Is Annette King Labour’s Winston?

I’ve been keeping an eye on Annette King.  She’s in good shape for her age, and clearly has been working on it.  That always raises a flag, especially when the leader’s permanence is under a cloud.

Most weekdays before sunrise Labour’s deputy leader can be found at her gym trying to do more burpees than her husband, Ray Lind.

The exercise, an up-down cross between a push-up and star-jump and favoured by sadistic rugby coaches, keeps Annette King, 68, fit for the rough-and-tumble of Parliament.

She’s not just physically fit; politically she is one of the more active and successful Opposition MPs and one of the party’s great survivors. Age has not wearied her efforts to take the fight to the Government every day.

That was demonstrated in Parliament this week during one of her regular jousts with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Having been Health Minister for six years, she knows as much about the job as Coleman, who has had just 18 months at the helm.

MPs from both sides of the House howled with delight at the Coleman and King set-to.

Apart from her need to heckle like she’s at a pantomime, she is one of Labour’s more scrappy MPs.  And she should be; she’s got the miles on the clock.  

Referred to as the ballast of the caucus, King helped MPs accept Andrew Little’s leadership when most of the caucus had voted in 2014 for Grant Robertson to be leader. Her experience balances out Little’s inexperience.

“She is good at hauling together groups and working out, on occasions, compromises,” says long-serving colleague Trevor Mallard. “And on other occasions not compromises [but a] line to be taken. People respect her for that, and that job goes much further than just having the [deputy] role.”

King says when voters get to know Little, they will see the qualities in him she admires: passion, authenticity and a sense of humour.

“I can see some of Helen [Clark] in him. He has a big brain, she had a big brain. People when they meet him like him and say, ‘You are different from what you are on TV’.

“Well, she had that for years, all through the 1990s. Until she became prime minister, Helen faced the same things.”

Another flag is when someone who is getting really fit is praising the party leader at every opportunity. Nobody’s picking King as Labour party leader because of her age.

It seems King is the only one who doesn’t think that matters.


– Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald

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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.