue seat but an outsider without a strong campaign team will likely miss out as locals select one of their own.

Wellington Central

Royalist, diplomat and protocol expert and man who has a passing resemblance to Bomber Bradbury, Paul Foster-Bell, is the only name currently in the hat for Wellington Central though there is some talk that Alastair Scott might run. Either way, this blog picks future Labour Leader Grant Robertson will buck the projected swing to National and improve his majority as only good things are said about him.


The tipline has been quiet for a few weeks after Peter Goodfellow took the sensible and principled decision to suspend the process and start it again with new delegates so there can be no suggestion of rigging. Murmurings of more skullduggery, malicious rumours and general partisan nastiness have come through in recent days as the process hots up again. iPredict should run stocks on whether or not a defamation case results out of this race such is the vile-ness of the rumours.

Brent Robinson has some strong backing on¬†iPredict though this has tailed off in the last day or so¬†This support has been taken from former regional chair and¬†long time Whaleoil friend Scott Simpson, but there does not¬†appear to be any strong logic behind it. Frankly I can’t believe the cheek of Brent Robinson even staying in the race. This blog still maintains a “anyone but Brent” stance. That stance may change if anymore skullduggery is detected in Rodney.


The race to take a dive to keep Rodney Hide and ACT in the house has not really generated any interest yet although being Auckland and full of self-interested factional party warriors it is likely there is some skullduggery going to come through at some stage. Disappointingly there are no elderly matrons with blue rinses left in Epsom, but even so there are enough members with access to blogs and email to ensure anyone trying anything silly in Epsom is likely to get outed quicker than those in Rodney.

Word is that even if voters are told to hold their nose and vote for Rodney Hide they are likely to ignore it, so there is a reasonable chance that whoever wins the nomination for one of the bluest seats in the country will end up MP for life or until they get caught with their pants down like the former National MP from the area.

There are rumours around that Tim Groser will be foisted upon the electorate, something he neither wants, nor the locals want. Having Epsom erupt in anger after¬†the¬†Rodney¬†electorate¬†selection debacle wouldn’t be helpful PR-wise for the party.

This could get messy unless the party shows some careful management of the process, something that sadly is severely lacking across the Northern Region which has become something of a buggers muddle in recent years.