web analytics
The Standard

Late analysis on the reshuffle

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, January 24th, 2013 - 15 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

I’ll say this for Key’s media people, they’re masters of the undersell when it comes to the insubstantial. And they know the media love to be surprised. John Armstrong gushed “Key has displayed all the sentiment of a corporate restructurer. So ministers are given the chance to perform. If they do not they are out. Simple as that.” But how ‘ruthless’ was Key really in the reshuffle? Two mediocre ministers with little political clout got the chop, but the real under-performers were too powerful for Key to touch.

Take, for example, the austerity-leading Finance Minister who was caught out lining his own pockets in the Double Dipton affair. Did Bill English get the boot due to the fact he is running one of the most under-performing economies in the developed world, one which is experiencing rising unemployment while it is falling elsewhere? Fuck no.

Steven Joyce, does he get the sack given that his economic development agenda (dig up oil, build a convention centre, seize Canterbury’s water) is falling apart, with only the last leg succeeding, and only because they won’t let Cantabrians vote for their own council. Again, unemployment is rising, the economy is under-performing relative to the other developed countries – look at the stats and we have more in common with the PIIGS or the UK (now entering its triple dip of recession) than strongly performing countries like Germany, Australia, and even the US. Instead, Key calls this perennial failure his Mr Fix It (interesting that he’s been given the job of ‘sorting out’ Novopay just as the largest problems are being solved, Camp Collins won’t be pleased).

Gerry Brownlee has made enemies everywhere in Christchurch through an abrasive attitude that takes every complaint or suggestion as a personal insult, to which he replies in kind. If there were any other senior Nats in our formerly second largest city, Brownlee never would have got the job. But he’ll keep it.

Judith Collins has overseen a dysfunctional culture of privacy invasion in ACC and, in an effort to cover her arse she has taken out everyone else int he vicinity from Nick Smith to various board members and the CEO. Certainly, she’s done worse than the quite little workhorse that was Heatley. But she keeps her jobs.

Hekia Parata. Enough said. You can’t claim to be making competence a test of continuing to hold a ministerial warrant and leave Parata on as minister of education.

Paula Bennett. It’s not so much that the number of people on the unemployment benefit has increased 150% under her watch. Or that her gimmicks, such as boot camps, have been abject failures. Or that, as a former solo mum on the DPB, she has chosen the moment of the worst economic crisis in a generation to beat up on women like she used to be. It’s the growing disparity between the number of unemployed and those getting unemployment assistance. Something very disturbing is happening almost unseen as Unemployment Benefit and DPB numbers fall while the number of people out of work rises – what is happening to the people who are out of work who aren’t getting help? Does Bennett even know?

Murray McCully made Mfat, the unleakable organisation, leak, and then his reforms fell over. That’s incompetence, pure and simple. He keeps his job.

Anne Tolley. You wouldn’t trust her to do the dishes. She’s just been lucky nothing’s blown up in Police yet.

Craig Foss. Somehow keeps his job despite being directly responsible for Novopay.

Maurice Williamson. It’s not that he’s done anything really wrong (well, not that we know about, yet), it’s just that you can’t say you’re rejuvenating when Williamson, who was first a minister in 1990 and was the architect of the leaky building disaster, is still in your ministry.

John Banks. The very name makes a mockery of the notion that Key has set accountability standards.

And what about the Minister for GCSB that is asleep at the wheel? Or the Minister of Tourism who holidays overseas for a month each year while the industry here is in steep decline? Yes, that failure keeps his jobs too.

The truth is, this had nothing to do with accountability or standards. Key wanted to get two new young, attractive faces into Cabinet, so he ditched the two that were easiest to ditch. It’s ruthless, perhaps, but it’s not about principles or competence.

15 comments on “Late analysis on the reshuffle”

  1. Blue 1

    It was amusing to see the chooks falling all over themselves gushing about how ‘ruthless’ and ‘performance focused’ Key was (despite not dumping any of the real non-performers).

    If you were forced to name the most incompetent ministers in Key’s government, Wilkinson and Heatley wouldn’t be amongst them.

    If we had halfway competent journalists this sort of sleight of hand would be ripped to shreds.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Any thoughts on David Carter as the new speaker, Eddie?

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      It’ll be interesting to see how weaker ministers get on without Lockwood giving them the answers

      • Sweetd 2.1.1

        It is interesting, given that Ministers only have to ask one part of the question if it is a multi part question, that the opposition (labour mostly) still persist with these multipart questions only to give easy escapes to the Nats where that can simply answer a plain yes or no, this revealing little.

        So yes, I agree PB, without Lockie giving them a hand, then there is only a handful (less than 5) in labour that will be actually able to ask a specific question.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1

          Yes, the escape is easy, and Labour are useless in QT far too often.

          But that doesn’t change the fact that Lockwood still had to regularly help out several front benchers; though it puts it some rather damning context I suppose.

  3. tc 3

    Armstrong is part of their game he’s neither not objective or critical, Key could take a dump on him and he’d find a way to admire the quality of kaka.

    Joyce, Muzza, Blinglish etc are all part of the same club the Hollowman back and when Key’s time is up he’ll be told if it’s not already decided that is, which could be after the SOE floats are safely in mates hands.

    This collins/Joyce replacement scenario is to give the plebs the facacde that these jokers actually make that decisions, I don’t buy that. Collins probably got told to pull her head in over the defamation case or she may be excluded from the running.

    Smith was put on the naughty step before he imploded, that’s his way, so they had to manage that situation. Performance/ability as a minister is not the issue, getting done what the backers seek is.

  4. PlanetOrphan 4

    He’s going through the motions.
    His real message …
    “We will continue the destruction in the name of our Right wing paradigms (i.e The Merrill Lynch asset stripping handbook)” and to hell with NZ.

  5. ak 5

    Significantly, Smith not given back his pet Local Govt spot – after spinning furiously for the ACTsop LGA02 amendment up and down the motu while supposedly without portfolio.

    Mega granny organ hush-hush on this one, after every single council submitted against it.

    Embarrassing clash with Tory mayors buried in LG election year with Tremain blancmange.

    So bye, Dr Nick. An out-of-body experience is more than enough for young Slippery: an out-of-minder not wanted.

    • coolas 5.1

      Tremain has championed the amalgamation of HB Councils. His brother heads the lobby group ‘A Better HB,’ but now he’s Minister, he says he’ll be impartial. WTF

      ‘Noddy’ Tremain isn’t very bright so we can look forward to spectacular fuck-ups as the LGA amendments are rolled out. And hopefully he’ll loose his seat in 2014.

  6. wyndham 6

    Could the retention of the “great communicator” Hekia Parata have anything to do with the fact that she is married to Sir Wira Gardiner ? His connections to both Maoridom and the National Party are manifold and the entries in his little black book probably equally so.

  7. Colonic Wiper 7

    I think the media have look at these changes in a comparitive way in regards to how Labour might be looking at its team.

    Wilkinson and Heatley being dumped for non performance and being replaced by new blood vs no change & business as usual except for the rumoured return of a serial wank*r.

  8. Wolfslair 8

    I’ll just saddle up the old shonkey donkey and bring in those two old ewes for the works so we can get this sorted and all feel a bit brighter about our future

  9. Liberal Realist 9

    Great piece Eddie!

    “Anne Tolley. You wouldn’t trust her to do the dishes. She’s just been lucky nothing’s blown up in Police yet.”

    +100 !! This one actually made me laugh out loud! Sadly you are 100% correct.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bullying contributes to Auckland being stripped of ICU training
    Complaints of bullying and harassment by supervisors which have contributed to Auckland’s critical care department losing its training accreditation are further evidence of the appalling culture at executive level, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The department had its accreditation… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Broadband failure sucks up more cash
    The Commerce Committee has blocked an inquiry into the $300 million rural broadband initiative (RBI) despite mounting evidence it’s a massive policy failure and waste of money, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “The Government is about to spend an… ...
    18 hours ago
  • TISA – Another secret trade deal you may never have heard of
      This post first appeared on The Daily Blog You’ve probably heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) by now and the widespread concerns around it but what about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) also being currently negotiated by… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    23 hours ago
  • Health chickens coming home to roost as Dunedin loses right to train doctor...
    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    2 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    2 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    2 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    2 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    2 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    2 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    2 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    2 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    3 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    3 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    3 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    3 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    3 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    4 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    4 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    4 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    4 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    6 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    6 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere