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.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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