Life and Politics

Occasional comment on politics and the media in New Zealand

Tag: Rodney Hide

Key relaxed about accusations of relaxation

by Jake Quinn

NZPA reports:

At the breakfast a reporter heard Mr Hide tell guests that Mr Key received public acclaim while doing little.

All Mr Key had done was the cycleway, Mr Hide said. “It’s amazing.”

He was also amazed at how much he could get through Cabinet, because “you turn up with your papers” and “they are too busy with their own stuff they’re not bothered”.

Approached by the reporter, Mr Hide said the comments were off the record and it would be unethical to report them.

A spokeswoman for Mr Key said the comments were “a bit of light-hearted political banter”.

Mr Hide had spoken to Mr Key who was relaxed about the comments, she said.

So little time, so much to be relaxed about.


I’m Glad I’m not an ACTivist

by Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

Labour seems to be getting a little traction with Rodney Hide and Heather Roy’s ‘abuse of power’ surrounding party fundraising breakfasts where they are billed as speaking in their ministerial capacities. Using your Ministerial position for the financial gain of your Party is stupid, and it must be nice to ‘bust’ the perk buster ‘abusing’ the power of his office – much like catching Grammar boys doing something really stupid. But, to be honest, unlike the guys over at The Standard, I find it difficult to get worked up over this one.

Well, at least not over the ‘crime’ itself.

Yes, it’s not a great look, but we’ve seen Hide and Roy squirm for a while and admit what they did was wrong. My reservations are that this seems to be a little bit of a grey area to me. For example, is a Minister speaking as a Minister whenever they speak in public? What happens if a Minister speaks at a fundraiser in their capacity as a constituency MP, but is asked a question about their Ministerial portfolio? What if the function was billed as being a speaking engagement with the Minister, and was free (or at-cost), but there was a collection or a raffle for the local party branch? I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Ministers not to undertake fundraising activities, and I think it’s difficult for a Minister not to draw on their Ministerial portfolios when speaking – it’s often their area of expertise and what they are passionate about.

What annoys me is hearing Heather Roy (parroted by her loyal party hacks) lay the blame on an over-excited (and obviously ill-informed) party activist, as if it were actually the activist’s fault. Since when did party activists determine the diary arrangements of a Minister of the Crown?

It wasn’t the fault of an unpaid activist that Hide and Roy were put into this position – it was the fault of the Minister’s paid staff. All Ministers (even Ministers outside of Cabinet) have advisors whose job it is to make sure the Minister is not put into a position which could potentially embarrass them. I’ve organised events that were attended by then-Labour Ministers, as well as senior National MP’s (and even Rodney Hide) – a good Ministerial advisor or parliamentary staffer will check the details (like, is there a charge to attend the event? Is it public? Who will be there?) before accepting any invitation – Steve Maharey’s office used to even send out a three-page form to fill out, and Bill English’s office used to do a similar check to the n-th degree. I would have thought that any Minister worth their weight would have similar checks and balances.

If I was a member of ACT, I’d be questioning ever offering to help out Roy in future.  Obviously, if she does something which draws flack, she has no hesitation in sacrificing those unpaid activists who worked so hard to put her where she is.

Dimpost on Rodney’s dead rat appetite

by Jake Quinn

Hilarious Dimpost on Hide/Key:

My theory is that Hide has swallowed a LOT of rats over the last nine months, that he’s proposed various insane neo-liberal schemes for local government or the destruction thereof (’then we sell all the public libraries to Saudi Aramco and lease them back!’) that English and Key have listened with open-mouthed horror and gently rejected them all (’maybe in 2022 but we’re not promising anything’), and that the idea of Maori seats on the council – Rodney’s council! – was just the last fucking straw. No way. Never.

Hide’s tantrum was probably fairly convenient for Key – there wouldn’t have been a lot of enthusiasm within his own party for Maori seats: just last month the Nats failed to elect Wira Gardiner to their board of directors even though Key supported him for the presidency (which was won by Peter Goodfellow – how’s that working out for you guys?).

Key to hammer first nail in Nat-Maori coffin

by Jake Quinn

NZPA reports this morning:

Cabinet is set to make a decision about Maori seats on a new Auckland super city today – likely ruling them out and averting a ministerial resignation… A decision to rule out Maori seats would mean Mr Hide would not have to fulfil a promise made last week to resign over the issue.

Putting to one side the incredible level of spin in the above paragraph, for that is worth another post entirely.  It is likely that should Key say no to the seats, that this decision is not based on Hide’s resignation threat, but on clear polling data from Pakeha Auckland voters that they have no appetite for them.  If that is the case, Hide’s little stunt will work out well as ‘an excuse’ for Key’s decision.

It will however have other consequences.  It would be the first nail in the coffin of the National-Maori Party governing arrangement.  The Maori Party has, as of yet, chosen to play the long game adopting not to sink to Hide’s level.  Good on them.  National would be wise to do similarly.

The sustainability of future National-led minority governments is linked to their relationship with the Maori Party.  The Maori Party are likely to become the de facto kingmaker in many future governments and while National currently has the unusual pleasure of choosing its partner on a case by case basis (they can turn to either Act or the Maori Party to command a legislative majority – that is, they don’t need both), this will not always be the case.

After the next election it is likely that National will be in a position to form a government.  It is also possible that the right (National and Act) will get less total vote share than they did in 2008.  If this happens National will need the Maori Party (or some other centre party) to get the numbers on confidence and supply.  But will their bridges be burned?

Labour needs to do some serious work on its relationship with the Maori Party.  Perhaps the silver lining, should Key today adopt for no Maori seats, is that Labour and the Maori Party will have an issue which can unite them.

Update: from stuff:

Cabinet has ruled out dedicated Maori seats on the new Auckland super city.  Prime Minister John Key said ministers had given consideration to the issue, but decided against it.

Looks like I was wrong, I overestimated John Key and I really am quite disappointed.  I was thinking he might be different.

Nats must thread carefully over akl transition board

by Jake Quinn

With the monthly political capital meter at an all time low for the Key-led government, it comes as no surprise that Cabinet has delayed yesterday’s announcement about the make of up of the Auckland Transition Agency’s board – what would have been expected not to cause waves just weeks ago, is now going to be the next big test for Key.

The Auckland Transition Agency was established by legislation under urgency last week, to oversee the move to the Super City structure by next year.

A few weeks back, many observers assumed that the make of the agency’s board would have been relatively uncontroversial as National, under Key, was developing a reputation as being rather centrist and politically risk averse – spotting and following public opinion in a way that was characteristic of Key’s consensus building style.

However, coupled with a disaster week in the Mt Albert by-election campaign, where Key’s hand picked candidate Melissa Lee made a series of silly mistakes effectively ruining her party’s chances of winning the unwinnable (and seriously challenging Phil Goff’s position as Labour leader), the Rankin affair has effectively ended the new government’s extended honeymoon – which had been starting to develop into something of a ‘honey-gap-year’.

So the now skeptical eyes of the press gallery will be closely focused on the Auckland Transition Agency and its board, expected to be announced in the next week. They will be looking to Key to ‘make right’ and offer up a leadership team that doesn’t stink of divisive (like Rankin) or inexperienced (like Lee). If the headlines read “Rodney Hide’s Mates to Run Auckland” it may well be curtains for Key’s dominated of the polls.

Gang insignia, genitals and whanganui

by Jake Quinn

The Wanganui District Council (Prohibition of Gang Insignia) Bill passed its third reading last night, 62-59. Very close.  It’s wonderful to see the Act Party and Rodney Hide sticking to their principles. I just cant imagine what we’d do if we didn’t have a  true liberal party in Parliament utterly committed to battling to the death for our freedom to wear what ever we wanted

The Standard has some interesting insites into how and why Act voted the way they did:

The law only passed because John Boscawen, David Garrett, and Rodney Hide (who in an eariler moment of anger revealed that supporting this law is a trade for National’s support on the 3 Strikes Bill) voted for it. More principled libertarians Sir Roger Douglas and Heather Roy voted against it (it was Douglas’s refusal to back this bill that led to ACT announcing their MPs would be allowed to vote against the party line).

The Bill originally passed its first reading by 106 votes to 13, with Labour in support. Labour withdrew its support at second reading as they simply didn’t think the legislation would work. Michael Cullen, in his usual fashion, had an cheeky observation or two. I particularly enjoyed these bits:

“No doubt National Party supporters will say `this has worked’ because the one gang member they saw last year they haven’t seen again.”  He scorned its provisions, saying it would require signs to be put up. “Dear gang member, please don’t display your insignia. “Some gang members will wonder what insignia is for a start. They may think it’s their genitals, I have no idea.”… “Given our knowledge of gang behaviour, those signs aren’t going to last very long.”

Inventory2 of Keeping Stock has blogged on the Bill and gives his whanganui supporter point of view in a comment on kiwiblog:

I live in the Black Power part of town. Each day I drive past the house where Jhia Te Tua was shot. The shopping centre where I go each morning to get the mail is frequented by these thugs. Wearing a patch gives them a swagger which reduces markedly when they are out of the patch. As Chester Borrows said yesterday in the House, the gang code is that you die to defend your patch, and the ultimate insult is to be “skinned” by a rival gang, i.e. to have your patch forcibly removed. Take away the patches, and you neuter a significant part of gang culture.

But hang on, won’t the patches  remain as members will simply turn their jackets inside out, like they do in bars up and down the country? 

This legislation is an example, like the Section 59 debacle, of a debate that is not  actually about the legislation in question, but about a broader much more complicated social issue that cannot be fixed with a simple local, or any other, Bill. 

But hell, if it makes the good people of Whanganui happy, then i’m glad they got their Bill.