web analytics

Late analysis on the reshuffle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


15 comments on “Late analysis on the reshuffle”

  1. Blue 1

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

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

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

  2. Lanthanide 2

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

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

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

      • Sweetd 2.1.1

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

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

        • Pascal's bookie

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

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

  3. tc 3

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

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

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

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

  4. PlanetOrphan 4

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

  5. ak 5

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

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

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

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

    • coolas 5.1

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

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

  6. wyndham 6

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

  7. Colonic Wiper 7

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

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

  8. Wolfslair 8

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

  9. Liberal Realist 9

    Great piece Eddie!

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

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

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    2 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    3 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    3 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    3 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    4 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    4 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    4 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    5 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    5 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    5 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    6 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    6 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago