Politician scores for 2018

It’s that time of year when political journalists rate the politicians on their performances.

Tracy Watkins: After a huge year in politics, one politician stands out

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 9.5

I think that’s very generous. Ardern has done well at some things – especially her public performances and her rapport with journalists – but despite Watykins’ gushing, I think Ardern still has a lot to prove. As has her Government. That it didn’t turn to custard in it’s first year is an achievement, but just. I’d give Ardern a 7.5 but she will need to sort out quite a bit next year.

  • Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters 8.5

Also generous. Peters did an adequate job when standing in as Acting PM, and hasn’t dragged the Government down – yet. But he has also been smarmy, cantankerous and cranky at times. I think he deserves a pass mark but little more.

  • Finance Minister Grant Robertson 8.5

Helped substantially by a healthy economy he inherited Robertson has done pretty well so far so 8.5 is deserved.

  • Deputy Labour Leader Kelvin Davis 5.0

It’s true that Davis has been terrible as a deputy leader, but he was plonked there and although obviously a fish out of water he has been left in that position. It just doesn’t suit him.  But he has been doing a lot of good work out of the spotlight, in particularly he has helped prison numbers drop by 10%, averting a crisis. He seems to work well doing hard yards rather than floozing around with PR and the press. I’d give him a 7.5 for the parts of his job that matter.

  • Trade Minister David Parker 8.0

Parker seems to have done well in Trade – in particular, he switched Labour from opposed to ratifying the TPPA with barely a whimper from protesters who were going ballistic when the National Government nearly got it over the line. A rare commodity in Cabinet – experience.

  • Housing Minister Phil Twyford 6.5

He is also doing Transport. In major roles he is a big risk for Labour, and 6.5 seems ridiculous given Twyford looks like a dipstick out of his depth far too often.

  • Justice Minister Andrew Little 7.0

Little made some mistakes but has learnt from them, and generally seems to be doing a good job, including working towards some promising looking reforms.

  • Climate Change Minister James Shaw 7.0

It’s hard to know how well Shaw has been doing on Climate Change. He has been largely invisible. His year may be judged better after the outcome of the current COP24 climate conference in Poland is known. We are still lacking clarity on what his energy alternatives will look like in practice – phasing out fossil fuels as Shaw proposes leaves a big hole to fill, and that will need more than idealistic dreams. Shaw has also given little priority to leadership of the Greens, and it shows.  His party looks like two parts now, with three Ministers toiling away while the rest of the MPs still acting like they are Opposition activists still. I’d give him a 6.0 but he needs to start showing results.

  • National Leader Simon Bridges 6.5

Generous. He has had internal party problems (Jami-lee Ross in particular). And he continues to fail to impress with his presentation – more cringe than charisma. And he has made some poor policy and attack decisions. I’d give him a 5 for surviving as leader but he has a lot to learn and a lot of improvements to make if he is to succeed.

  • Deputy Paula Bennett 6.5

I’m not sure what Bennett has done apart from transform her physical appearance. I haven’t seen enough of actual political achievements to think of an appropriate number.

  • Finance spokeswoman Amy Adams 6.0

Probably a fair score, competent but unremarkable. She has a difficult job criticising the Government on finance with the economy going well.

  • Housing spokeswoman Judith Collins 8.0

Really? Collins works with media and social media well, but she got nowhere near a serious challenge to Bridges, and she symbolises leadership-coup-in-waiting, probably intentionally, which is not good for National.

  • Justice spokesman Mark Mitchell: 8.0
  • Michael Woodhouse 8.0
  • Paul Goldsmith 7.5

They have adapted from Government to Opposition better than most.

  • Jami-lee Ross 1.0

Generous. I guess he is still an MP, but in name only, he is still on sick leave.

Party front bench ratings:

  • National 7.5
  • Labour 6

Probably fair. Too many of the Labour front bench are struggling. Watkins didn’t rate Megan Woods, Chris Hipkins, Carmel Sepuloni, David Clark, Nanaia Mahuta, Stuart Nash.

I’ll give a special mention to two rooky back benchers who have taken to quite different roles very capably.

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has done a lot of hard work, especially on drug law reform, and unlike some of her colleagues hasn’t been looking like an out of place activist. A very promising list MP.

National MP Hamish Walker scored the safe Clutha-Southland electorate that had been very controversial last term when Todd Barclay proved unsuitable as an MP. In contrast Walker has been doing the hard yards in the largest electorate in the country working on things that matter to his constituents. He is a model first term electorate MP – work hard locally and keep out of the national spotlight while you learn the ropes.

 

 

 

73 Comments

  1. FarmerPete

     /  15th December 2018

    Sorry, but after this year of stuff ups I doing see anyone in government earning more than a 6.

    • alloytoo

       /  15th December 2018

      Oh I’d give Khris Faafoi a 8.9, must be hard being the only worker in the Labour party

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  15th December 2018

      A 6 ???? Minus 6, more like.

      The PM would be a 5, and that’s generous.

  2. robertguyton

     /  15th December 2018

    9.5 for Jacinda! Well earned and deserved. You righties and self-proclaimed centrists will no doubt quibble and seek to deny Tracy Watkin’s rating, but face it, Jacinda’s good; actually, 9.5 says, “excellent”!

    • alloytoo

       /  15th December 2018

      Actually, while she’s no doubt prolific, she’s not even a very good liar, but then I suppose it doesn’t take much to fool some.

      • Duker

         /  15th December 2018

        if you say she was a liar, you must have evidence …and no Farrar saying so isnt proof

        • alloytoo

           /  15th December 2018

          Are you especially daft or merely a new foreign intern?

          1. Jacinda invites us to “read between the lines” as regards the Karel Sroubek residency affair. Implying that she had knowledge not available to us mere mortals.

          2. Jacinda answers in question time that she can’t answer because she lacks specific knowledge and has been relying on the media to keep abreast of the situation.

          These are two mutually exclusive positions, she either lied in the first instance, or the second instance, or (as is increasing likely both)

    • Gezza

       /  15th December 2018

      Yup. Comes across well to the uninformed or lazy, and to women, especially young women, who are romantics & adore celebrities.

      • Blazer

         /  15th December 2018

        I realise you don’t like her kiwi accent,but the celebrity culture is part and parcel of NZ politics these days.
        Ardern has shown that she has the smarts for the P.M role,not many..have.

        • Gezza

           /  15th December 2018

          Yes, I’ve said before and I mean it – she has quickly become a female John Key. A lot of nothing to worry about patter and don’t know anythings (when it turns out she did, or she must have) but her strategy is to smother the subject in platitudes and sheer volume of words.

          There is a counter to that.

          • Gezza

             /  15th December 2018

            As Auds noted in your linked article…

            Ardern came to the top job with squeaky clean credentials. Jacinda Ardern always tells the truth, one might have said.

            Now it might be said: Jacinda Ardern always tells the truth – eventually.

          • PDB

             /  15th December 2018

            Key and Ardern are far different in the fact Key comfortably talked about the economy whilst Ardern struggles to convince she knows what GDP is. Key had a far more relaxed speaking style whilst Ardern is more forced, scripted and unnatural. Whatever people may think of Key he worked hard (long hours) & fronted up to the MSM whilst Ardern has already garnered a reputation of being a lazy PM who avoids tough situations/ questions whilst preferring to visit school children.

            By holding their vote since Key & English moved on the National party has also shown it’s a far bigger machine than just the people at the top. In Labour’s case without Ardern’s high MSM profile Labour are a low 30% party at best.

            • Blazer

               /  15th December 2018

              ‘ Key comfortably talked about the economy ‘….sure he did…

            • Gezza

               /  15th December 2018

              Where Ardern is like Key is where I have said they are. Other than that, they use their different backgrounds and qualifications to target particular audiences, as a comms grad Ardern will be well aware of how to do that across media forms and how to spin.

              Ardern is a competent front person for the idealogues and real policy-makers in Labour (who are waiting for the werkinggruppen to provide the things they want to pick out & do from among their eventual wishlist reports, ignoring the rest).

              Although she may eventually develop some gonads and lead from the front and the head, I doubt it. Winston is genuinely fond of her, which is lucky for them both – and actually has been for the country, so far.

              I agree broadly with what you say about National. It has more credible-looking Cabinet material than Labour.

              It’s quite a scary proposition for Labour that if Ardern is taken out, for whatever reason, there is nobody that looks like a PM among what’s left.

              My view anyway. I could be wrong, but it would be unusual for me to be, as you know 😉

            • Duker

               /  15th December 2018

              key worked hard ?

              Thats laughable. he was notorious for delegating every thing under his purview, even the Security services issues were left to his political staff . something no previous PM labour or national had done.
              Eagleson was de facto decision maker while Key glided over most issues. As a choice that worked for him. But dont kid your self that he worked hard at it. Rodney Hide burst the bubble on Keys hands off style early on, from what he observed close up

            • “… while Key glided over most issues.”
              While Key gilded over most issues, you may mean.

        • Gezza

           /  15th December 2018

          PS: I’ve got a kiwi accent and most people I know have. It doesn’t sound like hers. She and Bridges have both got Aussie accents or kiwi hillbilly accents AFAIC. Several young 1ewes reporters are nearly – but not quite – as bad. NZ English will rekwoir translaydiz evenchilly.

          • Blazer

             /  15th December 2018

            quite non plussed as to any depth of talent in the National team as far as future cabinet ministers go.The old firm have all departed and theres not alot to choose from imo.

            • Gezza

               /  15th December 2018

              Righto. Fair enuf.

              Who are your picks for talented Ministers in Labour?

              And who are you agreed we should quietly move onto the back seats where they can make up the numbers and read out patsy Questions.

            • Blazer

               /  15th December 2018

              you name the opposition talent first,reasons would be good too.

            • Gezza

               /  15th December 2018

              Never mind. That’s ok. I’d struggle with Labour’s lot & and possibly try divert first, too. Take as long as you need. Then we can talk about mine.

            • Blazer

               /  15th December 2018

              sidestepper…’ It has more credible-looking Cabinet material than Labour.’

            • Gezza

               /  15th December 2018

              I accept your surrender with the good grace in which you just gave it.

  3. robertguyton

     /  15th December 2018

    “when Todd Barclay proved unsuitable as an MP.”
    Indeed.
    Hamish Walker and Sarah Dowie have reputations down here as “show ponies”.
    There’s something a bit insalubrious about the Southern Nat MPs – wonder what’s behind that…LUSK!!

    • Have you got any evidence that Lusk is acting for either of those two MPs? Or is this just an uninformed smear?

      • robertguyton

         /  15th December 2018

        I didn’t say “acting for” and yes, I have, straight from the horses mouth (sorry Sarah, it’s a commonly used expression). In any case, why would a connection to Lusk be a smear, Pete? I’ve not made any judgement at all about the man. I think you are reading to much into a simple statement. Do you regularly ask posters here if their comments are “an uninformed smear”? Most opinion here isn’t backed by evidence, from what I’ve seen. What I haven’t seen is you jumping in every time and intimating a smear.

        • Ok, you said “There’s something a bit insalubrious about the Southern Nat MPs – wonder what’s behind that…LUSK!!”.

          You are saying two southern MPs are seedy and run-down, unwholesome – and claim that’s not a smear.

          And you claim Lusk is “behind that” – which implies that he is influencing them or acting for them.

          Lusk is politically toxic, and any association with him is a bad look for any MP.

          • robertguyton

             /  15th December 2018

            True. You did feature one of those MPs a while back, Pete and “unwholesome” doesn’t seem too harsh to me. I bet also, that Todd Barclay and Lusk were working on the Clutha/Southland MPs future. until…

            • “I bet” sounds like nothing more than speculation. Or a smear.

            • robertguyton

               /  15th December 2018

              “Lusk is politically toxic, and any association with him is a bad look for any MP.”
              Do you reckon those young Nat MPs haven’t had Mr Lusk whispering in their ears?
              They call him Wormtongue. Dunno why.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  15th December 2018

              Unsalubrious, not in.

  4. Gezza

     /  15th December 2018

    “* Jami-lee Ross 1.0
    Generous. I guess he is still an MP, but in name only, he is still on sick leave.”

    Ridiculous:

    Minus 10 more like it.

    • Gezza

       /  15th December 2018

      Give her my love.

    • Gezza

       /  15th December 2018

      And now that I’ve read her article, tell her I agree: Politician of the Year for me would definitely be Winston Peters.

      (How long have you two been together, or are you just visiting, btw?)

      • PDB

         /  15th December 2018

        Winston Peters is politician of the year by some distance – played a desperate Labour party during negotiations in order to achieve far more than his vote should have allowed and since then does what he likes as he tramples over his very inexperienced coalition partners.

  5. Trevors_Elbow

     /  15th December 2018

    9.5???
    For allowing the Currran affair to run and run and run? For appointing working group after working group after working group to create the policy her and her team were too lazy to sort while in opposition? For allowing Twyford to get nowhere with the flagship Labour policy of Kiwibuild? For lying about Handley? For being corralling and lead by Peters over anything of significance to Peters donors?

    Tracey has been reading between the lines it seems and is marching to the beat of distant sun

    • PDB

       /  15th December 2018

      The fact she somehow gave 6.5 to Twyford suggests her ratings are crap.

      Ardern at best was a 7/10 and only because her MSM profile (spin) is the only difference between labour being a low 30% party (and beyond) and the low 40% party they are at present.

    • Duker

       /  15th December 2018

      “For appointing working group after working group after working group to create the policy her and her team were too lazy to sort while in opposition?”
      No new government has the resources or time to come up with detailed policy other than a handful of areas.

      national did exactly the same after 2008 election, With something like a 75 working groups , enquirys, summits reviews etc in the first 9 months. Famously they named and did the first Tax Working Group
      https://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/centres-and-institutes/cagtr/twg
      Tax Working Group 2009
      The 2009 Tax Working Group operated through a series of regular meetings discussing issues challenging the tax system.

      Heres nationals list from beehive.govt.nz at the time
      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1f6wGvy1KkR08oFeNx97VKfOmHSHL-ZehnuACutUvNRo/edit#gid=0

      This is a list Dec – Feb
      Review of Customer Guarantees Act to cover vehicles through online tender
      Review of Import health standard for horses
      Taskforce to speed up emergency departments
      Investigation into load bearing timber frames
      Windfarm Board of Inquiry
      Planning for new police
      Overhaul of RMA & Aquaculture
      RMA Technical Advisory Group
      Taxi Industry Safety review
      Criminal Procedure (Simplification) Project
      NCEA standards review
      Review the Sentencing Act as it relates to violent crimes against children
      Ministerial Inquiry into the disclosure of the funding shortfall in ACC’s Non-Earners Account
      select committee to review the Emissions Trading Scheme
      Auditor General initiate an inquiry into the Ministry of Education school bus transport tendering process
      Regulatory review programme to identify and remove inefficient and superfluous regulation
      Review ECE regulations
      Prisoner Classification
      report on Waterview alternatives
      Ministerial Group to advise on improving the quality and performance of the public health system
      ad infinitum

      The nats had 2 Working Groups
      Ministerial Working Party on Electricity -Feb 09
      tax Working group -May 09

      • Trevors_elbow

         /  15th December 2018

        UMR are missing you…

      • Gezza

         /  15th December 2018

        I’m not big on ” Waaaaaah stampy feet “National / Labour did it tooooo” – although I can understand why someone might want to throw that at PDB.

        If they get a bunch of working parties together because:
        1. they haven’t got a fucking clue how to do what they promised the voters, or what the hell the situation really is now they’ve been properly briefed, or

        2. they know what they want to do, but they’ll get slaughtered by the voters unless some 3rd party experts including friendlies can produce a report that says that’s what’s needed – OR – that at least somewhere amongst all the recommendations for the perfect solution committees which don’t have to implement anything are so brilliant at coming up with – it says something that is what they wanted to do … so they can pick that one recommendation out and present it as doable and the priority.

        • Gezza

           /  15th December 2018

          … then either way& whichever party it is that does it, I think they’re dodgy and not to be trusted. It means you have no idea what their real agenda is.

  6. Strong For Life

     /  15th December 2018

    Watkins leads the Ardern cheerleader squad so we shouldn’t expect anything else but an over generous rating.

    • Blazer

       /  15th December 2018

      Audrey Young however is died in the wool blue.

      • robertguyton

         /  15th December 2018

        Dyed, Blazer, dyed.

        • Blazer

           /  15th December 2018

          thx…be careful.

        • Mother

           /  15th December 2018

          I don’t understand the harshness toward JLR. He made big mistakes, the biggest being to hurt his family. But his leaders hurt him badly by applying hypocritical judgement thrown out into the public sphere. That in turn caused him to retaliate in a very unhelpful way. At the time, I was one of many hurt by the hatred expressed. I would like to see JLR come back stronger for it. I think SB and PB showed terrible leadership during that debacle. Mr Ross does not need to be a scapegoat. Perhaps he genuinely wishes to help National clean up their moral act so that they can truly concentrate on good governance. As for Lusk, I have no idea, but I wonder if he’s been leading astray young ambitious politicians. Politicians don’t need strategists. The best strategy for each of them is to have their family life in order first, and to be honest people. Perhaps JLR got honest. If so, that’s worth a 10. I hope the best for his family.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  15th December 2018

            Isn’t there a Ngaio Marsh ‘Died in the Wool’ ? I’ve read it and remember the horrible discovery. UGHHHHH!!!!!

          • robertguyton

             /  15th December 2018

            Absolutely agree, Kitty.

  7. Gezza

     /  15th December 2018

    Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick has done a lot of hard work, especially on drug law reform, and unlike some of her colleagues hasn’t been looking like an out of place activist. A very promising list MP.

    Cabinet Minister material already. Gets things done. Communicates well. Going places. Either in politics or elsewhere, wherever she decides. Very smart young woman.

    • Duker

       /  15th December 2018

      Thats why she is the party front-woman on drugs – shes not scary. Doesnt makes her a wonder -woman. Ministerial roles are more than than just a single issue where you choose the approach/timing/message. being responsible for a department means you can be walking on eggshells that arent of your choosing- they either do things you have no say on but get blamed, or you have to make decisions in a ‘legal way’ that go against party principles.

  8. kluelis

     /  15th December 2018

    New Zealand is such a rich and modern country it hardly matters who is in Parliament. To be fair we could probably scrap political parties and elections and most of the under 50’s would hardly notice. Since the Labour Gov’t of 1984 became financial right wing National and Labour became indistinguishable. I hardly notice any one in Parliament because they are all so similar. Government is an endless stream of feel good infomercials. Even Kim dot Com looked cool 🙂 I voted once in 1978 but did not feel compelled to vote after that because I thought all the parties were the same.

    • Duker

       /  15th December 2018

      Right wing ?
      The ‘left wing’ you you belong to are probably 0.5% , about the same vote ACT gets.
      Im sure you dont think that its a minute minority and some how ‘the masses’ are being brain washed by the evil media and oligarchs

  9. Duker

     /  15th December 2018

    Anyway saying labour has switched from opposed TPPA to in favour hasnt read election policy.
    They were opposed to nationals secret all the way
    https://www.labour.org.nz/andrew_little_on_the_tppa
    The changes they wanted were
    We have five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.
    – Pharmac must be protected
    – Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
    – New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
    – The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
    – Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access.
    https://www.labour.org.nz/labours_position_on_the_tppa

    and the election Trade policy
    https://www.labour.org.nz/foreignaffairs

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th December 2018

    Watkins is scoring her own issues rather than the politicians.

    Apart from survival, what exactly has the Government achieved this year?

    • Blazer

       /  15th December 2018

      alot more than National did in 9 years whichever measure you..use.

      • Ray

         /  15th December 2018

        Some times Blazer you are as silly as stopped clock!
        So far we have not had any earthquakes plus a Financial Crisis, let’s see Labour get through anything like that.

        • Blazer

           /  15th December 2018

          same old,same old…what an incredible solution National came up with…borrow 10’s of billions of dollars off the ex forex gamblers mates on Wall St.

        • Duker

           /  15th December 2018

          ‘So far we have not had any earthquakes plus a Financial Crisis, let’s see Labour get through anything like that.’

          you mean like Cullen paid down the debt before 2008, and his other brainwave the Cullen fund which took in some thing under $9 bill before 2008 and is now worth something around $40 bill.
          what sort of nest egg did Bill leave behind …oh thats right a $90 bill government debt.
          the GFC ended around 2012- didnt affect Australia much under the Rudd- Gillard governments, so why say it was a big deal here. the Christchuch earthquakes was a gross government payment of $10-12 bill. the rest came from EQC reserve funds and the reininsurance they held.

        • robertguyton

           /  15th December 2018

          Are stopped clocks, “silly”?
          How so?

      • PDB

         /  15th December 2018

        A lot more corruption & incompetence in one year…

  11. Zedd

     /  15th December 2018

    I give:
    Labour: 9
    NZF: 8
    Greens: 8.5
    Act; 7
    Natl: 2.1

    ALCP :10 for remaining as a competative party for so long

    BUT I give Chloe S: 11/10 for her dogged effort to push some actual change in year #1 on med-cannabis, after 9 loooooong years of B-S from Natl. Bravo !

    “Ka Mau te Wehi e hoa” 🙂

    • Gezza

       /  15th December 2018

      What does that mean, the Maori part?

      • Gezza

         /  15th December 2018

        Never mind. Google Translate confidently informs me it means:

        “And the fear that friends”.

        It doesn’t make any sense, Zedd ? o_O

      • phantom snowflake

         /  15th December 2018

        According to my mate it’s an idiomatic expression which is roughly equivalent to “That’s awesome, mate.” (There should have been a comma before “e hoa”.) “Wehi” means “fear” or “frightening” so literally the phrase means something like: “How frightening, (my) friend!”

      • Zedd

         /  15th December 2018

        roughly: “AWESOME !”

        • Zedd

           /  15th December 2018

          being in Awe.. can be a bit scary/frightening too.. : Shock & AWE

    • Zedd

       /  15th December 2018

      oops I forgot JL Ross: 2.3

    • Ms Swarbrick.. telling as it is.. or should be