Sludge Report #166 – 2004 Parliamentary Awards
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Scoop's 2004 Parliamentary Awards
The following awards recognise New Zealand Members of Parliament for their notable achievements and notable gaffes during the course of 2004. They were decided by a panel of Scoop.co.nz experts and the judges' decisions are final. No correspondence will be entered into. For the avoidance of doubt certificates will not be issued to recipients.
Politician of the year – Helen Clark
For serenely rising above the political melee for most of the year, swiftly dispatching any miscreant ministers, and ending the year in a commanding position with all her i's dotted and t's crossed ready to win a third general election as Leader of the Labour Party.
Minister of the year – Michael Cullen
For maintaining large surpluses, doling out a considerable amount of dosh to the middle classes and having the National Party finally concede that his Super plan for the baby boomers will indeed be the centrepiece of NZ economic policy for the next five decades.
Shadow Minister of the year – John Key
For sounding like he's having a party all day every day.
Backbencher of the year – Tim Barnett
For proving that at least one Labour backbencher actually does something.
Opposition backbencher of the year – Ron Mark
For not putting on airs for the media and just being himself, full of energy, frothy and deeply in touch with his likes and dislikes.
Consciences of the year – Keith Locke & Matt Robson
For consistently championing what are unpopular causes in the rather stifling halls of power such as Ahmed Zaoui, the war against the war on terror and in Iraq, civil and political rights (in particular the right of prisoners to sue if abused in prison). Whilst Messrs Robson and Locke's views are often derided in Parliament, this shows just how out of touch most politicians are rather than these dynamic defenders of human rights.
Most effective effort in career reengineering – Margaret Wilson
For stepping so deftly out of the limelight early in the year positioning herself perfectly to take on the role of NZ's first woman speaker.
Biggest legal flip flop of the year – Margaret Wilson
For publicly stating that the Government would not be appealing the Court of Appeal decision on Ahmed Zaoui's human rights on the grounds that the decision appeared very clear, and then promptly announcing that they would be.
The Enoch Powell commendation for oratory – Don Brash
For the most memorable speech of the year.
The Strom Thurmond memorial trophy – Don Brash
For the most effective use of appeals to the red neck agenda to achieve political aims.
The Kodak moment award – Don Brash
For being caught on camera receiving a mud pie, and remaining calm throughout.
Special award for having an AWOL conscience – Lockwood Smith
For explaining that for him to vote against the Civil Unions Bill - as he did against Homosexual law reform - would be a kick in the guts for the gay community, and then proceeding to do just that.
The Enron/ accounting award – National's Finance/Justice Team
For proposing a criminal justice policy which might quite possibly cost upwards of $2 billion without any apparent thought of where this money would come from, or whether it might be better spent elsewhere.
The Stagecoach award for being run over by a very obvious oncoming bus - Paul Swain & Phil Goff
For being caught flat footed in the wake of the National Party's abolishing parole criminal justice policy in spite of the fact that it had been telegraphed for months.
Most graceful fall from lofty heights – Bill English
For maintaining poise and energy and taking the battle back to Mallard in the face of relatively recent extreme political humiliation.
Canadian Mounties commendation for getting his woman – Richard Prebble
For pursuing Donna Awatere-Huata far beyond the call of duty, against the wishes of most of his colleagues, and in the end succeeding in his quest.
The Rupert Murdoch media management trophy – Tony Ryall
For misusing the force that is the media consistently for his own beat-ups and with amazing consistency. Throughout 2004 one could rely on National's Tony Ryall to grab a difficult issue and go for the headlines regardless of the consequences – whether it was prisoners being abused, refugees being out of work or teens having sex. Whilst others, notably NZ First's Dail Jones, pushed hard for this award, Mr Ryall wins hand down because he does know better.
Homer Simpson award for decisive thinking - Nanaia Mahuta & Georgina Beyer
For making up their mind so quickly and decisively over the question of the Foreshore and Seabed bill.
The Pitbull Breeders belt for dogged determination – Katherine Rich
For savaging the Community and Employment Group of the DOL and then not letting go of the carcass.
The Emperor's New Clothes award for pointing out the blindingly obvious – Jeanette Fitzsimons
For finally pushing the Peak Oil debate onto the national political stage.
The Winston Peters waka jumping baton – Tariana Turia
For principled and timely use of a resignation letter, and a spectacular by-election victory.
Most disingenuous use of an interjection – David Benson-Pope
For remarking "get on a plane" during a question on the status of refugee Ahmed Zaoui.
Caught out in the deep award - Lianne Dalziel
For a poorly delivered spin relating to chucking a Sri-Lankan. Dalziel had her press secretary leak some lawyers notes to the Press Gallery on a Sri-Lankan girl who was seeking refuge from sexual abuse in NZ (In the notes the lawyer indicated that going public with her story would be part of their strategy) – and then lied about the leak to the house. A move that led swiftly to her resignation.
The Robin Hood award for marksmanship during question time – Judith Collins
For asking the question that ultimately led Lianne Dalziel to her downfall.
The Fish & Chips award - Winston Peters
For fishing Labour out of a hole when the chips were down over the foreshore and seabed.
The CIR's special commendation for services to the IRD– Rodney Hide
For uncovering unpaid taxes at the Waipareira trust.
For an injury in the line of duty whilst performing services for diplomacy - Dail Jones
For mistiming a hook off an Aussie diplomat's fast delivery during a charity cricket match, taking a blow to the head and consequently a ride to hospital.
The General Custer trophy for innovation in defence policy - Simon Power
For announcing in a speech that under National NZ would follow the US, UK and Australia into conflict "unreservedly" and promptly losing his defence spokesmanship.