What he doesn’t point out is that there appears to be no clear strategy to National moving people on. Individuals have chosen to leave of their own accord, or ambitious new people have stacked electorates so they can successfully challenge sitting MPs. Lets look at the seven that have retired.
Phil Heatley – Was given the arse by John Key from cabinet a year ago, couldn’t see much point in hanging around. Off to a new career.
Cam Calder – Successful man going nowhere in politics, better off doing something else.
Paul Hutchinson – Difficult missus. Was going to get hammered by a well organised selection challenge.
Chris Tremain – Difficult missus, wanted to make more money, internal polling was showing he would get beaten in Napier by Stuart Nash.
Katrina Shanks – Electorate stacked against her for selection so getting out with dignity.
Chris Auchinvole – Dodgy ticker, no real future in politics and lots of interesting things to do outside of politics.
Kate Wilkinson – Got the arse at the same time as Heatley, mainly for being far too cosy with the unions. Read more »
Key’s appeal lies partly in his back-story – the state-house boy made good, a man who earned his millions overseas before returning to New Zealand with his family to carve out a political career.
It doesn’t just resonate with National’s traditional blue-ribbon support base. Middle New Zealand also instinctively trusts Key as someone who understands hard times.
But it is also a case of “what you see is what you get”. Even Key’s gaffes, like mincing down a runway pretending to be a top model, referring to someone’s “gay red shirt” or chugging from a beer bottle at a barbecue with Prince William, make him seem more like “one of us”.
It is that quality that has allowed him to carry middle New Zealand along with a platform that in previous decades might have turned into political battlegrounds. Read more »
After 5 years the National party are still scoring high 40s and in the case of the latest Fairfax poll over 50%. This just shows the lie of Labour and their shills touting an as yet unpublished UMR poll and the Roy Morgan polls as proof National is in trouble.
Labour pushed hard that the UMR polling showed National in 30s…I now challenge Labour and UMR to release that poll…it so so far out of whack with every other reputable poll as to suggest they simply made it up.
He has been pretty sneaky about it but he is for sure playing the gay card on Grant Robertson.
David Cunliffe is legendary for jealously guarding the privacy of his wife, environmental lawyer Karen Price. Nothing has changed since he put his hand up for the Labour leadership.
After the Sunday Star-Times approached the three candidates and their partners to talk about the race Cunliffe has been on the phone, telling Jones he and Robertson had a “gentleman’s agreement” not to involve their families.
Cunliffe is unapologetic about that.
“Shane’s got a different approach to this; that’s fine; Grant and I have got a gentlemen’s agreement we’re not going to showcase family and that’s partly out of respect for his circumstances and that’s that.” Read more »
Shearer is rooted because he is useless. Nice guy, but useless. He can’t answer a question straight, he can’t hold the PM to account and he just doesn’t appeal to the public.
How long before Labour asks whether David Shearer is the solution or the problem? If the results of today’s Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll are a precursor to the next election, the news is all bad for Labour – and not just because the poll has it shedding support, though that is bad enough.
But because it reverses a trend that had Labour slowly clawing into contention. Read more »
When Hekia Parata was promoted to the education portfolio, she was pegged by some as a future leader, ruffling a few feathers among her colleagues.
All the ingredients were there – a rags to riches back story, professional success and powerful mentors, including Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key, who saw in her an echo of his own rise to the top.
But she also had the all important X-factor – supreme self-assurance, an engaging personality and a guffawing laugh that could fill a room.
As blunders mounted one on top of the other in the education portfolio, however, Ms Parata’s poise deserted her. Hard questions were met with obfuscation and, when under stress, she reached for the bureaucrat’s trick of papering over the cracks with jargon.
The pressure began to tell in other, more personal, ways. Beehive insiders talk about a tense and poisonous atmosphere within her ministerial office, brought on by an increasingly demanding minister, who was out of her depth and casting around for others to blame.
The only part Tracy Watkins left out was that Hekia lobbied hard for the Education portfolio, she elbowed Tolley out of the way believing and selling the PM that she could do a better a job.
Why Hekia being a total disaster as Education Minister surprises anyone is a shock. She is an arrogant, unpleasant bully, and was called out by this blog on November 14th 2010 when Audrey Young, who should know better, wrote a hagiographic article about Hekia.
Fairfax and APN editors should start asking a few questions of their political journalists. They have really dropped the ball on this one. They should ask the following questions:
After losing five parliamentary Executive Assistants in the first two years in parliament, do they think Hekia will front the next CTU anti 90 day advertisement?
Are they aware that if you lose four EAs in around a year Parliamentary Services remove your right to recruit your own office staff?
Do they know why the Maori Affairs select committee had a change of personnel? And was it because Hekia was publicly yelling at Tau Henare, who was actually in the same party as her, for those press gallery reporters who were in some doubt?
Have they scrutinised her employment record in her career before she entered parliament?
Are they confident she would be able to run a ministerial office, and work with departmental chief executives and staff, or would they need a special golden handshake fund for her department?
Hekia Parata might make a good person to be the MP for Mana, but being one of Bill English’s acolytes and having a rotating door on staff at a rate equal to or better than McCully doesn’t make her a good prospect for cabinet.
There are better choices and ones who would be more effective.
The omnishambles that has been Hekia’s tenure as minister of education was clearly predictable. The questions above should have alerted enough the most bovine journalistic intellect to the problems Hekia would face.
The only real question for John Key is will he let someone he would have instantly fired at Merrill Lynch continue to pull him down in the polls?