Parliament’s winners and losers

Audrey Young on This term’s winners and losers as Parliament winds up for the election

Winners

Chris Finlayson…

…has been a highly productive minister, getting 16 treaty settlement bills passed in the Parliament this term, out of 287 passed altogether.

Judith Collins…

…can be classed a winner…she has been on her best behaviour, showing no outward signs of ambition (other than a faux challenge of English for the leadership) and has applied her bent for populism to tax issues.

Julie Anne Genter…

…has enhanced her reputation, needling away daily at Simon Bridges on transport, which earned a promotion from No 8 on the party list to No 3

Marama Fox…

…began the term as a new MP and with huge shoes to fill as co-leader, replacing Tariana Turia. She has well and truly been noticed, with a larger than life personality, and her willingness to work with Opposition parties.

Chris Bishop…

…has been one of the outstanding backbenchers.

Michael Wood…

…has been an impressive figure in Labour’s backbench after winning the Mt Roskill byelection in December.

Losers

The failures this term, especially in the past few weeks, have been pronounced with the resignation of two party leaders, Andrew Little as Labour leader and Metiria Turei as Green co-leader.

Andrew Little’s…

…failure to connect with voters had such as impact on support that he stood to lose his own list seat.

Todd Barclay…

…trashed his own career…

Chris Hipkins…

…has damaged his credibility by claiming to have asked questions about New Zealand citizenship to minister Peter Dunne (one of the 42, 239 written questions) without knowing anything about Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Winners and Losers

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman…

…did a great job in getting the Cabinet to support the historic $2 billion pay equity settlement for aged-care and support workers.

But health has started to become a problem area for the Government this year and Coleman’s combative style has been a hindrance, not a help.

Nick Smith…

…has a grasp for detail but no longer for politics. He has trashed his reputation on a series of housing and environmental issues this term.

Sue Moroney…

…made a big impact as a Labour backbencher, particularly in paid parental leave, but failed to build sufficient relationships in her own party to retain a winnable list position.

Bill English…

…originally claiming he didn’t know who had told him that Barclay had recorded his electorate agent.

Young didn’t mention it but English won the top prize, Prime Minister.

Budget winners and whiners

There’s no way of knowing if the budget is an election winner for National (it won’t harm their chances and will probably enhance them) but as a smart, sensible, pragmatic budget that appears to care for families it has to be a winner for National for the moment.

Peter Dunne is claiming it’s a good budget for UnitedFuture with some justification. It nudges Paid Parental Leave in their policy direction and with Dunne having an involvement in health and families the extension of free doctors visits and prescriptions for children have to be a personal win.

There is little specifically for the Maori Party but it won’t do them any harm.

The budget was never going to slash public spending so ACT don’t win anything from it.

The opposition parties made it look like they were losers with very negative attacks, but this may clash with general public perceptions.

In reality Labour mustn’t be disappointed with aspects of this budget at least. David Parker has acknowledged this. If this was a Labour budget they would be applauded, and it won’t cause them any difficulties if they take over Government and economic management later this year.

But David Cunliffe has chosen a very negative reaction, which portrays it as a loss despite claiming National have stolen some of their policies. And National have cunningly sold it as both prudent and caring, and Labour are left claiming they would do more – which means spend more, so their claims that the surplus is fudged looks sticky.

Russel Norman tried to portray it as a ‘cabinet club’ budget, benefiting a select few rich people at the expense of the poor. It don’t think he’ll get much credit for this approach, it’s hardly a way to build support.

Winston Peters grumped about it as if the country has lost something but it’s his mojo that’s hard to find.

Hone Harawira complained there was nothing in it for Maori and “we didn’t even get crumbs for kids” but both those groups will benefit from more free health care and an improving financial position for the country. What Harawira means is he didn’t win handouts for his constituency.

The handout mentality didn’t win anything from the election. Many will applaud that.

National have crafted a crafty budget and are the big winners, with Dunne picking up some of the glory.

It won’t win the election but it will make it harder for Labour and Greens to win. They were practising losing speeches yesterday.

They can still win the election, but they have to start looking like potential winners.

Yesterday John Key and Bill English looked like they were on the podium already. People like voting for winners, not whiners.