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Goff announces shadow cabinet

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, November 20th, 2008 - 44 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Labour leader Phil Goff has announced his shadow cabinet. As announced already Cunliffe takes finance, Clark takes foreign affairs, Hughes and Chadwick are whips.

Annette King takes on social development in addition to the deputy leadership – a smart move, she’ll make mincemeat out of Paula Bennett. Ruth Dyson takes health, Chris Carter holds education and Clayton Cosgrove takes law and order (including police and corrections) as well as associate finance. Cosgrove’s a fighter so he’ll do well, but it does signal Labour will be clinging to its reactionary stance on law and order in opposition.

David Parker, in addition to shadow attorney-general, has two potentially big roles in ACC and electoral reform given National’s plan to reform these areas. Chauvel will take the fight on climate change as National and ACT try to weaken, delay and possibly even dump the ETS.

From a personal perspective I’m happy to see Trevor Mallard keep labour. Like many I was dubious at first but over the last year he’s more than proven his strength in that portfolio – something we’ll need as National and ACT start rolling back our rights at work.

Overall, a strong shadow cabinet with the strength and experience to come back in 2011. More encouraging still is the depth of talent further down the list – people like Jacinda Adern, Grant Robertson, Phil Twyford and Kelvin Davis. I’m sure we’ll see more of them very soon.

Full details below the break.

Labour’s new shadow cabinet:

1 Phil Goff Leader, SIS

2 Annette King Deputy Leader, Social Development

3 David Cunliffe Finance

4 Ruth Dyson Health

5 Parekura Horomia Maori Affairs, Fisheries

6 Clayton Cosgrove Law and Order (including police and corrections), Soes, Assoc Finance

7 Chris Carter Education, Ethnic Affairs

8 Nanaia Mahuta Environment, Tourism, Assoc Maori Affairs

9 Maryan Street Trade, Tertiary Education

10 Darren Hughes Senior Whip, Transport

11 David Parker Attorney General, Electoral Reform, ACC, Assoc Finance

12 Shane Jones Local Government, Building and Construction, Infrastructure

13 Trevor Mallard Labour, Economic Development, Sports and Recreation

14 Lianne Dalziel Justice, Commerce

15 Charles Chauvel Climate Change, Energy, Assoc Commerce

16 Pete Hodgson Immigration, Defence

Helen Clark Foreign Affairs, Arts, Culture and Heritage

Michael Cullen Shadow Leader of the House, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

17 Winnie Laban Pacific Island Affairs, Assoc Health, Assoc Economic Development

18 Moana Mackey Rural Affairs, Research and Development, Science and Technology

19 Steve Chadwick Junior Whip, Conservation

20 Sue Moroney Women’s Affairs, Education ECE

21 Rick Barker Courts, Veterans Affairs

22 Ross Robertson Small Business, Senior Citizens, Racing, Assoc Disarmament and Arms Control

23 George Hawkins Housing

24 Mita Ririnui Forestry, Assoc Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Assoc Agriculture

25 Lynn Pillay Disability Issues, Assoc Justice, Victims Rights

26 Ashraf Choudhary Food Safety, Agricultureal Science, Assoc Ethnic Affairs.

27 Darien Fenton Transport Safety, Assoc Labour

28 Su’a William Sio Customs, Assoc Pacific Islands Affairs, Assoc Local Government

New members alphabetic order

29 Jacinda Ardern Youth Affairs, Assoc Justice, Youth Justice

30 Carol Beaumont Consumer Affairs, Assoc Labour

31 Brendon Burns Broadcasting, Assoc Environment Water Quality

32 Clare Curran Communications and IT

33 Kelvin Davis Biosecurity, Assoc Education

34 Chris Hipkins Internal Affairs, Assoc Energy

35 Raymond Huo Law commission, Statistics, Assoc Ethnic Affairs

36 Iain Lees-Galloway Land Information, Assoc Defence, Assoc Health Drugs and Alcohol

37 Stuart Nash Revenue, Assoc Trade, Assoc Forestry

38 Rajen Prasad Voluntary and Community Sector, Assoc Ethnic Affairs,
Assoc Social Development Family and CYF

39 Grant Robertson State Services, Assoc Arts, Culture and Heritage, Assoc Foreign Affairs

40 Carmel Sepuloni Civil Defence, Assoc Tertiary Education, Assoc Social Development

41 Phil Twyford Disarmament and Arms Control, Auckland Issues, Assoc Foreign Affairs Development Assistance

Progressive Leader Jim Anderton Agriculture

44 comments on “Goff announces shadow cabinet”

  1. Lew 1

    That’d be Clare Curran, not Clark. NZPA fail.

    Hasn’t that young man Darren Hughes done well?


  2. Tane 2

    Yeah, there were a few of those, Su’a Qilliam Sio, etc, that I changed as I noticed them. Understaffed and underpaid though, you can’t blame them.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    Why are Helen Clark and Michael Cullen not ranked? Where do these rankings come from?

    Why are Mallard, Dalziel, and Hodgson so lowly ranked? Is it a signal that all five of them are on the way out, or did NZPA assign numbers to them, or is there some other explanation?

  4. Tane 4

    Tim, not sure. I’m guessing with Clark and Cullen it’s because they’re on their way out and are basically there as mentors. You don’t want to give them a high ranking, but nor do you want to give them a low one.

    Seems likely that with Mallard, Dalziel and Hodgson it’s a hint for them to think about making way for new blood at some point. But my guess is as good as yours.

  5. the sprout 5

    Looks pretty good to me.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Ryall and Dyson looking after Health – I am suitably underwhelmed – Let’s hope they surprise me.

  7. Janet 7

    Great to see Grant Robertson understudying Helen.

    And Ruth will make mincemeat out of Ryall in Health.

    The Nats are weak in Education and Labour, whereas Labour is very strong in this lineup.

    Anyone know when parliament will be called together and the maiden speeches start? There should be some memorable ones.

  8. the sprout 8

    “Anyone know when parliament will be called together and the maiden speeches start?”

    8 Dec


  9. insider 9

    Of course the big advantage for Labour is that they know where all the bodies from the last nine years are buried. That’ll make things fun.

    Cosgrove’s a big mover by the looks. Suprised to see Carter so high as he was being called as one on the way out. Wonder if Parker will be as successful in reforming the electoral system as he was on the ETS. SUrprised King didn’t get it with her steering of the EFA. 😀

  10. Janet 10

    Mallard, Dalziell and Hodgson are hardly lowly ranked – they are in the second row! But they are experienced and safe backups for the front bench – well placed from a media point of view too..

  11. Patrick 11

    Given the chief whip traditionally sits behind the leader, but Hughes is also meant to be “on the front bench”, anyone have any idea where he will actually sit?

  12. rjs131 12

    How come Street has got Trade? Has she got any background in this?

    Is Sue Moroney being rewarded for her oustanding performance in her electorate? Horomia no.5? Surely that promotion is not merit based??? Wld nt a no.5 have a far more meaty portfoliio such as eduction or justice?

  13. Dave 13

    I think it is a good lineup, it’s not quite the shakeup I expected but they have more ability than the ministers they are opposing. IMO of course 🙂

    Never thought I would say this, but I can’t wait for Parliament TV to start again, it will be fireworks and a lot of arguments… makes my study day more enjoyable 🙂

  14. Tim Ellis 14

    Cheap shot, rjs, but still funny.

    The demotions of Dalziel, Hodgson and Mallard do appear to suggest they’re on the way out. So too with Chadwick, Barker, Robertson and Hawkins. Those people along with Clark and Cullen suggest the Labour Party should send very clear signals indeed to those who don’t get the message (and Barker, Robertson and Hawkins didn’t pick up those signals last time) that they really are out at the next election.

    Looking at Labour’s list, I would say that pretty much everybody that Labour needed to be in there is there now: the dead wood of O’Connor and Tizard who are next on the list was probably realistically Labour’s cut-off point anyway. If Labour were going to lose anyway, then Labour probably doesn’t want them coming back and filling up spaces that should be occupied by Labour’s future.

    Ten people is a lot of people to replace, though. I think Labour will really struggle to find ten people of serious MP quality who can hit the ground running next time. The obvious suspects are Jordon Carter, Kate Sutton, and Conor Roberts, who were so bafflingly overlooked this time, and Andrew Little, who I expect would come in through a by-election, but is there really anybody else seriously knocking on Labour’s door?

  15. Duncan 15

    The decision to overlook Sutton and Roberts isn’t baffling, it’s very smart and very deliberate. They’re two of the most overrated people around.

  16. Graeme 16

    All 43 MPs got something – I realise this is standard in opposition, but has no-one been set aside for one of the Officer of the House roles (presumably Assistant Speaker)? Was Clem Simich spokesperson on something?

  17. Graeme: I presume at this stage they don’t want to pre-judge anything, and that anyone appointed to an Assistant Speakership would yield their responsibilities.

  18. Tane 18

    I/S – sorry, I don’t know why you keep getting stuck in our spam filter. Thought maybe it didn’t like the word ‘idiot’, but that doesn’t seem to be it. Lynn, any ideas?

  19. randal 19

    that line up appears to have more coherence and intellectual power than anything national can cobble together
    well done phil goff

  20. MikeE 20

    How is more staff and more pay going to stop people from making proofing errors?

    Please explain?

  21. Tane 21

    MikeE, more staff means a) you don’t have to rush things because you don’t have such a huge workload, and b) you have subs to double-check things.

    When you cut staff work becomes intensified and people make mistakes, and they start slipping through because there’s no one to double-check.

    There’s also the possibility (though not saying it’s the case here) that when you cut staff (and pay, they go hand in hand) the quality of the journalist, and hence the journalism, suffers.

  22. Billy 22

    Is that quite a big promotion for Chauvel?

  23. randal 23

    John Keys is not the only money market dealer in the world
    he hasnt done anything yet
    thats not fair
    he’s gone to brazil to get some nuts

  24. gingercrush 24

    Judith Collins vs Clayton Cosgrove is going to be interesting.

    Phil Goff – Effective but I think Key can handle him. And I don’t believe hes fresh enough.

    Annette King getting Social Development was a smart move. I believe of all the Cabinet Ministers in Helen Clark’s nine years of government. For me she was the most effective. Her ability to turn Health into a non-issue was amazing. What I mean by that is I don’t think health improved that much under Labour. But her skill was the ability to deflect anything the opposition tried to attack with. As health minister she shined in a way others didn’t. While her turn to Minister of Police was more problematic. Its a bad cabinet post to have at any time. But I think she did a rather good job here as well. And I do believe she is Labour’s key asset. Helen Clark may have had the the leadership skills. But for me King is a natural politician. Her intellect is clear but her bravado even more.

    Cunliffe – Don’t see it myself. I think Parker was the more impressive and arguably should be number 3. Cunliffe seems nice and all and him and English seem to share the same temperament. No sparks will fly. Could well be discussions of substance. English will be a good Minister of Finance. Not great like Cullen could be at times. But effective. Cunliffe won’t be effective.

    Ruth Dyson I don’t find impressive. Sure she has the intellect. But her tone and actions I’m not sure are well suited to opposition. As a minister yes but not in opposition. Though Health will arguably become more of an issue again. National does very poorly in regards to health and I don’t see Ryall having the ability to deflect attacks. Dyson won’t win the health debate because of her but rather because Ryall isn’t that talented and National just seems to be strange with health.

    Purekura Horomia. – I just can’t see how he will be effective in opposition. A capable person. I’ve read a lot of stuff about how people think hes somehow stupid. I think there is none of that. Underneath his exterior is an intelligent man. But the way he conducts himself I just can’t see working in opposition. Which is a shame because there are going to be some serious issues in regards to Maori issues over the next three years.

    Clayton Cosgrove – I just see sparks erupting between him and Collins. Both are incredibly intelligent. Underneath that rough exterior Collins is one capable women and should not be underestimated under any measure. Problem is whether crime goes down or not the media always paint it as a big issue. But rather than any discussions over substance. The way these two operate it’ll just be rage.

    Chris Carter – I think hes capable behind the scenes but in terms of the skills needed in opposition I don’t think he has it. A shame really because National doesn’t do well in regards to education either. Tolley shouldn’t be underestimated. I think she’ll be quite effective and with Carter questioning her. Sadly, I can’t see Labour winning the argument.

    Nanaia Mahuta – I would have given her Maori affairs. She’ll do pretty well. Nothing outstanding and Nick Smith is capable. I would have though environment would go elsewhere. Will be overshadowed by the Greens. The Greens won’t help Labour. Because many are turned off by Greens expectations on the environment.

    Maryan Street – Smart lady, good with issues but should have entered parliament 10 years ago.

    Darren Huges – He should be interesting. Up against the mystery in Joyce. We know Joyce is effective behind the scenes but its a whole different story stepping up in front. If anything the pressure in Transport will come from the Greens.

    David Parker – I find him impressive.Much more than Cunlife. Good place to put Parker he’ll be at his most effective. Though why he doesn’t warrant the front bench is beyond me.

    Shane Jones – I keep hearing how he could be Labour’s next Prime Minister and how talented he is. Sorry to say but I really haven’t seen it. Interesting he has Infrastructure and Local Government. Quite good mix really. Bill English will do well as minister again. His experience in the job already I think holds him well. Hide could well be embarassing answering questions. But still I don’t find Jones effective and once again I see Greens being more effective.

    Trevor Mallard and Lianne Dalziel – They should have been two of the best Ministers in the Labour-led government. But Mallard proved troublesome though he is effective. And Dalziel looked set to head Health before somehow going broken in 1998 or so and while she got Minister posts. Just seems something went missing. On the outer the both of them. A pity really, two of the better Labour members.

    Winnie Laban of Labour and Georgina Te Heu Heu of National share the same problem. Both are amazing hard-working intelligent people. Sadly both don’t present themselves well. A pity when both are immensely talented. Laban more effective when in government the same with Georgina Te Heuheu who will be in cabinet. It is a pity because people don’t see much in either. But I think they both have that understated attitude. They may not be the most intellectual nor are they the best politicians. But each bring attributes missing from other members in their party. Sadly, we don’t get to see it.

    Chauvel – I like him but for all purposes. People look at Gerry Brownlee as a fat rather unpleasant man. But he brought up his siblings and he is amazingly hard-working. The best opposition National had and in power he’ll be even more effective. Good and solid. But Chauvel has the intellect. Brownlee is great but could go missing in the details. Nice match-up.

    Hodgson – I don’t see where the talent is. Nearly undid all the great work King worked on in regards to health. Won’t be effective. His time is up. Could he do diplomatic work??

    Mackey and Chadwick. – I’m sure both are really great behind the scenes and that is likely where there talent lies. Both would have been good cabinet ministers. But won’t cut the mustard in opposition.

    Number 20 – 27 – I don’t mean to be rude. But in big parties there is a lot of waste. Most of these people are just wasting time. All have talents sure but besides Robertson and Hawkins did any of them hold their electorate seats? They’re the people that in no fault of them all were talented people but in politics some get the benefits and others don’t. Besides Barker and Hawkins of course. Hawkins really wasn’t a good minister. And I feel for Barker has had to face some really big issues in his private life and can’t be easy for him.

    The new labour MPs. Mostly a complete mystery. Brendon Burns who won Christchurch Central did not press me whatsoever. Shame really because the other opponent Nicky Wagner representing National too is not impressive. Robertson seems the one with the intellect the poltical handle and likely to go up. But the others are complete mysteries.


    Will make for interesting parliament.

  25. Chris G 25

    I too am glad to see Mallard on Labour. As much as many people disagree with him.. he is a staunch unionist from back in the day and thats made him who he is. And good on him I say

    So I hear through the grapevine.

  26. Proctor 26


    Suspect you’ll be surprised by Burns. He’s got the intellect to do really well. And he’s a workaholic. His portfolios are smart – ex Editor of the Marlborough Express in the 90s and Christchurch Central MP mean that he should have some experience in Broadcasting (which I presume includes print – correct me if I’m wrong -) and water quality which is a big issue down here.

    Will be cheering him on down here. I did have a chuckle over the ‘Labour Burns’ billboards around town though. Unfortunate but amusing.

  27. gingercrush 27

    I hope you’re right in regards to Burns. Being a National supporter I should have liked Nicky Wagner but I very reluctantly voted for her. I’ve heard some stuff about complaints in regards to boyracers and complaints about the street she lives in etc. She just comes across as someone who believes Christchurch Central should be hers being that she grew up there worked there etc. And to me that isn’t what electorate MPs should be.

  28. Anita 28

    Tim Ellis,

    The demotions of Dalziel, Hodgson and Mallard do appear to suggest they’re on the way out. So too with Chadwick, Barker, Robertson and Hawkins …

    Ross Robertson I assume.

    WRT Hawkins housing may well turn into a big deal because of both National’s desire to sell state houses and housing as an option. I can’t remember how he performed in opposition, although I guess some of that time was focussed on recovering from his stroke.

    I think Labour will really struggle to find ten people of serious MP quality who can hit the ground running next time. The obvious suspects are Jordon Carter, Kate Sutton, and Conor Roberts, who were so bafflingly overlooked this time

    One of the things I imagine will be frustrating Goff right now is that he doesn’t get new MPs off the list if there are resignations O’Connor, Tizard, Burton, Okeroa, and so on ick.

  29. Tim Ellis 29

    Anita said:

    One of the things I imagine will be frustrating Goff right now is that he doesn’t get new MPs off the list if there are resignations O’Connor, Tizard, Burton, Okeroa, and so on ick.

    I agree Anita. Of the ones who seem to be signalled for retirement, only Chadwick is a List MP. As you point out, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling case for her to retire before the election–what would be the point if you only end up with Tizard to replace her? The rest are electorate MPs, and there would seem to be little motivation to chance it with a by-election anywhere except Mt Albert if Helen chooses to take up an international post.

    Assuming that the Specials don’t change the current allocation, then Cullen goes early, which seems likely, then that will open up a spot for O’Connor to come back in. I suspect he’s probably the most desirable of the group you’ve listed.

    On that front, it looks likely that about three major UN posts attractive to her will come up in about a year or so. That would seem the most appropriate time to parachute in a new candidate to stand in Mt Albert to succeed her–not a List MP like Twyford, because that would just open up another list spot for Tizard. This suggests either somebody more desirable as a candidate in Mt Albert, much lower on the list (such as Carter, Roberts, or Sutton, although that begs the question really, if the Labour Party did hold them in such high regard, why were they placed so low on the list this time in the first place?

    My pick would be Andrew Little for Mt Albert if Helen goes early. The other potential seat for Little would be Rongotai, if by chance in a year’s time Annette King saw the opportune time to jump when Helen does.

    The real challenge for Labour in 2011 is to find ten very good people in winnable spots who can add more freshness and grunt to Labour’s caucus, assuming all the retirements take place as they should. It’s actually really hard to come up with that many new people. If the sense from some of the commenters here–that Carter, Sutton, and Roberts are over-rated and aren’t the future–is reflected across the wider party, then where is this new talent?

    In my view, this is not a problem unique to Labour: I would think John Key would probably be looking at a dozen retirements or more in 2011 as well, and I suspect he would be signalling to his caucus: “If you’ve been in Parliament seven or more years and you’re not now in Cabinet, then that’s a sign that you won’t be, and next election you’ll be pensioned off.”

    The difference is that National’s organisation is brimming with excitement and many more people are joining it now that National is freshly in government. Finding a dozen new people for National is in my view an easier task than Labour doing the same from the relative ruins of a recently-rejected opposition.

  30. Carol 30

    Hodgson said he asked for the demotion, otherwise he would’ve been the oldest/longest serving MP left on the front bench. I guess he decided it was time to step back and allowsome newer MPs to be brought forward.

  31. Anita 31

    Tim Ellis,

    My hunch is that Labour will use a Mt Albert by-election strategically; wait for the polls to start to swing against National (which they will do mid or mid-late term) have a by election which allows a strong Labour seat to swing hard against National (by elections are often safe opportunities for protest votes against incumbent governments), which will give Labour the appearance of a building swing against National.

    Little for Mt Albert seems like a real waste for Labour. They’d lose a president too early, and they’d lose a lot of oompf in Mt Albert by bringing in a Wellingtonian and looking like they’re taking Mt Albert for granted. I’d pick a young high flying charismatic Auckland based Labour candidate from a middle-class-liberal background to spearhead a Labour revival in Auckland.

  32. the sprout 32

    I agree Anita, Little would be a waste. Some talented new blood would be a better use of the seat.

  33. Quoth the Raven 33

    Phil Goff – Effective but I think Key can handle him. And I don’t believe hes fresh enough

    Honestly ginger in what way does freshness matter? Politics shouldn’t be about some perception of freshness. It should as always be about policy, you know the things that actually affect us. If you want someone fresher I’m sure there’s a toddler who’s been a lifelong Labour supporter ready for the job. He’s got lots of money to donate to the party and people can see whatever they like in him. He’s like a blank slate for people to draw their aspirations on.

  34. the sprout 34

    freshness is good for underpants, fruit, and fish – not for wine, cheese and politics.

  35. Tim Ellis 35

    Anita said:

    Little for Mt Albert seems like a real waste for Labour. They’d lose a president too early, and they’d lose a lot of oompf in Mt Albert by bringing in a Wellingtonian and looking like they’re taking Mt Albert for granted. I’d pick a young high flying charismatic Auckland based Labour candidate from a middle-class-liberal background to spearhead a Labour revival in Auckland.

    Interesting observation Anita. Would there be a restriction on Little serving as President and as an MP? I don’t know what the rules are now but obviously Anderton did both early in the 1980s. Little has been touted as potential leadership material for some time, and if Goff doesn’t start to make traction in the polls within about twelve months I think he will be toast. It’s at that stage that there will be real leadership issues within the Labour Party. We had a smooth transition this time, in my view, purely because of Helen Clark’s force of personality. She wanted a smooth, peaceful transition, and her prestige in the caucus made sure there was no contest this time around, but I doubt that long term Goff is her ideal choice of leader or that of her caucus.

    If Goff doesn’t start to perform after a honeymoon for Key, I don’t think the kind of strict discipline that Clark held over the Labour caucus for 15 years will last under Goff, particularly with the prospect of Clark leaving the scene completely. So who else might be a contender? Cunliffe, of course. Jones and Cosgrove seem rank outsiders at this stage, but the only other contender with potentially a big power bloc in a year’s time seems to be Little. And he can only do that if he’s in Caucus.

    There are certainly many precedents for carpet-bagging candidates (although that’s a very strong word) in the Labour Party: Mallard went from a loss in Hamilton West in 1990 to Pencarrow in 1993, and Annette King went from losing Horowhenua in 1990 to Miramar in 1993. Anderton, and Aucklander, was dropped into Sydenham in 1984. Dyson wasn’t originally from Christchurch (nor was Moore), Hobbs was not from Wellington. Street isn’t from Nelson. If I’m right, Cunliffe wasn’t an Aucklander either.

    Obviously Little’s most obvious seat would be King’s, or Mallard’s, if he did enter Parliament, but on further reflection I think there would be real problems with holding a by-election in either of those seats just to make way for Little, which is how it would be seen. Fair enough for a by-election to be held in the seat of a former prime minister who might be heading off to a major international post–Helen Clark was the reigning PM who stood in 2008 to win the election–she didn’t, and I think it would be expected a by-election might be held. I think it’s a different scenario for retiring ex-Cabinet ministers to call it quits before their term has been held.

  36. gingercrush 36

    Politics should be about policy but rarely is it. Look at question time. There is no substantive discussions in policy. Instead we get some lame question which will then be followed by ministers who don’t even address the question. More than likely the speaker gets involved and is asked to make a ruling. As per usual they say the Minister did ask the question. Question Time is largely for show and for the morale of either those in opposition or those in government. And of course every time there is question time, the media will take a few selective bits and show that. Therefore, often question time and parliament gets reduced to appearance. Hence why I said I don’t think he’s fresh enough.

    Lets not be in doubt. Phil Goff like Annette King is an astute politician. They may not be quick off their feet like Cullen or Mallard. But as ministers they were capable of deflecting attacks and if anything making the opposition look stupid. Both will be effective in their role of opposition.

    Unfortunately, I believe the answering of questions during question time became increasingly horrible and like the troubles National faced in opposition, I suggest Labour too will face problems. They’ll struggle to get a straight answer. They’ll seek the speaker to make the minister address the question but the speaker will side with the minister. Labour helped to set that up and National will likely follow it.

    May I suggest we’ll see plenty of complaints here and at other left blogs accusing National of not addressing the questions, or misusing question time. Likewise, the right blogs will defend how National and other ministers answer questions. I can see it now. Its gonna be ugly. I just hope that when the left become increasingly frustrated over Minister actions in terms of question time. That they will find some regret in that Labour started such pattern.

    Ok so I was meant to reply to Quoth’s point over freshness but somehow I can’t shut up, lol.

  37. Tim Ellis 37

    May I suggest we’ll see plenty of complaints here and at other left blogs accusing National of not addressing the questions, or misusing question time. Likewise, the right blogs will defend how National and other ministers answer questions. I can see it now. Its gonna be ugly. I just hope that when the left become increasingly frustrated over Minister actions in terms of question time. That they will find some regret in that Labour started such pattern

    I think that’s right GC, but to be fair National had a few errant Ministers in the late 90s as well. I well remember Max Bradford used to preface every question with an explanation of how much it cost to answer each question. That was pointless point-scoring. Question Time in the House, if there ever was any point to it, has become a massive waste of time over the last few years. It is a big joke that has nothing to do with holding Ministers or the Executive to account. I do think Ministers have set new low standards in not addressing questions.

    No doubt there will be complaints on the Left if National continue this, and rightly so. Just because Labour indulged in such partisan hackery isn’t a good reason to continue it. We have now said goodbye to Parliament’s biggest showman and time-waster–it would be good to see Question Time seriously reformed as well.

    Sadly, I don’t see a lot of hope of this happening with the new Speaker. I think it’s a shame that Lockwood Smith will become the new Speaker, and that’s not a slight against him, but he just was never going to be a reformer. If Peter Dunne had been prepared to do it, I think he really would have been passionate about reforming the toxic Parliamentary culture, especially around Question Time.

  38. gingercrush 38

    Tim Ellis I suggest that outside Phil Goff there is no Labour MP that could be the leader. Cunliffe I think is overrated and if he was leader could face similar problems that Bill English had. Their temperaments are the same and while hard-working people they just lack that natural edge. I’m not sure the Labour party would be well disciplined under Cunliffe either. I actually find the big promotion for Cunliffe strange. I don’t see what is so great about him. David Parker seems to be almost forgotten today. I would argue its Parker with the greater talent. And he should have been on the front bench and its a pity Goff chose not to do that.

    Shane Jones too doesn’t have it. There was a lot said about him but then again you’ll remember a lot was said of John Tamihere as well. Hard-working Maori men who have had great success in working with Maori and the underprivledged. Yet get them in parliament and slowly overtime their talent begins to lack. I’m not even sure the left see him as potential leadership anymore.

    Clayton Cosgrove just way too outside. Too much leaning to the right. May appear too gruff for the general public. Hard to see the working class voters so important in Labour victories warming to him. Also I’m not sure the left wing part of Labour could tolerate him either.

    There has been great things said about Grant Robertson the new Wellington Central MP. Has the political nouse, the policy intellect and the leadership skills. Sadly commentators believe his sexuality would be an issue. And sadly I think that would be true. If there is one thing I dread about the right, its the undercurrents of conservatism. Conservatism by itself is not bad. But when its social conservatism and where there still is homophobia. It would just be ugly. I know many make claims about the dirty tricks and stuff pulled by blogs today. But in a situation where Grant Robertson was the Labour leader.You’d see an even more ugly side. Something that would just go too far. Tis a pity because by all means he has that leadership that other strong Labour Prime Ministers have possessed.

    So like you, I agree the most likelihood if its not Goff is outside the parliament right now. I too think Andrew Little would be a good Labour leader. He may well lead a Union. But hes not that far to the left. He could run a fairly good centrist party but a party that sees more protections for workers. But I think he could equally work well with business. Unfortunately, right now for him to be leader means the left needs to be out of office again in 2011 and could well add problems meaning 2014 also goes to the right.

    A leadership spat in labour could well prove detrimental. Just as it proved detrimental for National. Helen Clark was sharp to exit as she did. Giving the party a clean break. They have no choice but to get behind Goff and try and win 2011. Because if they don’t win in 2011 then they’re looking at ugly party in-fighting and a longer period in opposition.

    Most critically any change in leadership before 2011 must be considered very carefully because such action typically tends to cause in-fighting and a party that is no longer effective in opposition. Recall the early/mid 90s for Labour. And 1997-2003/4 for National.


    Really I think Labour has no choice but for this term to stick behind Goff and King and don’t make leadership moves even if polls are critical. Getting back into parliament is rarely achievable after just 3 years. It takes more time. And every National Party has won three terms or more. New Zealand overall favours long-term government.

  39. Proctor 39

    I don’t think the fact that ‘every National Government has won three terms or more’ means that this lot will stay in for three terms. I certainly hope not. Whether they have any chance of doing that I think will largely come down to restraining Hide’s neo-con ambitions at the local govt level.

    And don’t underestimate Goff. He’s waited a long time for this – he’s not doing it to be caretaker. From what I’ve seen I think there’s more chance of infighting in National than in Labour.

  40. gingercrush 40

    Can someone who votes Labour or votes left tell me why David Parker continues to be shafted. And I do use shafted deliberately. To me he was always a far better minister than Cunliffe. In fact I suggest that with Cullen, Clark departing and Mallard no longer the politician he once was. That David Parker is the most talented and able politician in the Labour party outside Phil Goff and Annette King. And certainly should have been promoted to the front bench before Mahuta, Dyson, Cosgrove and Street.

    So why is David Parker not seen as front bench material?


    Proctor – Good points. 3 terms this far out is too much to predict. But typically governments should be expected to last two terms. Lets put it this way. Goff may well be hungry to be Prime Minister. But National does not want to be back in government and lose it in a mere 3 years. National has always seen itself as the party expected to govern in New Zealand. And I believe they will do everything they can to deliver a long-term government.

  41. Pascal's bookie 41

    “And every National Party has won three terms or more.”

    Not under MMP they haven’t 🙂

    Pitt the Younger prob’ly moaned about the excessive partisanship at question time whilst scoffing one of Bellamy’s veal pies. Cicero himself was a weasel worded sophist who played to the crowd. That’s the game. The work is something else though, it’s the end to which the game is the means.

    If we voted for pollies that were all sweetness and light and discussed issues like high church ladies over teacups, then that’s how they’d behave. But we don’t.

    We vote for people who we think most likely to achieve implementation of the policies we think best. The people we tend to think that about, are the people that appear most passionate both for our own ideals, and against those ideals that we think are most dangerous.

  42. gingercrush 42

    Pascal very poetic of you, though I was hoping you’d answer my question in regards to Parker. Because I seriously don’t see why he gets shafted.

  43. Pascal's bookie 43

    Cross posted and didn’t see your question, (I’m having browser issues and I don’t type none too fast at this time of night)

    Don’t know really. I spose they have their reasons, and I think Goff said that there will be reshuffle before the election anyhow, so I guess there is all sorts of powder being kept dry, etc. That sort of personality stuff doesn’t really grab me though, so I haven’t really though about it..

    I guess I reject the premiss actually, in that I don’t think he’s been shafted. Attorney General, Electoral Reform, ACC, Assoc Finance, are all areas he can expect to be busy in. ACC reform is important to Labour and they’ll want to be mounting a strong defence against the pirates.

    He’s not on the front bench. No big deal.

  44. Tigger 44

    ginger – I wouldn’t worry so much about Grant’s sexuality. He certainly doesn’t.

    There are some smart moves here – and this is just a first step of course, expect more changes (oldies on the way down, newies on the way up) during the next three years.

    Glad to see Chauvel moving up – he’s a smart guy and we need someone smart looking after climate change and energy – Nick Smith terrifies me with his incompetence and dunder-headedness and Gerry Brownlee thinks bullying is strong leadership. Chauvel should be able to make some good ground for Labour here.

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