Valedictory roster

June 19, 2014

Parliament’s Business Committee has released the roster for valedictory speeches from retiring MPs:

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Cam Calder

4.15pm – 4.30pm John Hayes

4.30pm – 4.45pm Chris Auchinvole

4.45pm – 5.00pm Colin King

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Chris Tremain

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Kate Wilkinson

Thursday, 24 July 2014

4.45pm – 5.00pm Dr Rajen Prasad

5.00pm – 5.15pm Darien Fenton

5.15pm – 5.30pm Hon Dr Pita Sharples

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tariana Turia

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

(At the conclusion of the General Debate)

4.00pm – 4.15pm Dr Paul Hutchison

4.15pm – 4.30pm Hon Phil Heatley

4.30pm – 4.45pm Eric Roy

4.45pm – 5.00pm Shane Ardern

5.00pm – 5.15pm Hon Tau Henare

5.15pm – 5.30pm H V Ross Robertson

5.30pm – 5.45pm Hon Tony Ryall

The Herald opined that valedictories should be the preserve of “deserving” MPs:

No fewer than 14 National MPs are retiring at the coming election, plus a couple from other parties. While the turnover is refreshing for public life, it carries a cost if every departee gives a valedictory address. . . .

Few voters could name many of those retiring this year. Many are leaving because they have not been able to make much impact and accept that they should give others a chance. More credit to them, but valedictory time should be reserved for those who have made their mark and will be missed.

That is very ungracious and also shows a depressing level of ignorance about the role of MPs.

Most of the good work MPs do never makes the headlines, much of it can’t because it’s helping people over matters which must remain private.

Maiden speeches and valedictories are among the best speeches given.

All MPs deserve the opportunity to do one and in doing so show their work and parliament in a far better light than it’s normally portrayed.


Darien Fenton not seeking re-election

May 16, 2014

List MP Darien Fenton won’t be seeking re-election:

. . . Ms Fenton has been a Labour list MP since 2005. . . 

She is only the fourth member of Labour’s caucus to announce she won’t be seeking re-election.

That she and two of the others are list MPs enables the party to refresh its list without upsetting sitting MPs, providing of course the party at least maintains the vote it got at the last election.

Take away the spades

October 1, 2011

I have never voted Labour and pigs will be flying in a frozen hell before I ever contemplate doing so.

But I have friends and family who do and our political views are merely differences of opinion that never intrude on our relationships.

For their sakes I’m reminding the Labour Party that when you’re in a hole you should stop digging.

Darien Fenton’s attack on Sir Peter Leitch was vindictive and stupid. Louisa Wall’s attempt to explain makes matters worse.

Someone who cares about Labour should take away all the spades before the hole gets any deeper.


Apology won’t heal the harm – updated

September 30, 2011

Labour MP Darien Fenton has apologised for the vitriolic attack she made on Sir Peter Leitch when she took exception to his support for John Key.

He is a man with a very big heart and no doubt he will accept the apology.

But it won’t heal the harm the comments have done to Labour.

She says she wasn’t calling for a boycott but she said she wouldn’t use the Mad Butcher shops, even though Sir Peter no longer owns them:

The owner of The Mad Butcher chain, Michael Morton, says Labour MP Darien Fenton is grossly misguided in suggesting a boycott of the butcheries.

“She is having a go at The Mad Butcher founder, Sir Peter Leitch, simply because he made some nice remarks about the Prime Minister, John Key. Well he has made favourable comments in the past also about the former Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and she (Ms Fenton) didn’t get mad about that,” said Mr Morton today.

“Sir Peter hasn’t owned The Mad Butcher for more than two years now, although he still promotes the brand.

“Her postings on the internet are mean-spirited. Peter has earned his knighthood– he has not only done a lot for New Zealand in supporting the Warriors and contributing to charity, but he is also apolitical.

“And to also try to drag the company into her argument is ridiculous. I think she owes apologies all round.”

The apology as printed in the Herald doesn’t specify whether she takes back her threat not to buy from the Mad Butcher again.

It is unlikely her rant had any impact on the businesses but it inflicted another wound on her party, even though her leader Phil Goff was far more gracious:

I’m a real Warriors fan. I’ve been going to their matches for years and have
caught up with the Mad Butcher many times. He is a great guy and a great
ambassador for rugby league. He is absolutely entitled to express whatever
opinion he likes. Go the Warriors against Manly.”

Fenton’s comments were what Keeping Stock refers to as a SMOG – a Social Media Own Goal.

She made them on Tuesday and it’s taken until Friday for her to realise she “went too far”.

In the meantime it’s gone around the blogs and into the mainstream media reminding voters yet again that Labour is making too much of a mess of opposition to be trusted anywhere near government.

UDPATE: Whaleoil, who broke the story, had a phone call from Sir Peter who said how badly hurt he was.


The trouble with volunteers

June 12, 2011

Whaleoil has come across Labour Party  emails, finan­cial details, party plan­ning infor­ma­tion and mem­ber­ship data among which is the minutes of a meeting of Labour North which say:

The meeting was reminded of the successes and achievements of the LN collective – in fundraising and public meetings. The role of the office and MP were clarified, noting these add value to the collective, and to use Parliamentary services for best outcome for the LP.

The Herald On Sunday asked MP Darien Fenton, who was at the meeting about this:

She said minutes of meetings were taken by volunteers and could contain errors.

However, she conceded that there had been pressure to use the Parliamentary staff member for party business.

“It has been an area of tension. It is an ongoing discussion with them about how we protect the role of the staff member and the MP. . .”

The trouble with volunteers is that they do sometimes get carried away with their enthusiasm and they might make errors.

However, MPs should be very well aware of the very clear division between what Parliamentary Services staff and funds do on behalf of constituents and what a party and its members do for political ends.

An MP who was taking part in campaign discussions should have left the meeting and the minute taker in no doubt at all that Parliamentary Services had absolutely no role in any outcomes for the Labour Party.


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