Odd Stuff on MP ‘best before date’

It is not new asking whether MP terms should be limited. What is new is some confusing stuff on it from Stuff. They have two different links to the same story, with different headlines and different text.Once at the link both these stories have the same headline, but the URLs show the link headlines. And there are some text differences.

  • Stamp MPs with a best-before date
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/107912277/andrea-vance-mps-should-carry-useby-dates

    Is it time to stamp a best before date on our MPs?

    Simon Bridges brutally retired some of his long-serving MPs in an indelicate, secretly recorded, conversation with Jami-Lee Ross.

    Once people become members of that exclusive club – being a politician – they are reluctant to give it up.

    Of our current current crop, 16 have been hanging around Parliament for more than a decade, including leaders Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges. Six have been drawing an MPs salary, on and off, since the 1990s. Winston Peters claims the record – first elected in 1978.

    Ross himself has been an MP for more than seven years. He won’t be remembered for any exceptional achievements in office.

    Time-servers risk staying in office long past their prime. The more comfortable they become in their Beehive offices, with staff, perks and tax-payer funded travel – the more distant they become from those they represent.

    They come bursting into Parliament with big ideas and naive ideology but are eventually worn down by the grind and disappointment of real politik. Most get jaded, cynical, and too involved in playing the game.

    Ross’ spectacular self-immolation stems from his disappointment in not making it far enough up the greasy pole

    Far too much time spent in the capital’s cafes and bars makes MPs weak to the corruptive influence of lobbyists and special interests. They become beholden to the type of politics that’s leaving voters frustrated and disillusioned.

    Term limits would allow MPs to spend less time worrying about re-election or scrabbling up the caucus ranks. More policy-making, less plotting. They’d be able to take unpalatable but necessary decisions without fear of being punished in the polling booths.

    New blood is a good thing, especially for party leaders. The ranks are automatically refreshed with new talent, free from factional alliances, and all without rancour and sulking.

    There would be no need to carry incompetent MPs or prise them out of safe-seat with other career inducements. Those past their prime would be saved the indignity of being “retired” by the party.

    Politics would no longer be seen as a comfy job-for-life, rather a short spell in public service.

    But draining the swamp does come with many problems. There’s a lot to be said for experience. Navigating the labyrinth of Parliament’s procedures and rules takes time. Crafting legislation and regulations that solve complex problems with no unintended consequences is a skill learned on the job.

    Swapping out acumen for inexperienced lawmakers might not best serve the public.

    Voter choice is also restricted when a candidate is barred from being on the ballot.

    It’s also not easy to step away from Parliament – the loss of position, status, and perks is painful and usually involuntary.

    Elections should be the best mechanism for dumping ineffective MPs from office. However, a shallow talent pool makes it easier for parties to offer up incumbents and retreads instead of searching out new candidates.

    So, if not a use-by date, perhaps our system needs a sell-by date. If you buy that product,it’s safe. But it serves as a warning to retailers: time to get it off the shelves.

  • Stamp MPs with a best-before date
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/107785506/stamp-mps-with-a-bestbefore-date

    Is it time to stamp a best before date on our MPs?

    Once politicians become members of that exclusive Wellington club, they are reluctant to give it up.

    Of our current current crop, 16 have been hanging around Parliament for more than a decade, including leaders Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges. Six have been drawing an MP’s salary, on and off, since the 1990s. Winston Peters claims the record – first elected in 1978.

    Time-servers risk staying in office long past their prime. The more comfortable they become in their Beehive offices, with staff, perks and tax-payer funded travel – the more distant they become from those they represent.

    They come bursting into Parliament with big ideas and naive ideology, but are eventually worn down by the grind and disappointment of real politics. Most get jaded, cynical, and too involved in playing the game.

    Far too much time spent in Wellington’s cafes and bars makes MPs weak to the corruptive influence of lobbyists and special interests. They become beholden to the type of politics that’s leaving voters frustrated and disillusioned.

    Term limits would allow MPs to spend less time worrying about re-election or scrabbling up the caucus ranks. More policy-making, less plotting. They’d be able to take unpalatable but necessary decisions without fear of being punished in the polling booths.

    New blood is a good thing, especially for party leaders. The ranks are automatically refreshed with new talent, free from factional alliances, and all without rancour and sulking.

    There would be no need to carry incompetent MPs or prise them out of safe-seat with other career inducements. Those past their prime would be saved the indignity of being ‘retired’ by the party.

    Politics would no longer be seen as a comfy job-for-life, rather a short spell in public service.

    But draining the swamp does come with many problems. There’s a lot to be said for experience. Navigating the labyrinth of Parliament’s procedures and rules takes time. Crafting legislation and regulations that solve complex problems with no unintended consequences is a skill learned on the job.

    Swapping out acumen for inexperienced lawmakers might not best serve the public.

    Voter choice is also restricted when a candidate is barred from being on the ballot.

    It’s also not easy to step away from Parliament – the loss of position, status, and perks is painful and usually involuntary.

    Elections should be the best mechanism for dumping ineffective MPs from office. However, a shallow talent pool makes it easier for parties to offer up incumbents and retreads instead of searching out new candidates.

    So, if not a use-by date, perhaps our system needs a sell-by date. If you buy that product, it’s safe. But it serves as a warning to retailers: time to get it off the shelves.

Either the top article had text added, or the bottom article had text removed.

In any case “Simon Bridges brutally retired some of his long-serving MPs in an indelicate, secretly recorded” is inaccurate. Both David Carter and Chris Finlayson are not “reluctant to give it up”, they have both confirmed that they intend leaving Parliament (Carter at the end of this term, Finlayson by the end of this year).

John Key was not reluctant to give it up, neither were MPs like Simon Power and Stephen Joyce.

Of course some are, like Jami-Lee Ross, but he is hardly a good example. Vance says “Ross himself has been an MP for more than seven years. He won’t be remembered for any exceptional achievements in office.”

MPs are past their ‘best-before’ after only seven years? Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and in fact the whole Labour front bench if not Labour Caucus have been in Parliament longer than seven years.

One of Labour’s better performing Ministers is David Parker, and he’s been in Parliament since 2002, which is 16 years.

The deputy Prime Minister is the longest serving MP in Parliament. Without him NZ First would almost certainly not be there.

Winston Peters’ best before date is probably 1 January 2000.

But he has right to continue on in Parliament as long as enough voters keep deciding he should remain. And voters should continue to make these decisions.

Should political journalists have ‘best before’ dates?

Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  October 21, 2018

    An idiotic opinion column well past its use by date if it ever had one. Politics as click bait only.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  October 21, 2018

    An idea with alot of merit.
    Career politicians looking for a cosy sinecure will have to look elsewhere.
    Many politicians are virtually unemployable ,without specific skills they can apply in the real world.
    Ross is a good example.

    Reply
  3. Zedd

     /  October 21, 2018

    I heard it mentioned today, that many of the younger MPs are ‘career politicians’; some entering the arena at age 18 or straight out of Uni. Maybe the ‘Job Description’ should have a clause ‘Must have had some REAL work/life experience, prior to joining up’

    As to the ‘older ones’.. most likely know when they are passed their ‘use-by date’. In politics it is, often up to the voters to make this decision anyway :/

    Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  October 21, 2018

      I’m quite happy with many so-called career politicians … Willow-Jean Prime and Chloe Swarbrick come to mind … David Seymour even … The only problem I have with ‘career politicians’ is the politics …

      Clean up the politics … reset, reform, renew or transform the (so-called) democracy … and you’ve automatically got cleaned-up politicians …

      Problem solved!

      For instance, you’d have thought by now that we the people would have imposed a [maybe binding] ‘Code of Political Ethics’ on the politicians we elect …?

      Something akin to this could be done by having a written Constitution …

      Reply
  4. PartisanZ

     /  October 21, 2018

    Quite a lot of ‘governance’ in the “Real World” is conducted in this way, with terms for committee or board membership, rotation of chairpersonship etc etc …

    We’ll eventually have to try some new things, because what we very loosely call ‘democracy’ is now in an entropic tailspin of decline into degenerate squalor … in a world where I reckon ‘decency’ is overall on the increase …

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 21, 2018

      in a world where I reckon ‘decency’ is overall on the increase …
      I wish that were true but I rather think it’s either about the same as it was or it’s worse since people have been able to boast, sneer, vent and bully on the internet & that’s the environment new generations are growing up with. They think it’s normal.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  October 21, 2018

        How would we measure it? People “lifted out of poverty”? Crime rates? Philanthropy? Charity (as opposed to Business) Confidence …?

        It’d be a good statistic to have thought eh? Something to offset all the negativity …

        A quarterly Decency Index.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 21, 2018

          An interesting question. Charity might be a good one. Giving up your time for free to help charitable causes or community organisations, and donations.

          Measured among young people of working age & then tracked. But you need a baseline a representative sample and an objective measurement system. You can’t really measure it among schoolchildren because they are probably taught to be charitable and you don’t know if that behaviour continues post-schooling.

          I dunno though. That’s a complex issue.

          How would YOU measure relative decency and establish a clear trend line?

          Reply
  5. PartisanZ

     /  October 21, 2018

    “Far too much time spent in the capital’s cafes and bars makes MPs weak to the corruptive influence of lobbyists and special interests. They become beholden to the type of politics that’s leaving voters frustrated and disillusioned.”

    There’s the rub … except for those who ARE the special interests and/or PAY the lobbyists.

    “Term limits would allow MPs to spend less time worrying about re-election or scrabbling up the caucus ranks. More policy-making, less plotting. They’d be able to take unpalatable but necessary decisions without fear of being punished in the polling booths.”

    This could also be accomplished (at least in part) by extending the term of ‘Parliament’ to four or five years.

    “New blood is a good thing, especially for party leaders” … and also for our whole mythologized, mistaken picture of ‘leadership’ … Like … The Pope’s still the ‘leader’ of a thoroughly discredited Catholic Church … hence, there’s something wrong with our concept of leadership itself … is there not?

    “The ranks are automatically refreshed with new talent, free from factional alliances, and all without rancour and sulking.”

    Political journalists aren’t elected … a poor attempt at Rightie point-scoring IMHO. They operate within “the business of news” … which is a marketplace … So if you don’t like them, don’t read them … don’t “buy their product” … and if enough people do that they should drop off the screen … shouldn’t they? Supply and demand …?

    Reply
  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  October 21, 2018

    Anyone who thinks that being an MP is a sinecure should try being one!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s