Williams off NZ First list

August 26, 2014

New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams has been left off his party’s list and another MP, Asenati Lole- Taylor, at 16 is unlikely to return to parliament:

1 Rt Hon Winston Peters
2 Tracey Martin
3 Richard Prosser
4 Fletcher Tabuteau
5 Barbara Stewart
6 Clayton Mitchell
7 Denis O’Rourke
8 Pita Paraone
9 Ron Mark
10 Darroch Ball
11 Mahesh Bindra
12 Ria Bond
13 Mataroa Paroro
14 Romuald Rudzki
15 Jon Reeves
16 Asenati Lole- Taylor
17 Brent Catchpole
18 George Abraham
19 Ray Dolman
20 Hugh Barr
21 Anne Degia Pala
22 Steve Campbell
23 Edwin Perry
24 Bill Gudgeon
25 Brent Pierson

Williams’ selection three years ago was criticised but he’s largely stayed out of trouble since he’s been in parliament.

Lole- Taylor has been in the news for some very silly statements. Some are so silly people have trouble differentiating between the fake Twitter account in her name and her real one.


Some would owe us

July 22, 2014

Stephen Franks has an innovative suggestion on incentive pay for MPs:

. . . When the Remuneration Authority was asking MPs about reform of the system 10 years ago, I urged that parties be given a material amount they could distribute among their members according to their pre-Parliament incomes, to do three things:

  • reduce the income cut involved in going to Parliament for people for whom there is much more to lose, and
  • reduce the overpayment of the kind or people who would never be thought useful enough outside Parliament to get anywhere near their Parliamentary income, so they don’t cling quite so desperately to their places; and
  • have the supplement reduce each year after entry to Parliament, to encourage turnover of people who have not progressed. . .

It would be very interesting to know how many MPs take a pay cut when they enter parliament and how many get an increase.

I can see why Franks’ suggestion could appeal but wages and salary are best based on what people are being paid to do rather than what they did in a previous position.

An MP like mine, Waitaki’s Jacqui Dean, has to service an electorate of 34,888 square kilometres which places far more demands on her than those with smaller electorates or in parliament through a party list.

However, while paying on performance would have appeal, how to judge that would be debatable.

Although this Twitter exchange, brought to my attention by Kiwiblog,  provides evidence some MPs are paid far more than they could possibly gain outside parliament:

Asenati Lole Taylor  could be a Minister in a Labour, Green, NZ First, Internet Mana Party government.

If this exchange is a fair reflection on her competence and she was paid on performance she’d owe us.


Petering out

May 25, 2014

Winston Peters has had more political lives than a cat, but Tracey Watkins thinks he, and the NZ First party which is nothing without him, are petering out:

Anyone who kids themselves that there is life after Winston Peters for NZ First only had to watch the party floundering in the absence of its leader this week.

Frantically trying to head off an attack by their former colleague, expunged NZ Firster Brendan Horan, Peters’ front bench achieved the seemingly impossible feat of making Horan look good by comparison.

They were clueless in the face of Horan’s determination to extract utu from his former party by tabling documents he claimed showed improper use of the taxpayer funded leader’s fund. . .

Not only that, they voted against Labour’s vote of no confidence and had to belatedly ask for their no votes to be counted with the ayes.

Regardless of the ins and outs of Horan’s allegations, however, one thing seems clear: Horan is hellbent on using his last remaining months in Parliament to try to take Peters and the rest of NZ First down with him.

Even if he succeeds he will only be hastening by a few years what increasingly seems inevitable.

With its leader knocking 70, NZ First is a clock that has been slowly winding down since the 1996 election delivered Peters the balance of power. . .

Since the party’s return in 2011, Parliament has been collectively holding its breath waiting for the current team to implode given some of the more eccentric selections – like former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams, notorious for urinating in a public place.

The implosion hasn’t happened yet but there have been plenty of flaky moments. Richard Prosser launched a diatribe against Muslims that prompted hundreds of complaints to the NZ First board. The party’s Pasifika MP, Asenati Lole-Taylor, famously asked questions of the police minister in Parliament about blow jobs and has carved out a cult following on Twitter for her bizarre outbursts. Her most recent was to accuse a press gallery journalist of cyber bullying after he referred to her “shooting the messenger”. Lole-Taylor thought he was alleging she had shot an actual parliamentary messenger. . . 

It’s not quite so funny when you remember we’re paying her salary.

NZ First has never been more than Peters and whichever bunch of sycophants come in on his coat tails.

When he goes the party will go with him.

Whether it’s with a bang at the coming election or a whimper as it peters out over at least one more term is up to voters.

And those who think it could be this election should read Karl du Fresne on Peters in person at a public meeting.

He needs only sway 5% of voters and there could well be enough of the deluded and disenchanted to give him at least one more chance.


Four year term worth risks

June 17, 2012

Politics is often portrayed in black and white terms – if you support this party you oppose that one.

That ignores the common ground most people and parties can find, to a greater or lesser extent.

You do have to look harder to find sensible ideas in some parties than in others but even NZ First has the odd one.

So it is with the suggestion of Asenati Lole-Taylor, an MP I don’t recall hearing about or from before, that we have four-year parliamentary terms.

There are better grounds than this:

She says New Zealand First has only been back in Parliament for eight months, and as a new MP three years is not enough time for her to advocate for the party.

Ms Lole Taylor says a four-year term would give the party, and its MPs time to explore in detail the policies that a Government introduces.

This is more compelling:

A party member, Denis Taylor, told the conference that over a 20 year period, the need for fewer general elections would save the taxpayer more than $100 million.

I don’t know if that sum is right, but elections are expensive for the taxpayer, parties and candidates. Three every 12 years instead of  four would save money for the taxpayer, parties and candidates.
There are other costs from a three-year term.
A chief executive of a charitable trust who deals with several government departments told me the short electoral cycle is frustrating and disruptive.
Everything goes on  hold in election year, there’s a hiatus as  ministers get to grips with their portfolios, then there’s change and action for about 18 months before it’s election year and everything goes on hold again.
A four-year term would give more time for policies to be bedded in and take effect.
There is the risk of more time for bad policies to do greater harm, but we have few one-term governments and more often than not have a six-year term interrupted waste expensive of an election.

Maiden speeches

February 8, 2012

New Zealand First MPs Richard Prosser, Andrew Williams,  Tracey Martin, Asenati Lole-Taylor and Denis O’Rourke made their maiden speeches today.

Prosser’s is here, Williams’ here, Martin’s here Taylor’s here and O’Rourke’s here.

I don’t share their philosophy but I was interested in their stories.


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