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Key Pipped Again As Trans Tasman’s Politician Of The Year

[Full release with chart of every MP's rankings and commentary (PDF).]

Key Pipped Again As Trans Tasman’s Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman’s 2010 Roll Call has named Parliamentary power house Simon Power as its politician of the year this year.

Each year Trans Tasman’s Editors rank all MPs on the basis of their performance in Caucus, Cabinet, Committee, The House and Electorate and the influence they bring to bear in their various forums. Roll Call is compiled by Trans Tasman’s team of writers and Parliamentary insiders, with a final decision on each ranking arrived at after much discussion.

This year on 9 out of 10, up from 8.5 last year, Simon Power gets the nod ahead of John Key, who also scores 9. Power gets the top ranking thanks to his towering performance in Parliament and the sheer volume of the legislative work he has done. He has taken more Bills through Parliament than any other Minister, accounting for one third of the Government’s legislation in 2010. He is the lock to Key’s flashier winger’s performance. Trans Tasman says of Power “An outstanding Minister. Huge workload includes reforming the Justice system and market regulation as well as law reform. He is looking more and more like a leader in waiting.”

Of John Key, who has turned in another great performance as Prime Minister, Trans Tasman says “He is probably NZ’s most popular PM ever, as comfortable on the world stage as he is on the streets of home, but questions are being asked – is Key spending too long “on the road?” He is the master of the 6pm TV soundbite and has excelled himself in the crises which have engulfed the country this year, but “Key needs an agenda, not just the consensus he is building around personal trust. A brilliant leader, who everyone in the Beehive knows is boss, he hasn’t yet produced the brilliant policy set to go with it.” Key maintains his 9 out of 10 rating.

Brickbats this year for two MPs who share the lowest rank, Paul Quinn and Chris Carter. Quinn, the National list MP, gets his 1 out of 10 for being a “media loathing misfit. Rude and arrogant. National should start wondering whether this list MP is a waste of space.” Chris Carter, now an independent, shares the 1 out of 10 ranking - his “egregious sense of entitlement brought his downfall.”

Also at the rear of the rankings on a slightly more respectable 1.5, is Labour’s perennial under-performer Ashraf Choudray. Trans Tasman says “if he survives rejuvenation, he will become a veteran list MP and it’s difficult to figure out why. Seemed to be more active in the House this year, but he’s still a mysterious presence.”

Last year’s villain Hone Harawira has redeemed himself somewhat, jumping from 0 to 2 out of 10. “Causing more trouble than any other MP – for his Party and the Govt – with his opposition to the Foreshore Bill, but he believes in what he is doing and the others accept it. Has been more careful this year, and his rehabilitation can begin.”

National’s Pansy Wong joins Harawira on 2 out of 10. She plunges from 5 last year thanks to the travel perks scandal, but could leave Parliament as a result. Trans Tasman suggests she won’t be missed “Wasn’t the brightest spark in Cabinet.”

Bill English takes his score from 8 to 8.5 thanks to the work he has done on tax reform and steering the country through the worst recession since the 1930s. More is expected of English Trans Tasman says “Next year’s Budget will be a defining moment. There’s got to be more than the GST/wage adjustment.”

Last year’s politician of the year Speaker Lockwood Smith hit a bump in his form this year slumping from 9.25 to 8, despite his solid rule in the House. He falls off the pace thanks to the travel perk situation “Went from hero to zero when he tried to put the lid back on Parliamentary travel spending – should have known the Politicians would turn it over.”

On the Opposition side Phil Goff picks up half a point for trying. He goes from 5.5 to 6. He has moved out of Helen Clark’s shadow and stamped his leadership on the party. “Goff has shown more confidence this year, stronger speeches. But still sounds a bit robotic – fails to connect. Mana a big disappointment.” The three top scorers on the Labour front bench were Annette King, Darren Hughes and David Parker all on 6.5. Labour’s front bench looks weak, and the party desperately needs some policy to differentiate it from National and the Greens.

In the coalition ranks, Rodney Hide gets 4.5, up from 4 last year “Hasn’t been helped by the destructive actions of others and it would be difficult to say ACT deserves to survive.” Pita Sharples holds his rating of 7 out of 10 - “as long as he continues to command respect from all sides he will be an essential wound healer and bridge builder.” Tariana Turia, picks up half a point to go to 7.5. “Aunty Tariana still has a lot of clout with her MPs including Hone. Gets an upgrade for her welfare work and the very strong commitment to it.”

Honourable mention must also be made of Gerry Brownlee who has had another strong year in trying circumstances. “Brownlee gives the impression he is growing into the job, his media management has improved and so has his running of Parliament as leader of the House.” He stays on a rating of 8 out 10.

Other Ministers to go up in the ratings are Tony Ryall, to 8.5, Nick Smith, to 8, Judith Collins to 7.5, Chris Finlayson to 7.5, David Carter to 7, Murray McCully to 8, Tim Groser to 7.5 (no love lost between that pair), Wayne Mapp to 6 and Kate Wilkinson to 5.

For the Record, 30 National MPs managed to boost their scores this year, 13 stayed on the same score and 15 went down. For Labour a much better performance – last year not one MP improved on their 2008 score. This year 26 of the 42 boosted their scores, 10 stayed the same and 5 went down.

National managed to get 32 of its 58 MPs over the 5 mark this year, improving on the 20 who made it last year – 26 of them were under the 5 mark. For Labour another relatively low scoring year, with just 15 MPs over 5 out of the Party’s complement of 42 – 26 rated below 5.


The biggest movers in this year’s Roll Call were Simon Bridges the National MP for Tauranga who goes from 4 last year to 6, Lindsay Tisch, the Deputy Speaker from Waikato who goes from 5 to 7, and Hone Harawira from 0 to 2. On the reverse side, Pansy Wong takes the biggest fall, from 5 to 2 after the travel perks scandal, and Sandra Goudie, who chairs the riotous Law and Order Select Committee goes from 4 last year to 2.5.

ENDS

[Full release with chart of every MP's rankings and commentary (PDF).]

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