Sutton resigns – Chauvel in

July 10th, 2006 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald is reporting that Jim Sutton will be announcing his resignation as an MP today, with Charles Chauvel to replace him from 1 August. This has been long expected.

Jo Goodhew might not forgive me for this, but I’ve always regarded Sutton as one of the better MPs. He didn’t do a bad job for most of his tenure with Agriculture and was a committed free trade supporter. He used to be regarded as an excellent local MP but obviously got out of touch in his last term and the combined impact of school closures, fart tax protests, the speeding motorcade etc combined to create one of the largest electoral oblivion’s in history.

Charles Chauvel will be a welcome addition to the Labour ranks. He is highly regarded as someone seriously smart and politically astute.

He is also an ideal MP from the Labour factional point of view. He is gay, is part PI, and has worked for a union. If he was also female and a lecturer he’s be unbeatable :-)

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27 Responses to “Sutton resigns – Chauvel in”

  1. llew () says:

    Can he sing?

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  2. tim barclay () says:

    I too liked Jim Sutton and was acquanted with him when I lived in Wellington a hundred years ago. He was a good guy , and he did lose his cool over Tim Grosser but he is forgiven.

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  3. kyotolaw () says:

    I met the guy during one of his trade trips to Tokyo – he did a breakfast with the Aus/NZ Chamber of Commerce here.

    He definitely saw the writing on the wall with the electorate – 4 months before the election, and he knew he was screwed.

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  4. rightkiwi () says:

    A good man forced out of parliament by an evil prime minister

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  5. Redbaiter () says:

    Jim Sutton was a farmer, who entered politics as the MP for Waitaki in 1984. He’s a worker, he’s straight, a family man (and therefore persona non grata in Klark’s Labour party.)

    Mr. Chauvel (according to the Herald), has worked for a law firm specialising in human resources and industrial relations, public law and corporate governance. He was previously a lawyer for Crown Law and the Service Workers Union. The change was informally signalled at a function at Premier House in Wellington yesterday celebrating the 20 year anniversary of homosexual law reform, where Mr Chauvel was introduced as Labour’s new gay MP. The function was co-hosted by gay professional group GAP and Rainbow Labour, Labour’s gay and lesbian group of which Mr Chauvel is a member

    Interesting to note the difference in the backgrounds of these two. By comparing the outgoing with the incoming, one is able to get a good idea of the direction Helen Klark and her “progressives” want to take New Zealand.

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  6. gd () says:

    Oh Dear David

    1.He is gay Homophobic remark

    2.Is part PI Racist remark

    3.Has worked for a union Union bashing remark

    4.If he was also female Feminist bashing remark

    5.And a lecturer Academic bashing remark
    Congratulations Five out of Five You win todays anti PC prize.

    Im only getting in early to pre empt the usual suspects and nutters that prowl this site

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  7. baxter () says:

    Apparently Sutton was also an engrossing conversationalist as well.

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  8. Michael () says:

    This “gentleman” of a approved type as you say has only two legs of the “golden trifecta”.

    The NBR has written at some length on Mr Chauvel. He also seems to be a triple dipper and quite happy to pick up board memberships and charge huge expenses to the taxpayer. Now he’ll be on the gravy train as a MP.

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  9. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Well, I can’t say I’ve strong feelings about Sutton either way. But, pardon me for being tiresomely old fashioned, but I thought we elected our legislators through the ballot box, not allowed them to be euthanized behind closed doors by party machines because the election didn’t turn out to their liking. As far as I’m aware, Sutton is perfectly healthy, has not be found guilty of misconduct or incompetence in his duties, and there is no question that he was lawfully and legitimately returned to Parliament on the Labour list.

    And taking my partisan hat off for a moment, it’s a charming brithday present to Labour’s organisation to have such a loud vote of no confidence in their judgement come from the top.

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  10. Zutroy () says:

    Craig, a truly top class remark. Everyone else seems to think its ok for Sutton to push off, without commenting on the fact that by standing as an MP, he implicitly said he was good for the next three years (not until he got a better offer).

    I only wish that voters paid more attention to the people they actually elected, but sadly, in an era of MMP, people simply don’t know what they get on the list, apart from the fact that they are getting someone who will tow the party line.

    Still – words are cheap. Witness Marian Hobbs and her “elect me because I’ll be a cabinet minister and therefore influential” argument to the people of Wellington Central.

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  11. Paul W () says:

    Craig, two things. Firstly, the list is public and is voted on. I think to argue there’s some debasement of the principles of democracy is a stretch. Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that National don’t manage their caucus similarly; perhaps that’s to their disadvantage? Labour is in transition, from my perspective, I hope it’s a successful one that prepares them for a fourth term.

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  12. Red Fred () says:

    Paul.W I do so admire your work,short sharp and straight for the tories jugular.Keep it up,it is bloody marvellous.ps comforting poll result on the weekend,a grand sort of 90th birthday present.

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  13. Logix () says:

    Craig,

    I agree at a different level. It is a feature of MMP that the List members are selected by the Parties. When you tick a Party vote you are NOT voting for an individual, but for the Party. It is one aspect of MMP I did not like initially and it is why I prefered STV. In essence it transfers the power of selection for 50% of the House, from the voter to the Parties. In that sense it is not particuarly democratic. The upside is that Parties have generally been doing quite a good job of selecting a wide range of people to the List, who would have otherwise been unlikely to make into the House.

    In practice the two effects seem to balancing each other out quite nicely so I’m not advocating that we change away from MMP nowadays. In a nutshell I figure if the Party can select who goes onto the List, they can take them off as well.

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  14. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Paul W.:

    Well, I can tell you from experience, that National’s ‘rejuvination’ process was a lengthy (and not entirely angst-free) organisational reform, and even some pretty hotly contested selection. What DID NOT happen, was trying to game the system by post-election ‘euthanising’ of list members. While I did not support MMP, the simple fact is that I was on the losing side of that debate – and it rather pisses me off to see list members treated like second class MPs who are nothing more than the pawns of the party organisations. That applies to National too.

    Let me put it another way: I quite literally live on the border between Northcote, North Shore and East Coast Bays. While I hardly broke out the mourning weeds when Ann Hartley lost Northcote, I know people who split their votes fully aware that Ann was in a ‘winnable’ position on the party list. She did not indicate to voters that she would serve anything less than a full-term.

    While I take the more thoughtful point made by Logix, I actually believe voters trump party – and the party’s influence should end, IMO, through the process of candidate selection and list formation. Then, you submit to the will of the electors whether you like it or not. To be quite cold about it, there’s always going to be a tension between using the list as incumbent insurance (and it’s evil twin, placating internal factions within parties) and bringing through fresh blood unlikely to win electorate seats. It’s the same tension National deals with fairly well but not perfectly. This time, IMO, Labour put too much emphasis on the former and it came back to bite them in the arse. But, once more, and taking my partisan hat off, I think Labour would be better served in the long-term by taking a deep breath and addressing internal issues instead of trying to game the caucus through the back door.

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  15. Graham Miller () says:

    It

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  16. Silas () says:

    Re Logix and Craig’s comments.

    I also did NOT vote for MMP. I much preferred STV and smaller electorate sizes.

    Unlike Logix, if presented with another voting opportunity I would vote either STV, if that was an option or FPP.

    I think that this sort of backoffice lobbying is wrong. To send ex MPs off to some relevant diplomatic post as a ‘retirement’ prize does not always advance NZs interests and is just seen as political patronage in a marginally subtle form.

    I tend to agree with Craig’s comments as more robust and giving the NZ voters more respect.

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  17. leigh () says:

    I saw Chauvel at a campaign meeting last election. For a high flier and a lawyer he came across as a medicocre speaker and was not confident in knowing his party’s policies. Perhaps a litle green(no political pun intended) and nervous. Funny it was Heather Roy who impressed but today politics is not about meritocracy and I guess never has been.I think David cuts too close to the bone for some when he points to Chauvel being in effect a good factional choice.

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  18. Paul W () says:

    Craig Ranapia, I understand your points however, I wouldn’t characterise what’s happening within Labour as “gaming”. I think that’s a partisan perspective.

    Graham Miller, I think your analysis is very astute.

    Red Fred, thanks.

    I think the party are reasonably reviewing the parliamentary members to position itself for another term. I like Jim and thought Jim was both a good Minister and good member of caucus. He’s not as young as he was and didn’t quite hold off the challenge in Aoraki. We simply do not know the full reasons for his departure (and though there’s a consensus here that it is Helen’s stealthy hand manipulating the process, that simply doesn’t make it true), it’s not unreasonable to speculate that he’s had enough and wants to support generational change (others in the party are).

    I don’t see the List MPs as second class. I think the List is where a party can bring in real talent, reflect real diversity, but not limit itself to only selecting local characters.

    That said, I still wonder about the merits of the leader being off the List.

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  19. Graham Watson () says:

    I remember Charles from his days at Auckland University. He was nothing impressive, only as smart as the next guy, and certainly not as you report David “He is highly regarded as someone seriously smart and politically astute.”

    On matters political he was always out on a limb, and had little support. How is it that Labour seems to be the receptacle for folk of this ilk? At least Charles going to Parliament does not increase the chance of a 4th term for Labour.

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  20. PabloR () says:

    There’s no secret as to why Sutton is gone is there? On morning report he admitted he was going to allow new blood into the caucus. He also said something to the effect that he didn’t agree with the decision, but he respected the PM’s right to make it (?!) and he respected the PM.

    Holyoake once said that to be PM you had to make your electorate seat safe. Obviously that’s not the case any more but the system allows an MP with a bit of charisma (BOCTAOE) to make his/her seat in parliament safe, no matter where they are from.

    Oh, and MMP isn’t perfect, but it seems to be working. Anything but FPP, please!

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  21. tim barclay () says:

    I think Charles will be positioning himself for Marion Hobbs seat with Dunny’s seat being very much second choice. Hope there is a big fat scrap over that.

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  22. Cadmus () says:

    I wonder when the penny will drop for Don Brash?
    I don’t doubt Brash will be following Sutton this yr. At least Jim left on his own. My advice is for Don Brash, Don watch the mini series Rome. There’s enough blood flowing in the Mini series without a blood bath in the National caucus! Don do the obvious and resign, before the knives are in your back! let a younger man take over the role!

    sincerely
    Cadmus

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  23. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Cadmus:

    Watching Rome I can’t see that tired old poodle Porcius Cato – impotently yapping away, never quite as smart ot powerful as he fancies, disguising his base hatreds as high principle, and who committed suicide rather than face the consequences of his actions – without thinking of Winston.

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  24. mikey bill () says:

    Given Chauvel’s record as a long term Labour Party member and activist, his legal background, and his work on various boards, I suspect he’d have made the list as an MP even if he were straight.

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  25. Nichlemn () says:

    STV can give even more power to the parties if there’s the “Party Ticket” option like in Australia. If you have electorates that are too large, it becomes too much of an effort to number all the candidates, so tickets are useful, but remove a lot of the purpose. If you’ve got 3-member STV constituencies, it’s much more likely that a disliked high-profile MP can be defeated from someone else in their party.

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