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National’s last moderate falls on her sword

Written By: - Date published: 12:56 pm, February 13th, 2008 - 36 comments
Categories: education, national - Tags: ,

alfonso76070100006.jpgKatherine Rich was one of only 2 women on National’s front bench and its last moderate MP. The only surprise in her resignation is that she resisted the National hierarchy’s pressure to leave for so long. National’s all-male inner circle never had any time for this young, independent-minded woman with a social conscience who wouldn’t toe their line.

When she was Social Welfare Spokesperson, Don Brash ignored her enlightened (by National standards) social policy and, without informing her, presented a hardline policy, including forcing poor mothers to give up their babies for adoption. Shocked, Rich resigned the portfolio and it was only a matter of time until she left altogether.

The final insult came when Assistant Education Spokesperson Allan Peachey directly attacked Rich as Education Spokesperson by publicly arguing for a return to bulk-funding, which she had fought so hard against. John Key refused to side with her.

With Key cynically planning to exploit her to garner female votes in the election and facing constant attack inside the Old Boys’ party, Rich has finally had enough.

36 comments on “National’s last moderate falls on her sword ”

  1. The Double Standard 1

    Steve – Can you confirm that you work for the National party, as you seem to know so much of the internal policy direction and personal relationships?

  2. The Double Standard 2

    Katherine Rich was one of only 2 women on National’s front bench

    BTW Steve, can you remind me of how many women there are on Teh Party’s front bench?

    Here’s a hint for Mickey


    (Remarkably fast update from Parliamentary Services on that document too)

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    Double Standard. I will neither confirm nor deny that.

    It also might surprise you to learn that most people within a party do not ‘work for it’, a party is not a business and most of the people who make it work are not employees. Instead, they give their time freely.

  4. Steve Pierson 4

    Of 20 Cabinet Ministers there are 8 women. National has 3 women in its top 20.

    Labour has had a female leader or deputy leader since 1989. National had a female leader for less than 2 years in the late 1990s.

    This picture of National’s caucus says it all

  5. The Double Standard 5

    Steve – No that doesn’t surprise me at all.

    What I am surprised by though is some commentor’s tendencies to ascribe thoughts and motives to people that they do not know – Every leftie here is quick to read a lot into Rich’s resignation, unsurprisingly it all fits their National Bad world view. (see the comments on the other thread for plenty of examples)

    I guess the same thing went on when Maharey announced that he was quitting “deserting the sinking ship” but it seems he had compelling personal reasons as well.

    MPs are real people, not just automated political operatives.

  6. Thanks TDS, but that’s not the search you used to find that doc and you know that’s what I want to see. I had thought someone else had taken up your moniker for a while (maybe they had) as you were posting some pretty stupid stuff. Good to see you back on form.

    FWIW I had a bit to do with Rich a few years ago and she struck me as a principled social conservative. I wouldn’t call her “independent-minded” though as she did show a proclivity for deferring to the boys. I guess she could only take so much. It would be very interesting to know what her and Bill talked about leading up to this.

  7. Ruth 7

    I’m very disappointed that Rich is going. I admired her principled stand on S59 and other things.

    About the female vote –women have fought long and hard to be judged on their merits instead of their gender.

    Women should exercise their right to vote for the candidate they believe is best, regardless of their party, gender or race. After all men don’t say “I’ll vote for him – we have the same genitalia”, do they.

  8. she seemed like one of the better ones.
    trading Rich for Peachy seems pretty foolish.

  9. Steve Pierson 9

    Totally agree, Ruth. It is disappointing that a party still thinks that putting on a female face (or a handsome male face) will get the female vote, and the political media gives it life, especially the way the American media reports on Hillary.

  10. The Double Standard 10

    Of 20 Cabinet Ministers there are 8 women. National has 3 women in its top 20.

    Steve, I’m having trouble counting eight, unless someone has had a sex change lately?

    Helen Clark (27 years)
    Annette King (Dental Nurse)
    Ruth Dyson (drunk driver)
    Lianne Dalziel (proven liar)
    Nanaia Mahuta (token Tainui)
    Steve Chadwick (???)
    Maryan Street (Labour party time server)

    Such a dynamic crew eh

  11. Steve Pierson 11

    You’re right, its 7, 9 when when you count Ministers outside Cabinet.

    What have you got against people with experience, dental nurses, Tainui, and party members?

    Yes, both Dyson and Dalziel made mistakes years ago paid a price and worked their way back up. It’s kind of like when John Carter rang up John Bank’s talkback show and pretended to be a Maori dole bludger called Hone. He lost his role as Chief Whip and a 13 years later has worked himself back up to Spokesperson for Local Government.

  12. The Double Standard 12

    Oh yes, good to see that the standardistas are getting the correct talking points from Chris Carter in a timely fashion:


    Still, I suppose its not surprising for a (formerly) Labour supported website.

  13. The Double Standard 13

    What have you got against people with experience, dental nurses, Tainui, and party members?

    What has Teh Party got against currency traders, farmers, and golfers?

    It’s just odd that anyone in the Nats is inexperienced/rich/time-serving/male/etc when they are being discussed, but Teh Party’s best and brightest are apparently beyond question.

  14. Steve Pierson 14

    My post was written before that, as was all_your_base’s. Our opinions are our own. We don’t usually even discuss posts with each other, let alone anyone else, before they go up.

    Why, in your opinion DS, did National undervalue Rich throughout her career and subject her to humilations like overriding her in her own policy areas?

  15. westmere 15

    Given the abuse constantly heaped on her by the right-wing nutjobs at Kiwiblog, I can’t blame Rich for getting out. If she was in government, it would only get worse (“Traitor! Unbeliever!”).

  16. Brownie 16

    Steve: Am a tad bit confused and wondering if you can help me out a mo. In one line of the post you say:

    “The only surprise in her resignation is that she resisted the National hierarchy’s pressure to leave for so long.”

    So the National leaders were amping for her removal? Then you say:

    “With Key cynically planning to exploit her to garner female votes in the election”

    So which is it? Key was trying to have her ejected and finally succeded or Key wanted her on board for the election?

    Are you just making this stuff up as you go?

  17. Steve Pierson 17

    Heck of a job Brownie.

    I would argue that the pressure on her to leave was in the form of constant abuse and disrespect of an intelligent woamn; treating her as a tool, National’s soft-side to be rolled out whenever useful. Key’s plans to use her in the coming election as a sap for the female vote was just a continuation of this pressure to leave. Like I say, the surprise was she put up iwth it for so long.

  18. The Double Standard 18

    Steve – I don’t accept your premise. It’s like the old “when did you stop beating your wife” ploy. You want to put your spin on Rich’s decision. Well fine, but don’t expect everyone to believe you. A pity that Teh Party’s spin doctors cannot be more gracious. Like, maybe, the Maori Party?

    Mrs Turia said Katherine Rich’s decision to retire reflects her ability to keep a sense of balance and proportion.

    “It’s a huge decision to enter Parliament, and to be a parent, given the tremendous demands on one’s time. In the hurly-burly of political life, you can lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, your family is what really matters. In her equally big decision to leave Parliament, I think Katherine is clearly matching her words with deeds, and putting her family first, and I congratulate her for that, and we wish them all the best.”


  19. Brownie 19

    Nice reply however pragmatism would dictate that if they are that cold and calculating, it would be moronic in the extreme to put pressure on her to go. Now I wouldn’t put it past any politician to be moronic however it just doesn’t make sense that JK et al would want to loose her if what you say is true and she would present the female, softer side to the Nats.

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    This is priceless, TDS wouldn’t believe a Labour MP if its life depended on it, but it will die before it lets anyone besmirch, or second-guess a National MP.

    Such heartfelt emotion TDS, even though it’s pretty bloody obvious where you’re coming from.

    I believe that what Ms Rich said had something to do with her resignation. It was possibly a fairly important factor. Wouldn’t you agree it was also the most politically expedient reason to disclose publicly?

  21. Oh no Steve – TDS doesn’t accept your premise!!! How can you face yourself knowing that????

    Like I said. I used to know Rich and I’d say neither of you are right but Steve’s probably closer. I’d also say TDS that you’re getting very very dull.

  22. ghostwhowalks 22

    Its obvious that Rich has been bounced big time in education policy. and she is now walking …. walking in the rain…..

    The Family thing doesnt measure up, after all that is known for a long time( and Shar-key has young kids too, is he going anywhere?).

  23. The Double Standard 23

    Well, given this approach, you have to wonder why Maharey announced his resignation last year, even after doing a pretty thorough denial a few months before?


    Maybe it was just the chance at a bigger pay packet, even though he was a leading candidate to take H1’s job?

    Matthew – “it” wow, how cutting of you. I wouldn’t say most MP’s are liars, except maybe DBP, Lianne Dalziel, and maybe TPF. However they all play a political role that requires dissembling and misdirection. Why else do Teh Party employ Callingham and Edwards so often?

  24. Oh Dear, TDS you’ve just given up on pretending your not an insider now. That’s not the best bro ‘cos I’d imagine having an assigned Nat troll just makes the standard look like it’s to be taken seriously.

    Or is it that you’re heart’s just not in it?

  25. Ex Labour Voter 25

    So what you’re saying, Steve, is that John Key desperately needed Katherine Rich because she projected the soft, feminine, cosy face of National, but he allowed the rest of the caucus to abuse her, ridicule her, and belittle her?

    Wow. It’s no wonder Labour is nineteen points behind in the polls, if you think that is the way to manage a caucus.

    It really is a new low for the Standard to try and politicise a woman’s personal decision to put aside her career in favour of her family. It’s no wonder Labour is losing so much support up and down New Zealand.

  26. Steve Pierson 26

    ELV. No I don’t think that’s the way to manage a caucus but that’s the way it is in this case. Rich was a useful asset to them and they took advantage of her. Now they’ve lost her.

  27. The Double Standard 27


    I’m disappointed that you find it so easy to devalue Katherine Rich’s ability to make her own decisions for her own reasons. I understand that as a blogger on the standard to need to give it a National-Bad spin, but its really kind of sad.

  28. Ex Labour Voter 28

    Steve, with all due respect, I very much doubt the media will be coming to you for your deep insight into the way Katherine Rich was viewed and treated by the National Party caucus. You are talking out of your arse.

    If Katherine Rich has so much personal integrity, why would she lie about the real reasons she’s leaving National’s caucus? What’s she got to lose?

    Do you think if Russell Fairbrother got dumped unceremoniously he would shut up about it?

    Fact is you have no evidence at all. You’re making shit up. Katherine Rich said very clearly why she’s leaving, and that’s an acceptable reason for everybody, with the single exception of left-wing shit-stirrers who couldn’t contemplate a life outside of politics, and would never put family first.

    Good on Katherine for knowing that there are much better things than the baubles of office. If only half of Labour’s caucus would take her lead and join her.

  29. Steve Pierson 29

    Ah ELV, so now I don’t care about my family, nice.

  30. ak 30

    “Wow. It’s no wonder Labour is nineteen points behind in the polls”

    Wow. Hate to break it to you toryboys, but yesterday’s Morgan Poll says it’s now nine – and closing.

    Good to see you continuing with the old Feminazi-liars-corrupt, corrupt-poos-wease tactic though: provides the public with stark contrast to Labour’s steady progressive roll-out of substantial policy.

    Watcha gonna do when the Maori party finally gives you the finger? With Rich abandoning ship there’s only one smiley face on the creaking hulk now – mutiny can’t be far off, the rats are even attacking the Whales!

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    It rubs the lotion on its skin, it does this whenever it’s told…

    I don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl, TDS, and it’s hard to refer to someone in the third person otherwise. But since you commented, I must have hurt your feelings, sorry champ.

    So you mention misdirection and dissembling, yet dismiss it out of hand in this case – how generous and trusting of you! I’ll remember this next time you try some bullshit spin on a Labour MP 🙂

  32. Ex National Voter 32

    Hey, ELV, your mask is slipping. Using ‘left’ as a term of abuse. Slagging off the Labour caucus.

    1987, was it?

  33. Dan 33

    Sad but inevitable. Rich’s clear ability to empathise left her out of kilter with the National party. Her voting patterns on a variety of issues meant she would always have more problems within her own party that with the opposition. It is clear the nats want vouchers and bulk-funding in education. It is clear she is out of favour for talking with teachers rather than mocking and deriding them. The Nats always like an industrial issue to bash unions with, so with the PPTA as one of the few left standing, a confrontation might seem likely.
    However, if the Nats follow Peachey and English down the neocon path, I think they will be in for a surprise. The average New Zealander has had enough of the politisation of education. They will not get many votes by stirring up teachers against a failed system.

  34. The Double Standard 34

    Its obvious to most that it is simply a sly attempt by Teh Party to bring in the bulk funding issues

    “Katherine Rich’s resignation is a blow to National but it’s pure Labour spin to suggest it will lead to a lurch to the right.”


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    1 week ago