Stuff’s positive political awards

I’ll stick to the positives in Stuff judgment on the political year.

Duncan Garner: 2018 … the good…

Player of the Season: Jacinda Ardern.

When the prime minister settles into a Christmas drink she can deservedly toast herself and not just because she’s had a stellar year.

Being PM means the bullets fly in all directions and then some. It’s largely about damage control but somehow looking pro-active and transformational and surviving while managing what could be a nightmare coalition scenario, and Ardern has done it in her stride and with a wide grin.

Oh, and throw in your first baby and surely she wins the MVP award.

Ardern is nice. She is warm and she is pleasant. It’s a brutal personable cocktail that is easy to like and perhaps she may be the most teflon politician in decades.

There’s little doubt that Ardern has more than survived her first year leading Labour, the Government and the country. The “most teflon politician in decades” is largely thanks applied by an often fawning media, but the Government remains intact and Ardern remains Prime Minister (probably for as long as she likes).

Most improved: Andrew Little.

From Mr Nowhere man to everywhere to be seen. His management of the Pike River mine recovery has been exceptional. He put humanity and people and families first. However, his oversight of new justice laws was less impressive. No Government should allow a “soft on crime” narrative to take hold while in office. However, he’s a rock solid minister in a Cabinet that lacks depth.

Being leader didn’t suit him, but despite some on the job learning hiccups he is generally doing very well as a top performing Cabinet Minister.

Stuff:  2018 political awards

There is quite a bit of snark and brickbatting but some politicians get bouquets.

The safe pair of hands award: To David Parker, who has navigated a foreign buyers ban, a TPP signing, and the beginnings of a freshwater plan with little to no drama. Runners-up: Kris Faafoi, who will be in Cabinet before long

The red carpet award: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who continues to make a splash on the international stage in her first year on the job.

The comeback kid of the year award: Goes to Andrew Little, twice. Little was widely panned as opposition leader before regaining a lot of mana as a new justice minister. Then he got too far ahead of Cabinet and announced the end of the three strikes law, leading to Winston Peters utterly humiliating him in full national view. But, just like he did before, Little put his head down and is now once again one of the most respected ministers in Cabinet.

The Zero to Hero award: Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who seems to have finally turned plummeting business confidence around after his focus on the Budget surplus and a year-long charm offensive talking to business groups.

Rookie on the rise: Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick. She’s already being touted as a future Green Party leader, despite the fact she is half the age of the current ones. Her work on mental health and drug policy has shown exactly how a first-term MP can make a name for themselves.

Backbenchers of the yearChris Bishop and Nicola Willis. This dynamic duo are working it in Opposition, although Bishop would probably be on the front bench if he hadn’t publicly supported Amy Adams in the leadership race. It helps that these Wellingtonians both have years of political experience under their belts from before Parliament.

The country is still chugging away ok so in general our politicians have done reasonable jobs, especially when you consider that the media tends to make a bigger splash out of negative news.

28 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 22, 2018

    Seems a reasonable assessment.

  2. David

     /  December 22, 2018

    Ardern has done a pretty good job as has Robertson but they really havent been tested this year its all been pretty benign conditions.
    Little is totally over rated, his justice conference was a multi million dollar nothing, his pike river entry is just another colossal waste of money I find him a tin eared fool.
    Faafoi has been solid.

    • lurcher1948

       /  December 22, 2018

      Did you go to the same negativity class as Simon Bridges ( mr 7%) David,When the govt goes high National says they will get rid of it.

    • Gezza

       /  December 22, 2018

      Hon Kris Faafoi
      MP for Mana
      Minister of Civil Defence, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Customs
      Associate Minister of Immigration

      As associate Minister of Immigration he is possibly handling most of the day to routine immigration cases that MPs and others habitually make representations about. Not aware of any problems in that area, if so.

      Faafoi is a former reporter for 1ewes. He knows how to talk to people, establish ask question and establish facts, distinguish fact from opinion, and come across well as a careful and clear communicator who is both honest and competent in his portfolios.

      I reckon his departments love him as a Minister. He should be promoted up the ranks asap.

      • Gezza

         /  December 22, 2018

        Sorry about the typos rushed that a bit I think you’ll get my drift.

      • Ablehander

         /  December 23, 2018

        One of his Ministries calls him Mayor Faafoi as he’s great at photo opportunities but nothing much between the ears.

        • Gezza

           /  December 23, 2018

          Oh, I see. That’s all of the staff, then, or just the CEO?

          • Ablehander

             /  December 23, 2018

            The staff. I suspect he will get into Cabinet and then do absolute nothing

          • Ablehander

             /  December 23, 2018

            The staff. I suspect he will get into Cabinet and then do absolute nothing

            • Gezza

               /  December 23, 2018

              Keep monitoring his progress and report back on developments.

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  December 22, 2018

    Not much to argue with there. The fact that such a hit and miss minister as Andrew Little was most improved speaks volumes about the quality of the cabinet. And whether his handling of Pike River is as raging a success story as portrayed or not is yet to play out.

    • Blazer

       /  December 22, 2018

      Little is extremely competent,realistic and in favour of the greater good.
      National have got???

      • High Flying Duck

         /  December 22, 2018

        Little spent $1.5m on a feel good soft on crims justice summit that came up with zero solutions.
        He has pushed forward with PR re-entry – and we’ll have to wait and see on that. It is too early to judge the soundness of that decision.
        So far he’s been a good little socialist happy to splash other people’s money around with great largess and little to show.
        Otherwise he’s not left a trail of destruction behind him ,so gets the gong.
        Kris Fa Foi would be the only one who pushed him for it – he’s been very good IMO but probably not in the public eye enough.
        National have a string of good performers (along with some dead wood) but we have no need to judge them as they aren’t the one’s making the decisions at the moment are they?

        • Blazer

           /  December 22, 2018

          ‘Little spent $1.5m on a feel good soft on crims justice summit that came up with zero solutions.’

          Look at the waste at MBIE alone, on Joyces watch.
          To say nothing of Nationals trail of destruction with meth/housing,Thomson/Clark debacle,MBovis,Chch claims…and so on.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  December 22, 2018

            Whattabout!

            • Blazer

               /  December 22, 2018

              exactly.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  December 22, 2018

              I have been very vocal about Joyce’s corporate welfare – I didn’t like it when the Nats did it, and I am equally scathing of Laboutr & NZ first – who seem to be finding new & innovative ways to pork barrel around the country.
              The spying using T&C was going on since well before the Key Government took offcie so I am happy to apportion equal blame there – wrong in all cases.
              Meth houses – official advice that was reiterated and confirmed when questioned.
              MBovis was hardly a National blame. The first case was detected less than 2 months prior to the election. That said, Labour have, in my opinion, handled it reasonably well
              https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/358496/m-bovis-how-did-we-get-here
              CHch claims I think on balance the Government did very well given the size of the issue. This is borne out by National’s relative ongoing electoral success in Canterbury.

              You seem to be happy to give a big pass to one side on this though. Little’s ever increasing spending in your mind is “competent,realistic and in favour of the greater good”

            • Blazer

               /  December 22, 2018

              National supporters are so very forgiving and prepared to overlook incompetence and negligence.
              Regardless of your assertions,National plumbed new depths in black ops in all facets of their external dealings.
              The meth beatup suited them and their agenda.
              Feeble excuses,no data,shallow meaningless drivel that reflects on their abdication of any moral virtue and leaves a clusterfuck legacy …for someone else to..address.

  4. Zedd

     /  December 22, 2018

    What about.. ‘Great losers award of the decade’: ‘TeamKey-english’ & their unwavering ‘faithful’ followers :/

    “Lets do this…” 🙂 😀

  5. My fav. award “Cutting through the B-S on Drug policy’ : Chloe S/JAG 🙂

    • Duker

       /  December 22, 2018

      Shes all BS. Every time real problems are mentioned her answer is – Its a health issue. Thats right just tossed over fence for mental health /addiction services to deal with.
      Her work on mental health ? Nothing apart from saying she has had issues with anxiety and depression.
      tHEN SHE STATES THE OBVIOUS
      “What we need is an approach that addresses all fronts. We need to tackle the root causes of the epidemic,” Drug addiction is amoung those, yet legalising isnt seen as adding to the problem

      • legalising generally doesnt add to the problem when done tightly…. The net health harms of a tightly legalised regime are significantly lower the the current net health harms of prohibition….

        Legalising need not be seen as “good” but as “significantly less bad”

  6. duperez

     /  December 22, 2018

    Interesting to read assessments of those a bit closer to the action than most.

    Jacinda Ardern is dismissed in some forums as ditzy, air-headed, brainless and other labels denigrating her intelligence.

    Because of things like the Immigration Compact she is described as a traitor. References to her being a communist continue. I’ve seen about a thousand versions of her name in condescending contexts. She has been called invisible because she at times she hasn’t been in the first item on the news then accused of being involved in everything and the media specially highlighting her when she was first item.

    Her commenting about the Millane murder (alleged) had John Roughan today commenting favourably as some other commentators had. For the same exercise some antis went berserk at the time. Apparently it meant she didn’t care about New Zealanders being murdered.

    She has been called weak and gutless for not sacking any and every person who stuffed up in their job or were accused of that. She has been scorned because she hasn’t got a pile of degrees from flash universities.

    I read an account some time back of what one particular day looked like for her and what she had to do, was expected to do, and what she did.

    Given the lack of ability, the vacuity and sundry other deficiencies claimed by detractors, it looked like a triumph to me. Every moment thousands are waiting and hoping for a gaffe or something worse. Numerous whose major accomplishments in life are to remind us that the PM as a young person worked in a takeaways shop, make up new spellings of her name and turn on their computer and tap keys to tell the world how corrupt and useless she is, diminish everything she does. And the stuff she should have done according to them.

    I hope our own kids show the same sheer simple toughness and the ability to handle just a fraction of what Ardern deals with and do it with half the aplomb.

    As far as achievements? Enough wailed that the world would end with her becoming PM. A few political commentators have made some favourable comments about Jacinda Ardern. What chance some of the malcontents giving her credit simply for New Zealand and the world not ending?

    • Gezza

       /  December 22, 2018

      Yeah but if someone is determined never to vote Labour they are not able to view her in that light. I put her up there with John Key in being able to survive in a hostile environment and talk her way out a pickle – albeit a lot more volubly in her case. It’s very galling to her detractors that the economy hasn’t totally collapsed yet – and after all National’s whingeing about her complaining about the Oil Companies overcharging being an attempt to distract from the impact of the coalition’s levies, petrol prices down here started dropping soon afterwards and are still doing so.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 22, 2018

      In reality, duperez, none of the put downs you describe have been made above in this relatively right wing blog. As usual the only narky stuff has come from the Left wing.

  7. duperez

     /  December 23, 2018

    AW
    I don’t read enough to know if the second part is right. I reckon you’re right with the first bit. I don’t think the clearly visible nastiness and rank childishness about the PM seen on some sites is seen here.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 23, 2018

      Speaking for myself it is rare for me to criticise the character of a politician rather than behaviour. Two recent exceptions I think have been Ross and the vile Saudis. None that I can recall have been Lefties.