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John Key’s shakey government

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, May 3rd, 2011 - 35 comments
Categories: act, national - Tags:

The Nats have ‘soft-launched’ via Kiwiblog and Whaleoil that Rodney Hide and John Boscawen will both lose their portfolios and ACT will have no ministers. Farrar points out this will benefit ACT’s taxpayer funding to the tune of $130,000, which is somehow sweet while spending $500,000 on a by-election to get a mandate is a serious crime.

The fact is that ACT does not have anyone who is acceptable to everyone who gets a say:

  • Don Brash won’t have Hide or Boscawen as ministers because he overthrew Hide and Boscawen stayed loyal to Hide throughout.
  • The ACT board won’t have Heather Roy as Deputy Leader so she can become a minister.
  • John Key won’t have Roger Douglas or Hilary Calvert – who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic basket even by National standards – as ministers.

There’s a ghost of a chance that Hide will leave ACT in a bid to keep his portfolios but, assuming that doesn’t happen, let’s look at the list of Key’s lost ministers:

  • Richard Worth – for reasons we’re not allowed to know
  • Pansy Wong – for reasons we’re still only just learning about
  • Phil Heatley – for just long enough to look like he had learned his lesson
  • Heather Roy – because Rodney Hide said so
  • Rodney Hide – because Don Brash says so
  • John Boscawen – because Don Brash says so, and because everyone in Parliament except Rodney Hide despises him

And how about those sudden mysterious portfolio drops?

  • Paula Bennett losing disability issues.
  • Anne Tolley being ‘unloaded’ of tertiary education.
  • Simon Power dropping SOEs.

Not to mention Power quitting when he was first in line to succeed Key as Nat leader.

Then there’s the support parties. The Maori Party has become so discredited by completely betraying its principles that one of its own MPs left (along with most of its activists) and set up a party that will be its executioner. ACT lost one MP after he admitted he stole a dead baby’s identity and then lost the leader who covered for him to some old duffer who isn’t even in Parliament.

This has been anything but a stable government. And if the Nats fall short of a majority in November, as they certainly will, a second term would only be shakier.

35 comments on “John Key’s shakey government ”

  1. It really looks like a soap opera.  Like a few people have said, time to get the pop corn out.
    I think that Power’s dropping of SOEs is the story that needs the most investigation.  The reason given was “percieved conflict of interest”.  The only conflict that I could see is that either he is taking up a senior position in one of the shortly to be privatised entities or that he was going to join a law firm that was going to do the work.  Something smells though.

  2. PeteG 2

    Re Act, if they want to retain a bit of coalition credibility they need to retain a ministerial presence, otherwise Brash just reinforces his “my way or the highway” brand.

    Re the turnover of ministers – if they have to stand aside or be stood down due to inquiry or performance issues that’s a good thing, retaining ministers that can’t do their jobs properly or aren’t doing their jobs well enough should be a normal part of managing Cabinet.

    • Re the turnover of ministers – if they have to stand aside or be stood down due to inquiry or performance issues that’s a good thing, retaining ministers that can’t do their jobs properly or aren’t doing their jobs well enough should be a normal part of managing Cabinet.

      But, surely, the number of ‘inquiries and performance issues’ in the Cabinet does raise questions about the judgment of the person at whose pleasure they were appointed (and served as long as they did)?

      • PeteG 2.1.1

        Certainly it raises questions, but I don’t think it’s unexpected for a new government, with no ministerial experience for the previous nine years, and some of the individuals with no ministerial experience at all, to find that some MPs aren’t up to scratch. I’d be far more surprised if they all did a marvelous job.

        • Colonial Viper

          6 months in is a “new Government”, but 30 months in?

          And does it really need more experience as a Minister to know not to inappropriately hit on women, use dodgy office arrangements and Ministerial travel to do private business, and help out someone who stole a baby’s ID?

          Appreciate the excuses though PeteG.

          I’d be far more surprised if they all did a marvelous job.

          With the Cabinet Key has chosen, you are not at risk.

    • felix 2.2

      Re the turnover of ministers – if they have to stand aside or be stood down due to inquiry or performance issues that’s a good thing, retaining ministers that can’t do their jobs properly or aren’t doing their jobs well enough should be a normal part of managing Cabinet.

      Can’t see how that applies to any of the Ministers listed. Maybe Heatley.

      Definitely not Heather, Worth, Wong, or Boscawen though.

  3. M 3

    That anyone can countenance Brash being in parliament in future whilst operating by remote control now defies belief – voters elect him at their peril.

    Brash – the sarin gas of democracy and humankind.

  4. JS 4

    The loser in all of this is the poor old public. For example, Rodney was in charge of the very important portfolio of special education after taking it off Heather Roy last year. He has been on a sharp learning curve since (as can be seen in his TV appearance on Sunday). There is a lot of inequity and injustice in special ed and thousands of vulnerable children and stressed parents – and he was almost ‘getting it’, after the major review last year. Looks like it is back to square one for a few months and then a new cycle of ministers and policies (unless of course we get someone who actually understands the philosophy and complexity of it all – and there are a few of them in the opposition parties).

  5. randal 5

    this government seems to have been handed a de facto six year term and whil;e we all fart about deciding to who to vote for the nats will be lining up buyers for the SOE’s.
    democracy in action. WOW.

  6. A Teamster 6

    Make no mistake this was orchestrated by National, takeover Act and get a tame coalition partner on the right so NATS can stay in the center.All national people in the coup.

    • PeteG 7.1

      I don’t think it’s a fail, I think that’s a reasonable approach to transition. Replacing Hide at this stage of the term makes little sense.

      Boscawen had minor portolio responsibilities so he can better spend his time leading the parliamentry team and preparing for the next term. Dumping him would have pissed a lot of Act supporters off.

    • ianmac 7.2

      Whats the bet that Hide refused to jump and said, “Keep me as Minister or I call a by-election.”
      “But can’t do that! Embarrassing.” But after the 26 May it will be too late for a byelection. Ha ha.

      • PeteG 7.2.1

        I think Brash was confronted with a dose of reality. Hide has all the experience, dumping him would have caused major difficulties. Boscawen is probably the most respected Act MP and had to still be doing something worthwhile. Promoting Calvert to whip shows how sparse the options were.

        Roy and Douglas to both be retired?

        • Colonial Viper

          Hide has all the experience,

          All the experience of what? Helping baby identity thieves?

          Brash has been around the Governmental block himself you know, that guy has more experience than bloody Hide does.

          • PeteG

            No he doesn’t. He has no experience doing the hard yards to win an electorate. He has never managed a small party. He was a list MP from 2002-2007. He has never been in Cabinet. Carried by a large party.

            Hide has been a list MP from 1996-2005, and an electorate MP from 2005-2011. Three times longer an MP, carrying a party for six years.

            • Colonial Viper

              You’re counting winning Epsom as Hide’s credentials to campaigning? (Ignoring the fact that its the party machinery which does most of the campaigning, and that standing on Manukau Rd in a yellow jacket is just not that hard)?

              National could have put in a half baked new candidate into Epsom and won it, a candidate with NO campaigning or MP experience whatsoever but with Key’s backing would have carried the day easy.

              He has never managed a small party. He was a list MP from 2002-2007. He has never been in Cabinet. Carried by a large party.

              You have to be fucking kidding me.

              You’re extolling the virtues and experience of Hide in managing and leading a small party?

              Have you even watched what Hide’s “management” and “leadership” of ACT has done to that party in the last 12 months? He cut his own throat with such awesome performance that National had to engineer his downfall! lol

              Can’t believe you have the nerve to list that lame arse “leadership” performance as a positive for Hide. Trust me, Brash would have to try pretty damn hard to do a *worse* job of leading a small party than Rodney Hide.

              Seriously, Brash was briefing Prime Ministers while Hide was still in diapers.

        • McFlock

          The Act caucus having a Whip is damned close to self-flagellation…

      • Rob A 7.2.2

        A quick question for those who know. If Hide had forced a by election and another parties candidate won, would ACT stay in parliament? ACT only got 3% of the party vote from memory so rely on Rodney to have got into parliament

        • Alwyn

          Yes they would remain in Parliament. The representation is decided when the final results are declared about three weeks after the election.
          It wouldn’t even matter if the Electorate winner lost their seat as a result of an Electoral petition after that date I believe.
          I don’t know quite what happens if the new member after that came from a party that failed to get an electorate seat, and didn’t get 5%. I think they would simply remain as a singleton member.
          Graeme Edgeler. Where are you when we need your advice?

          • Rich

            In the absence of Graeme, I’d opine that if a new member came from such a party (e.g. NZ First) it wouldn’t make any difference. List seats are allocated after a general election and not otherwise.

            (see the Electoral Act, which answers all such questions).

            • wtl

              Yes that is right, the electorate vote only has any effect on the list during the general election. Apparently it is also possible to ‘nullify’ an electorate vote in the general election by registering as a candidate in the electorate, but dying before election day. E.g. if one was to register as a candidate for Epsom in the general election, but then died before the election, the election for the Epsom electorate would not go ahead. Although a by-election for Epsom would be held later, this will not affect results of the party vote. So if Act failed to get 5% of the party vote, they would not be in parliament, period (unless they won another electorate apart from Epsom).

              • Rob A

                Thanks for the answers. It was a situation I had never thought about until today.

  7. right rider 8

    Do you guys ever get ever so slightly embarrassed when your predictions (in this case of what would happen, and Farrar’s supposed intimate involvment in the strategy) turn out to be 100% wrong??

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      its still in process laddie, final time has not yet been called.

    • Bunji 8.2

      Eddie’s certainly not 100% wrong – Boscawen’s losing his portfolios, despite keeping deputy ACT dawg.

      One can only assume Rodney’s keeping his because he threatened to throw his toys out of the pram if he didn’t get to keep his baubles and BMW. Played a bit of hardball against Brash’s plans and did a deal to go quietly at the election.

      • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1

        Reckon Boscowen’s out because he supported Hide, Hide is still in because Roy is hated by the broader party and there are no other options.

        • Colonial Viper

          Why’s Roy hated? She’s actually borderline normal and intelligent.

          • felix

            Is that a question and an answer?

            • Mac1

              Sharp, felix. To paraphrase Thomas A’Becket, “Sheathe thy claws, felix, before they impale their mortal selves upon your wit.”

      • ianmac 8.2.2

        Hide has announced that he will not be standing for election in November.

    • Treetop 8.3

      right rider you tell me what I got wrong in the last sentence of 28.2.2?


      Hide will need to see a chiropractor by the time the time the general election rolls by because after 26 May he will need to look over his right shoulder for Brash and his left one for Key.

  8. Craig Glen Eden 9

    What a circus, it would be funny if I didn’t know better. I predict Act will run hard right ( no surprise I know) in order to make National look centre ish, Key will let Act take Epsom and Brash will get to implement some of his crazy plans and Key will have Brash to blame. I suspect thats the plan and it could all come off unless Keys Mr Nice guy act is finally exposed. There is a terrible smell of money about this and what’s happened to MR Douglas who seems to have suddenly gone very quite, way to quite.

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