Chester Borrows charged

National MP for Whanganui Chester Borrows has been charged with had been charged with careless use of a motor vehicle causing injury to two people following an incident in March where Borrows ran over the foot of a TPP protester – see Foot runneth over.

Stuff: MP Chester Borrows charged over protester incident

Former police officer and National MP for Whanganui Chester Borrows is being charged over allegations he drove into a group of protesters.

Under section 38 of the Land Transport Act, the maximum penalty for careless driving causing injury is three months’ jail, or a fine of up to $4500.

An MP must resign from Parliament if convicted of a crime with a maximum penalty of two or more years’ jail time

So whatever the outcome it won’t force a resignation.

Borrows’ first appearance would be on Tuesday, August 2, in the Whanganui District Court. 

“Mr Borrows intends to defend the charge and says he will be making no further comment as the matter is before the court,” a statement from him said.

There’s been some interesting comment on this at The Standard in Borrows charged for injuring protestors.

Some of the comments are typically ridiculous, like the lead comment by ‘One Anonymous Bloke’:

Hard not to be cynical about the fact that the charge makes a by-election unlikely. Or is it more a case of no-one who has a public difference of opinion with Oravida Collins is above the law?

I can play at insinuations too. The post was under the authorship of ‘Natwatch’. One Anonymous Bloke was quick off the mark, first to comment, and had a lot of interest in the discussion, posting 30 of the 103 comments (to date).

A debate about the right to protest versus the right of free passage came up, with OAB prominent both in dumping on Borrows but also in abusing people who challenged their messages. Like:

One Anonymous Bloke:

Observation isn’t your strong point: the protesters were on a footpath (yes, they were). I suggest you remove your bullshit-smeared right wing facemask and have a look at the photos.

Even if they’d been on a road, the police response to the TPPA protests – ie: to allow them – shows exactly how grounded in reality your lickspittle opinion is.

Psycho Milt:

Being on a footpath and/or being a protestor doesn’t magically endow you with the right to obstruct a vehicle entrance or other public way. That’s why the cops will come along and tell you to fuck off. Also why they’ll drag you out of the way and arrest you if you don’t. Borrows’ offence was more serious than the protestors and resulted in injury, which is presumably why he’s been charged, but both parties were committing offences.

Seems like a fair comment and seems to sum up the situation well.

One Anonymous Bloke:

@Psycho Milt: I’d like to see the argument in court. They weren’t obstructing a right of way they were expressing their disapproval of government policy.

Borrows and Bennett aren’t Joe Public going about their lawful business. They’re ministers of the Crown ripping the guts out of this country.

They have every right to expect hostility, obstruction and contempt wherever they go. Diddums.

Further on Psycho Milt addresses the law:

they are standing on the footpath- look up rules about cars and footpaths

Yes, do look up the rules, for instance the Summary Offences Act 1981:

“22 Obstructing public way

(1) Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who, without reasonable excuse, obstructs any public way and, having been warned by a constable to desist,—

(a) continues with that obstruction; or

(b) does desist from that obstruction but subsequently obstructs that public way again, or some other public way in the same vicinity, in circumstances in which it is reasonable to deem the warning to have applied to the new obstruction as well as the original one.

(2) In this section—

obstructs, in relation to a public way, means unreasonably impedes normal passage along that way

public way means every road, street, path, mall, arcade, or other way over which the public has the right to pass and repass.”

A further exchange with William:

But the protesters haven’t been charged with an offence under the Summary Offences Act, so that’s all irrelevant.

Possibly the police examined whether that would have been a goer but observed the constable didn’t warn them to desist, he merely ushered them to the side. They were moving there when silly old Chester drove on through before the way was clear.

Psycho Milt:

It’s not irrelevant to the implied claim in 5.1 and 5.1.1 that the protesters had the right to block the footpath – the Summary Offences Act makes it clear that they didn’t.

And just in case that particular logic fail comes up again: no the fact that the protesters were illegally obstructing a public way doesn’t imply Borrows had a right to drive into them.

William:

Read the section of the act you quoted. It doesn’t create an offence of blocking a public way, only of unreasonably blocking it. The corollary of that is that it is possible to block it in a reasonable manner, which is not an offence.

Watch the video, the blockage lasts no more than 15 secs before they’ve moved aside. I don’t envy you arguing in a court that they created an unreasonable blockage.

Psycho Milt:

The concept that you have a right to obstruct a public way if you want to is as bizarre, if not quite so scarily insane, as the Kiwiblog commenters’ view that you have a right to run people over if they’re in your way.

For future reference, no it’s not “reasonable” to deliberately obstruct other people, regardless of how long you do it for or what you personally feel about the people you’re obstructing, and yes you can be arrested for it.

For a different take Te Reo Putake is a tad contrarian (the the standard bashing):

If I can be a tad contrarian , I can see a couple of points worth making about the debate so far.

First up, the protesters were not pedestrians. They weren’t using the footpath for the purposes of travel. Having been on about a zillion protests and pickets (and having organised a good percentage of the same), I can assure readers that blocking driveways isn’t legal. But it is terrific fun.

Secondly, Borrows is actually one of the better Tory MP’s. He’s an old fashioned kind of Nat and tries to behave decently. He’s also publicly anti-racist. That combination possibly explains why he has never been given senior posts by Key and Joyce.

If the Whanganui seat was redrawn to reflect the wishes and needs of the town and district, he wouldn’t be the MP. The excellent Hamish McDouall would be instead. But the electorate is gerrymandered so that the urban majority are disenfranchised in favour of the Taranaki rump. So, a by-election would be likely to return a Nat MP, which is a boost I don’t think they deserve, So lets be careful what we wish for there.

For all of the above, Borrows has broken the law and deserves a conviction. However, I wonder if he’ll be offered diversion, as I imagine this will be his first serious offence (other than a speeding ticket a few years ago)

A good comment despite a bit of political snark, and quite a contrast to the OAB approach.

Rino Tirikatene on Twitter

A number of MPs have got into trouble with Twitter. Last term NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor earned a reputation for tweeting gaffe after gaffe. She was dumped down the list by her party.

Yesterday someone suggested that Labour MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene, may be headed for similar infamy.

He had this exchange with a journalist:

Well, stage a walkout then.
And miss all the fun? Not likely.Best I stay here and observe the shenanigans.
You are not paid to “have fun”. You are paid to hold the govt to account.

As if I needed reminding. Don’t worry, I’m only having fun at Nationals expense in my own snarky way. Much like yourself.

Yes.I particularly like spending your miniscule portion of tax while I’m here. It won’t make you happy but,hei aha

Gee there are some humourless people. Why do National’s trolls even bother.

Caffeine Addict is nowhere near being a National supporter or troll. His Twitter description: “NZ Journo/comms, and social media”.

Also:

Who’s ‘s press secretary. Who checks the checkers. Watch out for the bus cause the Nats. like rolling people in front.

Perhaps a press secretary/media person from Labour could have a quiet word with Rino.

Possibly the worst action of the day was this re-tweet:

RinoTirikateneRetweet

It doesn’t look good for an MP to associate with and distribute comments like that.

More generalist and careerist MPS

A new study has put numbers to what has often been suggested – that today’s MPs have less traditional backgrounds (like farming and unions).

A third of MPs are political careerists with limited experience outside public service and politics. “Over 30% of them have entered Parliament after careers exclusively spanning government, public sector or politics.”

“If you have no real career other than politics, you are unlikely to want to rock the boat. Challenging the establishment will seldom be in a career politician’s best interests.”

New Zealand MPs are now less likely to be from traditional careers in business and unions, and more likely to be generalists who turn to politics as a career, according to a study released today.

The study, by political researcher Geoffrey Miller and public relations expert Mark Blackham, researched and compared the career histories of all 121 Members of the current Parliament.

They found that business owners, agriculturalists and unionists have a falling share of voice in their traditional parties, and have been replaced by people with no specific career interests, or careers limited to government and politics.

Miller said 23% of National MPs had experience working in a business, and only 10% of Labour MPs had worked in a union.

Miller said that while Parliament had become more ethnically and gender diverse under MMP, the range of prior occupations was becoming increasingly narrow.

Miller added that younger MPs were especially likely to be beholden to the parties they represented because of their decision to pursue politics as a profession.

Blackham said the rise of generalists reflected both a change in employment patterns in the wider community, and a perception that politics was an employment option as well as a calling. Almost a fifth of MPs had no definable career before politics.

“Parliament is reflecting something ordinary people are experiencing; the tendency to go through a range of jobs rather than a single career. Wide experience of life may well help MPs to understand the public they represent.

“But there is a less creditable trend toward seeing politics as an employment option. For these MPs, the job follows a working life solely in government or politics. This is a new phenomenon.”

Three major conclusions from the report:

  1. The traditional difference in economic sectors represented in the major political parties is extinct;
    National now has proportionately few farmers or business people.
    Labour has few unionists or blue collar workers, but is strongest in MPs with varied non-specific employment experience.
    The Party with proportionately the most business experience is New Zealand First.
    The party with proportionately the most activists is the Green Party.
  2. One third of our politicians have only ever worked in political jobs. Over 30% of them have entered Parliament after careers exclusively spanning government, public sector or politics.
  3. MPs are now reflecting the wider employment trend of having multiple careers or having worked in a wide range of jobs. Nearly 20% of all MPs have had ‘multiple’ careers.

MPWorkExperience

Noteworthy findings

  1. 34% of MPs have a career history entirely working for the government in some form.
  2. The biggest category was “multiple” careers – where MPs have worked in various employment, and not followed a particular career or field of expertise. Labour had proportionately the greatest number in this category (one quarter of its MPs)
  3. The single most common career has been employment in the business world (19 MPs, and generally management work, not entrepreneurial or operational), followed by a career in government (15 MPs).
  4. There are 10 career politicians (vs. 12 MPs in previous Parliament).
  5. Labour Party now has a notable presence of MPs with careers in the Maori sector (5/32 MPs in 2015 compared to 3/34 MPs in 2014).
  6. New Zealand First remains dominated by MPs with business experience, particularly within SMEs.
  7. The Green Party remains dominated by those with a Unionist or Activist background (5/13 MPs).
  8. The two Maori Party MPs both have a background in education.
  9. Between the 50th and 51st Parliaments, Labour has seen a decrease in MPs with unionist backgrounds (3 vs 5 MPs).
  10. National has fewer agricultural MPs than the previous parliament (6 vs 9 MPs)

National MPs have a wider variety of backgrounds than Labour MPs but part of the reason for this is there are nearly twice as many.

MPNationalWorkBackgrounds

MPLabourWorkBackground

I think that two significant factors behind choices to stand for Parliament now are:

It can be much more high profile with the chance of high media and opponent examination.

The time and cost commitment to standing as a candidate with a chance of being elected is high, especially standing for electorates. You pretty much have to dedicate several months at least to full time campaigning.

This is easier for people already employed by parties.

This isn’t as necessary for small parties (Greens and NZ First) where political unknowns can get in via their party list placement.

But even NZ First’s most recent MP, Ria Bond, a hairdresser from Invercargill, had spent time working for NZ First MPs in Wellington.

Not trusted: bloggers, MPs, media

Many people have little or not trust in bloggers, MPs and media.

NewsHub reports Kiwis don’t trust MPs, bloggers – survey

What the headline doesn’t say is that not far behind bloggers and MPs in levels of distrust is the media.

Victoria University’s Institute of Governance and Policy Studies surveyed 1000 adults at the end of February (via Colmar Brunton).

Least trusted professions (little or no trust):

  • Bloggers 60%
  • MPs 55%
  • Ministers 53%
  • Media 46%

A healthy democracy needs a strong media to hold politicians to account. That about a half of those surveyed don’t trust the media is a major concern.

Bloggers are relatively small, relatively unknown and non-influential. Even the most notorious bloggers, Cameron Slater, David Farrar and Martyn Bradbury are not well known or unknown amongst much of the public.

The major political blogs – Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, Public Address, The Standard and The Daily Blog are fringe media ignored or unknown by most.

Most blogger publicity associates blogs with Dirty Politics. The biggest blogger, Slater, has openly promoted dirt in politics.

It’s generally healthy to be sceptical of MPs.

Most of the major blogs have affiliations or close connections with politics and political parties so it’s no surprise to see that the lack of trust of both groups is similar.

But distrust of the media is a real worry. If they can’t be trusted to keep politicians honest or expose their dishonesty our democracy is in a shaky state.

Institute director Michael Macaulay claims it’s the most in-depth study of its kind undertaken in New Zealand.

“It shows the people, the public, the 1000 people we spoke to don’t trust the media, don’t trust MPs and don’t trust local Government.

“It may well be that this is the result many politicians fear but also expect. It might be something to worry about, it’s certainly something that needs to be discussed.

“But before anyone jumps to conclusions, before anyone goes crazy or takes offence or decries this as the last part of human civilisation, we need to take stock, have a chat and see how bad it actually is.”

To have a proper chat to try to evaluate how bad it actually is we need to see details of the survey. I can’t find them online.

By-election in Clutha-Southland

What are the chances of a by-election in the Clutha-Southland electorate?

It has been  reported that 24 year old MP Todd Barclay, or something related to him in his electorate, is subject to a police inquiry. See Police involved in MP complaint.

Two of Barclay’s staff members have resigned, as has his electorate chairman who said his position was ‘untenable’.

There has been talk of a secret recording being made, but (and this is only online speculation) there are suggestions the problem could potentially be more serious.

There have been posts about this at Kiwiblog – More weirdness in Clutha-Southland – and The Standard – Wee Todd Barclay may have a wee problem with discussions about possibilities in comments.

National have already had electorate problems this term, at the other end of the country in Northland. MP Mike Sabin mysteriously resigned not long after the 2014 election, and the damage from that and the skilled political opportunism of Winston Peters meant an embarrassing electorate loss for National, and the loss of a crucial seat in Parliament.

National can ill afford to lose another electorate and another vote in Parliament.

What are the chances of a by-election in Clutha Southland? I don’t know, it’s too soon to tell.

Could National lose the seat in a by-election? I doubt it, it currently has one of the biggest National majorities in the country. And Winston Peters is tied to his electorate at the opposite end of the country.

Comparing the two electorate party vote results from 2014:

CluthaSouthlandNorthland

Barclay got a similar electorate vote (63.27%) to the party vote.

Labour’s candidate Liz Craig bettered her party result with 19.62% but it’s hard to see a Labour candidate getting close in a by-election. In the past two elections they haven’t stood a local candidate. Craig is an epidemiologist from Dunedin (Otago University child health academic). And  in 2011 Labour’s candidate was Dunedin chiropractor Tat Loo (aka Colonial Viper).

NZ First didn’t stand a candidate in either electorate in 2014.

After Peters won Northland in the by-election last year Southlander Ria Bond entered parliament as NZ First’s next list candidate. But she hasn’t got anything like Peters’ experience or profile, and her background in the hairdressing industry is unlikely to gel in a largely rural electorate.

Bond didn’t stand in an electorate in 2014 so presumably has scant campaigning experience.

So it looks unlikely that National could lose Clutha-Southland in a by-election.

But they could lose a lot of votes and be embarrassed, not just be a reduced winning margin but by the bad publicity another electorate MP in trouble would give them.

Currently John Key and Bill English (who had been Clutha-Southland MP until going list only in 2014) are publicly standing by Barclay.

But they and National can’t risk botching another MP scandal. The Clutha-Southland electorate is probably not a serious threat for them, but the overall party vote and their hold on government could take a serious hit.

A young and inexperienced MP in a super safe seat could potentially end the Key Government’s tenure.

Whatever the police are investigating and whether the police lay charges or not may determine whether there is a by-election in Clutha-Southland.

How National are seen to handle it may significantly influence the outcome of the next election.

Team Key and English are one of National’s  main strengths. Hugging another political corpse would not be a good look. They must have checked out the risks that Barclay poses, it would be politically stupid not to have.

Giving an impression of sweeping things under the carpet will be a bad look.

The Clutha-Southland may not be at risk for National, but Government could be.

 

Police involved in MP complaint

It has been reported that the problems with MP Todd Barclay in the Clutha-Southland electorate involve the police.

Two electorate staff members and National’s electorate chairman have all resigned recently – see Three’s trouble in Clutha-Southland?.

The ODT reports that one of the ex-staff members has made a complaint to the police.

Barclay staff member to talk with police

A Clutha-Southland electorate staff member has confirmed she is in contact with police over a complaint about National MP Todd Barclay.

Barbara Swan, who is working out her notice period in the MP’s Queenstown office, confirmed that a meeting with police had been arranged, but yesterday it was postponed.

‘‘[The police] had requested that, and then they rang and said: ‘It’s been delayed’.” Ms Swan had ‘‘no idea” what police wanted to talk to her about, and she declined to comment further.

The ODT understands the complaint stemmed from the ‘‘employment issue” that led to Gore electorate secretary Glenys Dickson’s departure, and it involves a claim the MP made a secret recording.

It is also understood police in Gore have contacted another person connected to the electorate about the complaint.

Earlier this week Prime Minister John Key played down the problems swirling around New Zealand’s youngest MP. Radio NZ:

PM backs Clutha-Southland MP on staff resignations

Prime Minister John Key is backing Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay following the resignation of three staff members.

Mr Key told Morning Report such staff turnover in an electorate office was not unusual with a change of MP, and Mr Barclay had his full confidence.

“I’ve had the discussion with Bill about it, because he was the former MP, but it’s not something of major significance,” he said.

“I mean there’s clearly been a desire to have a change in staff and it’s changed. It’s not, as I said, entirely unusual when you get a new MP.”

It’s quite unusual when an electorate chairman says that his position is ‘untenable’ and an ex electorate employee makes a complaint to the police.

Wednesday’s Southland Times editorial:

Even safe seats can be high-maintenance

Todd Barclay has now acknowledged he hasn’t “always got it right” and still has a lot to learn as Clutha-Southland MP.

What he hasn’t done is provide even a skerrick of detail about what, exactly, his mis-steps have been and exactly what these areas of profitable study that lie ahead of him may be.

If it clarifies nothing much, his new position is at least a measure of improvement on his unconvincing “problem, what problem?” stance over the resignations of his senior electoral agent in Gore, Glenys Dickson, electorate chairman Stuart Davie, and Queenstown-based electoral agent Barbara Swan.

There’s even murmurs of dumping Barclay:

Now comes the suggestion, we grant you from an unnamed source, that some party members are keen to choose a different candidate to contest next year’s election.

It is hard to escape the view that Barclay has some serious catching-up to do among his own people. That is not to say it can’t be done and the party hierarchy is optimistically saying annual meetings are the place to do it. Can the problem really be that tidily corralled?

It seems far from tidy at this stage. More from Stuff:

Disquiet over MP Todd Barclay’s performance could spark selection challenge

Disquiet over a spate of resignations in Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay’s electorate could spark a challenge from within the National Party at the next election, a party source says.

Stuff.co.nz understands that the “employment problem” which led to Dickson’s resignation relates to unproven allegations of a secret recording made by Barclay, although what was allegedly recorded is unclear.

A number of party sources expressed concerns about Barclay’s dealings with both his staff and his constituents.

Several people suggested the 25-year-old’s age was behind some of the problems, due to his lack of experience.

While one source said the party was working hard to deal with the situation, another person said they were not sure whether officials were aware how widely concern had spread.

“I don’t think that the party has come to grips with ill-feeling in the electorate: I’m hearing a lot of things like ‘We won’t be voting for National again’, and there’s a lot of people who need to be listening.”

National have what should be a very safe majority in Clutha-Southland – one of their largest – but in their third term they can’t afford to lose party votes. It won’t be just Clutha-Souhtland voters who have concerns over these southern rumblings.

Clayton’s MPs

When researching The quiet achiever – tourism I found that Labour’s spokesperson on tourism is Clayton Cosgrove. Clayton who? He seems to have been all but an invisible MP this year.

Cosgrove got some attention in last year’s election by promoting himself in the Waimakariri electorate with barely a mention of Labour. He failed to win, so is a list MP again this term.

After Andrew Little took over Labour’s leadership last year he ranked Cosgrove fairly well down the pecking order. Labour promoted New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up.

Unranked

  • Clayton Cosgrove, Revenue, State Owned Enterprises, Building and Construction, Earthquake Commission, Associate Finance

Not high profile portfolios. And not a high profile spokesperson – since then Cosgrove has put out only three press releases:

In last month’s reshuffle Cosgrove ended up ranked 18th:

Labour List MP in Waimakariri

Spokesperson for Commerce, Veterans’ Affairs, and Tourism
Associate Finance Spokesperson

After this a Dominion Post editorial – The real hope for Labour is the rising star Kelvin Davis – suggested:

Ruth Dyson, however, does not need to be retained as a future Deputy Speaker. She and other politicians, such as Clayton Cosgrove and Damien O’Connor would do the party a favour if they retired.

Being a list MP Cosgrove could quietly retire and let the next person on the list come in gain some experience. So could some of the other dead wood MPs. Labour badly needs fresh talent.

A problem with replenishment off the list is due to Labour’s poor result last election appears to be Maryan Street (3 term MP), followed by Raymond Huo (2 term MP). After that there are some new names, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Rachel Jones.

Cosgrove isn’t the only Labour MP that would do the party a favour by disappearing officially, with Dyson and O’Connor mentioned as other candidates, plus Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran being other candidates.

Plus David Cunliffe is obviously not wanted, and Phil Goff wants out but only if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

Most of these could qualify as Labour’s Clayton’s MPs, the MPs you have when you don’t need them.

Maori Party versus Labour reshuffle

There has been accusations for a long time that the Labour Party claim ownership of a majority Maori vote but don’t pay that back with adequate positions of influence.

And there are arguments about whether Maori MPs in Labour measure up in ability and work ethic against their non-Maori colleagues.

The Maori Party split from Labour in 2004 to give the Maori vote more political voice and power.

Maori Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell has given some of his voice to how Maori have fared in Labour’s reshuffle.

Claire Trevett in Maori Party weigh in on Labour’s reshuffle

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has weighed into the debate over Labour’s reshuffle, saying Andrew Little’s treatment of the Maori MPs and description of Ratana celebrations as “a bit of a beauty parade” treated Maori with disdain.

Mr Flavell said despite all the “noise” about the promotion of Kelvin Davis, Mr Davis had only moved up one place, the highest ranked Maori was now at seven instead of four, three of the seven Maori MPs were in the bottom ten, and Adrian Rurawhe was only one spot above Phil Goff, who will leave Parliament if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

“It seems to me that Labour are happy to pocket Maori votes at election time but once they’re in Parliament they seem to be put in their place.”

A common complaint aimed at Labour.

Mr Flavell said Mr Little’s description of the annual pilgrimage of politicians to Ratana as “a bit of a beauty parade” was an indication of Mr Little’s attitude toward Maori.

“On the face of it it’s pretty demeaning. It shows how little he values tikanga Maori and in particular the historical political alliance between Ratana and Labour.

But a Labour MP backs up his leader:

However, Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe, who is the great grandson of TW Ratana, backed up his leader, saying it was true that the politicians’ day was “a bit of a showpiece” and more constructive discussion happened outside that day.

“I think he’s incredibly honest and it is a bit of a showpiece for Ratana and for the politicians.

Rurawhe was ranked 31 out of 32 by Little so needs to do a lot to be seen as valued in Labour. Like praise his leader.

He is one of four Maori MPs in the bottom six in Labour’s new pecking order, The other two are Phil Goff who has signalledintent to resign next year and David Cunliffe who seems to have been given the message to leave the Labour ship.

Labour’s Maori MPs and their Trans-Tasman ratings for 2015:

7. Kelvin Davis – 6
Is getting the hang of how to use the media and register some hits. Gets up the PM’s nose, and has a social conscience. Did he pick the right cause re deportation of criminals from Aust? Is ready to be thrown into the attack and relishing it.

12. Nanai Mahuta – 4
An enigma. Many would say she does nothing, others would say she plays a vital role in helping Labour hold on to Maori support.

20. Meka Whatiri – 3
Has been making a bit more noise on water issues, but must cut through the chatter.

22. Peeni Henare – 3
Has the political pedigree and is a worker behind the scenes, but needs more public wins and so far hasn’t stepped up with anything memorable.

27. Rino Tirikatene – 2
Another MP going nowhere fast. No prospect of advancement. Should look to his future.

29. Poto Williams – 4
Labour internal party politics hurts her. Is preferred local Labour MP for businesses wanting a serious conversation.

30. Louisa Hareruia Wall – 4.5
Has been stymied from shining due to factional politics. Is progressive and works well on cross party issues. Still has potential.

31. Adrian Rurawhe – 3.5
Makes a contribution to the committee stages of Bills – serving his apprenticeship.

So apart from Davis Trans-Tasman rate the Labour MPs differently to Andrew Little. It would be interesting to see them rated from a Maori persepctive.

It’s worth noting that aspiring Maori politicians also stand for parties other than Labour and the Maori Party.

Winston Peters leads NZ First (who have 3 other Maori MPs).

Metiria Turei co-leads the Green Party (two other Maori MPs and the Greens strongly promote Maori issues).

National’s top ranked Maori MPs:

5. Paula Bennett – rated as a future prospect for National leader

10. Hekia Parata

Trans-Tasman: top MP David Seymour

In their annual assessment of MP performance Trans Tasman has named rookie ACT MP for Epsom David Seymour as their top MP for 2015.

David Seymour, Epsom – 8.5

Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform.

What a performance from Seymour. Given a free ride into the House, made leader of a rump party, no one expected much of him. He has proved them all wrong, and become a strong positive MP. He’s been everywhere and is a hard worker – a real surprise. If anyone can make ACT relevant again, it’s Seymour – he’s the man.

This doesn’t surprise me.

Seymour showed potential when I heard him speak at the Act Southern Conference in the middle of last year. I also spoke to him in person and initial impressions were positive.

He then did the hard yards and won Epsom to get a seat back for ACT in Parliament.

He then had to deal with establishing his electorate presence in Epsom, re-establish an ACT Party presence in Parliament, work with the Government and make a mark for himself.

He seems to have managed all of this admirably.

And he is young and hard working enough to do more, possibly far more.

ACT’s big challenge is to find some candidates to build on Seymour’s success.

More from Trans-Tasman:

2015 Politician Of The Year – David Seymour While not exactly a political novice – he has form in student politics, and stood unsuccessfully twice in Auckland seats before getting elected, as well as being an adviser to then ACT leader John Banks, 32 year old David Seymour is in his first term in Parliament, he is a novice as a party leader, and coalition member. The surprise is how well he has performed, and the degree to which he seems to have made ACT a potential vote winner again. Sure he made the odd “coq” up, but no more than many of his colleagues.

He has handled his work with dedication, he is “everywhere” and he is a genuine talent. ACT’s charter school policies could turn out to be one of the successes of the coalition in policy terms and his move to ensure bars could open during the Rugby World Cup showed how in touch he is with public thinking.

He gets the nod as politician of the year because he is at the vanguard of a new wave of politicians – starting with a back to basics approach both in electorate and Parliamentary work.

He’s doing what a minor party should do under MMP – giving support, but making the Govt’s life difficult as well, and he is also doing it tactically. He has proven he can master the Parliamentary bun fight, now he needs to show he can make his party relevant.

Source: http://publications.themainreport.nz/transtasman/downloads/Roll%20Call%202015.pdf

Jan Logie’s ‘many rapists are not always monsters’ comments

There is now a clip at One News of Jan Logie’s comments on rapists – ‘Rapists are not always monsters’ – Green Party MP

LogieOnRapists

Logie: The problem is, and what makes it so hard to disclose in this country and anywhere else is we create the perception that rapists are monsters, that nobody could ever associate with them.

But the truth is that many rapists and sexual offenders are known to us, they’re our family members, they are people that were previously our friends.

So when the Prime Minister creates this impression that this is the absolute worst possible thing it is silencing so many survivors and victims of violence.

Interviewer: Isn’t it though for some people the worst possible thing?

Logie: It is truly an awful awful experience, and these are peoeple we know, and part of what makes it hard to disclose and to hold those people to account  is that we also know them, in many cases as people who are not always monsters.

Now I think I sort of get the point that she’s trying to make, but this is likely to dismay many peoeple who have suffered from rape and sexual assault. And others.

Yes, many people convicted of sexual crimes were friends or family of the victim. (Some are strangers).

And yes, there’s a wide variety of levels of seriousness of sexual crimes.

And yes, some sexual offenders don’t always act like monsters. They may have only once acted like a monster. And they have to live in society after committing their crimes.

But this is a very strange approach from Logie.

If John Key had tried to play down the seriousness or monstrosity of rape like this my guess is that he would have been widely and strongly criticised. He woulld have been hammered. He would still be getting a hammering.

Very odd comments from Logie.

UPDATE: Logie had also posted this the previous day:

The Government’s treatment of sexual violence survivors and history of cutting funding to sexual and family violence services stands in stark contrast to John Key’s tirade about rapists in Parliament yesterday, the Green Party says.

Prime Minister John Key caused widespread offence yesterday with his outburst claiming that members of the opposition were “backing rapists” when they questioned his Government’s unwillingness to challenge Australia’s record on human rights.

“John Key should ditch the playground abuse and turn his energy to backing the rights of sexual violence survivors who, by and large, have had a tough time under this Government,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Rape crisis centres, and other sexual and family violence services have been forced to cut services under the National Government, victims of sexual violence have been denied help because of ACC changes, and John Key backed decisions to shelve the Law Commission’s work on alternative trials for sexual violence crimes and gut family court protections.

“John Key himself has a history of publicly minimising sexual violence, once telling the young men known as Roast Busters, who got young girls drunk in order to abuse them, to “grow up”.

“My Select Committee inquiry into sexual violence services funding has highlighted huge problems in funding for services, including the need for secure, long-term funding.

“The fact remains, that only about one percent of sexual violence offences result in a conviction, but despite this, the Government has given the Law Commission an impossible time frame to come up with good solutions on alternative trials or other ways to improve the low conviction rate.

“The Government has corrected some of its mistakes lately  – including an emergency funding allocation to keep some services afloat, – but much more is needed before victims feel safe coming forward, and violence is prevented from occurring in the first place,” Ms Logie said.

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