Winston Peters hasn’t dropped legal action against National Party

Conflicting reports this morning on whether Winston Peters has dropped legal action against the National Party and National MPs.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters hasn’t dropped legal action against National Party

NZ First leader Winston Peters has agreed to drop his legal action and pay costs to former National Party leader Bill English and other former ministers over the leak of his superannuation overpayments.

Peters was taking legal action against English, Paula Bennett, Steven Joyce and Anne Tolley as well as two staff members while trying to uncover who leaked details of his superannuation overpayments to the media before last year’s election.

It is understood Peters has now agreed to withdraw the legal action and pay some of the legal costs for the National Party MPs and staff – believed to be about $10,000.

The National side had said they would take further action on costs if a settlement was not reached.

But Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry has just been on RNZ and has stated that this is incorrect.

He said that the first legal action was over – on behalf of Peters he had sought documents, and as is normal when that happens, costs needed to be paid. he wouldn’t confirm or deny the amount of costs.

The defendants will be identified when the next legal claim is lodged. Bill English, Paula Bennett, Anne Tolley, former ministerial staff Wayne Eagleson and Clark Hennessy, and journalists Lloyd Burr and Tim Murphy were included in the first action.

Henry would only say that action has been dropped against the two journalists. He says that they were never intended to be a part of the eventual legal action.

But he refused to say which of the MPs and staff might be still subject to future legal action.

Henry said no statement of claim has been lodged, and would not say when that was likely to happen – he said that these things take time.

Chief of Staff turnover

Change of government elections always bring about changes of personnel, and not just of MPs. Some Parliamentary staff no longer have jobs, and new ones are appointed.

John Key’s long time chief of staff Wayne Eagleson also worked for Bill English when he took over, but announced he was quitting after the election – NZH: Bill English’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson quits

The man who’s often been referred to as the most powerful non-elected politician in the country is quitting.

Wayne Eagleson has been Sir John Key and Bill English’s chief of staff for 12 years, but says it’s time to look at other options.

Mr Eagleson will stay around until the new Government is formed, which is expected to be around mid-October.

Eagleson formally told Bill English last week he planned to resign after the election but insiders say it has been known by the Ninth Floor for several months that he planned to go, no matter what the election result.

It is a very demanding job, and of vital importance to the functioning of Government.

Helen Clark’s stalwart chief of staff is back helping Ardern : Helen Clark’s top advisor returns to Labour Party

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s top advisor, Heather Simpson, has returned to advise the new Labour Government.

Ms Simpson has a three-decade working relationship with Ms Clark, working as chief of staff to the Labour Party before spending eight years advising Ms Clark at the UN.

Her return is seen as a sign of Labour’s move to strengthen its management team behind the scenes.

She is assisting with the staffing of minister’s offices and ‘reviewing the review’ of the campaign.

She was known as H2 alongside H1 (Clark) – Grant Robertson has been refereed to as H3 when he worked in Clark’s office.

The Greens have also had a change:

Andrew Campbell is leaving New Zealand Rugby to take on the role of chief strategist. He was previously chief of staff for the Greens. He was involved during the campaign, before joining the negotiating team.

Greens announced in April last year:

Green Party Chief of Staff Andrew Campbell has announced his resignation from the position after five and a half years with the party.

Andrew Campbell has overseen the recruitment process for his replacement, and it is anticipated an appointment will be made within the coming weeks.

“Andrew indicated his intention to leave the Greens after the 2014 election, but offered to stay on to oversee the transition to our new male Co-leader James Shaw, and lead the internal change management process after James was elected,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“Andrew ran our communications through our two most successful election campaigns and has been a real asset to the Party,” said Mrs Turei.

Campbell seems to have been lured by the Green’s elevation to a position of power. NBR on 12 August (just after Turei resigned and Greens crashed in the polls – The man who could save the Greens:

I gave Mr Campbell a call at NZ Rugby, where he’s now working as a communications manager. In short forget a political comeback.

“I’m really enjoying my work here,” he said. He had no desire to return to politics, or indeed even comment on recent events.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the change of Chief of staff for NZ First – that warrants a separate post. See Johansson appointed NZ First chief of staff


The unsung staff of Parliament

Politicians get a lot of attention, especially party leaders and Ministers and the Prime Minister. Normally unsung are the staff of Parliament whose efforts make the jobs of politicians possible. And a change of government means a lot of work for them – for those who keep their jobs that is. An outgoing government means a number of jobs are no longer.

From Stuff Below the Beltway:

Spare a thought for Parliamentary staff this weekend as they get stuck into the mammoth task of shifting one Government out and moving another one in. There will be 50-plus people working through the weekend and the week ahead painstakingly clearing offices and moving everything to the basement, from where they will shift the contents across to MPs’ new offices. Something like 30,000 boxes will be moved during the process.

One of the top positions, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, was going to change anyway, but as signalled long time Beehive stalwart. Patrick Gower paid tribute to Wayne Eagleson:

Last day for Prime Minister’s Chief-of-Staff Wayne Eagleson.

Lieutenant to John Key and Bill English – a great political mind, and a Good Kiwi.

Cheers Wayne.

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Eagleson quitting PM’s office

Wayne Eagleson, who has been the Prime Ministers’ chief of staff for nine years (for John Key and Bill English), is quitting after coalition negotiations are complete.

Stuff:  National Party’s most senior adviser resigns

National leader Bill English’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson has resigned.

Eagleson has been a pivotal figure for the past nine years in the National government, and Stuff has been told he will stay on for the next few weeks while negotiations carry on to form a government.

Eagleson was particularly close to former leader John Key and stayed on after English asked him to do so following the change of leadership.

But he had been widely expected to go after the election.

So it’s no surprise, and a logical time to quit – unlike the Green chief of staff and also their political director who both quit with their party in crisis heading into the election campaign.

Once private secretary to former Prime Minister Jim Bolger Eagleson was often said to be the one running the country when Key was out of town.”When Eagleson says it, Key says it,” many an insider has been known to say, and the MPs believed it too.

Eagleson was one of the earliest appointments English made, before he himself was formally appointed in fact – a testament to just how much his strategic mind is valued by the National Party.

He has been hugely influential behind the scenes in National and his attributes of being calm and unflappable were seen as contributing to the Key Government’s success.

It’s an important position. Helen Clark also had a dependable and long serving chief of staff, Heather Simpson (H2).