Key #1


Prime Minister John Key is Trans Tasman’s politician of the year:

This year’s 10th annual Roll Call can reveal John Key as its Politician of the Year. It was a straightforward choice. Key has stood head and shoulders above the rest in the polls, and his party romped home in its third election, the third time in a row it has added extra seats as well.

Key polled highest among the Trans Tasman Editors, contributors and their Capital insiders who make up the panel which compiles Roll Call, and despite signs there may be trouble ahead for Key if he is not careful, 2014 was his year.

Of course winning a fourth term will be dependent as much on the party’s support staff and their management as the Parliamentary team. The same goes for Labour as it battles to rebuild after its shattering defeat.

Roll Call says Key is “still phenomenally popular and if he comes through a third term without serious damage, a fourth could be within his grasp. But he’ll have to be careful.”

Trans Tasman’s Editors note “Key has not only performed strongly at home, he has become an international figure as well, cementing his and NZ’s reputation abroad with his election as chairman of the International Democratic Union.”

“However there are clouds. The fallout from the “Dirty Politics” saga continues. It should have been firmly put to bed in the campaign. And Key’s tendency to “forget,” or “mishear” the question is becoming a worrying feature of the way he involves himself in the Parliamentary and media discourse.”

“He has the respect – almost the love – of the voters, he needs to be careful he does not treat them with contempt. A fourth term does beckon, but the PM’s tendency to be just a bit smug, a bit arrogant, and at times a bit childish could derail it.”

“For now he is a titan, but Labour has a new leader and a new sense of purpose, and the next election is a long way away.”

National’s Front Bench performed exceptionally well in 2014, with just a single Cabinet Minister losing ground. Nikki Kaye fell from 6.5 to 6, after the “bright young thing” nearly lost Auckland Central. Roll Call suggests she must work harder.

Steven Joyce adds half a mark, taking the man most see as John Key’s successor to 8. “He doesn’t drop the ball and handles a raft of senior portfolios with calm confidence. Outside Parliament he was National’s campaign manager and must share some of the credit for its victory.”

Bill English, last year’s Politician of the Year, maintained his score of 9 out of 10. He is still “the safest pair of hands in the cabinet. Cautious, dependable and now mostly steering clear of debating chamber rhetoric.”

After a bad year in 2013, Hekia Parata has battled back to take her score from 5 to 7. “Key believes she’s competent and wasn’t going to hang her out to dry. He’s giving her the benefit of the doubt in delivering on a gutsy vision for the Education sector.”

Murray McCully takes his score from 6.5 to 7.5 after putting together the team which won NZ a seat on the UN Security Council and doing many of the hard yards himself, while Maggie Barry gets kudos for fitting in well to Conservation and being who “some say is the most popular National MP behind Key himself.” Her score jumps from 3 to 5.5.

The Ministers outside Cabinet are more average with Craig Foss, and Jo Goodhew, going down in score, Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith staying the same and just Nicky Wagner boosting her score from 4.5 to 5.

Both support party Ministers, Peter Dunne and Te Ururoa Flavell boosted their scores. Dunne from 4 to 5 “gets a point for coming through a horrible year with his head/hair up” while Maori Party leader Flavell goes from 6 to 6.5. “We’ll make a call and say he’s going to be an outstanding Minister.”

The dubious honour of low score for National goes to Melissa Lee. “Hard working but faded after a good start.”

Among the thoroughly shattered Labour MPs, there was little to write home about. David Cunliffe’s score falls from 7.5-6 after the election defeat. But “history may judge him more kindly than last week’s headlines. Is he NZ’s Kevin Rudd?”

Andrew Little’s star starts to shine though. His score jumps from 4.5 to 7. “No-one is going to die wondering what Little thinks. He’s a tough talking union man from way back who isn’t going to compromise his beliefs.”

Labour’s low scorer is Rino Tirikatene who stays on just 2.5 out of 10. “Do still waters run deep or are they just still? Has had time to find his feet and still no impact.”

For the Greens co-leader Russel Norman is the standout, holding his score on 7 out of 10. “After John Key Norman works the media better than any other party leader… If the Greens had gone into coalition with Labour he would have been hard to handle.”

And of course the old war horse Winston Peters is still there, blowing a bit harder than usual. He boosts his score from 7 to 7.5. “Does he have the will and the stamina for another three years on the opposition benches and a campaign in 2017?”

This year for the first time Roll Call also looks at the impact those MPs who left Parliament at the election had, and it is here we find this year’s low scorers Claudette Hauiti and John Banks, both on 1 out of 10.

As for the numbers:

Of National’s 60 MPs, 30 improved their score on last year, 7 went down, and 10 stayed the same. There were 15 new MPs who were not ranked.

Of Labour’s 32, 12 went up, 8 went down, 5 remained on the same score as last year and 7 were unable to be ranked.

ACT’s single MP was unable to be ranked. Of the Maori party’s 2 MPs 1 went up, and the other was unable to be ranked, while United Future’s single MP improved his score.

The Greens had 3 of their 14 MPs improve their score, 4 went down while 6 remained the same, one was unable to be ranked.

For NZ First 2 MPs improved their scores, 1 went down and 2 remained the same. 6 were unable to be ranked.

Of the National MPs able to be rated this year, 32 had a score of 5 or higher, while 13 scored below 5, while for Labour it had 16 of its MPs rated 5 or above, while 9 scored below 5.

The 2014 roll call is here.



National selects Christopher Penk as Kelston candidate


The National Party has selected Christopher Penk as its candidate for the Kelston electorate at the 2014 General Election.

. . . Mr Penk said he was honoured to be selected and would be running a strong campaign to win more party votes for National in the seat.

“National’s plan for a stronger economy with more jobs, better public services in health and education, more support for families, and safer communities is delivering for Kelston communities. I’ll be working tirelessly to ensure we can keep New Zealand heading in the right direction.”

National re-opened selection for the Kelston electorate after the decision by List MP Claudette Hauiti to retire from politics at the election. . .

As the National Party List has already been selected, Mr Penk will enter National’s List at the position of 68. Placing him, as an electorate candidate, ahead of other candidates not standing in seats, but behind other electorate candidates.

Biographical Notes – Christopher Penk

A born-and-bred West Aucklander, Christopher Penk lives in Kelston with his wife Kim.

After completing his secondary education at Kelston Boys High School, Christopher studied at Auckland University, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree in 2009.

Christopher joined the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2000, which included serving as an officer of the watch on the HMNZS Te Kaha. He also worked for 12 months as aide-de-camp to the Governor-General in 2003, greatly enjoying this role as a member of Dame Silvia Cartwright’s personal staff at Government House. Later, Christopher went on to fulfill a dream of serving aboard submarines, spending time in the Australian Defence Force as navigating officer on HMAS Sheean.

Christopher returned to New Zealand in 2008 where he completed his legal training. This culminated in his admission to the bar in 2010, most recently working as Senior Solicitor at Hornabrook Macdonald Lawyers, a boutique commercial and property law firm.

Outside his military service and legal career, Christopher has been an active member of many community groups, including the Returned Services Association, Glen Eden’s Playhouse Theatre, and playing and coaching several cricket teams at the local Suburbs New Lynn Cricket Club.


Hauiti standing down


National list MP Claudette Hauiti is standing down.

National MP Claudette Hauiti is calling time on her short stint in politics, removing herself from contention at the coming election.

She had been selected at as the party’s candidate for Kelston, but told her caucus colleagues of her decision this morning. 

Her decision comes just days after it emerged she surrendered her Parliamentary charge card after using it to pay for a Christmas trip to Australia.

That trip, and other unauthorised spending on the card – known as a purchasing or p-card – led to the list MP returning it to Parliamentary Service in March.

Outside the caucus room, Hauiti confirmed her intention to stand down from politics at the election, but refused to comment further.

She is yet to release a statement.

It’s understood she was told she would receive a low list ranking, and Kelston was considered to be a safe Labour seat. . . .

This is the right decision.



Claudette Hauiti’s maiden speech


Claudette Hauiti delivered her maiden speech this evening:

Ko whetumataurau me rakaumangamanga ngā maunga

Ko Karakatuwhero to awa me tangaroa te moana

Ko Tutua me Rāwhiti ngā marae

Ko Ngāti Ruataupare me Ngāti Kuta ngā hapū

Ko Ngāti Porou me Ngā Puni ngā Iwi

Mr Speaker,

Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini

I come not alone but accompanied by the many of those that have passed, those that are yet to breathe life on this earth, and those that are here with me today by thought and by presence.

I acknowledge my whānau and friends who have travelled to Poneke to be with me today. Ki aku whānau me ngā hoa tēnā rā koutou katoa.

This afternoon I rise before the House full of gratitude to the Prime Minister Rt Honourable John Key, the National Party Board and president Peter Goodfellow and past presidents Michelle Boag and John Slater, without whose support I would not be here today.

I come to the House with all that I have: My whānau. My Iwi. My People. My Life’s Experiences.

I am Ngāti Porou Ngā Puhi by birth and by blood. I am explicitly Māori, unequivocally a New Zealander.

I would like to acknowledge my whanaunga and colleagues the Honourable Tau Henare, the Honourable Hekia Parata, as well as the Honourable Tariana Turia and the Honourable Pita Sharples, the co-leader of the Green Party Metiria Turei. And to my Māori colleagues across the parties. Tēnā Koutou Katoa.

I come to this House in all humility as a descendent of Te Aitanga a Hauiti. And although one of our most revered rangatira has passed from this world, it is with the greatest of honour and humbleness that I can continue to carry the tribe’s name, and so I acknowledge the Honourable Parekura Horomia – e te rangatira haere haere haere atu rā.

My views have been shaped by the many people who have touched my life. My mother Josephine Lucus and father Jerry Teretiu Hauiti left their rural roots of Moerewa and Te Araroa for a better life.

In the late 1950s they migrated to Auckland along with 25,000 other Māori chasing their dreams of getting a job, buying a house, and seeing their children get the best education possible.

My parents lived in Māori boarding houses in Parnell, Ponsonby, and then in Harding Street in Auckland city. Friday and Saturday nights they ballroom-danced at the Orange Hall and Māori Community Centre and on Sunday’s got politicised at Tatai Hono Anglican Church on Kyber Pass Road. On weekdays my parents worked at lolly factories as machinists, on the wharf, at the freezing works, on the roads, and on the railways.

The more Māori migrated to cities from 1950 to 1970 the more they experienced socio-cultural upheaval. Many experienced a loss of language, a disconnection from papakainga, and a connection instead to alcohol and drugs. Some substituted traditional whānau for life with patched gangs.

Sadly we are still experiencing the fallout of that 20-year period where manual mahi went from boom to bust and inter-generational unemployment has taken hold. At the same time the seams of our social fabric was unravelling. Today too many of our babies are dying and too many of our wahine are being bashed and our tāne are in jail.

But for the grace of God… My Father turned his sights to education where he reinforced in us, his children, lay the answers to many of life’s challenges. A solid education would give you options; good results would get you opportunities; an education would allow you independence, freedom to choose, and the ability to make wiser choices.

Options, opportunities, independence underpinned by perseverance, determination, personal responsibility; these are the attitudes I have inherited.

Mr Speaker, there is a whakatauki: Whaia te iti kahuranga ki te tuahu koe me he maunga teitei. Strive for the highest peak … and if you must bow let it be to the loftiest mountain.

To me this means having a dream and following it. Backing yourself as a winner.

As a business owner working in the commercially aggressive television broadcast industry it demanded innovation, strategic acuity, and ingenuity. I am proud to say that my company was part of the $20 billion Māori contribution to New Zealand’s GDP. In fact, small to medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. Small companies like the very successful start-up operation Kapu Ti Productions, run by Brent Iremonger and Michelle Lee, is an example of great product – simple, smart, durable. Brent, Michelle and Kapu Ti Productions is Kiwi know-how can do at work.

Mr Speaker, I come to Parliament rich in knowledge and wealthy in experiences working for, living with, learning from, and loving a diverse range of people.

With gratitude I acknowledge my colleague Louisa Wall Labour MP for Manurewa for introducing the Marriage Equality Bill to the House. Ki a koe e te Tuahine Tēnā koe. And to all those who voted in favour, I thank you.

The fundamental principle of equality is one law for all.

To the takataapui community – my friends, my queer family Rangitunoa Black and Mihirawhiti Schranke who taught me that the strength in being takataapui is in the knowing you are Māori. Michael Gullery who’s gentle nurturing of minds reinforcing our valued place in Aotearoa New Zealand and worthy of great celebration, you are my mentors.

I would like to take this moment to remember some of our whānau who have departed this world. Rangi Chadwick, Bossie Mana, Jason Rameka – loyal and trusted friends, all talented young men steeped in te reo me ngā tikanga. And Kuini Mihaere, a gifted and generous artist. Thanks to the takataapui community I bring to this House and my Government – strength of courage to overcome adversity, tolerance in the face of rejection, acceptance where there is love, and an ability to recognise diversity as being the fabric that makes up this young nation.

If we are to go forward as a nation united in our diversity then we do so with purpose and with passion. We may not agree with one another’s policies, processes, procedures. We are not a homogenous people but I respect the right for anyone to voice their opinion and I welcome the opportunity for robust debate.

The ability to challenge with vigour, with passion, and with authenticity all the while preserving the integrity of your opposition is what I learnt from my dear friend and colleague Willie Jackson – shrewd, witty, astute. I count myself fortunate to have worked with one of the sharpest political commentators in New Zealand.

My broadcasting career was launched through the generosity of Dame June Jackson, Willie’s mum. If not for her funding my very first television programme for TV3, my career may very well have floundered for several more years. In fact, Dame June Jackson assisted in the rehabilitation of some of the country’s most notorious criminals. She did it because she felt compelled, she did it because no one else would, she did it because they were whānau.

Strong whānau breeds strong communities and for me my Ngā Puhi cousins have given to me unconditionally love…my Nathan, Haunui and Komene cousins who showed me the beauty of eeling….the joy in creek swimming and the thrill of rat shooting at the Moerewa tip….to my Ngāti Porou girl cousins Jodi Ihaka, Erana Reedy, Nerina Howe and Kath Ākuhata-Brown for your grown up advise in business and on how to craft great stories, I thank you.

When asked why am I here, I think of my sisters Rosina, Loraine and brother Michael who’s honesty, hard work and integrity inspires me to contribute positively to growing this nation.

When asked why I am here, I think of my mother, my father, and my stepfather Pita Morunga – a generation of Māori who came to town for a better life, so that we children could prosper. I do not want their sacrifices to count for nothing.

When asked what do I have to offer, I say I can offer a strong sense of loyalty to my Prime Minister, my colleagues, and my Government.

When asked what do I wish to achieve, I say I wish to continue the legacy left by my father to work hard to build a strong economic future where business innovation thrives and ingenuity is celebrated and encouraged.

When asked what do I wish to achieve, I say I wish to continue building tolerance and compassion and to celebrate diversity as an integral part of this nation.

To my beautiful wife Nadine for 25 years you have given me I thank you for your unconditional love. Kiamana your perseverance is an inspiration to me while Te Ua your individuality is something to be cherished. And to our darling Little Manawa, you are the centre of our universe.

No reira

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi

Tēnā Koutou Tēnā Koutou Tēnā Koutou Katoa.

You can see and hear her deliver the speech at Parliament Today.

Diversity in electorates takes pressure off list


Damien O’Connor was criticised for the intemperate language he used to describe the Labour list.

His criticism shouldn’t have been directed at the list, one of its roles is supposed to be to add to the diversity of parliament.

The question to ask of Labour is why doesn’t it have much diversity among its electorate MPs?

Labour’s selection is strongly influenced by unions and head office which makes it relatively easy to select people who don’t fit the WMM (white middle-aged male) category as candidates for red seats.

In National, providing an electorate has 200 members, it is they who select the candidate and the party hierarchy has no influence at all over who they select.

In spite or because of that, Kiwiblog points out, National has eight MPs of Maori descent now.

Georgina te Heuheu is retiring in November but the party has new candidates of Maori descent in Northland (Mike Sabin), Wellington Central (Paul Foster-Bell), Dunedin South (Joanne Hayes) and Mangare (Claudette Hauiti).

That means 11 out of 63 National candidates in general seats are of Maori descent.

Is part of Labour’s problem the Maori seats? Has it taken for granted it would win them and thought that means it doesn’t need Maori in general seats?

Perhaps if Labour trusted its members and exercised a little more democracy in selecting candidates for electorates,  it wouldn’t have to depend so much on its list to get a caucus more representative of New Zealand.


 Apropos of yesterday’s post on participation, National’s Northland selection would be the most democratic of any for any party in the country. It was made by 275 voting delegates representing a membership of more than 4,000.

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