Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rating Labour's top 19

Oh yes, finally I've decided to profile the top 19 on the Labour list. I said I would. Now I'm expecting all these people to be MPs under the list, so really it is about whether the electorates stay red. All have profiles, all have photos so here goes:

Darren Hughes - Otaki - number 19: The 30 year old MP claims to have brought his Otaki electorate many things. Hmmm. New health centres. The Kapiti Western Link Road (a council project and no, it actually hasn't even started yet). Mackays Crossing overbridge (actually outside his electorate, and had nothing to do with him at all). New pensioner housing (council again). Rail electrification to Waikanae (um nothing to do with him either). Transmission Gully (if you call a green light money to do investigation, not construction, and again outside his electorate and nothing to do with him). Yeah well done claiming pork that wasn't up to you Darren. He won it with a slender 382 vote lead last time, so it would be fair to say that the people of Otaki are unlikely to reward Darren for his truth stretching, especially since the Kapiti Coast has a fair share of people who have worked for their money. Prediction: This fresh faced young leftie will be defeated by National's Nathan Guy, already a list MP.

Clayton Cosgrove - Waimakariri - Number 18: What DID he do to please the feminocracy? After all he is one of Mike Moore's acolytes and would have had to be staunch to stick through the Maoist coup that instituted Clark after the 1993 election. His profile lists portfolios and awards, like a CV, although when you include "Minister for Rugby World Cup", "Senior Parliamentary Advisor to then Prime Minister the Rt Hon Mike Moore" (surely his shortest tenure position, as was Mike's), "Public Affairs Manager, Clear Communications Limited (then New Zealand’s second largest Telecommunication Company)" (it wasn't your fault Clayton!), finally "A member of the New Zealand Labour Party since age 14". Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear! Why? Why? Why? He had a 14% majority over National in 2005 (48.6% vs 34.3%) with Ron Mark making a respectable third place showing at over 10%. On the list vote though the Nats slipped ahead with 41.7% vs 41.5%. Yep those boguns aren't a fan of Clark and co. So Cosgrove has a local following, which may just protect him, but only just. Prediction: Cosgrove will hang on, because he's not the typical Labour MP, but it wont be by much.

David Parker - Waitaki - Number 17: Parker is a list MP and is Minister of Energy, State Services and Land Information. However, his passions are clear on the website profile:

"David became active in Labour in the 1990s, incensed by the last National Government forcing local authorities to sell community-owned electricity assets". Yep those communities looked after those well!

Furthermore "He believes in an open trading free-market economy which funds quality public health and education services and avoids extreme divisions between rich and poor. His policy interests include structural unemployment, energy, environment, justice and economics." Yep foot in both camps. However, he's against the madcap party pill opponent Otago MP Jacqui Dean. Prediction: He hasn't a chance against her in this election.

Shane Jones - Northland - Number 16: Shane of course is a list MP, one of the rising stars of the party. His profile is nice "I understand the need for efficient broadband network, well maintained roads, user-friendly public transport, well-resourced schools, and accessible health services." Fair enough, but he doesn't say what he has done "I ask that you vote for me because I pledge to deliver even more than I have already done in my first three years in Parliament." We just don't know what that is. Of course he has no hope of winning Northland. The Maori seats suck up the Maori vote, so it is comprises mostly non-Maori voters, so Hone Carter was 30% ahead in 2005 with 54.1% of the vote for National, Jones only got 23.8% for Labour, not helped by Sue Bradford taking the loser vote of 9%. Only a little closer on party vote, with National on 45.7% and Labour on 30.2%. Prediction: Shane knows he has no chance.

Lianne Dalziel - Christchurch East - Number 15: Once one of the rising stars, but she lied so is in some abeyance at the moment. She blathers on about pork with new state housing in her electorate, increases in the minimum wage, some government programmes she credits and Welfare Working for Families. She also blathers on about Aranui being devastated with "market rents for state house tenants", "the Employment Contracts Act", "the virtual freeze of the minimum wage", clearly indicating her electorate has many at the bottom end, living partly off the state - making her look good. Now in 2005 she won convincingly. She got 60.3% of the electorate vote against National's David Round on 25.9%. Party vote was also a clear win for Labour on 53.4% vs 27.9% for National. So National's Aaron Gilmore has little chance of picking this up, sadly. Prediction: Dalziel has her electorate in the bag.

Trevor Mallard - Hutt South - Number 14: Yes fighting Trevor is still battling on. Trevor was once a Hamilton MP until the 1990 landslide by National, and he picked Pencarrow in 1993. He has led opposition to polluters like Exide apparently, and he talks of a few local and national achievements like lower unemployment, four weeks annual leave, paid parental leave and interest free student loans. Not much on the profile about his Ministerial career hmmm, so what has the Minister for the Environment, Minister of Broadcasting and Minister for State Owned Enterprises done lately? Trevor got 50% of the vote in 2005 against National's Rosemarie Thomas on 32.2% of the vote. Party vote saw Labour get 47.5% against National's 35.1%. There has been some talk that Mallard's more recent antics, like punching Tau Henare, haven't won him support, but I'm sceptical that he is in serious trouble. Wainuiomata votes Labour, and not enough of Petone has been gentrified yet to put Mallard in serious trouble. The gap will close, but it wont be enough for Paul Quinn. Prediction: Mallard will quack in (yes yes I know).

Ruth Dyson - Port Hills - Number 13: Yes nothing like drink driving ex. ACC Minister to make you proud to vote Labour. "I have always tried to be accessible, hard-working and to get things done!" The last thing I want in a Labour MP, I want them to do nothing! Not much else in her profile at all really, you need to go to the Parliamentary site to see she is Minister for Disability Issues, Senior Citizens and Social Development and Employment. Unnecessary portfolios all of them. With new boundaries, Port Hills will be a closely fought race between her and, oh, National's Terry Heffernan? Frankly, I'm stuck. Heffernan is an idiot, he was with Social Credit for many many years, which is a sign of some sort of mental illness. Dyson is far from being an angel, but she did win in 2005. Prediction: Heffernan will make it into Parliament as part of the swing against Labour. Good luck John Key.

Rajen Prasad - list only - Number 12: Look he's a nice man, my ex.wife often assured me of this. He is the chief Families Commissioner, a role which is of course, contrary to the welfare of families, since it is funded by taking money from them. His profile is quite disturbing though: "I am committed to working for a society in which we aspire "to wipe every tear from every eye" and where we guarantee dignity and control by people over their destiny. Such a society will not emerge automatically from the operation of the market. It has to be carefully constructed in partnership with citizens."

Sheesh, the state will wipe every tear from every eye? A carefully constructed society? Shudder. He'll be on the list, so no point in predictions. He will be an asset to the Labour caucus without a doubt, if only because so many of the caucus are such under achievers.

Winnie Laban - Mana - Number 11: Oh smiling Winnie, though her website is rather inert.. Her odd electorate includes Labour core state dependents in Porirua and half of Kapiti. Fortunately she doesn't lie about transport achievements by outlining her main achievements as "increased employment opportunities, cheaper health care, income-related state house rents, Working for Families, 20 hours free early childhood education. So nothing new there. Winnie got 53.2% of the vote in 2005, against National's Chris Finlayson on 31.8%, so she's pretty secure. Party vote only slightly tighter with Labour on 50% but National did worse with 31.5%. It's safe territory for her. Prediction: Winnie is probably Labour's most secure Wellington MP, and she wont be worrying.

Nanaia Mahuta - Hauraki-Waikato - Number 10: Yes Princess is back. She is Tainui MP and that seat is being replaced with Hauraki-Waikato. She is Minister of Customs and Youth Development. "I am proud to be a member of a Labour-led government who understands the importance of a good paying job" which is presumably what she has got by her measure. She's up against Angeline Greensill, former Mana Maori Party candidate, now Maori Party. Greensill is daughter of the late Eva Rickard, and has solid leftwing credentials. It will quite a battle, although you'd have to think that Princess Mahuta's family would bring a lot of votes with it. Prediction: It will be very tight, but her sad personal circumstances (and decision not to be too public about them) will mean she'll squeak in.

Maryan Street - Nelson - Number 9: Don't be fooled, Street is part of the central committee, she is smart, hard working and core to the Clark government. Her profile is nothing controversial or exciting, focusing on skills and the cost of housing for Nelson. She is a list MP now, Minister of Housing and Minister for ACC. It would be fair to say she's been a reasonable performer in those roles, for one who supports Labour. However, in Nelson she has little chance. Nick Smith has the control freak centre-left vote sewn up getting 55.7% of the electorate vote last time, against 27.7% for the Labour candidate, though Mike Ward did pull in 11.7%, for the fruitcake vote. On the party vote side it is a Labour seat (see? the left loves Nick Smith), with Labour getting 43% of the party vote against National's 37%. Smith performs well as a Green/Labour MP in drag so. Prediction: It will remain a Labour lite seat, Maryan wont win, though given the electorate profile she should.

David Cunliffe - New Lynn - Number 8: Old silent "T", Minister of Communications, once a consultant, diplomat and this from someone educated at Pleasant Point High School (where the pleasance was left). "he has championed regional development, environmental protection, education and health care, and multiculturalism in a diverse and growing area of Auckland" well he's an over achiever isn't he? Silent "T" got a fair majority in 2005, with 56.1% of the vote against National's Mita Harris on 31.1%. This time he is against Tim Groser list MP, a better match. Party vote was 49.2%v vs 33.1 for National, so it is solidly Labour. Prediction: Silent "T" confounds the reputation, as the boguns give him the tick.

Chris Carter - Te Atatu - Number 7: The man who used to play North Korean songs when he had a slot on Radio Liberty. "I have involved myself in a huge range of local issues from the $60m upgrade of Waitakere Hospital to the double tracking of the Western rail-line. One of my proudest achievements was playing a significant role in saving at least half of the former Harbour Board land on Te Atatu Peninsula for a public park". Good on you Chris, and he is Minister of Education and Ethnic Affairs. He was once Minister of Conservation, you know the one that liked making unilateral decisions under the RMA. 59.4% of the vote in 2005 means Chris is pretty secure, when Tau Henare got 25.1%. Labour got 52% of the vote in 2005 against National's 30.4%. Prediction: Carter wont be worrying either.

Pete Hodgson - Dunedin North - Number 6: Grumpy Pete. He loves his electorate. His profile is like a travel brochure "Where we live in Sawyers Bay, near Port Chalmers, we are surrounded by bellbirds, tui, keruru – you name it. If we decide to jump in our kayaks at Aramoana and cross the harbour entrance then it’s shags, seals, sea lions and albatrosses". Frankly Pete I don't need to know where you go in your kayak to go shagging (yes yes obvious I know). You can't blame Pete for undercooking his electorate, check this out:

"Dunedin North is where lots of things started – university education, teacher training, Plunket, the finance sector. These days other things are also at play – fashion, film, design, biotechnology, IT. Our health, social and community services are simply the best." So Cambridge and Oxford (England, not Waikato and Canterbury) weren't where university education started? Sheesh, the cradle of civilisation Pete.

However, why did it happen? Pete's not modest. He did it all!

"I’ve been the MP for a while now. Long enough to simply say that with almost every major development or change, I have had some involvement."

Don't hold back Pete, I mean really, at least the Southerner's gone so your head doesn't need to fit through the tunnels northwest of Port Chalmers on the railway! Pete got 55.1% of the vote in 2005 against Katherine Rich on 31.4%, party vote was 54.8% vs 25.1% for National (so Rich won more votes than she did for National). This time it wont change. Prediction: Pete's cockiness is for good reason, it's his seat.

Parekura Horomia - Ikaroa-Rawhiti - number 5: This enormous man as Minister of Maori Affairs cites as achievements "tuning into iwi radio stations and not one but two channels on our own Maori Television network". Admittedly after healthcare and education, but wow listening to the wireless too, cool! I'll give him a point for saying "I promise to tackle the hard issues facing whanau like domestic violence " I'd have put it over the TV mate, but good for mentioning it. He will give his voters a voice too, well no surprise there. In 2005 he won with 53.8% of the vote against the vile Atareta Poananga from the Maori Party on 42.8%. Labour got 58.3% against Maori Party on 28.1%. This time he faces Derek Fox. That will be a battle. Prediction: Parekura will squeak in, the electorate wont want a National victory and the Maori Party is not riding on the wave it did last time.

Annette King - Rongotai - Number 4: Yes, when this is what Labour offers at number 4 you know things are sad. She cites nothing specific about her electorate though "Labour has helped families, older New Zealanders, students and children through a vast array of health, education, law and order, social justice and superannuation policies that are making a real difference to the lives of people everywhere, including Rongotai, of course" Vast array! She is Minister of Justice, Minister of Police and Minister of Transport. Lot of work, not much for the electorate of course. I know Rongotai well, since I grew up there and besides being an odd name for an electorate (Rongotai is, after all, just the name of an industrial area near the airport, an all boys high school and the airport), it is solidly Labour since it combined Miramar with Island Bay. King got 59.4% of the vote in 2005 against 24.3% for National's Nicola Young in 2005. A huge majority. Party vote was slightly closer, but Labour still got 50% against National's 27.8%. Prediction: King has this one in the bag

Phil Goff - Mt Roskill - Number 3: Possibly the next leader of the Labour Party, Minister of Trade, Defence and Disarmament. He claims creating Kiwibank and renationalising Air New Zealand and Kiwirail as achievements. Oh dear, he has been too close to the Labour left hasn't he? The future? "I want to see strong investment in public transport and infrastructure continued, greater emphasis on ensuring our economy and the environment are sustainable and New Zealand’s independent foreign policy and nuclear free status retained" Hmm, bleh. With 59.9% of the vote in 2005 against National's Jackie Blue on 29.5%, it's clearly his seat still. Party vote was 49.7% for Labour against National's 34.8%. Jackie Blue is a list MP and standing against Phil again, but it's a lost cause Prediction: Goff's only going to be unseated by a volcanic eruption.

Michael Cullen - list only - Number 2: The Great Helmsman, the economic wizard, the Fat Controller. "Most New Zealanders like the fact that Labour has stopped the sale of strategic assets and that we have made strategic investments in the country’s future – from the rail system to a controlling stake in Air New Zealand and the establishment of the New Zealand-owned nationwide retail bank, Kiwibank." Yep Mike, the bank was Anderton's idea, but hey. Little point saying more, unless Labour announces it will release all rapists from prison immediately, Cullen is in Parliament.

Helen Clark - Mt Albert - Number 1: No photo! Maybe because you can see it everywhere, on websites, like Kim Jong Il! Of course she claims credit for doubling the price of the Waterview extension of SH20 "As a local MP I’ve worked to protect the character of the electorate. I’ve supported the building of a tunnel to ensure that the extension of State Highway 20 doesn’t have an undue adverse impact on our suburbs and parks." Well, what can be said about the Great Leader. She commanded 66.6% of the vote (well 66.55% really not so ominous) in 2005, against National's Ravi Musuku who got a sad 19.6%. Labour got 54.3% against National's 26.4%. Ravi's a glutton for punishment, having another shot, but he wont win. Prediction: Ms "the state is sovereign" is sovereign over Mt Albert.

Now I need a bath, I need to wash myself after that cornucopiae of mediocrity. Ugh, should I do National?

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