Leonie Hapeta

Hooton on The Clown

Matthew Hooton, not one to turn down a glass of wine, nails Aaron Gilmore, the Clown of Christchurch East:

I am the last person to criticise someone for getting rolling drunk.

By some measures, the volume of wine per person reported to have been drunk at National List MP Aaron Gilmore’s infamous Hanmer Springs dinner was positively temperate.  (Although, despite many years of trying, I have never had a wine waiter at a flash restaurant deny me service, so perhaps there is more to this part of the story.)

In a country where, rightly or wrongly, binge drinking remains acceptable and commonplace, what really does in Mr Gilmore is not his drunkenness but the horrible way he is reported to have treated the waiting staff, including clicking his fingers and abusing them, and – perhaps even worse – his idiotic threat to have the prime minister fire one of them.

On this point, I yesterday found myself in complete political agreement with the ‪Service and Food Workers Union, something no doubt damaging to both me and the union.

The shame of Hooton writing that last line must be immense, which makes it all the more powerful.

When previous MPs have run into trouble for drinking they have survived because their uncouth behaviour has not crossed the line into personal abuse.

When Mr Gilmore’s fellow Christchurch MP, Labour’s Ruth Dyson, was picked up one night for drink-driving, there was no suggestion she had been rude to the police and she had the integrity to resign as a minister before the sun came up.

Similarly, when Mr Gilmore’s fellow National Party MP, trade minister Tim Groser, got himself well-and-truly inebriated at the bar of an Emirates A380 flying home after a disastrous Middle Eastern trade mission to bury his mother, there was no suggestion he abused anyone (except, I was told by my spies on the flight, me – after he found out what I, after a few wines, had written about the trade-mission fiasco for that Friday’s NBR).

In any event, both Ms Dyson and Mr Groser were valuable to their prime ministers and governments.  Mr Gilmore has no such advantage.

He has no redeeming political features at all, and I doubt he will even make the list come the next election, despite his impressive CV.

To say Mr Gilmore’s political career is going nowhere is an understatement.

Reportedly never popular even within the National Party in his home district of Canterbury, he was National’s 2008 sacrificial lamb in the safe Labour seat of Christchurch East, losing to Labour’s Lianne Dalziel by over 5000 votes.

Nevertheless, he snuck into parliament on the list, but received no promotion in his first term as an MP, indicating the low regard in which he is held by John Key, Bill English and Steven Joyce, and much of the rest of the National cabinet and caucus.

Meanwhile, his 2008 contemporaries Nikki Kaye, Simon Bridges, Hekia Parata, Amy Adams and Michael Woodhouse have become ministers, and the next in line for ministerial jobs, Todd McClay and Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, already chair the powerful Finance and Expenditure and Social Services select committees respectively.  There will never be any such promotions for Mr Gilmore.

Undeterred at having achieved nothing in his first term except attract publicity over a false CV, he sought re-election but was awarded the lowest place on National’s 2011 list among incumbents except for newbie Jami-Lee Ross, only elected as MP for Botany earlier that year, and the unloved Paul Quinn.  He was also put up again for Christchurch East.

In the 2011 election, it turned out that is not just National Party officials and MPs that seem to have a particular dislike of Mr Gilmore but also the good voters of Christchurch East.

His career, such as it is is over. He may as well just piss off. He won’t though such is his hubris.

As of this morning, the Prime Minister and his office appear almost to be begging for a formal complaint from the Heritage Hotel which they could hand over to Ms Upston as a first step towards getting rid of Mr Gilmore.

Any of the next few names on National’s list – Claudette Hauiti, Jo Hayes or Leonie Hapeta – would offer the party more in terms of electoral appeal than Mr Gilmore.

But they do have to move carefully.

Unlike, say, NZ First, National is a democratic party and, as Jim Bolger found with Mr Peters, Bill English with Maurice Williamson and Don Brash with Brian Connell, it is extremely hard to get rid of a recalcitrant MP.  Even in the recent NZ First case, Mr Peters failed to drum the disgraced Brendan Horan out of parliament altogether.

Mr Key just announcing Mr Gilmore is fired achieves nothing.  He needs to be encouraged to resign.

Of course, he probably won’t.  Mr Gilmore will never get a job as well paid as this one, especially now we know he doesn’t have the high-level finance-sector qualifications that were once claimed.

Right now, for doing pretty much nothing, he earns $142,000 a year, plus free air travel and subsidised Bellamy’s booze.

Sadly, he’s probably not going anywhere.

Unless of course all the other scandals associated with Aaron Gilmore surface in short order. They will.

Who will run in Mt Roskill in Place of Jackie Blue?

Jackie Blue’s resignation from parliament means that National will need another person to take one for the team in the safe Labour seat of Mt Roskill. Phil Goff holds Roskill with a massive majority of 7,271, so no National candidate has a realistic chance of winning the seat.

National’s stupidity in supporting red seat candidates means it burns through good people who will not want to take a fisting in the ballot box to help out John Key and Steven Joyce and Peter Goodfellow.  After the election the National Party was either dismissive or indifferent to those MPs likely to come back into the house or those who ran in red seats.   Read more »

Does National do anything for Red Seat Candidates?

National will be pushing all manner of people to take one for the team in 2014 and run in red seats, with no chance of getting in on the list. People approached to run in a red seat should find an excuse like their husband/wife/significant other/ budgie doesn’t want them to run, leave the country, or get a diplomatic bout of leprosy because running will cost an awful lot of time, money and energy and National will give you nothing back.

To check up on this comment potential red seat candidates should ask the following people if National has done anything for them after the election.

Claudette Hauiti – Mangere candidate
Leonie Hapeta – Palmerston North candidate
Jonathan Fletcher – Rimutaka candidate
Paul Foster-Bell – Wellington Central Candidate
Sam Collins – Wigram Candidate
Jo Hayes – Dunedin South Candidate

Ask them if they have got anything back from National or whether they were just used and treated like scum or ignored the moment the election was over. And ask why you are so special that National will treat you any differently.

The Marginal Labour Seats – Palmerston North

Palmerston North

Iain Lees-Galloway – Majority 1117

This is one of the toughest seats for Labour to hold. Thinking it was a safe seat they replaced Steve Maharey with Iain Lees-Galloway, widely regarded as being about as grey and mediocre and anonymous as an MP can be. In a university town they picked a nurses union rep, go figure that one out.

Iain is running against long time servant and well liked Leonie Hapeta. Leonie’s likability is a big problem for Iain, who is not at all likable and has run a nasty campaign from the very beginning. This has been compounded by his ill fortune to be caught rooting a stenographer, which saw him “look like death warmed up” and “as if he hadn’t slept in a week” when his wife busted him.

Iain has really emphasized the nastiness of the Labour Party through the campaign, starting the campaign by running a stupid protest outside Leonies business, and then lying about it.

He got front page coverage in the local paper saying he was a nasty bastard, so the campaign is framed as Iain being a nasty stenographer rooter against a local girl who has contributed heaps to her community and is quite shocked at how nasty the campaign is.

The 27% difference between Labour and National means this seat should swing, even if it didn’t have a nasty stenographer rooter running for Labour. Iain has further complications because he is facing a very competent campaigner instead of a dull, inept old guy who thought he could win votes by waving at people driving past every morning, when they usually ended up thinking maybe he had early onset Alzheimer’s.

National's List Ranking – Stopping the Blokefest

Captain Panic pantsNational is destined to have five new MPs in safe blue seats after November the 26th, and only one of them is a woman. As mentioned yesterday the tipline has been saying Captain Panic Pants (that’s him looking over John Key’s shoulder) has got his knickers in a proverbial twist over too many blokes, meaning some careful juggling of the National List will need to happen to untwist CPPs knickers.

The candidates for the list who don’t have safe seats are:

Claudette Hauiti: Respected Maori TV producer and highly rated by Hekia Parata, which means she is likely to garner the patronage of media darlings like Simon Power. She is  though considered by many in the party to be destined to only ever be a List MP because she is not electable. Claudette was unsuccessful in her attempt to win a seat on the Eden Albert Local Board in 2010, and cynics suggest that sending someone out to fail at local board level is a good way to send a message to them that they are not fit to be a politician. Would be a welcome addition to National’s Rainbow Caucus. Taking one for the team in Mangere. The tipline though rang hot since yesterday asking questions about her former membership of the Labour party, despite her alleged rehabilitation through C&R. She is also known to be close to former Alliance MP and Whaleoil mate Willie Jackson.

Leonie Hapeta: Successful businesswoman in Palmerston North and a contributor to the Manawatu community. Regarded as a very solid operator who could give Iain Lees-Galloway a huge fright in Palmerston North, especially if he continues with his nasty, criminal campaign against her. Good background in tertiary education management which is an area National is weak in. This blog shares John Cleese’s opinion of Palmerston North, a position that may be held by senior people in the National Party and could count against Leonie.

Jonathan Fletcher: Word is he is the most likeable of all the new candidates, which will count for something, though his Y chromosome is going to count against him. Unlike many others in the National caucus he only has a solid rather than stellar career in the private sector behind him.

Paul Foster-Bell: A well credentialed diplomat, and another who is likely to suffer from Captain Panic Pants’ phobia of a bloke fest. Rather too smooth to appeal to the common man but perfectly suited to the liberal elite in Wellington Central. Does provide and enjoy fine Cuban cigars and quality booze though. Top bloke even if he breaks Rule 12.

Sam Collins: A genuine team player who is taking a huge one for the team in a seriously red seat in the socialist republic. Relatively inexperienced, and spent more time in think tanks than in the real world. Would benefit from several years in sales before attempting to run again, though rumoured to be lining up Ilam when the inevitable health issues nail the big guy. No XX chromosome so expected to take a very low list position and will not complain about it either.

Jo Hayes: Wanganui based member of the bro-racracy who is another who has taken one for the team by moving to Dunedin to run for National. Finished third in the Palmerston North selection race behind Leonie Hapeta and Karen Rolleston. Little else is known about her as she has no candidate profile on the National web site.

The pious within National will state National is meritocratic and will rank based on potential as an MP rather than chromosomes but we all know this is not true. Georgina Te Heu Heu is a case in point, ably supported by Katrina Shanks and reinforced by the high list positions of Sam Lotu-Iiga, Hekia Parata, Melissa Lee and Kanwal Bakshi in 2008. Obviously Hekia and Sam are talented on paper but grouping four ethnic candidates together in high list positions demonstrates National is not a strict meritocracy.

Claudette, Leonie and Jo become the front runners, with the unfortunate sacrificial lambs being Jonathan, Paul and Sam. Untwisting CPPs knickers may yet be possible, especially if National give high list positions to women who are not standing in a seat. Tomorrows list ranking post will detail all the rumour, gossip and innuendo surrounding the women who have been asked to stand as List only candidates.

Fun in Palmy

Will he ever learn?

The new Mangrove, Iain Lees-Galloway, the MP for Palmerston North and stenographer rooter has decided to try to wind up the National candidate Leonie Hapeta by parking his car across the road from her business. He got smacked around last time he was outside the hotel protesting with his nasty and  illegal sign protest, but didn’t seem to learn.

Iain Lees-Galloway roots stenographers

As mentioned previously this blogger does not object to nasty politics, and actually loves it and revels in the muck. This is covered by Whaleoil’s Rules of politics number 7 - If you wrestle with pigs, two things are guaranteed. You will get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.

And as it happens a part of the VRWC is meeting in the city this weekend for a black tie function aimed mainly at kicking David “Clusterfuck” Farrar in the arse. So I am going to take the chance to do a recce for our upcoming “Rooting Stenographers for Palmy” protest that we will be running later this year, with the favored venue currently being right outside Iain Lees-Galloway’s house.

The other rule that Iain Lees-Galloway breaks is Rule 12.

Anyone wanting to join our protest should email the tipline.

 

What is Goff to do?

John Hartevelt asks for ideas for what Phil Goff can do to arrest Labour’s astonishingly poor poll results and che comments on the need for a plan:

Frankly, the plan must be torn up. Goff has to trust his instincts and lay into it. Simply, he must both work harder and relax more. Let’s not forget that Phil Goff has an extraordinary parliamentary record and an undoubted intellect to match. By the time of this year’s election, it will have been three decades since he first entered Parliament. He has been a minister of education, justice, foreign affairs. He’s got brains, and he has seen it all in politics. So why aren’t we seeing this from him now? Let’s hear less of the soundbites pronounced ad nauseam and more intellectual engagement with actual Government policy. It might sound boring, but boring can be good.

Hartevelt says Goff must trust his intincts. But can he remember when he had any? Is he a rogernome or a builder of the state sector?

While Goff is trying to find his insticnts, Labour is burning in the polls.

Back in January, I mused at who would go when Labour’s poll results sunk into the 20s. They are there now so we need to look again. In that post I listed and reviewed the MPs based on Labour holding the polls at 29%, they have sunk now to 27% and indications are they are going to seriously challenge Bill English’s 2002 result.

Since then too there has been the infamous gagle of gays comment and the departure under a cloud of Darren Hughes. Damien O’Connor needs to win West Coast if he is to get back into parliament and Darren Hughes has gone permanently.

Others to fall by the wayside in the list ranking are Ashraf Choudary and Ross Robertson. Ross will get back in anyway. Louisa Wall also was not on the list.

Other MPs at risk now because of the low poll ratings are Steve Chadwick, Rick Barker and Stuart Nash. As the tide goes out for Labour their last remaining provincial seat, Palmerston North, is seriously at risk. With Iain Lees-Galloway going nasty it is likely that National’s candidate Leonie Hapeta will tip him out creating a sea of blue from Manurewa to Mana.

Kelvin Davis is also at risk. He is thoroughly nice guy, who is probably in the wrong party. However he has to battle both a low list ranking and Hone Harawira so his chances of remaining right now are slim.

Right now the only new blood that will make it into parliament from the list is Andrew Little, and that is only going to be bad news for Phil Goff. Cacucus colleagues will now be sitting in the chamber trying to do the math around their particular list ranking and playing out scenarios about what they can do to save their list spot. This is where politics becomes deeply personal and hugely venal. Labour members will be thinking about who could lead that would deliver their list place into parliament.

Labour will deny they are thinking this way, but it is basic human nature and survival. We saw this same behaviour in National in 2002. In the end National acted like Pavlov’s Dogs and sat waiting for the torture. That decision consigned them to 6 more years in opposition.

Nasty Politics

Whaleoil’s sources from Palmerston North say that yesterday’s front page of the Evening Standard had a huge headline “Nasty Politics Claim by Rival”. An interesting story follows, about how Iain Lees-Galloway had a big sook over his list ranking, even though he is a well known self serving unionist. Maybe you have to be both a self serving unionist and one of the gaggle to get a good position on the Labour list.

Whatever the case it appears that Iain Lees-Galloway decided it would be a good idea to run a protest outside his opponents place of business. This is considered a bit dodgy, but this blog is not really bound by social norms so doesn’t object to Iain’s protest.

What it does object to is politicians not telling the truth. Iain Lees-Galloway was challenged by his opponent about why he was protesting outside her family business and said:

But Mr Lees-Galloway, who is Labour’s Defence and Land Information spokesman, said the location was chosen by his Young Labour supporters because of the heavy traffic flow.

“There was no intention to target Leonie’s business and it hadn’t even crossed my mind,” he said.

“Yeah, when I got there I thought: `OK we’re outside the Coachman’ but it was no plan on my part.”

Mr Lees-Galloway doubted many people would have made the connection between the Labour campaigners and Mrs Hapeta’s hotel.

Ok Iain since you made some claims let’s examine the facts. The tipline informants say you parked your van full of self serving unionists  and parked it a few hundred meters from the Coachman. You and your self serving unionists walked down the road and to your opponents place of business and started protesting. You get confronted by your opponent, and you walk a few hundred meters back down the road to the van.  And you expect the people of Palmerston North to believe you when you say “There was no intention to target Leonie’s business and it hadn’t even crossed my mind,“. I call bullshit on that.

I believe this is a lie. A big lie, either that or Iain is congenitally stupid. Probably a lie though, the kind of lie a man who plays away with a stenographer would use to pacify the missus.  And to think Iain’s parents scrimped and save to send him to Kings.

Maybe I will have apply Mangrove’s label to ILG. I know Stuart will be relieved and possibly grateful to Iain for the useful distraction.

Palmerston North selection update

The selection for the new National party candidate for Palmerston North was held today.

Unlike all the dodgy shenanigans by locals and regional power brokers in Rodney the selection was a fairly straight forward affair.

Ultimately being local counted and Leonie Hapeta narrowly edged out Karen Rolleston for the nomination. Leonie will make a great candiate and short of breaking her ankle like she did in the local body elections will be out door knocing and securing the last provincial seat that Labour currently holds for National.

Leonie is a battler and can beat Iain Lees-Galloway.

Karen Rolleston is a very capable candidate too, and had she not been bullied out of Rodney by Brent Robinson and Cehill Pienaar may well have had a good crack at that seat. With some good sound advice and some fine tuning by a competent strategist she could well make a good showing soon in a selection closer to her home base of the North Shore. Karen can contect me for some suggestions.

All the best to Leonie Hapeta though, take the fight to Labour and tip out their lack-lustre candidate in November.

Palmerston North Selection Update

Tomorrow is the second selection for National this year for a seat where there is no incumbent. Palmerston North is the only seat in Provincial New Zealand that National does not hold, and is one of the seats it looks likely to pick up if the polls stay the way they to, and the delegates chose a candidate that can win the seat.

The four candidates are all good people and deserve the respect of the party for putting their names forward. This blog is not taking sides, so wishes Roger, Joanne, Karen and Leonie the best of luck tomorrow and hopes that you all perform to the best of your abilities.

Unlike Rodney this selection process has been very smooth, without any attempted manipulation by unethical people. This is a real credit to the regional chair Malcolm Plimmer, and the electorate chair Trevor Day, who have been scrupulously fair unlike people in Auckland who should have known better.