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Top report card for Prime Minister

Top report card for Prime Minister

Prime Minister Helen Clark is top of the class but some colleagues take the dunce prize in a performance report on our MPs, just published by leading political newsletter Trans Tasman.

The report card, dubbed Roll Call, assesses and rates the performance by MPs during the year, giving them a tally between 0-10.

Clark notches the highest score, edging up from 8.5 last year to 9 in 2004. “Clawed back lost ground, heading for a third term and hungry for it. She’s good,” says the tipster style sheet.

The pithy appraisals and are put together by the Trans Tasman editors and contributors from within the corridors of power, says Max Bowden, Trans Tasman’s publisher.

“Many of our MPs, especially list MPs, are quite anonymous. People need to know what sort of contribution they’ve made in Parliament, and about the way they do their work,” Bowden says.

“Trans Tasman is one of the only vehicles in which an honest non-partisan view of the political parties and MPs can be delivered. Sometimes it’s harsh, but we consider it justified after exhaustive editorial discussions on the fairness of the comments about each MP.”

Not only was Clark ahead of the pack. Deputy Prime Minister Dr Michael Cullen crosses second with 8, consistent with his 2003 ranking. “Fireproof, competent, Clark’s indispensable fixer and gunman. Doesn’t want to be leader – he’s priceless.”

The pair overshadowed Opposition leader Dr Don Brash on 7 (6.5 previously) and Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee at 6.5 (6).

Roll Call says Brash was surprised by the impact of his Orewa speech. “… didn’t know how to maintain the momentum, and needs to find out fast. Still proving himself.”

Brownlee also came under fire. “Labour hopes voters will realise he’ll be Deputy PM if National gains office – which should stop that happening. Does a good job in the House, which his boss doesn’t.”

Of the other major party leaders, NZ First’s Winston Peters was consistent on 7 but gained a backhanded compliment: “Ranting, obsessive, energised … he keeps NZ First afloat.” United Future’s Peter Dunne slipped to 5.5, and Rod Donald was stable on 5.5. “Good tactician, media savvy … Essential strategist.” ACT’s new leader, Rodney Hyde, chalked 5 (6.5). “Trying hard to lift ACT off the floor, needs help.”

Third across the line overall with a ranking of 8 (7) is Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson, Minister of Energy, Transport and several other portfolios.

Steve Maharey, whose major portfolios include Housing, Broadcasting, Social Development and Employment, level pegs on 7 with Brash and List MP Katherine Rich. The trio all rated 6.5 previously.

In total, 19 of Labour’s MPs rated 5 and above with 31 languishing below the middle mark. National notched 10 above and 17 below, NZ First two above and 11 below, with two of the Greens bettering middle ground and seven languishing.

In the doldrums on just one point were: Labour list MP Dr Ashraf Choudhary (2 previously). “PM took him to India with her, turned out he’s a Pakistani. Oops. Otherwise of no apparent use. Loses a point for another year of doing nothing.” NZ First list MP Craig McNair (2). “Hard to believe, but he did even less this year. Waste of space.” Green list MP Ian Ewen-Street (3). “Doing nothing except preparing for his retirement. Quitting at the next election.”

Trans Tasman Publishing Group is headed by Christchurch businessman Max Bowden. In its specialised information services stable are The Main Report, Trans Tasman, Executive Health & Wealth; and New Zealand Energy & Environment Business Week. The publishing group has been operating since 1968 and has subscribers worldwide, with particularly strong readership in Australia, the UK and U.S.

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