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Powerless

Written By: - Date published: 1:56 pm, March 2nd, 2011 - 59 comments
Categories: election 2011, national, Politics - Tags: ,

The man tipped to be National’s next leader, Simon Power, has announced he will not be standing at the next election. The reasons are obvious. As a decent man and an old fashioned caring Tory, Power has no heart for the direction National want to take New Zealand. His resignation is a sign that within the party, the dry right have finally taken total control the idealogical reigns and there is no longer a place for liberal wets like Power.

There are some interesting parallels with the resignation of Labour’s Steve Maharey. The neighboring MP’s were both considered the likely next leader of their parties, both were honest, hardworking electorate MP’s with a gift for engaging with voters and with a history of solid performance at Ministerial levels too. Maharey, however, had personal reasons to go. The tragic and untimely death of his wife clearly knocked the stuffing out of him and the opportunity to run Massey University must have seen like a breath of fresh air and a chance to rebuild his life. Power does not have the same drivers; it’s all about the politics for him and the coming attacks on the social foundations of NZ has been too manky a dead rat for him to swallow.

Electorally, this could be bad news for National. When Maharey went from Palmy, the excellent Iain Lees Galloway stood and won the seat for Labour, but with a massively reduced majority that reflected not only the swing to National, but the loss of Maharey’s personal vote. The same will happen in Rangitikei. National will now be fighting to retain what will be a marginal seat without the benefit of Power’s significant personal support. To make matters worse, Labour have selected the experianced campaigner Josie Pagani to contest the electorate. Josie narrowly missed out on becoming the MP for Mana, losing the LP selection to Kris Faafoi, despite enjoying overwhelming local support. She will be now realise that she has a decent chance of an upset, particularly as National have no obvious succesor to Power. Certainly, in her press release this morning, Pagani is on the money:

The question Rangitikei voters will want answers to are: Who will stand up for them on the cost of living when prices are rising faster than wages, and who will stop sales of our power companies, which would inevitably end up foreign-owned

Well, it used to be Simon Power who raised the difficult questions such as those in National’s caucus. Now there is nobody left there with a conscience, a sense of NZ how it should be, nor the spine to stand up for the majority of Kiwis against the failed policies of the right. More’s the pity.

I’m losing count of how many ministers Key has burnt off in two short years, but it’s getting almost farcical now. The resignation of Simon Power confirms that the next election is going to be the most sharply idealogical vote since the eighties. It’s a further sign that the left need to sharpen their game, but it’s also encouraging that the differences in platforms are going to be very, very obvious to the voters of New Zealand.

The Voice of Reason

59 comments on “Powerless”

  1. Normally MPs head for the lifeboats when the writing is on the wall and it appears to be inevitable that their Government will lose power. Most find it really difficult to adjust to opposition where they are essentially powerless and so they bail instead.

    For Power to bail out now is unusual to say the least.

    For me he is not quite the classical caring tory, some of his reforms have been brutally pushed through irrespective of cost. But certainly compared to others in Cabinet he was a moderate.

    I wonder who will be the next Minister of Justice if National win? Judith Collins??

    /visible shudder/

    EDIT: BTW Labour’s Craig Walsham almost bet beat Power in 1999 and with a bit of extra help might have pulled off what would have been a stunning result.

    [lprent: Corrected the malarious single letter typo that changed the meaning of the edit. ]

  2. fizzleplug 2

    “the coming attacks on the social foundations of NZ has been too manky a dead rat for him to swallow”

    Do you have anything to back this up, or are you presenting conjecture as fact?

    • Jeremy Harris 2.1

      @fizzleplug, you’ll notice, as usual, there isn’t a single source for any of the ridiculous claims relating to the issues raised in this post…

      • Lanthanide 2.1.1

        Except for National’s promises that they wouldn’t change WFF, interest free student loans or sell state assets in their first term.

        If you hadn’t noticed, if National win the next election it will be their ‘second term’ and as such all previous promises are moot.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        @fizzleplug, you’ll notice, as usual, there isn’t a single source for any of the ridiculous claims relating to the issues raised in this post…

        Its hypothetical yes. Probably only Power, Key and English know the full story. And we can’t read their minds.

        However, Power had every shot of being Prime Minister of NZ within the next couple of terms. Give that up, why? TVoR comes up with a credible scenario.

        I’ll raise another hypothetical – Power’s been told that he has no future in National, or that after another National term, he knows that National will be out of power for so long he won’t get a shot at PM before he is 60.

        • RobertM 2.1.2.1

          Power had no chance of becoming prime minister in an election. He could only ever assumed office if John Key fell under a bus in office. Power is a pure Jim McLay, adored by liberals and those who want National to lose. I once heard Professor Margaret Clark praise Power to the hilt. And I thought you devil. Nothing pleases a political scientist more than a hopeless Nat leader.
          As a businessman and a lawyer, Power will make huge money for far less stress. Power is a Tory and Tory boys go into politics for duty and money, in the UK also for sex(eg Osborne). The labour mind fails grasp that the Nats do not go into politics to change the world.
          Look functioning essentially as a bureaucrat on low profile issues, Power was an effective reformer in the finance and minor law areas. But as a political front man, Power was hopeless-when he had to front on dead rat political issues – such as the Nats hardline law and order and imprisonment policies- Power was awful arrogant, pompus,absurdly superior and bigoted- a Keith Holyoake 50 years out of time. Power has shown he has the intelligence to know where he belongs and go where the money is. He was not a leader.
          The National succession has always been between English and Collins, the rest are lightweights and gormless- nb Ryall, Brownlie and Joyce. All would have reached their ceiling of competence as presbyterian elders in a provincial city in the l960’s.
          Power was someone I never regarded as a serious politician and those who rated him had no idea politics is a blood sport and war not a branch of the civil service.

          • KINTO 2.1.2.1.1

            I whole heartedly endorse your call for English to be the next National leader, it is indeed time for some fresh ideas.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah, this time instead of going into an embarrassing charity boxing match, maybe he can get his head shaved for CHCH or something.

            • Vincristine 2.1.2.1.1.2

              Like last time?

            • Tanz 2.1.2.1.1.3

              2002. Surely not again. The public just don’t warm to English, it seems. I’d put my money on Collins instead, However, Key is National these days. That popularity is a major protector, for him.

          • Anne 2.1.2.1.2

            “The National succession has always been between English and Collins,…”

            Oh gawd, RobertM. There’s been enough awful scenarios (read CHCH earthquake) to give a good man or woman a few nightmares without introducing the name “Collins’ as a future PM. Gawd almighty… I think I’ll emigrate.

      • Fisiani 2.1.3

        The modus operandi of this blog is to make outrageous claims just short of National eats babies.
        Of course there is not a single source. Shit stirring is just stirred shit.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.3.1

          National eats babies. (gawd Fis so easy to prove you wrong)

          And shit stirring is what it’s going to take to bring down National this year. Thankfully I am expecting a wave of diarrhoea from Key and English.

          Wow how many Ministers are those guys going to lose in their first term? Bet you another one or two are gonna go before long hahaha

        • Marty G 2.1.3.2

          the guy waits three terms in opposition then bows out after one term in office, when the pundits reckon he had a chance to really cement a legacy either by promotion or more reforms in justice. It doesn’t make sense, not if he was happy with the direction of the government.

    • RedLogix 2.2

      Do you have anything to back this up, or are you presenting conjecture as fact?

      My ‘conjecture’ is that Power has looked at his prospects if he stays or leaves, has done the calculus, and has decided he can do better for himself elsewhere.

      I listened to Power being interviewed on RNZ this morning and frankly it sounded rather like an extended plug for the man’s resume. He also said quite clearly that he didn’t have any firm offers on the table.

      He’s vehemently said he’s not ‘leaving for personal family reasons’ (the standard euphenism for being given the boot)…. so you tell us why you think he’s quitting. Unless you think he’s doing it on a frivilous whim, he has to have a reason.

      • marty mars 2.2.1

        he’s leaving to make money would be my guess too RL

      • fizzleplug 2.2.2

        I don’t know why he’s quitting. I’m not going to speculate either and present it as fact. In your comment you present your theories as “conjecture” but the author of the post did not. I was simply asking if he knew something the rest of us didn’t, or if he was simply being a little too loose with his words.

        • Jeremy H 2.2.2.1

          It is conjecture based on no evidence and is quite obviously based solely on a biased opinion…

          This from someone calling themselves, “The Voice of Reason”…

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.2.1.1

            It is conjecture. Best I’ve seen on this issue yet, though.

          • RedLogix 2.2.2.1.2

            t is conjecture based on no evidence

            In the absence of hard verifiable evidence, other than Power’s own somewhat waffly explanation (basically he saying he thinks he can do better elsewhere)… then conjecture is what you are left with.

            I don’t know why he’s quitting.

            Nor does anyone else really… but unless you are telling us that Power has resigned on a whim… then there must BE a reason. Just because YOU do not want to know what it might be, does not wish it away.

            • Deadly_NZ 2.2.2.1.2.1

              Yeah that may be true. But really Key and English are quite happy to wave goodbye to him. This from the Herald. “He discussed his decision with Mr Key and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who were supportive of his move.”

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10709667

            • fizzleplug 2.2.2.1.2.2

              “Nor does anyone else really… but unless you are telling us that Power has resigned on a whim… then there must BE a reason. Just because YOU do not want to know what it might be, does not wish it away.”

              I didn’t say I didn’t want to know what it is. I DID say that I wasn’t going to make a guess and present it as a fact.

          • The Voice of Reason 2.2.2.1.3

            “This from someone calling themselves, “The Voice of Reason”…”

            You must be new here, Jez. The name is taken from the Ayn Rand book and I started posting under that handle hoping my usurping of it would annoy righties. Great to be validated for the umpteenth time.

            • Jeremy H 2.2.2.1.3.1

              I’m not annoyed, I’m pointing out why this post is completely redundant and should be ignored… Actually it should read, “I cannot offer an opinion on why Power quit because I have no facts upon which to base an opinion”…

              Some parts are completely baised and based on “facts” made up in your head, namely,

              The reasons are obvious. As a decent man and an old fashioned caring Tory, Power has no heart for the direction National want to take New Zealand.

              How do you know..? What sources have lead you to this statement..?

              There are a thousand reasons he could have left, maybe he:

              – Doesn’t like the massive deficit National is running up and doesn’t want to be a part of it.
              – Maybe he promised his wife he would only ever serve 12 years.
              – Maybe he wants to spend more time with his family.
              – Maybe he has been offered a partner at a prominent law firm with a massive salary.
              – Maybe he is secretly a scientologist and Xenus told him to.

              You have as much idea as I do, your opinions are nothing but an opportunity to smear the Nats, that is the purpose of the blog – this is just an invented opportunity to do so – but the opinions are the product of your biased mind…

              The text on Pagani is just as fanciful…

              • Colonial Viper

                TVoRs speculations (and yes, that’s what they are since we can’t mind read Power, Key and English) still make more sense than yours.

                If you have any better hypotheses than TVoR’s please feel free to submit your own post ya know.

                • Jeremy H

                  No they’re not, the most simple explanation is usually correct and in my opinion (see how easy that was) TVoR’s explanation isn’t the simplest…

                  TVoR’s post is based on nothing but his own opinions and until he cites the sources and past events that lead to his opinions his whole post is as valid as if I summised Power was leaving to become a cabaret dancer…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    No they’re not, the most simple explanation is usually correct

                    yeah but an explanation which is too simple is also usually the wrong one.

                    • Jeremy H

                      I’ve made my point really, it’s such a pointless post there’s really nothing to debate about exactly how pointless it is…

  3. privatisation 3

    I wonder what Simon Power thinks about plans to sell of SOEs..???

  4. privatisation 4

    Who will be the next minister of SOE sell offs?

    Simon Power and Bill English are in charge of Solid Energy and it is about to kill all credibility of then having any semblance of a climate policy.

  5. Monty 5

    Power wil be missed – he is a good man. I have met him on occassion and was very impressed. But I also understand there is a family health issue that may be strongly influencing his decision (I know a close family member very well).

    Simon’s majority will hold up for the new candidate. Rangitikei is as blue as the sky and ocean. No doubt there will be some very high quality contenders for the seat and again will assist the rejuvenation which is a constant in the National Party.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      But I also understand there is a family health issue that may be strongly influencing his decision (I know a close family member very well).

      He’s said publicly its not for personal reasons.

      • infused 5.1.1

        You must know what people say in public and private can be two different things.

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          Yes. There are a number of National MP’s who proved that to be the case in 2008.

          I find it rather less prevalent amongst the politicians I met, but they’re either Labour or Greens.

    • KINTO 5.2

      Pushing Farrars tired old Labour line are we?

  6. Craig Walsham 6

    Wow Simon Power leaving Parliament, something is not right here, whats happened? Nine years in opposition then three years in Government as a minister and you bail? Its all a bit strange, I think Mickey is right Simon does not want his name associated with a Government that must be in the throws of dealing up some take your medicine social policy,you don’t bail at 42 years of age for nothing.
    For me Simon’s as good as it gets for a Tory, he has been a polite honest competent fellow who does care about people and I think his Nation.Amongst the current lot he has stood out.

    It would be unfair to call Simon a rate because a rat he is not, but some thing has made him leave the ship way to early.Cullen summed up Simon with his witty comment some thing along the lines of, “Simon Power always destined to be the next future leader of the National Party”

    1999 was a great contest all the best for your future .

    • Hi Craig

      Thinking about another go??

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        No holds barred Craig. You know you want to.

        • Craig Walsham 6.1.1.1

          I can safely say thanks but no thanks.

          I have to disagree with Monty though Rangitikei is not a safe National seat, I think thats one thing I did prove during the campaign, it has quite a solid left leaning voter base the problem is some of them are so Alliance now Green they cant bring themselves to vote for a Labour candidate. This was something that Dion Martin the then Alliance candidate also realized despite telling those people to vote for me he still got around 3500 personal votes. With a good hard working candidate and support from the Labour and Green Party, Rangitikei is do able.

          I accept that Simon has a strong personal following but so to did Denis Marshall.

          • U 4 United 6.1.1.1.1

            Rangitikei won’t pass from National. The electorate had an eternity’s worth of fruit-loop policies when Bruce Beetham held the seat.

  7. asset sales 7

    the question is who will be the next SOE minister, and also the next no.4

    I suspect Joyce will rise the ranks and under see the privatisation agenda

  8. Scott 8

    liberal wets like Power

    I spluttered when I read that. On what planet?

    • “NAct who at least humanely dispatches babies before cooking and eating them resigns; left immediately canonise him as a stick with which to beat remaining baby eaters”.

      Let’s not lose sight of the fact, boys and girls, that this was the man who wanted to hold people guilty till proven innocent on a range of things from copyright (S 92A) to the Parole (Extended Supervision Orders) Amendment Bill despite a report by the Attorney-General pointing out it was inconsistent with the rights against retroactive penalties, double jeopardy, and arbitrary detention.

      And let’s not forget turning down calls for a Crewe inquiry (“meh, they’re all dead, who gives a shit” being the rationale), the Ellis inquiry, ending the “claim of right” defence on the basis he didn’t like how it was used once, ending the provocation defence for the same reason, rejecting immediately and without consideration the Law Commission’s review on drugs… to paraphrase what was said about Gerry Ford, it’s a wonder Power could walk and chew gum his knees jerked around that much.

      And of course The Electoral (Finance and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill (though many here would support that particularl piece of legislation, one must still acknowledge that it was a National backflip rivalling anything achieved by a Chinese gymnast in Beijing).

      An utter, abject, anti-civil-rights failure, the humane consumption of dead babies aside.

    • The Voice of Reason 8.2

      Wet was a form of abuse in the Thatcher Tory party, Scott. Any MP’s that supported her were regarded as dry, any to the left, were wets. ie soppy.Tebbit, I believe it was, was said to be so dry he was combustible. I am not the only one to use the term when describing Power, check KB and Whaleoil if you want. Mind you, there are a fair few comments on those sites describing him as socialist, a red on the blue team etc. along with some more balanced assesments.

      The point I was making by using the word (and liberal) was to define him in terms Tories understand. It doesn’t mean I find his politics attractive or his achievements laudable.

  9. Kerry 9

    A rubbish post that one. An opinion based in the writers own wishlist.

  10. Kerry 10

    Possibly able to leave because he is employable. Not a characteristic that many Labor MPs have.

    • Scott 10.1

      Unemployable? What about the ones who left to take up a top job at the UN, to chair Kiwibank and NZ Post, to become VC of Massey University, to head the Law Commission or to head the WTO?

      Which former Labour MPs are you referring to?

      Or are you simply an ignorant partisan hack?

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      Speaking of rubbish posts, yours counts.

  11. Dan 11

    Power, for all his major mistakes with legal aid, etc, was a moderate in NACT circles. He was a mate with Katherine Rich who got out when she realised the long term goals of NACT were against the ideals of middle New Zild. When Crusher Collins is offered as Power’s replacement, we can understand why Tolley remains as Minister Of Education, who idolises Michelle Rhee who has done major damage to education in the US.
    Wets out: drys in.
    Go Crosby Textor!

  12. SHG 12

    Another tech-illiterate politician who couldn’t understand that people speak their minds on the Internet.

    Simon Canute and the blogs

    Good riddance.

  13. Tanz 14

    Maybe it’s because he knows that as long as Key is so popular, that neither he nor anyone else in National, will ever get a crack at being PM. Beneath that endless smile, Key is ruthlessly ambitious to lead/be boss forever, and Power has had enough? Just a theory, but possible. This was one totally out of the blue, that’s for sure.

    • Jum 14.1

      Key will stay as long as it takes to cement the sell-off of New Zealand and New Zealand workers to his backers. Probably about a month or two into the new term if he gets back in. If it doesn’t look good for National, they will do it in this term. Partial privatisation is already going ahead.

      The selfish bastards are calling the rail projects low-priority – never mind how many New Zealanders rely on public transport.

      Power if he’s good is leaving because the NActs are now fully on side with Roger Douglas and John Key’s rotundtable, here and overseas.
      Power if he’s greedy is leaving with the promise of plenty of well-paid work.

  14. randal 15

    I dont know anything about wets drys and liberal whatknots but after Power and the other old hands have gone it will Be Key and English with Roger Kerr in the wings looting the state assets for their own gain.
    there is a tragedy in the making as these mediocrities take what they want with no one to say them nay.
    what a pretty pass we have let our selves in for that these parvenus can disseminate a false ideology that they bought from a wright wing think tank in the USA solely to get their hands on the levers of power to enrich themselves.
    this is just ghastly.

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