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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  • pdm

    There are enough Ministers already so I would prefer to see a reallocation of portfolios among existing ministers.

    • Richard McGrath

      Better still, abolish the portfolios along with the minister.

      Al Gore Warming is a hypothesis increasingly under fire as being politically-motivated power-play bullshit. End of story. Let New Zealanders react to changes in climate themselves, without interference from politicians.

      The environment would be better managed by selling it into private hands and letting the motivated owners (no reason why private environmental groups couldn’t own some of it) arrange the upkeep and improvements themselves with their own money and labour.

      Local government is just two more tiers of power-hungry parasites. Privatise the services they currently run and then sell off their palatial council chambers and other property, and use the proceeds to pay down national debt. 

      So, along with saying goodbye to Nick Smith, we could just as easily farewell his portfolios, which are really just a sham and an excuse to tax New Zealanders.   

  • Joshua

    The PM has announced the replacement ministers – see the Beehive site. 
    Gerry Brownlee – Local Government – makes sense because of his work with councils over earthquakes
    Craig Foss – Climate Change – manmade climate change probably isn’t real anyway so who cares
    Christopher Finlayson – Environment – makes sense because of his Treaty work.

    • Auto_immune

      The question is whether they’ll hold onto the portfolios permanently or will they bring in new blood in a reshuffle later.

  • Cactus Kate

    Oh come on, Nikki Kaye a drinker? Bullshit. Turning up to meetings hungover? Unlikely, she permanently looks like she’s had 2 hours sleep because she has. Works 22 hrs a day.

    • couldn’t give a monkeys….

      so where are you on the tree then??

  • sthnjeff

    FFS Just choked on my coffee Whale….. did you just imply that Socialist Cindy is a “Highly competent opponent’????

    • Cactus Kate

      That’s demerits right then and there.

      • sthnjeff

        For me or Whale???

      • Vlad

        Don’t know if it was her personally or her organisation, but she ran a fierce & cunning campaign in Auckland Central against Nikki Kaye, a deserved winner & also hard worker (at least in the electorate). 

  • thor42

    So Brownlee has got the Local Government portfolio.
    I’m still not convinced that he’s a “get it done” guy. Maybe that’s just because he’s fat – I don’t know. Then again, Lange was fat and got things done. 
    Keen to hear from anyone who can convince me that Brownlee is not “all talk, no action”. 

    • Joshua

      Lange getting things done? Yea, until his Tea Break from hell.

      • thor42


    • tamati

      Brownlee has walked the walk in terms of Christchurch. Set up CERA to rebuild Christchurch and not piss around with ‘local democracy’ or any other whining bullshit

      I reakon he’ll take an axe to local government. 

    • Jester

      For all the critics in ChCh who would slag him off regardless of his performance there are also many involved in the rebuild chch like myself who consider him the goto guy.

      But if you want someone to get things done slower and with less collateral damage he is not your man. That’s why the some here don’t like him. The “let’s have another meeting” crew hate him with a vengeance!

      • Jester

        Oh and they are scared shitless of him. Well if he gets Local Govt they will literally shit themselves. The carnage will be a pleasure to watch :)

      • Eli

        Not too sure, from what I’ve heard Brownlee is a numbers man. As long as he gets his goals and numbers achieved he is happy. The carnage that is left in his wake is inconsequential. Sure he gets things done. But  in terms of looking at the long term picture, I’m not too sure. I have a sinking feeling he’ll get the job in front of him done, and then he’ll move on to his next project. But then leave a series of other problems for someone else to sort out

  • tamati

    Woodhouse defiantly deserves a spot round the cabinet table, however his background doesn’t really fit with environment or local government.

    @whale:disqus He stood in the studenville that is North Dunedin, probably the reddest seat in the South Island.