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Cabinet announced

Written By: - Date published: 3:35 pm, November 17th, 2008 - 112 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags:

National’s cabinet has been announced. No major surprises, though Maurice Williamson has been dumped outside cabinet and unpopular newcomer Steven Joyce has taken Transport. Lockwood Smith is speaker.

More detail and analysis later, but for now the full list is over the break.

Other responsibilities

John Key
Prime Minister
Minister of Tourism
Ministerial Services
Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service Minister Responsible for the GCSB

Hon Bill English
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Minister for Infrastructure

Gerry Brownlee
Minister for Economic Development
Minister of Energy and Resources
Leader of the House
Associate Minister for the Rugby World Cup

Simon Power
Minister of Justice
Minister for State Owned Enterprises
Minister of Commerce
Minister Responsible for the Law Commission Associate Minister of Finance Deputy Leader of the House

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health
Minister of State Services

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister for the Environment
Minister for Climate Change Issues
Minister for ACC

Judith Collins
Minister of Police
Minister of Corrections
Minister of Veterans’ Affairs

Anne Tolley
Minister of Education
Minister for Tertiary Education
Minister Responsible for the Education Review Office

Christopher Finlayson
[Includes responsibility for Serious Fraud Office] Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

Hon David Carter
Minister of Agriculture
Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Forestry

Hon Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister for Sport and Recreation
Minister for the Rugby World Cup

Tim Groser
Minister of Trade
Minister of Conservation
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs
Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues (International Negotiations)

Dr Wayne Mapp
Minister of Defence
Minister of Research, Science and Technology Associate Minister for Economic Development Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Steven Joyce
Minister of Transport
Minister for Communications and Information Technology Associate Minister of Finance Associate Minister for Infrastructure

Hon Georgina te Heuheu
Minister for Courts
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control Associate Minister of Maori Affairs

Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment Minister for Disability Issues Minister of Youth Affairs

Phil Heatley
Minister of Fisheries
Minister of Housing

Pansy Wong
Minister for Ethnic Affairs
Minister of Women’s Affairs
Associate Minister for ACC
Associate Minister of Energy and Resources

Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Immigration
Minister of Broadcasting
Associate Minister of Tourism
Associate Minister of Health

Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Labour
Minister for Food Safety
Associate Minister of Immigration


Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister for Building and Construction
Minister of Customs
Minister of Statistics
Minister for Small Business

Dr Richard Worth
Minister of Internal Affairs
Minister for Land Information
Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand Minister Responsible for the National Library Associate Minister of Justice

John Carter
Minister of Civil Defence
Minister for Senior Citizens
Minister for Racing
Associate Minister of Local Government


Rodney Hide
Minister of Local Government
Minister for Regulatory Reform
Associate Minister of Commerce

Heather Roy
Minister of Consumer Affairs
Associate Minister of Defence
Associate Minister of Education

Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs
Associate Minister of Corrections
Associate Minister of Education

Hon Tariana Turia
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Associate Minister of Health Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue
Associate Minister of Health

112 comments on “Cabinet announced ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Why is Joyce unpopular ?

  2. gingercrush 2

    OMG OMG as a National supporter I love it. I think there are a few surprises. Paula Bennett, Kate Wilkinson, Pansy Wong, Jonathon Coleman and Anne Tolley being as high as she is. Its a good mix. I expect Finlayson to do very well. I don;t think you lot on the left will mind him. Probably one of the more moderate National members.

  3. Tane 3

    HS, as I understand it he’s blamed for some of what went wrong in the Brash campaign, and he’s seen by other Nat MPs as getting ahead of himself by leapfrogging them into cabinet. Of course, this is just from murmurings I’ve heard around the traps and a few comments by media commentators.

  4. Nick 4

    Wrong in the Brash campaign?

    Brash doubled their vote in less than 18 months and rescued a party facing oblivion.

    Wrong to you maybe, but not to some others.

  5. Tane 5

    Nick, just reporting what I hear. Of course, I have my own views about the Brash campaign…

  6. higherstandard 6

    Is it just me …… but why do we need one let alone two ministers for the RWC just to potter around gorge on food and get pissed ?

  7. Hopefully Smith can control the house, unlike his predecessor.

    Why the heck is their a minister for the rugby world cup?

  8. Felix 8

    hs and Brett,

    My thoughts exactly re RWC.

    So much for trimming the fat.

  9. Mike 9

    Is the fact that Social Development has gone to a newbie ranked at 16 and the associate Minister is outside Cabinet a good thing or a bad thing?

    I could be very wrong but I can’t recall the welfare portfolio being given to such a lowly ranked Minister.

  10. Ianmac 10

    Do we now have 2X Ministers of Maori Affairs
    Peta Sharples and Georgina Heuheu?????

  11. Pat 11

    “Why the heck is there a minister for the rugby world cup?”

    Because the economic benefits need to be capitalised upon to their fullest potential. In the current economic climate, this is not an opportunity to be wasted.

  12. BeShakey 12

    “Do we now have 2X Ministers of Maori Affairs
    Peta Sharples and Georgina Heuheu?????”

    A minister (Sharples) and an associate (to Heuheu).

    “I could be very wrong but I can’t recall the welfare portfolio being given to such a lowly ranked Minister.”

    Its varied. Dyson and Benson-Pope were only midranked, but Maharey was a frontbencher.

  13. bobo 13

    I feel sorry for Georgina Heuheu she has been poorly treated by National over the years, will the ministers for RWC resign if we fail to win at home and does National have cabinet rotation policy?

  14. gingercrush 14

    No Georgina Te Heuheu is associate minister of foreign affairs.

  15. Chess Player 15


    Georgina te Heuheu will just be the ‘associate’.

    That means the Maori party will be taking the lead in Maori affairs, something that was never permitted under Labour.

  16. TimeWarp 16

    Tane, you may very well be right regarding Joyce but no one outside a small core of the more acute political observers will be aware of this or give a flying duck….

  17. BeShakey 17

    “That means the Maori party will be taking the lead in Maori affairs, something that was never permitted under Labour.”

    Leading from outside of the major decision making part of the government. Something that never happened under Labour.

  18. Janet 18

    Paula Bennett is a real lightweight and now has Social Welfare and Disability Issues. Will be no match for Ruth Dyson. The only sensible thing she could do is keep on Ruth’s extremely experienced staff.

    Poor old Georgina has been given Minister of Pacific Island Affairs. Like in the old days when National had a male minister of women’s affairs.

    Watch out for Hollow Man Steven Joyce – he’s the Karl Rove of the line-up.

    And Anne Tolley’s grasp of education is minimal.

    It will be quite entertaining seeing them cope with the experts from the other side of the House at question time.

    And can someone tell me whether Jane Clifton will share the taxpayers’ Ministerial house with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and if so is she going to declare a conflict of interest when writing on politics?

  19. Tane 19

    Janet, I understand Clifton and McCully have broken up. Only second-hand though – I tend to avoid the gossip surrounding National MPs’ love lives as much as possible. And I find anything to do with Jane Clifton insufferably boring.

  20. toad 20

    Mike said: I could be very wrong but I can’t recall the welfare portfolio being given to such a lowly ranked Minister.

    Yes, it’s been even lower. Bolger had Peter Gresham in the portfolio – ranked at 18. Clark had David Benson-Pope in the portfolio ranked almost as low at 14.

  21. Anita 21

    Who will the whips be? Guy and …?

    Experienced competent whips are important in a medium sized opposition caucus. In a large government one with three “arrangement” partners they’re vital and I just can’t see who Key has kept for the job.

  22. gingercrush 22

    I think Paula Bennett will surprise. She’s tough and has grit and its a role she could really make her own. And I think some people are far more effective as opposition than they are as minister and the reverse. For instance Georgina Te Heuheu could be seen as a rather lightweight as an opposition MP. But as Minister I think you’ll see her relish and she’ll be very effective.

    Oh and we have another day where someone says Clifton has a conflict of interest Sorry but I don’t see it. Yes she is (or maybe not seeing what Tane said) the partner of Murry McCully but you could not point to her as some right wing political writer.

  23. Janet 23

    Whips were Guy and Candy Floss before and probably the same now?

  24. Anita 24


    Tane, you may very well be right regarding Joyce but no one outside a small core of the more acute political observers will be aware of this or give a flying duck .

    Well there are 58 of them sharing caucus meetings with him, 45 have reasons to resent him, 13 to fear him.

    So yeah, most of the people on my bus home today won’t care, but they aren’t the ones that matter.

  25. ginger. she’s also thick as two short planks. She doesn’t have her head around issues and shows no inclination to learn.

  26. Tane 26

    ginger – re Clifton, I see her as more of a gossip columnist than a political writer. When someone shows me anything she’s written of substance I might reconsider.

  27. higherstandard 27


    I think you have her mistaken with Judith Tizzard.

  28. Anita 28


    Re: whips

    Wasn’t it Guy and Tremain at the very end? I kinda lost track of all the shuffles but I think that’s right. Not a particularly impressive pairing whoever it was 🙂

  29. gingercrush 29

    How lovely you think that SP. Sorry but you’ll be proven wrong. A single maori mother getting a tertiary education is not someone I would class as thick. What that shows is determination. And what she lacks in knowledge over policy will more than be made up with determination.

    If anything its you who doesn’t grasp issue and certainly its you who has no inclination to learn. Since you seem to think National merely won by moving to the centre.

  30. Janet 30

    I heard Paula Bennett speak a few weeks ago and she was very good at not answering any questions including which religious NGO is going to be our Mission Australia private contractor. She’s another like Christine Rankin who plays on their beneficiary/solo parent past. Funny how they don’t seem to feel any solidarity with current beneficiaries.

    Wasn’t impressive as a future minister. They (and I think Karl Rove Joyce handpicked this cabinet as much as Key did) have probably chosen her, Ryall and Tolley etc as ministers who will let Rodney’s task force walk all over their portfolios.

  31. higherstandard 31

    Janet are you channelling Trav ?

    [where’s the old HS gone? Right now you’re just trolling. You can have another week off to think about how to engage constructively if you like. SP]

    [lprent: I’ve been thinking that as well. It almost feels like he has handed the identity to a locum]

  32. Anita 32

    Ryall won’t be walked all over by the razor gang, he’ll be leading the charge.

    Ryall in Health and Hide in Local Government are the outstanding worst of the line up for me.

  33. I don’t see how her ethnicity comes into it, ginger, or are you saying its hard for Maori to get degrees and any who can must be gifted relative to the rest of their people?

    Interesting to see National playing up Bennet’s Maori ethnicity too. Previously she didn’t identify as Maori, but it has become politically useful now.

    And my impressions of her speaking to her personally is that she doesn’t know nothing about nothing.. but I guess we’ll have to see.

    HS. you won’t find me defending Tizard – a little too much of the born to rule Tory in her.

  34. Anita 34

    Paul Bennett On communities and working mothers I wouldn’t call her thick, be she sure could waffle for her country 🙂

    Interestingly that doesn’t sound dead on the Collins-Key party line, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly she bows to the pressure.

  35. Janet 35

    Chris Finlayson wrote a particularly nasty and bitchy chapter in the recent book on the Bolger years (not about Bolger, but about Cullen and treaty claims). Finlayson may be one of the rare National cabinet ministers with a brain, and the first ever out gay Nat, but he came across as nasty and small minded in that book.

  36. Anita 36


    I don’t see how her ethnicity comes into it, ginger, or are you saying its hard for Maori to get degrees and any who can must be gifted relative to the rest of their people?

    I’ll argue that 🙂 Māori are significantly disadvantaged in ways that affect their educational outcomes so, in general, Māori have to be better than Pakeha to do as well academically. Not true in every individual case, but as a general rule it holds true.

  37. Ianmac 37

    Doesn’t Ryall’s constant attack on the Health system make him a liability? Waiting Lists too long? Incompetent systems? Won’t his complaints come back to haunt him?

  38. I’m just winding ginger up, Anita.

    It’s just disappointing that the way ginger chooses to describe Bennet (and how the media does too) is as ‘one of the good Maoris’.

    The fact that they’re still so excited to have Maori in their line-up shows how far behind they are.

  39. Janet 39

    Please could any of you righties with Key’s ear – can you send him to elocution lessons so he can learn how not to strangle the English language and learn how to pronounce all the syllables in words and phrases eg deteriorate, you know. The interpreters in the foreign forums will never be able to understand him.

    And did I hear him use the non-word ‘realability’ re Paula Bennett?

  40. Tane 40

    Anita, she sure does waffle alright.

    I first came across Paula Bennett when she did some of the running on the 90 day bill as Wayne Mapp became more and more of a liability. Her speech in Parliament was abysmal – some waffly rubbish about how she worked in recruitment once. I was genuinely appalled that someone who wanted to take away basic rights from hundreds of thousands of people showed absolutely no sign she had even bothered to think the issues through properly.

    And the solo mum stuff? Give me a break. It’s like when your boss gives you that speech about how he started off on the factory floor, just before he tells you he’s not giving you a pay rise.

  41. bobo 41

    And what portfolio does my favourite hard working politician Tau Henare get? Minister of backbench affairs?

  42. gobsmacked 42

    Somebody on here said before the election that this would be National’s first “Google government”.

    When you look at the new Ministers of Health, Labour, Police, Defence etc – what a gold mine.

    Also: if Maurice and Lockwood pay the price for “gaffes” made in the course of just one month, how are the likes of Bennett and Coleman and co going to survive three years?

  43. gingercrush 43

    I never said anything as to who is a good Maori or who isn’t. Though if a Maori is someone on the right. I’m likely to like them a bit more than Maori on the left.

    And Janet. If anyone is nasty its Michael Cullen.

    Big loser to me is Jackie Blue. I thought she looked smart, articulate, knew the issues and effective in opposition.

    It’ll be interesting to see which of the former ministers in the Labour government prove to also be effective in opposition and who will prove to be less effective. Good opportunity for some of the newer Labour MPs I would think.

  44. Janet 44

    Jackie Blue – too close a relationship with drug companies even for National perhaps?
    Or perhaps because she actually seems to be a nice person, and has been everyone- in-Auckland’s GP at some time.

  45. Janet 45

    Anne Tolley and Rodney already having arguments about bulk funding, with Tolley saying it is not going to happen. (People certainly didn’t vote for bulk funding and the end of zoning as Rodney wants and Tolley knows that). Anne Tolley instead wants 21st century education – ie testing. She thinks that is going to attract teachers to the profession.

    Education could be distressing to watch. QPEC and the unions will be gearing up for some rigorous defending of public education.

  46. marco 46

    From all accounts Jaquie Blues tongue runs away from her after a few wines.
    The potential for a gaffe or Lockwood style moment might be to much for John Key to risk at this stage.

  47. Quoth the Raven 47

    If anyone is nasty its Michael Cullen.

    An example please Ginger and not the one where Nick Smith called Cullen a homosexual because that doesn’t count.

  48. simon 48

    “Big loser to me is Jackie Blue. I thought she looked smart, articulate, knew the issues and effective in opposition. ”

    well she hasn’t updated her website since August, (though her last Press Release was in September) in fact she went quiet on Pharmac quiet a while ago, maybe she was already told she was off the boil ? Which is why she went silent ?


  49. randal 49

    what a creepy way of doing things gingabush
    suddenly out of the blue you say Michael Cullen is nasty
    where is the evidence?
    I do know that your behaviour is creepy because of the way you say things but produce evidence for your assertion about MC otherwise you yourself are the nasty little piece of work

  50. Tigger 50

    When was the Maori Affairs Minister last outside Cabinet? A long time ago, surely.

    Janet – “Finlayson may be one of the rare National cabinet ministers with a brain, and the first ever out gay Nat, but he came across as nasty and small minded in that book.”
    I feel for Chris. He’s a genuinely decent guy but he’s the literal Uncle Tom in his party.

  51. Janet 51

    I have listened to a lot of parliament and I have never heard Michael Cullen be nasty. Witty, clever, sharp – but not nasty.

  52. gingercrush 52

    First of all being that I am gay. Any such references would be insulting. And I didn’t know Nick Smith said that. Not the smartest thing for Nick Smith to say.

    Well I would call Cullen relishing in announcing that Labour had spent it all thus one could not have tax cuts and the glee that went across his face but then I’m not sure people on the left would call that nasty. Perhaps, on the right you would.

    Pulling a Muldoon in regards to releasing economic details. Once again if you’re left that isn’t nasty.

    Not to mention his disgusting behaviour in regards to Owen Glenn.

    Janet hasn’t actually showed anything about Finlayson being nasty. Just something about some book in regards to the National party. Likely, its just Finlayson being critical of Cullen’s role. Which I can’t imagine can be called nasty.

    And as for the comment that Cullen is witty and sharp. Yes that is true but if you haven’t heard trash from him you clearly have the mute button on.

    You lot on the left are so sure in yourself and yet you still don’t realise you lost. You lost this election, you are completely out of touch with normal people. You have so many conspiracy theories it reek. And you have trolls that seemingly get away with anything. Because they happen to attack the right. But that is ok, the centre-right will look forward to winning in 2011. Because its clear if this is the opposition the centre-right is up against, you have no chance.

  53. Anita 53


    I’m not sure what Nick Smith said, but here’s the link.

  54. Janet…….. Rich prick!
    The attacks on Paula Bennett are sickening, but entirely predictable on this site I suppose.

    [lprent: I don’t see any any attacks (searched back to August). There are just comments and opinion about her performance when people have seen her in action.

    I’d consider an attack as being making up bullshit about someone and repeating it as often as possible while offering no sustainable evidence or proof. For instance like the drek does all of the time, and often what I see when peeking at your site.

    If you can point to anything like that, then I’ll consider it. But for the moment I’ll class your comment as a particularly stupid form of diversion, and very close to trying to ignite a flamewar (you know what I feel about that). Consider yourself warned.]

  55. Quoth the Raven 55

    But that is ok, the centre-right will look forward to winning in 2011

    You think NZ first will win the 2011 election?

    GC – Johnathan Young said: “One of the things I do strongly object to in terms of the people who have made this choice is the presentation of it as a normal alternative,” And you voted for these guys.

    Anyone catch this? Those Actoids are weirdos.

  56. Pixie 56

    “People certainly didn’t vote for bulk funding and the end of zoning as Rodney wants… ”

    End of zoning?? There’s no way the MP for Epsom is in favour of that. His constituents’ property prices would halve overnight!

  57. IP, my apologies if you took my comment out of context. Janet declared that she had not seen any attacks or rudeness from Cullen..
    Paula Bennet has been insulted by steve and tane further up this thread..
    If any flame wars are to be started I will start them at my blog.. It is survey time again and I could do with the traffic.
    Oh, and be sure to be careful when “peeking” at my site. Wouldn’t want you to infarct..

    Is anybody else struggling with the transition from defender to attacker (and vice versa) ?

    [lprent: You know I don’t have time to comment elsewhere much. Usually it only happens when I’m doing a roast on someone new to posting incorrectly writing about the provenance of this site. Otherwise scanning the thousands of comments here per week uses up all of my available blogging time.]

  58. randal 58

    GINGABUSH seems to think this is some sort of open forum like kiwiblag or whalemeat where people can say what they like and never be called on it
    read the ABOUT section gk
    this blog is for the the progressive elements in society
    I might add yet once more that the tories might have won but they are still whingeing
    whats all that about?

  59. Felix 59

    ginger you often have interesting things to say here but what’s happened today?

    Cullen is “nasty” because he had a “look” on his face once and he did something to Owen Glenn.

    I hope your descent to this new level is not permanent as I’ve been enjoying your perspectives lately.

  60. What.. Only the ideologically pure allowed to comment randal?

  61. Janet 61

    Paula Bennett is going to be a cabinet minister on a huge salary with many baubles of office who will be in charge of a multi billion dollar budget that could affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of unemployed or disabled people, vulnerable children and beneficiaries. It is a huge responsibility.

    Political watchers like me have been paying attention to these MPs coming up through the National Party ranks and taking the chance to go along and hear when they address public meetings.

    We are all entitled to make our assessments of these new cabinet ministers. After all they work for us -the citizens of NZ. It is not to do with their ethnicity or whether they have been a beneficiary (after all most of have been at some time in our lives), or even their values (and that is where the left and right have the most differences) – but whether they are up to the job, for the sake of the public of NZ. And I’m not impressed so far. It’s not being nasty.

  62. lprent – calling someone “as thick as two short planks” isn’t abuse?

    [lprent: It is opinion – and followed with a point/argument “She doesn’t have her head around issues and shows no inclination to learn.” (please avoid selective quoting). That is my criteria about the difference between opinion and abuse, and you’ll see when I frequently when I stand on trolls (and jump up and down for good measure). Generally, you can’t just make an assertion around here without explaining why you consider it to be your opinion. That is the difference between having something that can be discussed, and having a flamewar.
    I’ve had a go at posters (something that I don’t do lightly) for crossing that line. BB’s comment was a flame starter because he didn’t bother to explain his opinion. I’m afraid that recently he hasn’t had enough mana for me to look at it as being a momentary abberation that we’d all just ignore.
    You’ll notice that even while racking an idiot troll, I usually tell them why I consider that they are. They usually don’t get a lot of comeback, but there has to be an opportunity for other people to give their opinion on the action.]

  63. TimeWarp 63

    At least Paula wasn’t made Associate Minister for Environment and tasked with carving up the Waitakere ranges.

  64. gingercrush 64

    Yes Quoth I am confident in voting for National. Yes there are more conservative elements in the National party. It is a centre-right party after all. I don’t expect any removal of rights from the more conservative elements. I just don’t see it happening. And funny enough I wasn’t a fan of the Civil Union Bill and actually liked Peter Dunne’s suggestion which was pass the relationships legislation just not the civil union.

    Must be something about New Plymouth because Duynhoven was one of the more conservative Labour MPs as well.

    And I don’t know about elsewhere but a number of friends here that are also gay too voted for National. And as for Act well they should have stayed at 2% or so.

  65. randal 65

    oh inventwo
    I didnt realise you were sooooo sensitive?

  66. RedLogix 66

    “Big loser to me is Jackie Blue. I thought she looked smart, articulate, knew the issues and effective in opposition. ‘

    I happen to have had a close social relationship (no more, no less) with Jackie Blue, many years ago. I hold her in a high regard, and have watched her political life with some natural interest. She is a very intelligent and fundamentally decent person. (Yes and a Nat MP too….)

    But there is no doubt her deep professional commitment to breast cancer has motivated her focus on the Herceptin issue, rather to the exclusion of wider considerations. Deciding to fund one particular drug on political grounds is a bad decision. The current system decouples the medicines process from the politicians. MedSafe determines the safety and effectiveness of the range of pharmaceuticals on offer, and Pharmac is tasked with sourcing them at the best possible price for New Zealand. The system is a good one, and Pharmac in particular, founded in 1993, is one success story that the Bolger govt can definitely lay claim to. Cumulatively it has saved NZ many billions of dollars.

    Of course while in Opposition, Herceptin was a convenient stick to beat the govt with, but the issue will likely take on a quite different tone now National actually has to implement some real decisions. Jackie Blue’s cause celeb may be getting less oxygen in the National caucas than it is accustomed too.

    And as much as people do change over time, the Jackie I recall was a liberal-minded person, perhaps not unlike Katherine Rich… and maybe destined share her fate as well. The mere fact that Key has chosen not to use such a really good and capable person in any role whatsoever may just reflect that he had 59 MPs and only 20 odd slots to fill, but there is also reason to suspect otherwise.

  67. John BT 67


    [lprent: You aren’t help your case to be regarded as a human rather than a troll. Lets see you lift your standard. Leaving in moderation]

  68. Quoth the Raven 68

    I wasn’t a fan of the Civil Union Bill and actually liked Peter Dunne’s suggestion which was pass the relationships legislation just not the civil union.

    I don’t think much of the civil unions bill, I think it was a cop out and they should have gone all the way with gay marriage and I also think the same for polygamy as well, but there you go.

    Yes there are more conservative elements in the National party.

    Well it is the conservative party after all.

  69. the sprout 69

    Paula Bennett seems like a likeable, reasonable and competent enough person, but putting someone with that little experience in charge of the largest and most complex portfolio after Health, doesn’t say much about the extent National appreciate its import.

    Although Bennett is clearly a step up, it reminds me a lot of National’s appointment of Christine Rankin to head WINZ – the time honoured strategy of installing a greenhorn well out of their depth to ensure they’ll do what they’re told, won’t ask any difficult questions, and will be too busy fighting fires to have any positive impact.

    But then I guess the same could be said of Key.

  70. gingercrush 70

    Ooh nice post RedLogix. Hopefully we’ll see her chair the Health committee. She’d be very effective in that role and if National survives 2011 election perhaps Ryall will move on and she can be Health Minister then. I note that National’s party cabinet members are very much in line with where people were placed on the party list for list mp consideration. The exceptions being Jonathan Coleman and Paula Bennett.

  71. Pascal's bookie 71

    I don’t think much of the civil unions bill, I think it was a cop out and they should have gone all the way with gay marriage…

    I reckon they should’ve passed the Civil Union bill as a replacement for state Marriages. If churches want to ‘marry’ people then fine, and they can discriminate however they want, but the state should have no need to recognise it. If religious people don’t recognise civil unions, fine. Everyone’s happy!

  72. Sarah 72

    I feel extremely bad for poor Maurice Williamson. He may have been a stupid right wing git, but at least he didn’t try and hide it. One of the most honest nats we had.

    As for Paula Bennett. Give the girl a break. She ain’t no Moana Mackey.

  73. the sprout 73

    Wasn’t Coleman the guy who got punched out for smoking a cigar at the Smokefree U2 concert?

    With you all the way on that train.

  74. the sprout 74

    I have no problem with Paula Bennett, I have a problem with those who’ve put her in that position. It will likely ruin what could have been a laudable political career because it’s a very scarring and draining portfolio for even the most experienced of ministers.

  75. gingercrush 75

    Yeah lol it is Coleman that got punched that day.

  76. Mr Shankly 76

    The ongoing defense of Cullen by all members of the left just proves how out of touch the hard core lefties really are.

    Cullen is not a nice person, he is nasty and I doubt anyone who has a social life would sit down with him for a beer or have him over for a barbeque.

    The last three years of Cullen have been marked by increasing levels of patronising statements and short sighted cutting remarks, which only highlight his envy. Why does the party that is supposed to support the working class and Maori put up with this arrogant, small man syndrome, englishman?

  77. Quoth the Raven 77

    Pb – Sounds good to me.

  78. TimeWarp 78

    Sarah – at least both Maurice and Lockwood will have a lot more time for fishing than they would have had as cabinet ministers. Or maybe catching rats or joining a Samoan basketball team, depending on whatever their particular interest may be. 😉

  79. RedLogix 79

    Cullen is not a nice person, he is nasty and I doubt anyone who has a social life would sit down with him for a beer or have him over for a barbeque.

    Quite the opposite. I’ve had the chance to spend some time with Michael Cullen and his wife on several occasions. One of them even involved some beer. I hope you get to have the same chance one day. If you do, don’t feel too bad about what you just wrote; because the MSM has spent years feeding you a filtered and distorted view of him you really are not in a position to know any better.

  80. Daveski 80

    ha ha – racing has paid for trying to support Winston to the bitter end … John Carter!!!!!

    And before anyone starts, think millions in taxes, thousands employed in a multi-billion dollar industry and most of them definitely not rich pricks who pay to get policies made to order.

  81. randal 81

    mr shanky
    you been reading too many faux self help therapy books
    Michael Cullen is the greatest finance minister in New Zealands history and you of the little people take it upon yourself to do him down when there is no sign or evidence that you have ever done anything.
    come back when you have achieved one hundredth of what he has done for this country
    in the meantime

  82. mike 82

    “she’s also thick as two short planks”

    You are all class SP. How long is the sulking and name calling going to last?
    Suck it up and take it on the chin – with some luck you could be back in 6 or 9 years time .

    [lprent: Ummm – the right seemed to do that for quite a while? In this case SP was making a point (as I pointed out to IV2) about his opinion of a national politician. We’ve heard your opinion about almost every major labour and green politician over the last year. Why should you in particular deny SP from having his?
    I suspect the left will be back quite a lot faster than the right were after 1999. In fact the energy on the left is pretty great at present, and doesn’t look like it is going to die down anytime soon. Besides this coalition looks as shonkey as hell.]

  83. Mr Shankly 83

    Well I am pleased that people here can defend Cullen and say he is a nice chap. The problem is we never see if he is nice.

    It does not only matter if you are nice amongst your friends, but if you can show respect to all people.

    I imagine every reader here has a teacher that they thought was slightly evil – These individuals were probably well liked in the staff room and decent charitable people out of the class room – but we can only go on the evidence we have.

  84. Pascal's bookie 84

    It’s not Cullen’s fault he’s smart and his opponents are dickheads. Those are just facts. Hate the game not the player righties!

  85. Mr Shankly 85

    But it is his fault in politics if he can’t soften his humour to embrace a wider audience.

  86. Rodel 86

    The Sprout says it all.
    Two people promoted for their empty smiles, affability and no substance by the real masters behind the agenda who know they’ve got followers and not leaders in front of them.
    There`is no comparison between Dyson and Bennet. Dyson is competent, honest and

  87. Paula Bennett goes from 41 on the party list to 15 in the MP’s list. I cannot think of anything that she did to deserve this. Did she suddenly develop managerial skills?

    She is part of National’s window dressing. They do not want to put up white males all the time and wand to show that they are “inclusive” and “representative”. Maybe they are different. Maybe they are Labour lite.

    I do not believe that this will actually happen. If they do continue to behave like a social democratic party then the next election will be difficult for the left but somehow I do not think so.

  88. gingercrush 88

    Very ethical to be caught drinking and driving. Yes Dyson was competent and hardworking and determined. All good qualities and she was overall a pretty good minister. At least you can call Bennett determined and that she has grit. We know she too is a hard-worker. Anyone raising children and also doing tertiary studies is a hard-worker. The left seem to suggest she lacks intellect, the grasp of policy. I would disagree with that but we will need to see.

    It is a big ask. In that you’re giving her the portfolio in a time where more people will be using those services. In an economy recession, she is going to be and quite rightfully by the opposition questioned in regards to many issues. If she is competent in answering those questions she will be a great minister. But her appointment, does give the opposition a great opportunity to attack her. And it will be a real testament to see her ability to combat that.

  89. randal 89

    mr shankey
    very sorry that Micahel Cullen cant do something just to please you
    what is your claim to uniqueness that the minsister of finance should especially do something just for you
    come to think of it
    who are you?

  90. Rodel 90

    I hear John Key on tonight’s news referring to his ministerial choices and`the disappointments of those who missed out on the`baubles,explaining

    “…..you’re fitting 59 people through a keyhole that can fit 23″…….”and inevtbly some are left on the wrong side of that keyhole.”
    An accurate but unfortunate metaphor Mr Key.

  91. Pascal's bookie 91

    Mr S, you are quite right, but part of it is that politicians say thousands of nasty things. All of them do it to varying degrees. Up until a couple of years ago, Cullen’s remarks were reported as ‘funny’ ‘witty’ and ‘humorous’, and the nastier stuff never got a mention, (I really don’t think he is all that nasty in any case). Then the reporting changed with the political tides and Cullen became an ‘arrogant’ ‘sneering’ ‘put down artist’.

    What people think about someone, determines in large part the way they see what they say. As Labour became less popular, Cullen’s remarks came to be perceived more negatively. I don’t think he has changed that much.

    He is certainly no worse than English or Collins for example. Stephen Franks said some really ‘nasty’ stuff to citizens at the CUB select committee, but his rep is for “Mr intelligent” so it didn’t get much reporting.

    So you are right that you can only go on the evidence you have, but that evidence is filtered to fit narratives. (I’m not suggesting political bias, just describing human reality).

    Look for Cullen’s speech at the ‘Drinking Liberally’ event if you feel so inclined. It’s actually quite interesting.

  92. bobo 92

    At least Cullen wasn’t the dodgy woodworking teacher who used to perv at the girls blouses at lunchtime.. Cullen was the most underrated finance minister in recent times and his Lange-like quick wit in the debating chamber will be missed. He could be grumpy at times sure, with the never ending demands from Guyon Espiner and co for tax cuts day in and day out, calling him stingy and tight , then calling him a reckless spendthrift he was dammed either way, I would be Mr Grumpy pants too.

  93. will 93

    sigh. This talk of the Elevation of Miss Paula Bennet makes me weep already for a golden age that just.. disappeared.

    Is it an emerging trend?

    Cullen’s a great man, I will miss his intelligence and humour.

    No! It cannot last!

    Rawhide’s arrogance will work a treat; another thing to look forward to is Hone harawira waking up to spit the dummy.

    So bring it ON…. come on you assholes, entertain me……

  94. bobo 94

    PB – I think the Keyhole thing was a planned line, I kept getting nasty mental images of Key on the bog though while watching the news item…

  95. Pascal's bookie 95

    I hope he writes a book big enough to knock sense into tories with.


  96. gingercrush 96

    bobo any real evidence for that statement in regards to Gerry Brownlee? Pretty dangerous thing to say.

  97. Dan 97

    Quick question: does anyone know whether Tim Groser has ever shown the slightest interest in the environment? From what I could find of his speeches he seems more interested in farming (besides, obviously, international trade). I always thought Nick Smith wasn’t such a bad guy for a National MP (slanderous gay jokes aside), and on conservation at least his heart seemed to be in the right place – and I assumed he would resume the portfolio.
    And surely, what with Trade and (Associate) Foreign Affairs, conservation will be running a distant third…
    I don’t know, prove me wrong, but there’s been a lot of rhetoric about DoC failing the conservation estate, and this doesn’t seem like the way forward to me.

  98. bobo 98

    I was referring about dodgy woodwork teachers in general since we were talking teaching analogies , Helen Clark would be able to sue most of the trolls on right wing blogs for outright slander if she had the time.. I’ll miss Winston Peters woodwork teacher jokes in the house 🙁 going to be a much more dull place without him.

  99. gingercrush 99

    Oh lol fair enough.

  100. Tim Ellis 100

    I’ve spent a bit of time with Michael Cullen over the years, and I have to say that in person I’ve always found him extremely courteous and almost deferential to others, and an absolute gentleman. I do think it’s fair to say he has another personality as a debater–witty, brilliant, barracking, sharp, cutting–and very often very vicious, occasionally to the point of sheer nastiness. I’d say the same of Trevor Mallard, except I’ve only once met him privately and didn’t find him courteous or gentlemanly, and don’t think he’s witty or brilliant. Just plain nasty.

    Dan said:

    does anyone know whether Tim Groser has ever shown the slightest interest in the environment?

    Groser’s portfolio appears to be in the area of climate change negotiations. This is an international negotiating role, that will fit in well with his international trade negotiating role. There is probably nobody else in New Zealand with more experience in any negotiating field than Groser.

  101. Janet 101

    I’ve known Trevor for a few years and he is extremely smart, has a deep sense of social justice, is a great environmentalist, and can be very kind and generous. He also doesn’t have much patience for the outrages of the right so he could probably see through TE.

  102. Tim Ellis 102

    That’s a fair enough perspective Janet. I don’t know Trevor Mallard well at all, but what I have seen of him is that he is a boorish, crude, rude, nasty thug. He was no doubt very effective in this role for Helen Clark over many years as he went about smearing National Party MPs, right up to the point where he got pinged for punching out another MP, and he faced trouble in his own personal life.

    I wouldn’t expect him to last beyond this term though.

  103. Seti 103

    Brett Dale

    Why the heck is their a minister for the rugby world cup?

    Wasn’t Clayton Cosgrove given ministerial responsibilities for the RWC?

  104. Dan 104

    Tim (Ellis), Tim (Groser) is the Minister for Conservation – that means running DoC, looking after national parks, marine reserves – y’know, its only 30% of the land area of New Zealand, not a major portfolio. I imagine this thread had just about been abandoned, so I won’t push the issue, but I just thought it was an odd choice.

  105. senzafine 105

    Cullen reminds me a LOT of a guy i worked with. A nice guy. Got along with everyone.

    On the surface.

    In reality, he was a jumped up, backstabbing, power hungry little prick. He’d look after his tight five and often communicate with the same smarmy, supercilious, beady eyed look and tone as Dr. Michael Cullen.

    This is not an attack, simply a passive observation posted in response to some comments, up there.


  106. bill brown 106

    senzafine, you’re not an observer, you’re a parrot

  107. Tim Ellis 107

    SP wrote:

    Interesting to see National playing up Bennet’s Maori ethnicity too. Previously she didn’t identify as Maori, but it has become politically useful now.

    Very wrong, and very patronising of you, SP. Go and read Paula Bennett’s maiden speech. Half of it is about being Maori. It simply isn’t true that Bennett is “playing up her Maori ethnicity” now that it’s become politically useful.

  108. Tim Ellis 108

    Dan wrote:

    Tim (Ellis), Tim (Groser) is the Minister for Conservation – that means running DoC, looking after national parks, marine reserves – y’know, its only 30% of the land area of New Zealand, not a major portfolio. I imagine this thread had just about been abandoned, so I won’t push the issue, but I just thought it was an odd choice.

    Good threads never die if there are people willing to debate, Dan!

    I think there are two issues with DoC. Firstly about how big the portfolio is. Yes, the conservation estate is large, but as a department it isn’t very large, or particularly influential. It hasn’t traditionally been held by a senior Minister. Steve Chadwick was ranked 18 on Labour’s ministerial list when she inherited the portfolio. Secondly, I think it’s easier if the portfolio is held by a List MP, since there are often competing interests in conservation issues (such as immediate locals who don’t want a marine reserve, and people from the wider region who do).

  109. Ross Miller 109

    Its pathetic reading many of these posts. Not only are you sore loosers; you are sad sore loosers.

    And why you are turning your invective on Paula Bennett escapes me. Jealous or patronising or both. She did after all thrash one of your supposed rising stars in West Auckland which for the past nine years has been a labour bastion. For christsake … National even managed to win Te Atatu on the Party Vote. Arrogant Cunliffe has very little to be arrogant about.

    Anyway you need to learn to be nice to your new Minister as you hunt for work after being thrown out of your Beehive offices.

    p.s. How long is Goff going to last when the full debacle about Project Protector becomes public?

    [lprent: Idiot troll who cannot read – see the About and Policy.]

  110. gingercrush 110

    Well seeing that there isn’t a post about the shadow cabinet yet.

    Smart move by moving Annette King to Social Development. One of the finest ministers in Labour’s Cabinet. She was able to make Health a non-issue which is unthinkable. Will be just as effective in opposition as she was as a Cabinet member. Probably the most talented Labour MP.

    [lprent: Well we aren’t exactly full-time bloggers. Unlike the National Smear Unit aka WhaleOil aka Cameron Slater]

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