Ages of leaders

John Key was 47 when he became Prime Minister in 2008, and resigned when he was 55. Bill English is the same age as Key, now 56.

Ages of current leaders:

  • Jacinda Ardern (Labour) Prime Minister – 37
  • Kelvin Davis (Labour Deputy Leader) – 51 in two days
  • Simon Bridges (National Leader) Leader of the Opposition – 41
  • Paula Bennett (National Deputy Leader) – 48
  • James Shaw (Green Leader) – 44
  • Julie Anne Genter (Greens) – 38, or Marama Davidson (Greens) 44
  • David Seymour (ACT Leader) – 34
  • Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First Deputy Leader) – 47

And there is one notable difference:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First Leader) Deputy Prime Minister – 72

UPDATE: I have been sent this information by email.

The post today ‘Ages of leaders’ made me think of the changed face and faces of Parliament over the years.

I can’t add two photos which show that quite dramatically so send you this contrast 1957 and 2017, a tidy 60 years.


In the age stakes Winston Peters would have been a ‘middle of the road’ face in 1957.

CEO’s rate ministers and party leaders

In the NZH ‘mood of the boardroom election survey’ CEO’s rate the performance of ministers and party leaders.

On a 1-5 scale where 1 = not impressive and 5 = very impressive:

  • Prime Minister Bill English: 4.13
  • Finance Minister Steven Joyce: 3.71
  • Education Minister Nikki Kaye: 3.62
  • Minister of Justice Amy Adams: 3.58
  • Paula Bennett: 3.56
  • Chris Finlayson: 3.49
  • Simon Bridges: 3.18
  • Anne Tolley: 3.11
  • Todd McClay: 3.05

I can’t find a rating for Jacinda Ardern. Odd.

Other party leaders:

  • David Seymour (ACT): 2.85
  • Winston Peters (NZ First): 2.76

Winston won’t like that.

The other leaders: James Shaw (Greens), Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox (Maori Party), Gareth Morgan (The Opportunities Party) and Peter Dunne (United Future, who bowed out before the survey was completed) all rated at less than 2.5/5.

From A strong mood for change among business leaders



Leaders debate #2

Tonight Jacinda Ardern and Bill English have their second leaders debate of the campaign.

This one is being run by Patrick Gower and Newshub, and is being broadcast at 8:30 pm, and will also be live streamed:

Livestream: Newshub Leaders Debate

The first debate last Thursday seemed like a feeler for both of them. There could be more tactics used tonight.

First segment done – a lot feistier this time, more challenging of each other’s policies. Also too much rehearsed recital from both but it’s hard to limit that.

Most talked about line – when English was asked what his best attribute was for being Prime Minister, excluding experience, given he lost badly in 2002.  “I got back up again.”

The clapping and cheering interruptions are annoying, stopping the flow.

Certainly more combative this time.

The main difference overall is ploddy old actuals versus vague aspiration and vision.

First debate – Ardern v English


—The first leaders’ debate in the 2017 campaign will be live on TV1 tonight at 7 pm, and will also be on Newstalk ZB.

It was a much anticipated test of both Jacinda Ardern and Bill English, and interest has just been ramped up after a Colmar Brunton poll has Labour just tipping National off top spot, 43-41, still margin of error territory but a major vote of confidence for Ardern..

Labour have all the momentum at the moment. English will have a big task to stop it and turn it around. Ardern is likely to be cut some slack in her first big debate.

The first round started fairly even but when English warmed up he got the upper hand on tax, but Ardern is hanging in there.

Round two on housing and employment English got lost and Ardern finished more strongly.

And so it went on.

Ardern was well prepared and well versed, often passionate, but tending towards a bit airy fairy. Overall a good performance, especially first up.

English wasn’t always fluent. He knew his topics well but got into a bit much depth and detail at times. Overall ok but he didn’t stand out as he probably needed to do to stem the bleeding.

There were a few strengths and weaknesses from both but fairly minor overall.

No obvious bad mistakes or major hits. No winner or loser, that’s just the first round.

They both conducted themselves cordially and there were no personal attacks or antagonism – if this respectful approach to politics spreads our democracy will be much the better for it.

So the campaign will continue with uncertainty about the outcome of the election.

The most common reaction on Twitter was how refreshing it was to see a civil debate, with both Ardern (especially) and English contributing.

I think this is a quote from English afterwards:

‘The whole atmosphere was quite civil, people don’t want low level politics’

In last night’s finance debate the audience made it clear they weren’t interested it being hijacked by the Peters super saga, they wanted a debate on economic issuees.

Why are so many party leaders resigning?

I don’t whether there are comparable times in the past, I can’t remember any, but we seem to have had a remarkably high turnover of party leaders this term.

Tracey Watkins: Politically Correct: The blitzkrieg campaign continues

Why are so many party leaders resigning?

Good question. Dunne’s departure leaves just Winston Peters and the Maori Party’s Te Ururoa Flavell standing from the 2014 election. In this term of Parliament National, ACT, Labour, the Greens and ACT have all had a change of leader.

Those party leaders who have stepped down this term:

  • David Cunliffe resigned as Labour leader on 27 September 2014, and left Parliament in April 2017.
  • Jamie Whyte stepped down as ACT leader in October 2014 after failing to get into Parliament.
  • Russel Norman announced he would stand down as Green co-leader in January 2015, and resigned from Parliament in October 2015.
  • John Key stepped down as National leader and Prime Minister in December 2016 and left Parliament in April 2017.
  • Andrew Little stepped down as Labour leader on 1 August 2017. He remains on Labour’s list for this election.
  • Metiria Turei resigned as Green co-leader on 9 August 2017, and also withdrew from the party list. She is still standing in the Te Tai Tonga electorate but her chances of returning to Parliament look slim.
  • Peter Dunne announced on 21 August 2017 he would not stand in the September election, retiring as a 33 year MP and United Future leader.

Leaders of five parliamentary parties have had leaders step down during this term. In addition:

  • Marama Fox became co-leader of the Maori Party in October 2014 after she became an MP through the party list.
  • Laila Harre stepped down as leader of the Internet Party in December 2014.
  • Colin Craig stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party in June 2015.

The remaining party leaders:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First)
  • Hone Harawira (Mana Party)

NZ First changed deputy leaders during the term, as did National and Labour.

This is a massive turnover of leadership. Why?

Dunne says he has not seen a more turbulent period in New Zealand politics since the Muldoon years. It all adds up to a volatile election and a sense that change is in the air.

And as Dunne also says: “No-one wants to outstay their welcome”.

Norman, Key and Dunne decided it was time to end their political careers.

Little and Turei were more pressured by circumstances.

And this may not be the end of leader churn.

If National lose the election it’s hard to see Bill English staying on.

If Hone Harawira loses again this election his political career must be just about over.

Winston Peters must be getting close to the stage of retiring, whether NZ First get into government or not.

This to an extent is coincidence of timing. Last term Labour changed leader twice, and ACT got a new leader, but otherwise parties were relatively stable.


Cunliffe versus Key – debate #3

Another debate, another round of media obsessed with declaring winners and losers, another reliance on ‘polling’ that is so unscientific it should be eliminated as potentially misleading.

The debate revealed little other than more practiced lines.

Both Key and Cunliffe sounded competent enough at media presentation but both talked over their opponent and squabbled childishly too much.

There was not much indication of how a National led or Labour led Government might look.

The quality of the respective party candidates was totally absent from consideration.

How potential coalitions might look and might work was not examined at all. One party’s policies matter but what might be negotiated post-election is also critical.

What are the chances ACT push National into bringing forward their proposed tax cuts to early in the next term rather than in the third year?

Would Greens push Labour to increase the top tax rate to 38%? The minimum wage to $18?

What Cabinet position might Winston Peters negotiate? Russel Norman? Colin Craig?

I have no more idea now than before any of the three debates Cunliffe and Key have had so far.

I’m no closer to deciding who to vote for.

I doubt many people will have changed their minds after watching last night’s debates.

Pundit perceptions can be quite different to normally how disinterested voters see things.

John Campbell did a reasonable job most but struggled to control the squabbling for superiority (or sneerority)  at times. He closed the debate with a bizarre speech that tried to liken voting in New Zealand in 2014 with standing in front of a tank in China in 1989.

The fourth debate on Sunday is likely to reveal nothing other than more practiced pontificating.

Craig gets in on The Nation debate

TV3 has backed down to legal pressure from the Conservative Party and has agreed to include Colin Craig in the small party leaders’ debate on The Nation tomorrow.

TV3 to include Colin Craig in minor party leaders’ debate

TV3 has opted to include Colin Craig in the minor leaders debate, rather than hold no debate at all.

The Conservative Party leader took his case to the High Court, and has this afternoon been granted an interim injunction against the media organisation.

At court, TV3 initially opted to go ahead with no debate, rather be forced to include the politician.

But it’s now changed its mind, and Mr Craig will join tomorrow’s debate.

Good on Craig for pushing for the right to be included. Too often media organisations get away with arranging what suits them rather than what is best for fair democracy.

Brendan Horan is now trying to push for inclusion as well.

@TheNationTV3 given that I’m a current MP and the leader of the NZIC I hope to be there too.

I’m a leader of a political party that was represented in Parliament.

He might have left his claim a bit late.

lprent analyses Labour leadership

I’ve had the occasional joust with lprent at The Standard, and have criticised some of his lengthy self absorbed lectures. I have also severely criticised his “moderating” at The Standard and his active support of a very uneven playing field.

But he has a bit of experience in politics, and occasionally he has something to say that’s not about programming and is interesting.

Yesterday he posted his views and voting decision on Labour’s leadership. There was some very good analysis that I mostly agree with in My votes.

I voted for Cunliffe, Robertson, and Jones in that order. My reasons are in this post. It is unnecessary for people to speculate on additional motivations.

But if Clare Curran, Trevor Mallard*, Patrick Gower or anyone else wants to run a politically based smear on me like they did on Jenny Michie, Mike Williams, and others then I’m perfectly happy to tear them a new rectum through their political credibility over the next decade.

Ok, after his initial declaration he can’t help threatening from the safety of his fiefdom, but most of the rest is an interesting read.

Especially interesting for someone who has pledged to vote for Greens next election.

I agree that Labour have to go for Cunliffe this time round, but then they will have an enormous challenge sorting out their internal discord.


Leaders Advancing Debate About Super Solutions

David Shearer (Labour)
Genuine debate on Super affordability needed now

Political leaders must confront the looming crisis of the future affordability of Superannuation now rather than risking having to make harsh cuts to entitlements down the track, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“It’s not good enough for John Key to say that he’s worried about governing for today and somehow the future will look after itself. As Prime Minister, he has a responsibility to look after future generations too.

“It’s time we had a genuine, open and honest discussion about how we can continue to afford to provide New Zealanders with financial support when they retire.

“At the moment there are 5.6 workers for every retired person but in less than 30 years that will be reduced to 2.5. This is a problem that is growing and we must address it now.

“It’s about being fair. We must be fair to young New Zealanders by making sure there will be a pension scheme in place for them when they retire.

“We must also be fair by giving all Kiwis time to discuss, accept and prepare for any changes that need to be made to the current system.

“Labour is prepared to be flexible and come together with other political parties to work towards a solution. We are interested in genuine cross-party talks and a nationwide discussion with New Zealanders. We must do what is in the best interests of the country,” said David Shearer.

– Labour website, Monday, June 11,

John Banks (Act)
National should reconsider super position

ACT Leader John Banks today said National should reconsider its position on the age eligibility for NZ Superannuation if we are to avoid the situation outlined by the Financial Services Council (FSC) where tax rates would have to rise by one third to pay for it.

– NBR Monday June 11, 2012

Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture) has said it is something we need to talk about.

In the meantime, nothing changes:

  • John Key (National)
    Deal with present challenges first – Key
    Prime Minister John Key says he wants to focus on problems facing New Zealand now in preference to the future costs of superannuation.Mr Key says the Financial Services Council report is looking far into the future.

And according to Duncan Garner:

  • The Greens have said yes,
  • ACT would join,
  • the Maori Party want in,
  • Hone Harawira won’t say no
  • and Winston Peters could be tempted.
  • Peter Dunne says everyone must join up for this to have credibility.