Vance kicks a speculator, boots it dead on the full

Andrea Vance likes to think she is a player in?the?press gallery…the mover and shaker with her finger on the pulse.

Today in?the?DomPost she writes what could best described as a speculator article based on every bit of rumour and gossip floating around Wellington, not much of which is true.

According to a story doing the rounds, National pollster and blogger David Farrar was recently invited to spend some time with Murray McCully.

Widely expected to step down by the end of this term, the foreign minister mischievously let slip he had no intention of retiring from politics – just to see how long the news took to reach his senior colleagues.

Farrar insists the rumour is not true. But it gives a few clues as to what is occupying the minds of National MPs.

One of the parties says it is b.s. but hey let’s run the speculator anyway. That story is old by the way and was running before Christmas.

McCully is not the most imminent departure from party ranks. Wellington’s worst-kept secret is that Trade Minister Tim Groser is shortly off to relieve Mike Moore as New Zealand’s ambassador in Washington.

Also likely to be waving goodbye to Parliament in 2017 is Assistant Speaker Lindsay Tisch, whether he likes it or not. No-one would be surprised to see Finance Minister Bill English take his leave, once he has delivered the long-promised surplus.

Tisch before the last election to go, and he flipped the bird at Key knowing that to tip him out of his seat would require shenanigans far greater than that which saw Key selected in Helensville. This is just dumb of Vance to even mention it.?She?needs to read the National constitution and discover membership numbers, and work out just how hard it would be to tip Tisch out. It would be easier to get rid of McCully given the parlous state of his membership.

National’s rejuvenation continues apace. Amid the wreckage of the Northland by-election, there was conjecture about the damage it would do to the career prospects of Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett, who led the campaign.

After Judith Collins’ sacking during the Dirty Politics saga, it became accepted Joyce and Bennett were front-runners to replace John Key as leader.

But no-one should rule Collins out of the game just yet. Groser’s exit is expected to bring a mini-reshuffle. Given the Chisholm report found no evidence of wrongdoing, some expect her to be reinstated (although not as justice minister). With time on her hands, Collins has quietly been rebuilding her power base within the caucus.

The brains trust of Joyce and Bennett stuffed up badly, worse they have attempted to ignore the disquiet from the back bench. Vance clearly doesn’t know Joyce is disliked and Bennett is loathed by the back bench. They can’t get half of caucus to back them because they never do anything for the back bench MPs constituents. On top of that Bennett has an appalling way of treating her staff and those stories are starting to get legs.

The by-election gave other signals about National’s rising stars. Attention fell on the ministers sent to bolster Mark Osborne’s lacklustre campaign.

But much of the grunt work was done by four backbenchers: Todd Muller, Barbara Kuriger, Chris Bishop and Alfred Ngaro.

Ngaro, Parliament’s first Cook Islander and a thoughtful community worker, is almost certainly next cab off the rank into Cabinet. His campaign to win Te Atatu off Labour’s Phil Twyford has already begun.

The other three are regarded as minister material.

Bay of Plenty MP Muller (a former Zespri and Fonterra high-flier) is not new to politics: he was a staffer to Prime Minister Jim Bolger and has served on National’s list-ranking committee.

Also from the class of 2014, Taranaki-King Country MP Kuriger, like other female backbenchers, has kept a low profile.

Bishop, a protege of Joyce and a former tobacco lobbyist, was tipped to rise through the ranks even before he entered Parliament.

You can tell this is a put up job from the Joyce camp in that they are promoting their own team and the poor work some of them did in Northland, and ignoring the one MP who put in?the hardest work and who actually won the booths he was responsible for. I’m not going to tell Vance who that was, by leaving him out she has shown just precisely who has been whispering in her ear.

All in all this article from Vance was nothing but the spreading of several rumours and some cafe gossip…not much of which was right. It shows clearly she is out of touch with much of the National party caucus…and like a little whisper from Joyce’s pals.


– Fairfax