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

  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    3 hours ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    3 days ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    4 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    4 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    4 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    4 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    5 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    5 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    7 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere