Armstrong rates Labour-NZ First Cabinet Ministers

John Armstrong has rated the first year performances of the Cabinet Ministers in the Labour-NZ First government (Greens are missed, presumably because their ministers are outside Cabinet).

Labour ministers:

  • JACINDA ARDERN, Prime Minister, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Child Poverty Reduction. Score: 9/10
    In short, Ardern is a class act. The public is entranced by her.
  • KELVIN DAVIS, Corrections, Maori Crown Relations, Tourism. Score: 2/10
    …has been a huge disappointment in Government.
  • GRANT ROBERTSON, Finance, Sport and Recreation. Score: 8/10
    As solid as the proverbial rock. Has done much to dispel Labour’s “spend, spend, spend” reputation
  • PHIL TWYFORD, Housing and Urban Development, Transport.  Score: 7/10
    And he may well get close enough to claim victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • MEGAN WOODS, Energy and Resources, Christchurch Regeneration, Research, Science and Innovation. Score: 6/10
    Smart and feisty, she is one to watch.
  • CHRIS HIPKINS, Education, State Services. Score: 6/10
    Walking a tightrope on teachers’ pay.
  • ANDREW LITTLE, Justice, Courts, Treaty Negotiations. Pike River Re-Entry.  Score: 8/10
    Little has flowered into being one of Labour’s ministerial stars.
  • CARMEL SEPULONI, Social Development, Disability Issues. Score: 5/10
    …it is taking a long time for anything to happen in her portfolio.
  • DAVID CLARK, Health. Score: 6.5/10
    …is not looking like ending up being a loser.
  • DAVID PARKER, Attorney General, Trade, Environment, Economic Development. Score: 7.5/10
    Labour’s wise owl. Not just smart, but street-smart to boot.
  • NANAIA MAHUTA, Māori Development, Local Government. Score: 5/10
    Pretty much invisible media-wise. But has quietly worked away…
  • STUART NASH, Police, Fisheries, Revenue. Score: 6/10
    Has hardly set the world alight. 
  • IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY, Workplace Relations, Immigration, ACC. Score: 5/10
    Prior to this week’s snafu over his decision to grant New Zealand residency to a Czech kick-boxer serving time for drug-smuggling, he had impressed as someone solid, careful and unflappable in portfolios…
  • JENNY SALESA, Building and Construction, Ethnic Communities. Score: 3/10
  • DAMIEN O’CONNOR, Agriculture, Biosecurity. Score: 7/10
    So far, his decisions seem to have been all the right ones.

NZ First ministers:

  • WINSTON PETERS, Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, State Owned Enterprises, Racing. Score: 8.5/10
    Deserving of huge plaudits for refocusing New Zealand’s foreign policy…Deserving of equivalent-sized brickbat for his obvious, but yet-to-be explained, reluctance to admonish Russia…
  • TRACEY MARTIN, Children, Internal Affairs, Seniors. Score: 6/10
    Martin stumbled badly in her handling of the inquiry into the appointment of Wally Haumaha…Far more important as far as her party is concerned is that the flow of bad-news stories seeping out of Oranga Tamariki…
  • RON MARK, Defence. Score: 6/10
    At long last, New Zealand has a defence minister who actually wanted the portfolio.
  • SHANE JONES, Regional Economic Development, Infrastructure. Score: 8/10
    …a Comedy of Errors or All’s Well Which Ends Well. On his current form, you have to lean towards the latter.

More details:

Grading one year of government

After a year in charge here are some gradings of the parties in Government.

Labour: B-

There have been some wins, let’s be clear about that.but at some point the pain of those on the bottom must shame this Party into actually doing something, not just pretty words and symbolism.

Jacinda continues to be their strongest performer with Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, David Parker, Willie Jackson, Kiritapu Allan, Deborah Russell, Marja Lubeck, Tamiti Coffey, Damien O’Connor, Greg O’Connor and Michael Wood being star performers to date.

Lot’s of talking, very little walking at this stage.

NZ First: B+

…they’ve done enough to keep their voters happy. The weird thing about the NZ values was just laughable. If Jones can get the forestry side working from planting, to cutting to working the wood here to building with it, he will be one of the greatest economic architects NZ has ever produced.

Greens: C-

After the meltdown of the 2017 election, there have been some wins, of that there can be no doubt, while Chloe, Jan Logie and Julie Anne Genter continue to be their best performers…but unfortunately it’s the fuck ups that gain media attention.

The Greens have become a middle class vehicle for alienating woke identity politics…

The Greens have gone backwards every election for the last 3 elections, tone policing on Twitter (I’m not making that up, there really is a ‘tone policing’ call out) doesn’t seem the way forward.

That’s from Martyn Bradbury in One year of the new Government: The faded hope of a hollow promise – grading Labour, NZ First & Greens


There have been small victories but essentially the neoliberal bureaucracy and Ministries rule this Government, not the other way around and unless Labour, NZ First and the Greens find a way to shame the Ministries into reform, the Wellington Elites will continue to run the agenda, not the representatives of the people.

So the revolution driven by the Auckland Left has not transpired, yet at least.

Another left wing view (David Cormack): The politics of doing jack-all

Government, it’s time to start dominating the story. This last quarter you did jack-all and went up in the polls anyway.

When you started you were a shambles. You were disorganised, you didn’t know what you were doing, you clearly hadn’t expected to be in government and you out-sourced all your actual governing to others.

Oh sure you have done some things, and you’re running a lot better now, but if the government was a movie, this last year felt less like an action packed resolution scene, and more like a long establishing shot. An establishing shot full of working groups.

So while the past 12 months has been marked by the Government slowly getting its act together …the next 12 months promise more. But with that promise comes risk, because there’s a lot of hype about this politics of kindness. And if people start to feel like they’re not getting what they voted for then you’ll burn through a lot of capital. And it’s debatable whether you’ve earned much capital to burn.

More from Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Verdicts on the Government’s first year

And an editorial from ODT: Labour’s satisfactory first year

The passing of the one-year mark by the coalition Government has provided opportunities to assess its performance. Generally, these reviews have been positive, and we agree with these opinions.

But, when all is said and done, the Government will flourish or flounder on economic conditions. If the lack of business confidence is reflected in employment and growth, if changed industrial laws affect competitiveness, if New Zealand becomes too expensive and less efficient as it is in danger of becoming then Labour will suffer.

Just as the strong United States economy has helped add a layer to President Donald Trump’s support, so Labour’s success will depend on the economy and on-going effects of Labour’s policies on people’s monetary wellbeing. So far so good. Labour and its coalition have navigated the first year satisfactorily.

And they are still in, which has exceeded some expectations. They have the opportunity to do a lot more over the next two years and live up to some of their promise and promises.


Trans-Tasman 2017 MP and party ratings

Trans-Tasman has published their 2017 rating of MPs and parties. Kiwiblog has details (but links to the wrong year).

Average Ratings per Party

  1. ACT 5.5 (-1.5)
  2. National 4.0 (+0.3)
  3. Labour 5.0 (+0.9)
  4. Green 4.8 (+1.3)
  5. NZ First 4.5 (+1.4)

ACT is really the top rated party? Their party vote dropped from 0.69% (2014) to 0.5%.

Ratings for MPs in Parliament up to the election:

Top MPs

  1. Jacinda Ardern 8.5 (+4.5)
  2. Bill English 8.0 (-0.5)
    David Parker 8.0 (+2.0)
  3. Amy Adams 7.5 (-1.0)
    Simon Bridges 7.5 (nc)
    Christopher Finlayson 7.5 (nc)
    Steven Joyce 7.5 (+0.5)
  4. Anne Tolley 7.0 (nc)
    Andrew Little 7.0 (+0.5)
    Trevor Mallard 7.0 (+3.0)
    Grant Robertson 7.0 (+2.5)
  5. Nikki Kaye 6.5 (+1.0)
    Paula Bennett 6.5 (-0.5)
    Chris Bishop 6.5 (+1.0)
    Judith Collins 6.5 (+0.5)
    Julie Anne Genter 6.5 (+1.0)

Top Labour MPs

  1. Jacinda Ardern 8.5 (+4.5)
  2. David Parker 8.0 (+2.0)
  3. Andrew Little 7.0 (+0.5)
    Trevor Mallard 7.0 (+3.0)
    Grant Robertson 7.0 (+2.5)
  4. David Clark 6.0 (+2.5)
    Chris Hipkins 6.0 (nc)
    Stuart Nash 6.0 (+1.0)
    Damien O’Connor (-1.5)
    Phil Twyford 6.0 (+0.5)

Top Third Party MPs

  1. Julie Anne Genter 6.5 (+1.0)
  2. Winston Peters 6.0 (-1.5)
    James Shaw 6.0 (nc)
  3. David Seymour 5.5 (-1.5)
  4. Shane Jones 5.0
    Ron Mark 5.0 (+1.0)
    Eugenie Sage 5.0 (+1.0)

Interesting to see Genter rated ahead of Shaw. She will have tough competition to become the new Green (female) co-leader.

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



RNZ audience up

Radio New Zealand has revamped itself and as a result it’s audience is climbing.

Here are the latest survey numbers:


That has to be good as media options have fragmented a lot over the last decade in particular.

Content is important but a lack of advertising must help a lot now as people more actively seek respite from the commercial onslaught.

I think that having a public broadcast option is essential.


Trans Tasman’s MP ratings

Trans Tasman has publi their 2016 MP ratings. These are under subscription but Stacey Kirk has some of their more notable scores in  ‘Our best and worst MPs: Quiet achiever Amy Adams takes top gong


  • Amy Adams 8.5
    “She’s had an outstanding year as Justice Minister. She’s handled a huge workload with calm and confidence, and through it she’s been media-friendly, unflappable and accessible.”
    (see MP of the year – Amy Adams)
  • John Key 8.5Key’s “extraordinary media schedule”, may have seen a more subdued Prime Minister, “no one questions his vital importance to winning a fourth term”. 
  • Bill English 8.5English’s “vast experience” had given much the same quiet confidence Adams was now finding, which mean English had “the ability to take the heat out of issues that threaten to run out of control”. 
  • Murray McCully 8.0Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully had “huge year on the foreign affairs front”, particularly with the UN Security Council. But if it wasn’t for the Saudi sheep deal, he may have scored higher.
  • Chris Finlayson 7.5
    Due to his treaty negotiations.

At the bottom:

  • Sam Lotu-Iiga 4.5
    “needs to be faster on his feet”
  • Louise Upston 4.5
    “poor performer in the media”


  • Andrew Little 6.5
    – leadership was “solid”, which on it’s own meant he had a good year. The transTasman editors said he lost marks for sounding like union leader, rather than alternative Prime Minister. 
  • Kelvin Davis 6.5
    “cracked open the Serco scandal and made the most of it,” but had to be cautious about “going over the top”
  • Annette King 6.0
    “invaluable” deputy leader, who kept the caucus “and occasionally the leader”, in line
  • Phil Twyford 5.5
    He has a tendency to get “over the top”, and loose data based on the number of Auckland houses sold to people with Chinese- sounding names, does not make a story of overseas property speculation.It does make it impossibly hard for his leader and caucus colleagues to defend however, when allegations of xenophobia inevitably start flying.

No rating given but didn’t ‘fare as well’:

  • Jacinda Ardern
    “at risk of losing her lustre altogether”, “pleasant MP who smiles a lot”, but she had done little with her justice portfolio.
  • Grant Robertson
    Labour’s “strongest debater in the house”, but was failing to land any blows on English. “Must get traction in the finance portfolio”.

Robertson and Ardern went close to becoming Labour’s leadership team.

No MPs from other parties rated a mention from Kirk apart from: Winston Peters’ NZ First party to sap up the protest vote in any “Trump” style rebellion at next year’s election.

The NZ First vote probably tends to be more a vote against the others than a vote for them.

Michael Laws to be Sterilisation Selector chief?

Or just mischief.

Ratings time must be due in radioland. Michael Laws is at his attention seeking best (or worst):

Stop feckless mums having more kids

One of the great moral disasters of our time is that our society lets inadequate people have children. In fact, it doesn’t just allow the pathetic to become parents, it positively encourages it.

We do so through a social welfare system originally designed to stop such folk starving on the streets. Now we encourage the feckless and the failed to reproduce themselves.

That’s really trying to appeal to a demographic.

But oh no, it’s better to let people breed than do the right thing. Sterilise them. Failing that, pay them not to breed. Stop them from ever having children.

Laws doesn’t give details about how this might be done. Of course he knows it can’t be done in a decent society. But he doesn’t get ratings boosts from decent people.

This is the crazy consequence of surmising and supposing that having a child is an inalienable right. It is time to say, that it is not. Society has a duty to determine the calibre and character of its future generations. And that right is greater.

Laws would never put himself in a position of chief Selection Selector. And he doesn’t wear a Brown Shirt. He just promotes his brown arm, to stir up hate so he can rate.

At his most disgraceful.

Talkback doesn’t get so excited about teaching better parenting skills and family planning.