Lots of praise for Key Ministry

November 18th, 2008 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

There’s so many positive stories I don’t know where to start. Alphabetically maybe with Audrey Young yesterday:

Popular Westie is the big winner as Minister of Social Development and Employment – one of the biggest jobs overseeing the biggest with the biggest budget.

It has gone to someone with just three years as an MP who has drawn on the DPB herself in the past as a solo mother .

Key said it was not it risk. It is but it one worth taking. She proved herself an able politician quickly in opposition embarrassing plenty more seasoned MPs in Government in early childhood education.

Most people are celebrating Paula’s story of having been a young Maori solo mother, working all sorts of low paid jobs to earn some extra money, educating herself, becoming an MP, winning Waitakere and then becoming Minister of Social Development. It’s a great aspirational story. Alas, the bitterness has not ended with the election campaign, with labelling her “thick as two short planks”.

Luckily for Labour, is showing his smarts. Goff has resisted the urge to criticise the Cabinet – knowing that doing so may just make him look churlish. He has said he’ll hold them to account, but will give them a fair go in the job.  I am starting to get quite positive about Labour under Goff’s leadership – the mea culpa over the EFA and now this.

Colin Espiner blogged:

’s announced his new Cabinet lineup. It’s not a bad one, either. I think he’s picked through the talent available very well.

Colin also updates us:

On another matter, thanks to everyone who has posted suggestions on helping me eat my words. After much deliberation, I have settled on the suggestion provided by Lizbeth of making a “coalition smoothie” from my blog. I’ll be doing this on video in the press gallery kitchen on Tuesday lunchtime. We hope to have it posted on the Stuff website early afternoon.

Like John Key, I’m keen to try out my kitchen cabinet whiz.

I think Colin should invite the Maori Party MPs to witness it :-)

On the Greens G-blog, Stevedore blogs:

And Key seems to be giving it his best shot. The arrangement he has put together seems to reflect what people voted for. The cabinet he has announced looks a lot more diverse, fresh and representative than it threatened to be a few months ago.  The whole thing looks stable and consultative.  Which is exactly what MMP should provide.

at Tumeke provides lots of provocative commentary.

invents a new term – a SDMILF. Oh dear. Paula may need to warn the Diplomatic Protection Squad!

writes this morning:

The message is loud and clear: to survive as a minister in John Key’s Cabinet, you’re going to have to perform.

That will make a nice change.

Key has taken a less sentimental approach to Cabinet construction than previous Prime Ministers, with somewhat more emphasis on talent and ability and slightly less stress on loyalty and length of service.

Indeed. Although some appointments could still be seen as sentimental – but overall many fresh new faces.

The Herald has a summary of business and industry reaction, and lobby groups here.

The Herald editorial calls the Ministry solid and safe:

The line-up looks to be a good mixture of fresh faces and experience. …

As Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, Georgina te Heuheu will have a seat at the Cabinet table while the minister, the Maori Party’s Pita Sharples, will not. They will have to be in tune. So will Paula Bennett and Tariana Turia, minister and associate minister respectively of social development and employment. Ms Bennett, who has known life on a benefit, is the most unexpected of Mr Key’s appointment and perhaps the most inspired.

The Dom Post editorial calls it the bold and the new.

John Key has shown wisdom beyond his political years by tempering boldness with caution in naming his new ministers, The writes.

In opting for the promise of a Steven Joyce over the experience of a John Carter, Mr Key is reflecting his own rise to the top after only six years in Parliament. Time served is not an indication of talent.

However, neither has he left out in the cold any of those who would have reasonably expected to make it. There would have been dangers in doing that. Mr Carter, along with Maurice Williamson and Richard Worth, his fellow ministers outside Cabinet, have all been given a clear signal that this is as good as it will get.

But they have not been humiliated. Left to languish on the back benches, they could have devoted their time to sowing discord and undermining the leader who failed to give them anything else to do.

Being a Minister outside Cabinet is still a hell of a lot better than not being a Minister at all.

Mr Key’s decisions in allocating ministerial positions underline that he is seeking to advance his agenda through consensus rather than by bulldozing it through. The naming of his ministers is a good start to his administration.

Yep.

The only quibble is that he convinced himself he was unable to trim his ministry from a bloated 28. Maintaining an executive of that size means that his plans to reduce the Wellington bureaucracy will be greeted with a measure of justified cynicism.

I also wanted it less than 28. But as one can see, there were enough upset MPs anyway. Technically his promise is to keep the Wellington bureaucracy from growing further, so keeping the Executive the same size is consistent.

Martin Kay in the Dom Post provides useful commentary on each Minister.

An odd report in the ODT, with Dene Mackenzie bizarrely labelling the Cabinet a move to the right. Dropping Lockwood Smith and Maurice Williamson from Cabinet is as far from a move to the right as you can get. Replacing Judith Collins with Paula Bennett is Welfare is not a move to the right. Giving Bill English infrastructure is not a move to the right.

So when Dene says:

His new Cabinet, which will be sworn in tomorrow, shows a bias to the Right despite moves during the election campaign to position National as a centrist party.

could someone ask him for an example?

The ODT editorial is better:

The immediate response is that Mr Key has continued in his briskly positive mode and got the balance about right.

Now comes the difficult part: moulding this executive into an effective and harmonious team able to put longstanding differences aside and address the many issues facing the country – not least the recession and the international financial crisis.

If anyone inspires confidence with his experience and economic competence it is Mr English, on whom much of the burden will fall.

Overall, very positive responses.

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23 Responses to “Lots of praise for Key Ministry”

  1. big bruv (12,319 comments) says:

    The immediate problem Key has to be aware of is Tau Henare, I doubt that he is capable of keeping his enormous ego in check for three years.
    Henare may well be the first casualty of the new National govt.

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  2. theodoresteel (90 comments) says:

    Dene is one of the biggest examples of write-to-your-audience journalism.

    He is once of the most discredited and out of touch journalists I know of.

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  3. Nigel (503 comments) says:

    Sorry bro, I think Tau is caught between a Rock & a very very hard place, with Maori as a coalition partner he really has no direction to attack successfully his only direction is making up with Winston & crawling back to NZ First & obscurity ( or going on a diet ).
    The interesting thing I think will be what difference Key makes to the tempo of New Zealand as a country, we’ve had a sleepy ( if not comatose ) government for awhile now & having a fast moving decisive team in charge could easily feed to the business community, confidence breeds confidence & all that, in other words is it possible that the stimulus of a Key Government moving fast & decisively will minimise the recession as business responds to a more positive environment by investing/employing.

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  4. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “I also wanted it less than 28. But as one can see, there were enough upset MPs anyway. Technically his promise is to keep the Wellington bureaucracy from growing further, so keeping the Executive the same size is consistent.”

    Technically hasn’t National already increased the size of Wellington bureaucracy with the creation of additional Ministerial posts that didn’t exist pre election?

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  5. berend (1,599 comments) says:

    Praise from the MSN? It must be really bad then. So much socialism that they really like what they see.

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  6. berend (1,599 comments) says:

    Nigel: The interesting thing I think will be what difference Key makes to the tempo of New Zealand as a country

    You’re delusional Nigel. What has John yet? So far we have had nothing: same amount of ministers, bureaucrats and taxes.

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  7. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    It’s all very well to complain about the “thick as two short planks” remark, but the ‘achievements’ you listed are not evidence of any brains or ability at all. A social policy degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Bennett’s only notable achievement so far is raising a child which, while important, doesn’t qualify her for the job she has just been given. National has loads of people outside cabinet who could do it better but, unfortunately for them and the country, are not female, part-Maori, or a former beneficiary. Her selection is an unsubtle choice to improve the electoral prospects of the National party by sacrificing the interests of the country. It’s the John Key approach in action.

    [DPF: So Nigel on that basis are you saying Heather Roy is unqualified to be a Minister?]

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  8. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    My only compliant is the Cabinet is too big just like the Parliament FFS 4 million people just dont need that amount of governance. We are but a small city on a global scale and yet we have the governance structure of a major power.

    Too much governance like too much law and regulation only slow the boat down. What we need is a lean mean fighting machine.

    We need a Parliament with no more than 60 seats and a cabinet of 12. If this number cant govern then we are in the shit big time.

    It aint about quantity Its all about quality.

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  9. Nigel (503 comments) says:

    Berend, obviously you enjoyed Labour taking 2 years to decide whether to allow you use 6 litres of water a minute in the shower, so you’ve maybe missed that within 2 weeks Key has sorted coalition agreements, setup a new cabinet & is ready to take office, care to show me a single Labour government that moved faster than 1/3 of that speed, sure early days, but damn it’s good to actually see a government that can get something done for a change.

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  10. Frank (320 comments) says:

    All we need are 6 Top Executives at $10M annually plus Performance Bonuses. Cheap at twice the price.

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  11. baxter (893 comments) says:

    Is Paula Bennett from the same prominent Rotorua Family that produced Diplomats,Soldiers, one of the first Anglican Maori Bishops, the first female Police Commissioned Officer, and I think Mark Bennet the talkback host, as well as a dear old mate of mine ‘Tommy” the black sheep of the family. If so she won’t be as thick as two planks and will be an achiever. If she needs advice I am sure Christine would be a worthwhile consultant…….I think the nominations appear to be the right ones for the right reasons. I agree there are too many ministers and too many ministries. “External Affairs and Internal Affairs would have covered a lot of the lightweight ministries and a cabinet of about ten with undersecretaries for special interest sections,may even have enabled the useless overpaid ‘Commissions” to be dispensed with. I also think it might have been best if he had not taken on the Tourism Portfolio instead committing his full attention to the oversight, and guidance of his Ministers.

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  12. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “There’s so many positive stories I don’t know where to start. ”

    Wizen up- they’re only trying to lull you into a false sense of security.

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  13. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “it’s good to actually see a government that can get something done for a change.”

    Yeah well, as much as I disagree with the inclusion of Dunne and the Maori party I give Key credit for getting it done quickly, but what Berend is asking for is real action on the political front. We’re waiting keenly to see whether we’ve elected tweedle dumb, or someone with the balls to do what needs to be done..

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  14. freethinker (648 comments) says:

    I think Berend misses the point that Keys administration hasn’t even been sworn into office yet, and still he bitches. At least give John the chance to actually have the power to do something. And try to make sense and not leave us to guess what you were trying to say by reviewing sentences like – What has John yet? – I assume you meant – What has John DONE yet?But perhaps you meant- What has John eaten for breakfast yet.

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  15. Ross Miller (1,624 comments) says:

    Berend … well I guess JK could have reduced the Executive to 26 by leaving ACT out. Is that what you want?

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  16. mike12 (183 comments) says:

    You forgot to mention the cautious but balanced response from Clinton Smith & friends @ the standard.
    You’ll find the stuff worth reading here ” “

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  17. Barnsley Bill (928 comments) says:

    while it is nice that we are all heaping praise on our new prime minister for getting things sorted quickly (with the exception of the usual onanists) we need to cut Clark a little bit of slack.
    Yup, I did just type that.
    John key has had one enormous advantage over Clarks 2005 efforts.
    Anybody going to guess what that enormous advantage is?

    Also, the attacks on Paula Bennett are ridiculous, I hope she does really well. But if she messes up I will be at the front telling her. Until then you slimy, envious scrotes should STFU.

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  18. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    It could be just me, but does anyone else think Rodney Hide is starting to resemble another Winston. Please correct me if I’m wrong cause I quite like Rodney.

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  19. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    murrayM No Rodney is just making sure JK has some back bone The last thing we need is a Nat swing to the LEFT ACT must stay firm and not let any flip flops occur

    Good grief given the parlace state of the global/NZ economy we cant afford any stuff ups.

    Sadly most Kiwis are just living in a dream like state the MSM are ignorant and as some have pointed out dont have the guts to stand up and speak the truth that Clark/Cullen have made our relative position much worse with their tax and spend madness

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  20. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    “ACT must stay firm and not let any flip flops occur”

    Think John’s a bit flopped out, really.

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  21. Lee (627 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney writes regarding Paula Bennett:

    “but the ‘achievements’ you listed are not evidence of any brains or ability at all.”

    Sorry, but gotta disagree.

    Surviving as a single mum on a benefit, successfully getting off the benefit by taking on low paid work, educating herself, becoming an MP, running a very successful political campaign, and winning an almost safe Labour stronghold says a great deal about both her brains and her ability.

    Of course part of why she was chosen was perception politics. But Key is a businessman with far more steel than people think, and he would not have chosen her unless he saw both real ability and potential.

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  22. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    Goff will never be prime minister.

    I think of him similary to bill english. Maybe compentent, but has the charisma of an enzyme, not a leader, and nor does he have the ability to inspire.

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  23. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    I doubt ACT will exert anywhere near the influence that some might hope in here. National just have too many votes, too many options. They can cherry pick support, looking even across the floor if they like.

    Some praise is due to Key for getting government sorted quickly. But the power to achieve that flows clearly from the landslide victory rather than extraordinary organizational talent. Also, doing it quickly is only desirable because the world economy is in a very bad state, so clarity and certainty are demanded by the people. Making fast decisions is not inherently virtuous, particularly when those decisions are about very large matters, like the makeup of the government.

    I highly doubt we are going to see a round of massive right wing reform. If that is on some secret agenda of Nationals, they won’t be doing it until after the next election. IF. It’s probably not, IMHO, since they don’t need a secret agenda when there’s ACT right there with the same thing as policy.

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