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Key takes top spot in MP Report Card

PRESS RELEASE Monday, December 8th, 2008

Key takes top spot in Trans Tasman's MP Report Card

RESPECTED POLITICAL NEWSLETTER TRANS TASMAN has released its annual Roll Call, in which its team of Wellington insiders rate the performance of our erstwhile Parliamentarians over the year.

While Helen Clark has had a virtual mortgage on top spot over the past few years, John Key picks up the mantle of politician of the year. His brilliant election campaign, coupled with a strong year in which his "new look" National Party dominated the polls and his outwitting of Clark makes him a worthy winner.

His finesse in putting together a Govt in double quick time and his inclusiveness and decisiveness all add to the gloss. All he has to do now is pull NZ out of the economic mire. Trans Tasman says of Key - "What a year! Stood above personal politics. Looks better by the day, highly impressive start to his new Govt. Great election win - team all on board. His vocabulary doesn't please the purist but he knows how to do the "deal." He went from 8 to 9 out of 10.

Key's lieutenants also score well. Gerry Brownlee goes from 7 to 7.5. "Key obviously rates him." Deputy leader Bill English goes from 8 to 8.5. Other big movers in National's ranks include Tim Groser, up from 6 to 7.5. "Could be one of NZ's great Trade Ministers," and Anne Tolley from 6 to 7.5. Paula Bennett's meteoric rise up the ranks sees her go from 6 to 7.

For Labour's front bench, election defeat, a horrid economic year, the Winston Peters saga and a host of unpopular legislation means the only way to go for many has been down. Helen Clark falls from 8.5 to 7 "Mastery of MMP may have been her downfall." Michael Cullen goes from 7.5 to 6.5. "There's a question mark on how he's left the Crown A/Cs." Even new leader Phil Goff slides from last year's 8 to 7 for 2008. But Trans Tasman warns "his task will be to demand the loyalty given to Clark in rebuilding the party and recovering lost legions in the provinces."

But there were some Labour stars. Lianne Dalziel goes from 5.5 to 6.5 and Ruth Dyson is up from 5.5 to 6. "Rugged and ruthless, another asset for Labour in Opposition."

Among the minor parties Rodney Hide has moved from 3.5 to 5.5. "Got a better role than many expected. Now can he cut the mustard with big responsibilities instead of headline grabbing?"

The Maori Party's four MPs all increased their scores, Tariana Turia the pick of the entire bunch with a jump from 3.5 to 7.5. "Still calling the shots for the party, despite Sharples playing the front man role."

Of the winning coalition's party leaders only Peter Dunne, the "Ken Barlow of NZ politics" gets a lower mark than last year he drops a point from 5.5 to 4.5. For the Greens Jeanette Fitzsimons fell from 6.5 to 6. Her co-leader Russel Norman wasn't in Parliament last year but was there long enough this year to rate a 5. "Both he and Jeanette outsmarted themselves by showing hand to go with Labour too early."

As far as overall performance went, National had 22 of its 58 MPs above the 5 mark - 24 went up, 13 went down (15 of its MPs are new and not rated). Labour had 16 of its 43 MPs above the 5 level - 8 went up, 18 went down (13 of its MPs are new and not rated). The Maori Party had 4 of its 5 MPs improve their score (They had one new MP not rated). National has two new lawyers up against Labour's three new trade unionists.

This year to mark the fact there was a watershed election Roll Call includes a new section where we read the epitaphs of some of those who departed from Parliament, the most notable being Winston Peters.



Published since 1968, The Trans Tasman Political Letter is a weekly analytical commentary on what's happening in NZ politics, the economy, legislation and trade. Max Bowden is editor in Chief and ian Templeton is Senior writer. it's read and subscribed to by Cabinet Ministers, Government Departments (both NZ and Aust), Embassies, SOEs, Lobbyists, Accounting and Law Professionals, Directors of Public Companies and Overseas Media including The Economist, BBC, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Trans Tasman's Roll Call is in its 6th year. The 6 major contributors (all Parliamentary insiders) to Trans Tasman each independently provide their views and opinions on each politician's performance in Caucus, Cabinet, Select Committees, the House and electorate. The ratings are then debated by the 6 and a final verdict arrived at.

Roll Call is attached in .pdf format


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