Louise Upston

A proper whip

I can imagine Louise Upston doing this…but not Chris Hipkins.

Imagine if the snivelling little ginga trying that on with Shane Jones. Mallard could get away with it…I’m told his abuse of backbenchers is legendary…he will be regretting unleashing that sort of behaviour on David Cunliffe in the house repeatedly, regretting and hoping that Cunliffe doesn’t become leader. Once such incident was over stopping David Cunliffe tweeting while in the house. The expletives issued were heard by numerous MPs surrounding Cunliffe’s seat.

The next step is delivery. Or as it is experienced by backbench MPs, enforcement. A strong whips’ office is vital in tight votes. A Cabinet minister who served in both the Blair and Brown governments retells his first encounter with Labour whips. Newly elected, he was walking through the corridors of the House when he was accosted by one. He was pushed against the wall, his testicles grabbed and twisted sharply – and painfully. “Son, you’ve done nothing to annoy me. Yet. Just think what I’ll do if you cross me.” That is how you manage backbenchers.  Read more »

Sounds familiar?

Watching Labour completely stuff up the snap debate yesterday I was reminded of a scene from “In the Thick of It”….where Malcolm Tucker is facing an inquiry about leaks…

Read more »

Who is next in line for a Ministerial Promotion?

Hekia ParataThere are a number of MPs potentially in line to become a minister, and depending on how long it takes for John Key to work out that useless ministers need the arse there might be a few promotions next year.

David Carter’s coronation as speaker means that Nick Smith can be rehabilitated back into caucus after getting caught out lying about some sordid little personal details. That’s if someone doesn’t upset things and demonstrate to John Key his one seat majority is an one seat majority so he is pretty rooted if he tries to bully MPs who are willing to sit on the cross benches.

Nick is probably the most capable outside the ministry and having done time he could easily be rehabilitated into a difficult portfolio like Education.

The word in Wellington is that after Nick gets promoted Nikki Kaye is next in line. She has laid off the booze for long enough to be considered, though this would be a bold move as the rest of the back bench regard her as a vacuous airhead with no real world experience or particular talent except greasing those who make decisions. The one seat majority means passed over and pissed off MPs could cause Key trouble if he promotes Nikki.

Michael Woodhouse has been an effective whip although widely disrespected in Dunedin for spending too much time with his family and not enough working when he goes home. This blog is clear that it supports MPs making this kind of decision as they are parents first, and MPs second and this should not be held against Michael. National has a history of promoting whips so he is a reasonable bet.

Junior Whip Louise Upston may be promoted but it would be surprising to see her leapfrog the senior whip. Louise would be a safe pair of hands in any portfolio but would be an equally good senior whip if Michael is promoted.

Todd McClay and Sam Lotu-Iiga are also contenders and both have done well in their select committee roles. The chatter is not so much about them as it is about the top brass deciding to promote Nikki so they are probably outsiders.

Angry Bird

Angry Birds was Phil Goff’s favourite game during the election and now I think it should be the nickname for Trevor Mallard after his little outburst in the house last night. Obviously still smarting from his “Banks Spank” at question time he reacted quite irrationally.

Mallard plays this churlish little game and purposively mis-pronounces Jami-lee Ross’ name. He got pulled up by the Chairman last night and then chaos ensued as Jami-lee Ross stood and said he didn;t take offence at Angry Bird not remembering his name, he realises that Angry Bird has early onset demetia.

What you see next is 5 minutes of vein popping anger…looks like his anger management classes need to be retaken.

Of course Angry Bird forgets that he is 58 and clearly an older New Zealander, and hypocritically after just attacking Jami-lee Ross for disrespecting older New Zealanders sets about disrespecting John Banks who at 65 is older than Angry Bird.

Poor old Angry Bird…after sticking up for Jacinda repeatedly last week, and for Clare Curran today they left him adrift to be out sledged by the youngest National backbencher.

Louise Upston gets up him later with a lsedge mentioning his “Banks Spank” on question time…before he gets onto trying to have a go at Judith Collins.

He really needs to get his anger sorted….otherwise “Angry Bird” is going to stick

Which National Caucus Members will Still be in Parliament in 2022

Following on from my post earlier today about the future of National the type of MP I think will be around in 10 years time is based on historical precedent. MPs with safe blue seats will still be there, but they will also be under 60 and obviously it depends on whether National is in power or not.

This means:

Mike Sabin
Phil Heatley
Mark Mitchell
Simon O’Connor
Jami-Lee Ross
Simon Bridges
Louise Upston
Amy Adams

Most of the other safe blue seats are held by MPs who have been around for ages and will retire, or who are too old to expect to be cabinet ministers in 2022. Some may hang around, and it will also depend on who is leader. There are younger MPs who took seats from Labour in recent elections, and they will probably not last another three elections. The exception to this is Louise Upston who has benefited from boundary changes and now has a safe blue seat.

List MPs, no matter how powerful now, will not make it back for three elections. David Farrar has pointed out that there are no List MPs from 1996 still in parliament as List MPs, and there have been no List MPs who have made it to Prime Minister.

From along term perspective, and whatever you think of their merits, the 2011 intake did not have many people like Bill English, Tony Ryall or Nick Smith who will do two terms of government at least. Age discriminates against Maggie Barry, Scott Simpson and Ian McKelvie who will in extremely advanced years in political terms in 2022.

There is going to be a major generational change in the National Party when long serving MPs like McCully, Williamson, Ryall, Smith and English move on, and older MPs in safe blue seats like Hutchinson, Tisch, Ardern, King, Wilkinson, Brownlee and Dean will also be replaced by new MPs by 2022. The big question is will they be replaced by people who can make it into cabinet like McCully, Ryall, Smith and English?

Is Matthew Hooton Out of Touch?

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 Upston’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 “safe pair of hands”, 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 “unwilling to challenge the status quo”.

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 Hooton’s “below average intelligence”.

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 “yes-man”. 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 “below-average-intelligence”.

Who should take Nick Smith’s Portfolios?

Nick Smith left two important portfolios. Environment and Local Government. Also Climate Change.

Local Government

Local Government is not that difficult as just about everyone hates councils, and Nick was going to rinse them in a highly popular move that stopped them wasting money on dumb stuff and reigned in their borrowing. The problem is not many in cabinet are interested in Local Government as it is the minor leagues.

Nathan Guy has a background in Local Government, but there is concerns he is an administrator not a leader, and a combination of patch protecting local body representatives and Sir Humphrey’s might slow down reform under Nathan’s watch.

Gerry Brownlee currently has the portfolio on a temporary basis but is known for dodging work as much as salads, so can be expected to pass it on to someone else asap, Unless someone can make Local Government look like a nice meat pie then he will pounce on it with vigour.

From outside of cabinet Chris Tremain comes with a good reputation for getting things done and taking people with him at the same time. Has a good strategic brain and is willing to front foot issues, as well as being in the thick of amalgamation in Hawkes Bay, where small minded halfwits on councils don’t want to lose their income stream. Could sell the policy well.

Environment

This is a much more nuanced portfolio that requires someone with detailed knowledge built up over many years, as well as the relationships with lots of angry greenies who have given up hugging trees to bash politicians. The nuance factor also causes problems, as a number of ministers, especially those from the South Island, wouldn’t know a nuance until it snuck up behind them and whacked them with a baseball bat.

Disrupting the current cabinet would not be ideal, so those outside cabinet might be a better bet.

Chris Finlayson is currently the placeholder minister, and will likely be adept in most areas except stakeholder management. Known for his understandable dislike of morons, in an area heavily populated by stakeholder morons Chris might be better taking on another portfolio.

Chris Tremain doesn’t have a background in the Environment but is known to be concerned about water quality and is exceptionally good with stakeholders so is worth a look.

Chester Borrows doesn’t really fit this portfolio, nor does Maurice Williamson. Williamson has an abiding belief that greenies are judder bars in the road toward progress.

Those not currently ministers who have green credentials include Nikki Kaye, Louise Upston and Nicky Wagner. Nikki Kaye is probably too much of a light weight to take on a portfolio where attention to detail and mastery of information is important or you will get stitched up by your department. There is of course the slight stench of Boag around Nikki Kaye.

Louise would have no trouble dealing with the detail and work load, and has been adept in negotiating difficult environmental issues in her electorate. May not have the depth of stakeholder relationships required, but would build them quickly.

Nicky Wagner has the relationships with the tree huggers, NGOs and other groups and the years of detailed learning required to be able to talk to them. Not in favour with the McCully clique which is ten points in her favour in my eyes, but this may count against perhaps the best placed MP to deal with the portfolio.

Climate Change

I have well known views on manbearpig and thinks it is a portfolio that should be abolished, or if not abolished given to a man with a gay ute.

Who should replace Nick Smith?

I wrote this early this morning with my belief that Nick Smith’s position was untenable.

In geographical sequence, not in order of merit or endorsement by me in any way. This takes into account the PM can replace Nick with anyone and rejig portfolios at will.

National actually has some good local government people, with Nathan Guy, Nicky Wagner and Sam Lotu-Iiga all being former councillors and not first termers. Nathan would have to be the pick to take over the portfolio, with the environment much more problematic. Nicky Wagner has a strong track record on the environment and her win in Christchurch Central bought her a lot of credibility.

Nikki Kaye

Well known pinko, and got into a fight with Nick Smith over protecting Auckland’s trees. Won a seat for National for the first time ever, and held it, but with a narrow margin and with a highly competent opponent.

Not naturally aligned to local government portfolio but is aligned to the environment.

Pros: Young woman from the socially and economically liberal wing of National, filling a gap for National. Appeals to the gay lobby by wanting to waste tax payers money on a gay pride event but wont stand up for gay marriage.

Been good at impressing senior guys in the party.

Cons: Would lose Auckland Central if she was a minister and couldn’t spend every spare minute working in her electorate.

Not known for any tangible achievements apart from winning and holding Auckland Central.

Not liked by her peers who rate her as a lightweight intellectually and for her unwillingness to do the hard yards with things like reading select committee papers. Known as a drinker and a risk taker. Misses meetings due to being hungover.

Best described as the middle ranked monkey on a tree. The top monkey looking down sees a smiley face, the one under her just sees…ahhh…well you can imagine for yourself.

Sam Lotu-Iiga

Old school mate of Whale, and regarded as a prodigious talent. Former Auckland City Councilor where he did a good job on the Finance and Expenditure committee. Highly likeable guy with few enemies. Cambridge educated, lawyer and banker, and a genuine intellect.

Pros: Experience in local government and very good with people, so will likely to help push through changes if used in local government. Fiscally sound, and with a very large support base due to his likability.

National doesn’t do affirmative action, but the ministry is white and doesn’t reflect New Zealand’s changing population. Promoting Sam on these grounds has political implications.

One of only three National MPs to increase his majority against a Labour list MP.

Cons: Didn’t shine in his first term as much as expected, perhaps because he stayed on the Auckland council too long. Working two jobs was bloody hard, especially when he had to win his marginal seat.

Louise Upston

Very solid performer in her first term, with a work ethic and mastery of detail far in advance of most of her peers. Massively increased her majority to 14000 in a formerly Labour seat so very popular with voters. Has a very loyal team and a great reputation in her electorate.

Pros: Safe pair of hands, capable to pick up just about anything and work her way through it.

Sound on the environment as a long time Blue Greens member.

Cons: Was regarded as something of a plodder by her fast talking and flashy peers, but through hard work will out compete them.

Nicky Wagner

Career stalled by getting offside with McCully, which is a point in her favour in the eyes of this blogger. Exceptionally well liked in Christchurch, winning the ultra red seat of Christchurch Central for the first time ever. Brilliant on the ground, huge empathy and able to take people with her from all sections of society.

Former ECan councillors and known Blue Green. Most natural direct replacement for Nick Smith.

Pros: Knowledgeable in local government and very well up to play on environmental issues. Perhaps a little to the left of the party on the environment, but then so was Nick.

Not liked by McCully and his dying clique.

Has the softer skills to push local government reform through when dealing with patch protecting mayors and councillors.

Cons: Leading light in the Blue Greens and good friend of Nick Smith. Has been too focused on minor things like Green Business rather than the RMA, local government reform and big picture environment issues.

Michael Woodhouse

Well regarded in some circles but the only scum list MP in this list. Portfolios do not match his area of expertise but this doesn’t matter if there is a reshuffle.

Pros: Comes with a good background and was highly regarded before he entered parliament. Hasn’t made any major mistakes, and is a safe pair of hands.

Cons: Scum List MP.

Didn’t do very well in Dunedin and has alienated some in National for not doing the hard yards on the ground during recesses to lift National’s support. Apparently this is due to his devotion to his family, so this blog will not fault him for this.

Too short to have a real presence, though hasn’t stopped Winston in the past.

Saying what the rest of us think

As is usual these days the only commentators that Red Radio run to are Pinko scum. They clearly don’t like MPs saying what the rest of us where thinking:

Commentators say two National Party MPs showed a lack of judgement in posting tweets implying the guilt of a teenager charged with an attack on a child in Turangi.

Louise Upston and Tau Henare both tweeted their thoughts after an arrest was made on Wednesday.

Both condemned the accused in separate tweets before he stands trial.

Mr Henare would not comment on tape, but said he stood by what he had written.

However, he says on his twitter account that he may have got carried away with the initial tweet.

Ms Upston says she was only trying to show her support for the police who worked on the case.

She does not believe her comments have jeopardised the accused’s chance of a fair trial.

Media law lawyer Steven Price says it’s always inadvisable to make public statements about the guilt or innocence of a person before a trial.

However, he says that the twitter comments are likely to have been forgotten by the time the trial comes.

Media commentator Russell Brown says neither Ms Upston nor Mr Henare have demonstrated respect for the law and its processes.

He says legislators have a responsibility to uphold the law.

Looks like Russell Brown is halting his constant self promoting blog posts about Media 7 and his mum’s lamb chop recipes to get back into politics. He may find that times have moved on and one post a week regurgitating your radio slot really doesn’t cut it anymore.

Steven Price is of course the flea lawyer who tried unsuccessfully to sue me on behalf of Pearl Going.

Winners and Losers, Ctd

Some Winners and Losers from the National party.

Winners: Louise Upston & Amy Adams

Both Louise and Amy increased their majorities by over 6600 votes in an election where only 11 MPs increased their majorities. Amy already has a formidable reputation and Louise has now turned a red seat into a safe blue seat with a 13,000 majority. Amy’s ascension to cabinet is expected, and the tipline says we should look out for Louise. Her work ethic and attention to detail will be very valuable when things turn against National and they need a safe pair of hands. Also Louise doesn’t mind having a stoush with the teachers union so she comes with officially Whaleoil Approved.

Rank by Margin -National Party seats

Losers:  Jo de Joux

Known to be as abrasive as sandpaper, her personal reputation took a total battering this election. MPs and candidates who were sick of her screaming at them worked out that if they told her to “Get Fucked” there was nothing she could do about it. Needs anger management training, perhaps with the party president. Though she did have her pleasant hat on when dealing with the Whale on Saturday night, probably because she knew David Farrar would write something nice about her the next day.

Losers: Malcolm Plimmer

Was elected to the Lower North Island Regional Chair position based on campaigning and winning red seats. A bit too much talk and not enough results, with the marginal seats in the electorate blowing out to much safer Labour ones and a chance of a generation lost.

Labour Held Seats
2008 Margin 2011 Margin Increase in Margin
Palmerston North 1,117 3,001 1,884
Rimutaka 753 3,126 2,373
Wellington Central 1,904 5,111 3,207

Regional chairs play a crucial roll in List Ranking, and Malcolm lost a list MP in his region with Paul Quinn not making it back on in the list. Getting Quinn or another LNI list MP in was Malcolm’s responsibility.

This is very disappointing from someone who promised so much yet delivered so little. A man with integrity would tender his resignation for such failure.