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Trans Tasman 2012 Roll Call Predicts Cabinet Casualties

Trans Tasman 2012 Roll Call Predicts Cabinet Casualties

Political Report Trans Tasman was right on the money in its 2012 Roll Call - its 8th annual review of MP performances. Editor in Chief Max Bowden says "we picked Phil Heatley and Kate Wilkinson as a pair who needed to lift their games after poor years, while Craig Foss was another picked for his inability to get on top of portfolio issues. although he was not thrown out of Cabinet."

Here's how Roll Call rated Heatley, Wilkinson and Foss.

Phil Heatley. (4/10) His management of the energy and resources portfolio seems to be really in name only with Steven Joyce’s hands on the levers. In housing progress is being made, but the story is not getting out there and experienced campaigner Annette King along with a host of more radical protest groups continue to score points against Heatley, who honestly just looks a bit hapless at times. Frequent trumpeting of "good news" announcements in Parliament makes him look like a cabinet lightweight - which he is.

Kate Wilkinson. (4/10) Not a great year for Wilkinson, she lost the Labour portfolio because the Pike River Coal tragedy happened “on her watch.” Some argue this was insufficient punishment for her lawyerly hands off approach, but Ministers do tend to blame their advisors when disasters happen. Does not seem particularly enthusiastic about the conservation portfolio. Has to lift her game, as the kudos for winning Waimakariri off Labour will not keep her at the top table for ever.Key rated her highly when he appointed her, she was one of his "finds" which he might now be wishing he hadn't discovered.

Craig Foss (5/10). Foss has competently handled the complex commerce portfolio, but only because all the heavy lifting was done by his predecessor Simon Power. To date, he has effectively baby-sat Power's financial market reforms, and is only now facing a real test over the David Ross investment scandal, where some $440m of investors' funds has gone missing and the reforms to the sector seem to have made no difference. Similarly, did not seem to get an early grasp of the size of the problems with the Novapay debacle, his only major education responsibility, until it snowballed into a major and long-running issue. It is all very well to blame officials for the initial blunders, but Ministers have to take responsibility for sorting problems out. Public performances have been notably poor. Emerging as a minor Cabinet liability.


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