Hooton leaves Leader of the Opposition office

Well known PR strategist/lobbyist and political commentator Matthew Hooton raised political eyebrows when he promoted Todd Muller’s bid for National leadership – he told RNZ “I gave him personal support as a friend” – and then took on a job in the office of the the Leader of the Opposition when Muller took over on 22 May.

He stayed on when Judith Collins took over from Muller on 14 July, but Hooton has now announced he is going “back to family and other interests in Auckland”

He made this statement on Facebook:

Well, I spent yesterday thinking about whether I could do another seven weeks commuting to Wellington, decided I didn’t want to, slept on it, and called Judith Collins this morning to say I wanted to finish in Wellington and get back to family and other interests in Auckland.

Judith was very gracious. (She’s as tough as I knew she was but I didn’t realise she is also kind and also very funny until she took over a couple of weeks ago.) I thanked her and Gerry Brownlee for the opportunity and support they had given me, especially after Todd Muller’s demise, and said I think they now have a terrific team who has a good chance of winning the election, or at least can ensure the National Party will remain a broad church after 19 September.

But I said it was time for me to move on now. I can’t justify the impact on my family and other personal and professional responsibilities for another seven weeks. Cathy Wood seems quite pleased!

I’m pleased to have contributed to getting some of National’s basic messaging done, including the standard stump speech, and also to have helped kickstart the A-to-Z policy process again. I still think the Te Puna speech I wrote for Todd was pretty good.

I will watch with great interest to see how it all unfolds over the next seven weeks. Ideally what would have been spent on my fees can now be redirected to the much more important cost centre of boosting Facebook posts!

So to all the team down in Wellington, all the very very best for the next seven weeks – and hopefully the next nine years.

And you may be hearing from me here and there sooner than you may think.It certainly has been another very interesting life experience, these last nine weeks.

And I will try to renew the resolution that I made when I got back from London last year never to visit Wellington again!

Response from Cathy Wood:

Thanks for listening to my pleas ❤️🙏🏼 Solo-mumming/full-time work was ok when you were doing philosophy in London but it’s not ok for Wellington politics!

Hooton:

 Probably should have listened nine weeks ago!

Judith Collins:

Matthew, Thank you very much for all your excellent work and sage advice. We are now in a great place. Judith

Hooton:

Thanks Judith. It has been a whole lot of fun in a very bizarre way!

Megan Campbell:

Enjoyed working with you, Matthew. Thanks for your advice, contribution and friendship.

Hooton:

Same Megan. But let’s not quite do this again! 😄

No doubt people of different political leanings will make of this whatever they like, but regardless, this moving on by Hooton is likely to make little difference to the election campaign.

Leave a comment

58 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  3rd August 2020

    Good riddance.
    Hooton attempted to move the party even further left under Muller.
    What this country needs when facing a full on depression is decisive and right thinking politicians and policies.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd August 2020

    Seems far too egotistical to be a team player.

    Reply
  3. Politik: Nats’ President breaks party rules

    The National Party’s General Manager has admitted the party has broken its own rules over selecting a new candidate for the Auckland Central electorate.

    Consequently, the selection meeting has been deferred until August 10.

    The rules were broken by a pre-selection including the party president, Peter Goodfellow.

    However, even the revised plans the party hierarchy put in place to remedy the original problems were last night falling apart.

    Under its rules, a party pre-selection committee is required to reduce nominations for a candidacy to five candidates to go before the electorate selection meeting. But the Auckland Central pre-selection panel reduced the list to only two.

    https://www.politik.co.nz/2020/08/03/nats-president-breaks-party-rules/

    That looks very sloppy at best.

    Also:

    But his departure leaves some unanswered questions. National had been developing a series of policy discussion documents under the leadership of Nelson MP, Nick Smith. These were posted on the party’s website, but at the start of the Covid lockdown, they were taken down, apparently at the direction of then-leader, Simon Bridges.

    When Todd Muller replaced Bridges in May, Amy Adams was appointed to head up a series of policy development teams.

    POLITIK understands Adams’ teams have yet to produce any policy and what policy the party has produced has come from the campaign director, Tim Hurdle. Hooton has also been involved along with his other job of speechwriter.

    But political professionals are surprised that the party is only starting to develop its policy seven weeks out from the election.

    The party does have a new policy website which has 14 infrastructure policies (all transport projects) three long-standing education policies and nothing else.

    Two leadership changes will be quite disruptive, but this looks like disarray dating back to when bridges was leader.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  3rd August 2020

      Meanwhile Labour goes into the election saying don’t expect any big policies and gets a free pass from its media.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  3rd August 2020

        Absolutely….similar to when Bill English was asked about any policy initiatives…….’there is no silver bullet’=biz as usual.

        Reply
      • Kimbo

         /  3rd August 2020

        That’s the benefit of incumbency. Although, based on their failure with the 2017 flagship Kiwibuild policy, Labour aren’t much chop when it comes to execution. But at present the electorate thinks otherwise. So ya pays yer money and ya takes yer pick.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  3rd August 2020

          Kiwibuild was ‘heroic’ to say the least.

          National spent 9 years ensuring NZ’ers became tenants in their own…country.

          Reply
        • Duker

           /  3rd August 2020

          Nationals policy previously on housing failed too.. from 2012, when I was very closely interested in the details, to 2017 election time. They early on come up with the SHA policy as they were convinced the market would solve it if the Councils would get out of the way. The Councils did RMA consent 55,000 new home sites but only a fraction were built as affordable homes, in reality the SHA became a land bankers wealth creation project as they had no intention of turning the land into houses, sitting on real estate , with a SHA underlying consent is far safer.

          Reply
          • Housing and property inflation has been a problem all this century. I bought a house in 2002 and sold it in 2007 for well over double the price – inflated from $106k to $245k in five years.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              Did you pay tax on the deal?

            • No tax involved, it was my home.

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              Your home for 5 years.

              A late start on the property …ladder then.

            • ???

              That was the sixth property I had jointly owned.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Watch out, Pete! When the revolution comes and with that level and rate of property ownership, commissar Duker will be denouncing you as a kulak! 😳😂

            • I moved quite often for employment and family reasons.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Er, Pete, why do you feel the need to justify and answer such an arrogant and impertinent query about your personal life and affairs?!

          • Kimbo

             /  3rd August 2020

            And just to clarify, for Duker and Blazer, the faithful Labour-Green cheer leaders of Your NZ (and nothing wrong with that, people have to have a hobby 😬)

            …it is the current Labour/led government that is being judged on its record of incumbency, not the National Party administrations of Key-English, Bolger-Shipley, much less Sid Holland.

            And yeah, if Kiwibuild was “heroic” in the poorly-conceived, led and executed i”Charge of the Light Brigade“ tradition, I think you’d be right. However, despite Ardern insisting in 2017 that we judge her on her delivery 3 years later, rather than the “heroic” failure being lionised by a modern Alfred Lord Tennyson, it has been consigned down a memory worm hole never to be spoken of by Labour again! 😂

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              Well after the 9 years of ‘Labour did it too’….and Joyce trying to blame things like the Thiel debacle on Labour, you have got a cheek to imagine you have any authority to declare on what exactly is being ‘judged’.

              The voters will of course decide on Labour’s …record.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Er, Blazer

              1. It was Ardern three years ago who invited the public judge on her record if she was elected

              2. As per my original response to Alan Wilkinson, yes, the voters will indeed decide, and as also as per my response to Alan, they are likely to do so favourably.

              How any of that is “cheek” is beyond me. But ok, you are all hot and bothered about the coming election so the idea of calling out the current (not the previous) government for its failures is a political heresy to be condemned at ever point, morally, intellectually and spiritually. Like I also said, far be it from me to condemn your hobby or spoil your fun. 😂

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              And for the record, Blazer, given the challenges that the Key administration faced on its watch – inheriting a recession on the eve of the GFC, then 3 earthquakes- I thought on balance they did very well. With the caveat that their major failure was indeed housing.

              Given that the current economic crisis is even worse, and even though I will likely not be voting for anyone in the current coalition and confidence and supply arrangement government, my hope for the sake of NZ Inc if they are re-elected (as Ardern likely will) is that they do a good job.

              But hey, you think holding politicians, irrespective of their stripe to account for their campaign promises and policies is “cheek”? Onya, but I’m glad there are plenty others then you safeguarding democracy.

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              ‘. It was Ardern three years ago who invited the public judge on her record if she was elected’

              This is pretty suss.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Of course your cognitive dissonance would say that.

              Was in the context of when Bill English was calling Ardern out in one of their debates that Kiwibuild, and also “eliminating child poverty“ was not possible, assertions to which [deleted, don’t use nicknames] responded, “Bill, I refuse to accept that”.

              And three years later, here we are, consigning Ardern’s words and promises down that aforesaid memory wormhole…

            • Duker

               /  3rd August 2020

              “inheriting a recession on the eve of the GFC”

              Ah not at all, its was a Reserve Bank engineered slow down of a booming economy- soft landing they called it, by raising interest rates GFC had already started by then overseas.
              before the election Key said we should borrow more in good times so we would be more like Ireland…. terrible advice as the Irish found out with their banks having to be bought out by government, die to mindless property boom and splurge on spending consumer goods.

            • There were economic and housing problems in New Zealand before the GFC.

              The New Zealand Treasury defines “recession” as “consecutive falls in real GDP.” The department said that New Zealand’s real GDP fell 3.3% between the December 2007 quarter and the March 2008 quarter, and that this start, before any other OECD nation, was the result of domestic factors.

              There was a substantial number of finance company collapses between 2006 and 2012.

              Housing starts in New Zealand fell 20 percent in June 2008, the lowest levels since 1986. Excluding apartments, approvals dropped 13 percent from May.

              Approvals in the year ended June fell 12 percent from a year earlier. Second-quarter approvals dropped 19 percent. The figures suggested a decrease in construction and economic growth. House sales fell 42 percent in June from a year earlier.

              The New Zealand Treasury concluded that the country’s economy had contracted for a second quarter based on economic indicators, putting New Zealand in a recession. New Zealand’s central bank cut rates by half a percent arguing the economy was in recession. New Zealand’s GDP declined by 0.2 percent in the second quarter putting the country in its first recession in a decade.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Recession_in_Oceania

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              No, no, Pete! For the nine years of the Clark government the economy boomed, every worker had a house, and unicorns frolicked with perpetually laughing and smiling children in a sugar gumdrop land where the sun always shone.

              And then one sad day, the evil John Key seized the throne and sold us all into servitude. The sun stopped shining, the children cried because they were afflicted with rickets, and the nasty flinty hearted Tory bastard government sold the unicorns to the glue factory in exchange for gold taps in their mansions while the people huddled in cardboard box dwellings. 🙄

            • duperez

               /  3rd August 2020

              We know all that Kimbo.

              On the other hand they did identify the critical issues and the ‘way forward’ and were working creatively and enthusiastically with a grand plan and dealing with the Big Issues.

              So, enough of the negativity, what were those critical issues, the way forward and the creative and enthusiastic work towards a grand plan and dealing with the Big Issues? I know about the SkyCity Convention Centre 2014/2015. (Some reckoned there were some unconventional things about that deal.)

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              And here was me thinking the relevant issue was the current government’s record, especially as they are the incumbents running for re-election . Refer to the original discussion. So…Kiwibuild?

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              Once again ;all National did was borrow 80 billion,give a tax break to the wealthy,reinstate knighthoods and privatise high country pastoral leases.

              National inherited low debt and the Cullen Fund….which was the security for all their…borrowing.
              Hopeless.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Ho hum. National borrowing in a financial crisis is “hopeless”, whereas Labour doing it now is good and necessary. No matter what their stripe, tribalists are indeed…hopeless.

              Did I mention Ardern did a good job with the mosque murders and the Covid lockdown btw?

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              er…who/what caused the GFC/financial crisis?

              Oh thats right Wall St charlatans enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else!

              Merrill Lynch ..a basket case …but look who benefited from the sick logic that bankers could regulate…themselves!

              Hopeless.

            • Kimbo

               /  3rd August 2020

              Onya, B.

              Others with a more nuanced view might consider that the combination of US Federal-mandated sub prime loans via private financiers was, like the current US healthcare system, the worst of both capitalism and government intervention in the market and decide the excesses and foolishness of both were to blame.

              But as before, far be it from me to stop your your fun trundling out your one-size-fits-all-class-warfare template.

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              You didn’t disappoint Kimbo with that spurious excuse.

              If you are labelling Fannie and Freddie as private mortgage financiers ,I would not be surprised.

              Try the repeal of Glass Steagal and the unleashing of the heads we win,tails taxpayers lose casino fuelled by derivatives and outright fraudulent practice.

              So called organised crime got nothing on the big 4 Wall St banks….not forgetting the ‘City’,LIBOR and every other crime committed by the born to…rule.

  4. Blazer

     /  3rd August 2020

    Who would have ever guessed, just what a bunch of snowflakes the Nats and their players really are.
    Mental health,depression,spending time with the family,can’t commute!

    Hooten joins a swarm of rats trying to distance themselves from….failure.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  3rd August 2020

      Just another problem for Collins to sort out. I’d be happy just to vote for RMA replacement and decent main roads. If they can get that done anything else is mere icing on the cake.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  3rd August 2020

        Try asking them about our decent main road and tunnel. You too can get the pie-in-the-sky, election season responses! 🙃

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  3rd August 2020

        RMA replacement ? After 9 yrs in power thats the big policy thing after 3 yrs in opposition.

        Pleeese, it will be like “Ending Treaty claims” and “Abolishing Maori Seats”, ” Catching up with Australia” things that dont get done, but are lapped up by ‘a certain kind of voter’ who have bricks for brains

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  3rd August 2020

          Even Labour finally accepts the RMA is a dead dog that has to be buried. But of course they will just replace it with another stinking bureaucratic cess pit.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  3rd August 2020

            ‘The Resource Management Act passed in 1991 in New Zealand is a significant, and at times, controversial Act of Parliament. The RMA promotes the sustainable management of natural and physical resources such as land, air and water.’

            National Govt Al…no excuses 1990-1999….wrecking ball as usual.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              Upton was a fool. No surprise there. But the wrecking ball he and Palmer created worked steadily as bureaucratic powers swallowed property rights.

            • Duker

               /  3rd August 2020

              Your property rights havent changed, your name is still on the title.
              What you mistake is that includes a right to do totally as you wish with the land. Thats never been a property right, but a development approvals, have always been subject to community approval…. which are a feature of all rich western countries. They are a feature not a bug. If you want open slather go to African slums

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              Clueless, Duker. Property rights include the ability to use and enjoy it as you wish subject only to your neighbours rights to do the same with neither encroaching on the other sans agreement. None of that any longer exists.

            • “have always been subject to community approval.”

              But that’s not the case now.

              In July 2015 the Dunedin City Council notified it’s new district plan (2GP). It was then subject to submissions and hearings.

              Decisions on the 2GP were notified on 7 November 2018. Those could be appealed.

              One very small group (I have only seen three people named), claiming to be acting on behalf of a majority with nothing to substantiate that claim, and also on behalf of ‘future generations’, have effectively stopped over a thousand landowners from exercising their property rights .

              They have modified their multiple appeals several times. They didn’t budge during mediation sessions a year ago.

              And now the Council is claiming some of their appeals are outside of scope, and that is going to have to go to a court hearing later this yea, with further mediation set to follow.

              The community has no input into this process, let alone having any chance of expressing approval.

              Using the severely flawed RMA process a very small number of people are dictating to thousands of people who have an interest in affected land.

              And there is an ongoing shortage of land to build on here, with property prices having increased about 20% in the last year due to housing shortages.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              The law is mad beyond belief. Decisions are made by those who bear no responsibility whatever for the costs they pass on to others. Only the loony Left and the army milking the public can support it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              Actually it was the greatest intergenerational theft ever perpetrated on the public as owners of existing houses were protected from competition from new houses which are blocked from being built under the same rules as the existing ones. Most of those campaigning for this were too stupid to know what they were doing.

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              ‘the greatest intergenerational theft ever perpetrated on the public ‘

              Yes running an ‘open economy’ …..money laundering and using property as a tax free store of wealth was enthusiastically ramped by foreign buyers.

              Of the 40,000 empty houses in Auckland ,anecdotal evidence suggests they are mainly owned by absentee ‘investors’.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              No doubt some are being prevented from returning to NZ by our empathetic Government.

            • Duker

               /  3rd August 2020

              “have effectively stopped over a thousand landowners from exercising their property rights .”

              Really , when you bought the land did you have those rights already applying for the site… do you really mean ‘development rights’ increased by the district plan., but now delayed
              I presume from the context it means ‘subdivide’ but you could be more specific
              Never been a property right to create a new title out of thin air that didnt exist when you bought it…. or similar .

          • Duker

             /  3rd August 2020

            Community was a wide term, covering council processes…
            property rights are only the ownership…now some people even think their ‘rights’ include being in a school zone.
            They are welcome to have their fringe views about property rights but its worth diddly squat

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              Drivel. Property rights are basic to civilization. Without them humanity would just be warring gangs or, as in Soviet Russia, indentured serfs.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              In fact gang culture in this country flourishes precisely because the individuals involved come from communities with no property ownership and rights.

            • Duker

               /  3rd August 2020

              Basic ? Created in the Victorian era by governments with the Torrens title… Land Title .
              The serfs preceeded the Soviet union….
              indentured labour occured in the Fiji and Queensland sugar cane farms , no sign of soviet rule there.
              Was widespread in medieval europe but only remained in major use later on in Russia

            • Blazer

               /  3rd August 2020

              indentured serfs=mortgage debt slaves-hamsters in the wheel of inequality.

              We still have a version of the feudal system.

          • Duker

             /  3rd August 2020

            “Labour finally accepts the RMA is a dead dog that has to be buried.”

            No they havent , a working group report by a retired judge said so. Not government policy nor likely to be …will go into the great RMA daft ideas basket in the sky

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              A report by Tony Randerson released on Wednesday (itself more than 500 pages long) recommended repealing and replacing the RMA with two new laws. Environment Minister David Parker said the Labour party would be backing that policy at the election.

              You know something Parker doesn’t of course.

              https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300069352/biggest-rma-shakeup-in-a-generation-how-labours-planning-laws-will-work

            • Duker

               /  3rd August 2020

              I know a little that labour has a policy council to approve election manifesto ….exactly because they had MPs pushing their own agenda into election policy
              I’d like to see a ‘direct quote’ from Parker on that rather than the reporter saying what he thought..
              Or a beehive press release saying what Parker thinks …..lo I’ve found it and I’m right ….as usual
              “It is for the next Government to consider the report, and decide which aspects to adopt and decide whether to implement it in whole or in part.”
              https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-direction-resource-management-system
              Checkmate….I just knew when I read your words that you were reading the reporters words not Parker’s….
              Coughlan is an amateur

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  3rd August 2020

              The direct quote from Parker says he hopes the reforms will be completed by 2023.

            • Duker

               /  4th August 2020

              They have already come up with their own changes.
              You referred to ‘backing the policy at the election’ , which is a lie by Coughlan

  5. Duker

     /  3rd August 2020

    Guess whos been caught using taxpayer funds for electioneering

    National MP…claims mental health issues confusing rules to be responsible – Not him of course
    “Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule told taxpayer-funded signs breached rules”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12350754

    These werent your common garden billboards but those very large signs on pylons the size of a bus

    Reply

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