What makes a good local MP?

Trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind . . .

These are the character traits a Scout or Guide is supposed to demonstrate. They are also essential character traits for a good MP.

Local MPs haven’t been so local anymore since that MMP has decreased the number of electorates and thereby increased their size but that makes availability and commitment to the electorate and its people even more important.

All of this makes me wonder what the people of Northland are thinking if the TV3 poll is right and 54% of them want Winston Peters as their MP when 48% don’t trust him and 9% don’t know if they trust him.

Why would people vote for someone they don’t trust, who doesn’t live in the electorate,  who will be at least as interested in courting the rest of New Zealand as party leader as he is in the people of Northland and who is coming to the end of a political career distinguished at least as much by controversy as accomplishment?

Contrast that with National’s candidate Mark Osborne who lives in the electorate, is in partnership with his wife in a business in the electorate, has children at school in the electorate and as a backbench MP at the start of a political career would have the time and commitment to serve the people of the electorate.

It is even more puzzling when getting Peters as a part-time electorate MP would give more power to both Peter Dunne and the Maori Party.

. . .Those who vote in Northland tomorrow will not remove National from power whatever happens, but they could shift the balance of power in Parliament from Epsom’s David Seymour, who is safely in National’s pocket, to Peter Dunne and the Maori Party. They will be the real winners if Northland elects Winston Peters. . .

And the losers will be all of New Zealand which needs a strong, stable government and the people of Northland who need a good local MP.

32 Responses to What makes a good local MP?

  1. Andrei says:

    If I lived in Northland I wouldn’t vote for Winston Peters

    That is because I wouldn’t vote at all.

    It is an exercise in futility, Parliament and our Parliamentarians of all stripes are out of touch with the electorate and often out of touch with realities we all have to live with.

    I watched our Political “Journalists” gushing on TV over this Poll last night and Dominic Bowden gushing on X-Factor NZ on Sunday night and there is zero difference.

    The two things are as equally banal

  2. Nick R says:

    All of what you say is perfectly true. And Peters is a charlatan. Yet it seems he will be elected anyway, at least in part because he enjoys the support of previously loyal National voters. Why do you think that is? Time for a change, perhaps? Or the sense that the Government stopped pretending to care about anyone who doesn’t live in Auckland or Christchurch?

  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Interestingly, Ele, you left out ‘effective’ from your list of attributes and while I have little time for Winston Peters I have yet to see evidence that Mark has what it takes in this regard either. There may be a very good explanation why the $15 million Te Ahu centre he was managing lost $700,000 over the last two years, but we haven’t heard it.


    Sadly actual capability is often a minor factor considered when our MPs are elected. Voters can only choose from what parties put up and while there may be some democratic system employed from within the party, the level of vetting can be limited (as apparently occurred with Sabin). We have a number of MPs who have had to step down or not be re-selected by parties because of revelations from their past that weren’t known or ignored when they were first elected.

    Mark Osborne comes across as a nice guy but whether he has the skills and political mana to be an effective advocate for Northland is not evident in his personal history.

    If we removed all the politics, probably the best of the bunch is actually Willow Jean Prime and yet she has even been sidelined by her own party. Prime has a Masters in governance and indigenous development and has proven to be a very effective district councillor. Her fluency in Reo, her ability to understand the needs of impoverished Maori and her local government experience should put her well ahead of Winston and Mark.



    But then elections are not about electing the most competent, but about the media presentation, financing and spin. Winston is a wily spin merchant and media magnet, Mark comes across as a little overwhelmed and heavily managed and I think Northland wouldn’t be particularly well served by either.

  4. TraceyS says:

    I wonder if anyone else appreciates the irony here. He who said:

    “…elections are not about electing the most competent, but about the media presentation, financing and spin.”

    Made the following claim:

    “…I have yet to see evidence that Mark has what it takes…”

    In total reliance on the “spin” and presentation he has seen in the media!

    Going by the discussions we have here with you, Dave, I serious doubt that you have what it takes.

    If you want to know whether the candidate is capable then ring the man up and ask him a few questions or send him an email. I’m sure he would respond.

  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    I sure he would Tracey but as you would be aware just talking to someone is hardly a robust assessment of their competency. When I employ someone I look at their CV and their qualifications, I look at their work history and talk to people who have employed or worked with them.

    Mark seems like a nice guy and I could probably have a chat with him and find him very personable. He owns a successful beauty therapy business with his wife and is the asset manager for the Far North District Council. http://www.doubtlessbeauty.co.nz/aboutus.htm

    He also managed Kaitaia’s Te Ahu Centre that made huge losses under his management. There may be very reasonable explanations for this and I have read some of these.

    I would be interested to know what spin I have been relying on, it all seems pretty factual to me.

    It is up to Mark to promote his credentials and past successes and as I said before, the evidence isn’t there to demonstrate why he would be more effective than Willow Jean or Winston. I am open to see more in support of him, perhaps you can help me in this regard?

  6. jabba says:

    who is Toad ranting like a moron on twitter .. I mean is he/she a certain failed potential MP?

  7. TraceyS says:

    “I would be interested to know what spin I have been relying on, it all seems pretty factual to me.

    It always does!

  8. TraceyS says:

    “When I employ someone I look at their CV and their qualifications, I look at their work history and talk to people who have employed or worked with them.”

    So when you call Mark why don’t you ask him for a copy of his CV (including referees) and give them a call?

    But no, you will rely on the “pretty factual” stuff that you hear on the news and read in the papers because you’re a spin junkie.

  9. TraceyS says:

    You seem like a nice guy and I could probably have a chat with you, Dave, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to be represented by someone who takes everything he receives from the media at face-value.

  10. TraceyS says:


    Playing dumb isn’t very becoming either.

  11. Gravedodger. says:

    DaveK you are better than that.

    Casting aspersions on Osborne’s business ability on his ‘Management’ of a ratepayer funded convention, social services, library center in the acknowledged economic deficient Far North is a cheap shot.
    Any observer of politics in NZ casting their eye over the entire GP MPs would as a first step notice the almost complete absence of any Business activity successful or otherwise in their collective CVs.

    Mark Osborne has ‘managed’ the Te Ahu facility under the governance of a veritable list of who’s who of that district and the glowing Annual reports do not suggest anything other than outstanding success for the council funded facility in bringing opportunity and facility for social event advancements for the people.
    That it runs at a loss is of absolutely no surprise whatsoever and your use of the annual account result as a suggestion of the Manager’s expertise is shameful.

    The candidate has the endorsement of his electorate delegates and compare that to the oh so politically spin laden selection currently needed to convince those who choose who will carry your party’s flag into electoral battle and I have no doubt as to which system will deliver over time.
    OK so he is politically inexperienced, carries a bit of weight, is in many ways so easy to denigrate on his appearance and is in the total unrelenting media glare as the only show in town where the NZLP candidate is being completely sidelined as the shallow schoolfish masquerading as media make hay promoting a derilect old man with visible degradation etched in his face makes yet another effort to gain adulation as a tired old hasbean with well documented historical list of failure in government and in opposition.
    He is a spent force yet Little and his coterie of power seekers have no compunction in using every last ounce of opportunity in suddenly embracing all his past and sad destructive behaviour in a lifetime of Winston First.
    It might work the polls certainly are saying as much but anyone and I mean anyone who thinks electing an old dogtucker south suffolk with footrot as a saviour of the North is selling those people down the river, sending a message that will never be written let alone delivered is just another sellout for the Far North.

    W.S.Churchill said “the best argument against democracy is five minutes with an average voter”

  12. TraceyS says:

    Dave’s on the governance team of a community art gallery. I wonder if it makes a profit (excluding Council funding of course)!

  13. RBG says:

    Mark Osbourne has emphasised his size and weightlifting ability as a reason to vote for him and said that people won’t be able to push him around in Wellington. Thats quite disturbing. Does he think throwing your weight around is how things get decided?

  14. jabba says:

    maybe he is trying to counter the slurs from his opposition comparing him with Boss Hogg. Maybe Dave K knows about that?

  15. Ray says:

    Thats quite disturbing.
    What I find more disturbing is that you would take this literally.

  16. TraceyS says:

    Ah humility! Now there’s a quality I like to see in a representative.

    Where’s Winston on the humility scale?

  17. RBG says:

    Why bring it up Ray? He has talked it up and lifted weights for the camera? Why?

  18. RBG says:

    Does the humility scale do negative numbers TraceyS? Thats where I’d start looking for Winston.

  19. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, I had to laugh when reading your comment. You castigated me for presenting both views around Osbourne’s management performance (and I made a positive comments about his personality) and then proceed to say this about Winston:
    “…a derilect old man with visible degradation etched in his face makes yet another effort to gain adulation as a tired old hasbean with well documented historical list of failure in government and in opposition.”

    And you accuse me of making a cheap shot.

    Then Tracey proceeds to make a cheap shot against myself and my business credentials when my background is in education, governance and policy. You may not think I have what it takes but then again most of my roles have been elected ones, so obviously some people do.

    Jabba then tries to attribute the Boss Hogg reference to me because he thinks that if the Greens are in opposition we are directly responsible for that (only I thought it was Hoss from Bonanza, which would mean it was a compliment).

    What a lovely bunch of people you are 😉

    Not one of you have tried to defend Osborne’s credentials or skills or provide evidence for his other successes or community service. If you immediately resort to attacking me then you must have few arguments in support of Mark. The poor chap, I’m sure he would be hoping for better than this in his defence. Perhaps he is involved in sports coaching or has served on a board of trustees or something…?

  20. TraceyS says:

    If you think members of the public asking questions is a “cheap shot” then maybe public life isn’t for you, Dave?

  21. Dave Kennedy says:

    Sorry Tracey, I thought your question about whether a public art gallery makes a profit was sarcasm….was it genuine? Sadly our art gallery has in difficult times as our beloved building has been deemed an earthquake risk:
    But our farmers market is doing OK 🙂

  22. TraceyS says:

    Well I am sorry to hear that.

    I really wish that you could accept the ‘other’ political side as genuine. I consider you to be genuine even though I disagree with you on a lot of matters. Mark Osborne seems genuine too doesn’t he?

    You know, Dave, if you were to pose your questions to the man directly rather than expecting commenters here to leap into defense then you might actually have a worthwhile conversation about the challenges of running public facilities.

  23. RBG says:

    TraceyS says to Dave Kennedy ‘if you were to pose your questions to the man directly’. If this is not somewhere for us to ask questions about National party politicians, then neither is it somewhere other commentators should be asking why Russel Norman is resigning or why Andrew Little paid an invoice late.

  24. Gravedodger. says:

    [This comment was temporarily deleted. I’ve replaced it now it’s after 7pm. – Ele]
    DaveK my description of the charlatan you and your bunch of perennial losers have embraced as “a saviour for the Far North” when the fact is he will do nothing, zip, nada, is based on many years of well documented evidence.
    Your sneering scurrilous denigration of a man only weeks into a career as a national political person seemed to me to be extremely shallow and opportunistic.
    Had I made an attack on the verbal skills of comrade Mathers I am certain you would have been rather affronted and rightly so even though her ability to express herself in comprehensible oral English is severely constrained to a great many of those who need to understand her in her role as a list MP. The fact is total, that hero of your revolution is very difficult to understand but to use it as a blunt instrument to cudgel her, would be beyond the pale.
    I had suggested you were better than that but your explaining is losing justification makes that assessment rather over generous it appears.
    Politics is all too often ugly and your nauseating defence of the Melons as goody two shoes in the field of dirty politics while hugging The cur Hagar to your collective breasts belies that claim completely.
    Your words on Osborne that roused me were no better than the objects that perpetrate the successive “code brown” incidents at Splash Palace.
    If my first effort on this post merely amused you then here is todays.
    Have a very happy day I know I will and whatever happens in the North it could be that the body politic set that region back on their arse and it will be their own doing entirely.
    They will reap what they sow, Peters Vs Osborne would not require much of an IQ to decide on the hard evidence available.

  25. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I actually said more nice things about Osborne then negative, if you read through my comments. I compared the public record of all candidates and it was my personal opinion that one candidate stood out above the rest for qualifications and history of public involvement. I have been jumped on because I expressed a different opinion than most shared here, not because of the facts I collected nor the manner in which I expressed my views (which was measured and polite). Your aggressive questioning of my own abilities was unnecessary because I was not standing for election in this electorate.

    Ele, I have been careful not refer directly to any candidate so that my comment cannot be deemed campaigning.

    [You did refer to one candidate by name which is why I temporarily deleted the comment but I’ve restored it now it’s after 7pm. – Ele ]

  26. homepaddock says:

    Please don’t leave any more comments on this thread until after 7pm.

  27. homepaddock says:

    It’s after 7pm, I’ve restored the two comments I temporarily deleted and you’re free to discuss anything about the by-election again.

  28. Andrei says:
  29. TraceyS says:

    “Your aggressive questioning of my own abilities was unnecessary because I was not standing for election in this electorate.”

    You found my questions aggressive, Dave? Really?

    I repeat my 11:24pm question to you.

  30. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, having a discussion with you is tricky because I often don’t understand the point of many of your arguments and you often misrepresent my own. I actually don’t really care how aggressive or condescending you are towards me, my point was that it was unnecessary because I wasn’t a bye-election candidate. What was the point of challenging my credentials?

    I actually felt sorry for Mark Osborne, because in the end it wasn’t really his bye-election, it ended up as a Winston circus and a reaction to National’s clumsy Strategy and past neglect. I do hope Willow Jean gets in in 2017 as she was very gracious about being cast aside and I think she would be a great advocate for Northland in Parliament.

  31. TraceyS says:

    Where was the aggression?

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