Apology for a team

July 23, 2014

Today’s general debate began with some apologies:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Economic Development): I move, That the House take note of miscellaneous business. In the general debate this afternoon I think we should on this occasion start with apologies. I think we should start with apologies. I would like to lead off with a few apologies. * No. 1: I am sorry for being a man. Has that been done before? [Interruption] Oh, OK, I will try this one—I will try another one. I am sorry for having a holiday.

Hon Bill English: That’s been done before, too.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Oh, OK. I am sorry for wearing a red scarf. [Interruption] No. Oh, I know: I am sorry for having a moa resuscitation plan. That has got to be new—that has got to be new. [Interruption] No? Another one for you, Mr Speaker: I am sorry for having a secret trust. That would be—

Hon Bill English: No, that’s been done.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: That has been done? I am sorry for not telling you about my secret trust, Mr Speaker. Has that been done? And, most of all, Mr Speaker, I am sorry you found about my secret trust. I have another one: I am sorry for being tricky. That has been done before? Well, we have seen a lot of apologies, but from now on I am going to be straight up. I am going to stick to the Labour knitting. That is what I am going to do, with the exception of this stuff. This train is leaving the station. It has left a few times before, but this time it is definitely leaving the station. This is my team. This is my team, except, to be fair, Shane Jones. He is not on the team any more, no. Dover Samuels—he is not on the team any more. Andrew Little—he is not really on the team any more. Damien O’Connor and Rino Tirikatene—they are not really on the team because they crossed the floor. But aside from Shane Jones, Dover Samuels, Andrew Little, Damien O’Connor, and Rino Tirikatene, this is my team.

Hon Member: What about Annette?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: Well, actually, not Annette. She is not really on the team, either, or Phil, because they work hard. They get out in the country, working hard. Clayton is not really on the team. To be fair, I do not think he has ever been on the team. Trevor is not so much on the team—not really on the team. But, aside from Shane, Dover, Andrew, Damien, Rino, Annette, Phil, Clayton, and Trevor, this is my team. This is my team. Well, actually, you have got to exclude Grant, to be fair, because Grant is not really on my team, or David Parker—he is not on the team—or Chris Hipkins. He is not on it. I am not sure about Stuart Nash. I think he is on the team. He must be on the team because he said: “It wasn’t me.” He said in the * Hawke’s Bay Today that he denies the claim that he criticised Cunliffe, although, on the other hand, he also said this: “I must admit when I read it [the newspaper quoting the party source], apart from the swearing, it sounds a little bit like me.” “It sounded like me.”, Mr Nash said. And he said that he was not the source and that the comments could have come from “any of the 15,000 members who were out putting up hoardings in the rain or delivering pamphlets in the cold or this sort of carry-on”. So this is my team, except for Shane Jones, Dover Samuels, Andrew Little, Damien O’Connor, Rino Tirikatene, Annette King, Phil Goff, Clayton Cosgrove, Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Chris Hipkins, Kelvin Davis, Stuart Nash, and the 15,000 members of the Labour Party who would have said what I did not say in the newspaper. That is my team. It is game on—it is game on. The Labour Party is marching to the election, united as a single team. That is what is going on. And, of course, we now have the regional growth policy, which we share with the Greens. The regional growth policy—here it is. It is out today. One, put a capital gains tax on every productive business. Two, have a carbon tax at five times the current price. Three, introduce big levies for the use of fresh water. Four, restore a national awards system, which would force regional employers to pay what they pay in Auckland. Five, stop any more trade deals. Six, clamp down on the dairy industry. Seven, clamp down on the oil and gas industry. And then, the coup de grâce*, , when that has all been done and the regions have all fallen over, is to give them a $200 million slush fund to make them feel better. The Labour Party should apologise for that, as well.


List problems will add to Labour’s woes

June 22, 2014

Ranking its candidates on the party list would be difficult enough for Labour if it was polling strongly, as it is several MPs will be very worried about whether or not they will retain their seats.

That concern will be even greater for men because the party changed the rules to require at least 45% of MPs to be women.

Matthew Hooton writes of Labour’s looming list crisis:

. . .  nearly two-thirds of Labour’s electorate MPs are likely to be men and just 36% women.

To compensate for this Y chromosome surplus – and that the highest ranked list-only member must be deputy leader David Parker, a male, at least the next six spots must go to women . these are the only list places Labour can realistically expect to win . . .

Claire Trevett also writes on the problem the party faces with its list:

The party’s low polling makes the news worse for male candidates relying on the list. It is expecting to win at least 28 electorates, 5 more than at present. That will give it two more female electorate MPs than present – Carmel Sepuloni and Jenny Salesa are in safe seats.

However, if Labour gets 30 per cent at the election that leaves only 8 places for List MPs – and 6 of those would have to go to women if it is to meet the 45 per cent.

That would not be enough to get all of the current List MPs back. It could put the likes of Clayton Cosgrove, Andrew Little and Kelvin Davis at risk of missing out if more women are ranked above them to ensure the 45 per cent target was safely passed. . . .

It’s the party vote that counts but those who think they have a better chance in an electorate than on the list might put their personal ambition to stay, or get in, to parliament ahead of their loyalty to the party.

That will only add to Labour’s woes.

It would be in a difficult position with its list-ranking anyway. Its determination to have a female quota has added to its troubles.


Doocey for Waimakariri

March 17, 2014

The National Party has selected Matthew Doocey as its candidate for Waimakariri.

Mr Doocey was selected by a meeting of local party members tonight.

“Matthew proved himself an effective campaigner in the Christchurch East by-election, with a real passion for advancing and rebuilding Canterbury. He will be a strong, fresh, and energetic local MP if elected in September,” said Canterbury-Westland Regional Chair Roger Bridge.

“Kate Wilkinson has served the electorate well, winning the seat for National in 2011. However we are taking nothing for granted this election and will be running a strong campaign in Waimakariri.”

Mr Doocey said he was honoured to be selected and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“It’s an honour to be selected as National’s Waimakariri candidate,” says Mr Doocey.

“North Canterbury has been well-served by a Government which is making the rebuild a priority, investing in infrastructure, and backing rural communities.

“Having a strong local voice inside National has been crucial for Waimakariri. I will be working hard to carry that on if I have the privilege of being elected to serve these communities inside Parliament.”

Matthew Doocey – Biographical Notes

A born and bred Cantabrian, Matthew Doocey (41) lives in Redwood with Hungarian-born wife Viktoria and their new-born daughter Emily.

After pursuing opportunities in the UK, Mr Doocey decided to return home last year to give something back after the earthquakes.

He currently works at the Canterbury District Health Board as a manager in its surgical division.

Mr Doocey went to St Bedes College before studying counselling psychology at WelTec (Wellington). He has a Bsc (Hons) in Social Policy, an MA in Healthcare Management from Kingston University in London, and an MSc in Global Politics from Birkbeck College – University in London. He is also studying towards a Doctorate in Health by distance with Bath University in the UK.

Matthew Doocey has a long career in healthcare management including in the delivery of community health, mental health, and social care services both in voluntary and Government settings.

Kate Wilkinson won Waimakariri from Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove.

If proposed boundary changes are confirmed, the electorate will be a bit bluer than it was.


So much for the south

September 27, 2013

Labour’s abandonment of the provinces is particularly noticeable in the South Island and the dearth of representation has been highlighted by the party’s reshuffle.

The first South Island MP in the line-up is list MP Clayton Cosgrove at number 7.

The next is another list MP Maryan Street at 12 and then West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at 19.

The party has only two MPs south of Christchurch. One of those, David Clark who is supposed to be well regarded in and outside parliament, has been demoted to 20.

Megan Woods is 24 and the other South Islanders, Ruth Dyson, Clare Curran, and Rino Tirikatene are unranked.

The ODT says that new deputy, and another list MP,  David Parker’s links give Labour south cover.

David Parker pledged his loyalty to the South after his election yesterday as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The election of Mr Parker – a list MP who has a house in Dunedin, visits the city two weekends out of three and still calls the city his base – provides Labour with South coverage to complement Mr Cunliffe’s coverage of the North as MP for New Lynn.

The prime reason for those visits will be to keep contact with his children. That is his business but shouldn’t be confused with political representation.

He might have pledged his loyalty to the south but his actions don’t match his words. He chose to leave Dunedin and stand for Epsom at the last election.

The one before that, 2008, he was the candidate for Waitaki but showed his lack of commitment to that when he conceded the seat at a public meeting a couple of weeks before the election, for which local party members still haven’t forgiven him.

If it gets into government, the party’s anti-growth policies will hit the regions hard and the lack of representation in the senior ranks of the party will make it more difficult for the concerns of the south to be heard.


What about Earthquake Recovery? – Update

September 25, 2013

One glaring omission from David Cunliffe’s new line-up of spokespeople is someone for Earthquake Recovery.

Clayton Cosgrove is spokesman for the Earthquake Commission but that isn’t earthquake recovery.

Former MP Lianne Dalziel is regarded as the favourite for Christchurch’s mayoralty but surely Cunliffe doesn’t think she’ll carry on doing his party’s work in this very important role as well.

 

Update – Deborah has  left a comment below which points out Ruth Dyson has responsibility for earthquake recovery.

It hadn’t occurred me to look beyond those ranked for such an important role.

Any spokesperson is better than none but having someone out of the shadow cabinet and unranked hold the position doesn’t give it the importance it needs.


Clayton’s offer

September 4, 2013

The petition on the partial sale of a few state assets could be delayed until the general election if a super majority of parliament agreed to it.

That would save at least $9 million dollars for which there are far more pressing needs.

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove offered Labour’s support for that move, but it came with a condition.

Will his Government accept the Labour Party’s offer to hold the asset sales referendum alongside the next general election, thereby substantially reducing the cost, with one condition: that he immediately halt the asset sales programme?

Clayton’s was the drink you’re having when you’re not having a drink.

This is a Clayton’s offer from Clayton, the sort you make when you’re not really making it.

He would know that there is no way the government would delay the partial float of any more assets until next year.

Not all the people who voted for National in the last election supported the partial floats, but enough didn’t oppose them sufficiently strongly to vote for any of the other parties which made opposing them their major platform.

Bill English explained that in response Cosgrove:

The Government’s moral authority to move on with the asset sales hinged on the fact that even the Opposition said that the 2011 election was a referendum on asset sales. We outlined our policies in detail and campaigned on them transparently. It was the dominant issue of that election campaign, and we have proceeded with the sales. At the end of the sales process, tens of thousands of New Zealanders will have had the opportunity to invest in quality assets, the Government will have billions of dollars less debt, and we will have better-performing companies as a result of it.

National campaigned on the policy, it won, it’s factored the sales into spending plans and referendum or not, it has the right to carry on with the partial floats and it won’t be stopped by any Clayton’s offers.


No shame, no sense

May 8, 2013

Citizens’ Initiated Referenda were supposed to give members of the public an opportunity to influence policy.

The petition seeking a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets has been taken over by LabourGreen politicians.

Within minutes of the announcement by Clerk of the House Mary Harris that the petition had too few valid signatures Labour’s SOE spokesman Clayton Cosgrove  issued a media release saying Labour will redouble its efforts to help get the remaining signatures needed to ensure a referendum on asset sales goes ahead.

And the Green Party co-leader Russel Norman sent an email saying:

We have just this afternoon heard that we need 16,000 more valid signatures to force a referendum to stop further asset sales.

I am contacting you straight away to ask for your help to protect our assets for all New Zealanders.

We are so close. Over 292,000 New Zealanders have had their signature counted and confirmed. We now have two months to get the last signatures, and that’s where we need your help. . . .

. . . These signatures need to be posted back urgently. Please collect what you can and return them to me:

Russel Norman MP
Freepost
Parliament Buildings
Wellington.

They have already wasted tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars, on promoting the petition and soliciting signatures but failed to meet the target needed.

They have abused the CIR process by making this a politicians’ initiated petition.

In spite of the tens of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars spent on getting signatures they’ve mucked it up. They haven’t got enough valid ones.

Even if they got enough to force a referendum it would make absolutely no difference to the policy.

Continuing to seek signatures is an expensive exercise in futility.

In every argument there comes a time to accept you’ve lost. LabourGreen passed that point a long time ago.

They have shown no shame about wasting public money and are showing no sense in failing to accept the futility of continuing to flog this very dead horse.


So much from just one source

July 8, 2012

Clayton Cosgrove is in a spot of bother over the coincidence of a donation to his election campaign and a bill he drafted that would benefit the donor, Independent Fisheries.

He says there is nothing untoward in that, the donations were declared as required, and Independent Fisheries say there was no connection between the bill and the donation.

I accept their words on that.

What I do find strange is that a single donor gave $17,500 towards a campaign which has a legal limit of $25,000, including GST.

It is possible he got a lot more money and that is salted away for the next campaign. But if  there wasn’t much more money from other sources it could help explain why he lost the seat to National MP Kate Wilkinson.

Raising money for campaigns is never easy but popular MPs and their campaign teams usually get most of their funds from lots of donations and various fundraising efforts. It would be most unusual for around two-thirds of the campaign maximum to come from just one source.

Coincidences happen and I accept the assurances there’s nothing fishy in the donation.

But accepting so much from a potential beneficiary of legislation he was promoting was unwise and does a raise question over the number of supporters he had in his former electorate.


Complimenting, complementing or competing?

December 21, 2011

Is it a a compliment to Finance Minister Bill English that Labour has not now has a Finance spokesman and four associates opposing him?

The four could complement the work David Parker will do but Dene Mackenzie points out they will also be competing with him:

Labour finance spokesman David Parker faces a daunting task of not only taking on Finance Minister Bill English in the House but in also keeping his four associate spokesmen in line. . .

While it can be argued Mr Shearer sees finance as the main focus of his new line-up, Mr Parker will need to rein in the substantial egos of the four other men. It could also be seen  as a lack of confidence in Mr Parker, that he has four associates to back him up.   

Mr Cunliffe was defeated as leader and is unlikely to have  too many warm feelings for Mr Parker. Mr Jones completes his rehabilitation back to the front bench and will want to make his mark during debates in the House.   

Mr Cosgrove, although defeated in his treasured Waimakariri      electorate, is not short of confidence.   

Mr Mallard, who actively worked with former leader Phil Goff and former deputy Annette King to have Mr Shearer elected,      has worked in associate finance roles previously, with former finance minister Michael Cullen.   

Mr Parker will find himself competing for speaking time with Messrs Cunliffe, Cosgrove and Jones.

He’ll also be competing with Finance spokespeople from other opposition parties and his leader didn’t give him a ringing endorsement when announcing the caucus line-up:

“. . . I’m not saying it will be better or worse, I’m saying it will be very different. . . “

Different but not necessarily better on top of the imposition assitance of four associates is no compliment and it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of Parker when the associates are less likely to complement him than compete with him.


Labour’s Next Leader

July 8, 2008

Dene Mackenzine looks at the people who could be the next Labour leader:

The contest to replace Prime Minister Helen Clark might be less brutal and more clear cut than previous leadership challenges, depending on the outcome of the election this year.

Less brutal leadership change? Now there’s an oxymoron.

If, as Miss Clark continues to believe, Labour can cobble together a coalition government, then she remains safe and can leave in her own time, having taken Labour to a historic fourth-term win.

But if Labour loses and the election result is close, party sources believe Trade Minister Phil Goff is the principal candidate for the job.

He is seen as a safe replacement who would not shift Labour markedly away from its centre-left position.

Although he is tainted with having been an MP in the Rogernomics era, many of Labour’s supporters are too young to remember Sir Roger Douglas and his ideas in the David Lange-led government.

If a week is a long time in politics, two decades is ancient history.

Police Minister Annette King is seen as the logical deputy leader for Mr Goff, to give the party a gender balance and an Auckland-Wellington split.

Pity about the mess she created in health, the EFA and last week’s Road User Charge debacle. And let’s not forget blaming crime on the full moon and sunny weather.

The last four opinion polls published show National’s support at more than 50% and its lead over Labour at more than 20 points.

If the polls hold up, Labour could lose up to 18 MPs, including electorate members.

Polls usually tighten before an election – although this time Labour might be where National was in 2002.

If the defeat is not too broad, Mr Goff will be challenged by Health Minister David Cunliffe and Labour Minister Trevor Mallard.

Both would bring with them an image problem.

Mr Cunliffe was identified early in his career as a potential leader, but has earned the disdain of some colleagues for his “superior” attitude.

That has mellowed somewhat and as health minister, and also as communications minister, he has shown a preparedness to take a hands-on approach to his portfolios.

But over at Craig Foss we see that those hands haven’t always done the right thing.

However, that’s another story so back to the ODT:

Mr Mallard was demoted for punching National Party MP Tau Henare, but retains strong friendships in the Labour caucus and is deputy finance minister.

As a former chief whip, he knows how to gather the numbers for a close vote.

A decimation of Labour will see other candidates chancing their arm in the belief that it will take Labour six years, or two terms, to win office.

Energy Minister David Parker and Immigration Minister Clayton Cosgrove will mount challenges.

Neither is particularly popular with colleagues, and Mr Cosgrove will be a fiercer competitor than Mr Parker.

Mr Cosgrove has been a member of the party since he was 14, and is a protege of former prime minister Mike Moore.

Mr Parker is seen more in the mould of former prime minister Sir Wallace (Bill) Rowling, and would offer a leadership style out of step with modern politics.

That’s the one who looked more surprised than anyone else when he won Otago in 2002 and few were surprised when he lost it to Jacqui Dean three years later.

Also in the mix at this level will be Building and Construction Minister Shane Jones, a Maori MP of whom was expected great things.

He is said to be “hugely bright” but pompous and obviously ambitious.

Not a good combination if you’re trying to win a leaderhsip contest.

Clark successors?

•Labour wins: Helen Clark stays as prime minister.

•Labour loses narrowly: Phil Goff takes over early next year.

•Labour loses moderately: Mr Goff, David Cunliffe and Trevor Mallard fight it out.

•Labour thumped: Free for all, with David Parker, Clayton Cosgrove and Shane Jones fancying their chances.

All very interesting, but the really fascinating point is that this discussion is being had at all. A few months ago leadership change woudn’t have been on anyone’s radar.


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