The rise of Robertson

February 4th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

writes:

The meteoric rise of Wellington Central MP to Labour’s front bench will further fuel speculation that he could be a future leader of the party.

I’ve long said that I think Grant will become Labour Leader, and indeed probably even a Labour Prime Minister.

I don’t think he will be the next leader, but the one after that. He is young enough to be able to wait his time.

However, asked about his leadership ambitions before yesterday’s reshuffle, he said: “Every politician has got ambitions. Every politician … wants to be a minister but it is also really important to take one step at a time and not get too beyond yourself.”

Which is saying of course he wants to be Leader/PM, but one step at a time. Quite nice to have an MP not deny he has ambitions – after all most of them would like to be PM.

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40 Responses to “The rise of Robertson”

  1. thomasbeagle (78 comments) says:

    “Quite nice to have an MP not deny he has ambitions – after all most of them would like to be PM.”

    Oh dear, that implies that most of them think they have the ability to be a good PM.

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  2. BeaB (2,080 comments) says:

    Interesting that Goff thinks working in the PM’s office and visiting the UN (funny how those two things coincide!) are sufficient experience for Robertson to be the spokesperson for health. Goff and his crew operate in a very small bubble. When Goff was on Nine to Noon this morning you could almost hear his breathless impatience to get on with answering the question in his usual long-winded, dogmatic way.
    I find myself drifting off during his glib politician spiels.
    But I had to laugh at his starting almost every answer explaining what John Key was doing or saying!

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  3. RRM (9,638 comments) says:

    Hell of a smart guy… if he can rise above all the unionism, crazy spending promises, factional fighting and the general in-house toadying that goes with it he is definitely the man who would get this leftie excited about Labour again…

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  4. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    I dunno about Robertson ever being the PM David, there is still a huge number of Kiwis who would find his open homosexuality a big issue.

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  5. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I dunno about Robertson ever being the PM David, there is still a huge number of Kiwis who would find his open homosexuality a big issue.

    By the time it gets to ‘next next’ leader of Labour, IMHO it will be even less a number than today.

    Hope I haven’t just derailed this thread.

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  6. georgebolwing (679 comments) says:

    Sad, but true big bruv.

    At least Grant doesn’t do the Chris Carter “I’m always a victim, you only pick on me becuase I’m gay” routine.

    But just maybe his other qualities will shine through and people will decide that what he does in his private life has no bearing on his abilities to lead a political party or, indeed, the country.

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  7. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    Face it Big Bruv, if Labour get back into power before Robertson becomes leader it will almost certainly become compulsary for NZers to become homosexual.

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  8. David in Chch (512 comments) says:

    Actually, big bruv, he may be open about it but he doesn’t flaunt it like Carter, who used it as an excuse for everything. As Robertson himself put it, and I am paraphrasing a bit, it is simply part of who he is. And I think most Kiwis would welcome competence, regardless of one’s sexual orientation, so long as you don’t make it an excuse or a motivation.

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  9. Poliwatch (335 comments) says:

    Robertsons problem with being a PM is timing. Given that Little will be the leader after Goff or Cunnliffe), and therefore likely to be the next Labour PM (probably in 2017) , then that means Robertson comes in after Little is defeated. Robertson will be like Goff (and English … and others) and get handed the poison chalice and be destined to hold the fort until the next “anointed one” is ready.

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  10. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Rise of Robertson? Who cares? I’m more concerned about the fall of NZ under National and John Key.

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  11. Fisiani (993 comments) says:

    Robertson will become PM when New Zealanders have forgotten what happens whenever Labour gets to power. It takes them time to work out what is happening then they swear off them and reelect the sensible people of National to restore sanity. Sanity however usually becomes boring.
    Voting Labour is like binge drinking. Eventually you wake up and swear off the stuff forever. Sadly you usually forget and the advertsing allure drags you back.
    Fortunately we have a Prime Minister who is different from every PM we have ever had. Honest Open John could easily have 4 terms as PM if he wanted to. Perhaps by then we would forget the political demon water.

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  12. david (2,553 comments) says:

    If he wants to become Leader he will need to build some pretty powerful support relationships. By the time he is in the frame he will be facing far more competition that Goofy faced when HC did a runner on the Party, the Parliament and the Country.

    History shows that the really powerful Labour leaders are not characterised by their ability so much as by their power base which immediately puts them on debt to the power brokers as far as policy goes.

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  13. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Has Grant Robertson every created any wealth or run a business or indeed done anything but be an aspirant pollie? He studied political science, FFS.

    Just say no to career bureaucrats. They have no new ideas, only new tactics.

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  14. davidp (3,556 comments) says:

    Robertson hasn’t made much of an impact as far as I can see. He has been vocal on two themes:

    1. Any time somebody proposes making the public service more efficient, Robertson opposes this on the basis that every single public servant is currently overworked. He’s the MP for Wellington Central, so his constituency believes that not a single policy analyst job could possibly be cut and he’s probably looking for the support of the public service unions, but I don’t see this as a winning argument in the rest of the country.

    2. Really obscure public service matters, like reorganising the Archives and national Library under DIA. 99.999% of people don’t care about this issue. The other 0.001% are a few archivists and Robertson. Why campaign on trivia?

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  15. BeaB (2,080 comments) says:

    Malcolm: Spot on. These guys make me sick as all they do with their lives is dream up ways to spend our money for us and enjoy their idea of the good life of overseas travel, self-important posturing and the limelight – all paid for by us poor fools.
    This man has no children, no job outside politics, no worldly achievement or success, no idea of normal family life and struggles – what can he offer me and my family?

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  16. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    The other 0.001% are a few archivists and Robertson. Why campaign on trivia?

    Probably couldn’t do much else with his portfolio. Not so much of an issue now with his new one of course.

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  17. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    This man has no children, no job outside politics, no worldly achievement or success, no idea of normal family life and struggles – what can he offer me and my family?

    If he comes up with good policies, you’d cling on to the fact you can’t relate to him in order to justify not voting for him?

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  18. Paulus (2,558 comments) says:

    I repeat – Grunty and Maryann will be next Labour leaders after Goofy (before Little Andrew) and who ! no no Annette.

    These two have good support in the parliamentary party if they play their cards right – they can so do.

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  19. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Agree with RRM: Mr Robertson is very very promising.

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  20. YesWeDid (1,041 comments) says:

    Key only had 4 years in parliament before he was the National leader and 6 years before he was PM, I don’t agree with the idea that people wait their turn.

    [DPF: Key was an exception. Shipley waited 10 years for leadership, Clark 12 years, Goff 27 years, Bolger 14 years etc]

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  21. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Actually BeaB it seems you were being cynical about his abilities than anything, my bad.

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  22. dime (9,660 comments) says:

    I heard a sound bite of him on ZB this morning. Sounds like a normal/good bloke. Kinda unusal for a Labour MP.

    Just did a google image search – he could do with dropping a few pounds. Not being snarky but in this day an age..

    He should also lose the red ties. too full on.

    Where does he fit in labour? Far left? Or more to the centre?

    Didnt realise he was gay, but that may actually be a strength in that party. He cant be called a homophobe when he demotes dyson etc

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  23. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Dime

    Did you also notice that Robertson has not had a real job in his life?

    I am not happy about people like Robertson or Jami Lee Ross being in our Parliament when they have never earned a dollar in their life.

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  24. Neil (572 comments) says:

    Robertson may well be known within the confines of urban Auckland and Wellington and the nascent Gay community. Put out his name in provincial NZ and no one would have any idea of who he is and what he stands for. A bit like a lot of bloggers on this site who rubbish Bill English and some of the regional politicians.
    IMHO I don’t think Robertson’s sexual orientation will help him win those conservative regional seats. Regional voters see these gay policies as being rammed down their throats by supercillious urban operatives.
    Remember Labour has to start retrieving some of the regional seats to win victory. At the moment I don’t see much evidence of that.
    NZ is not ready for an openly Gay Prime Minister. I stress the word openly gay.

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  25. dime (9,660 comments) says:

    bruv – he worked for the ministry of foreign affairs and trade for a while..

    and yeah, not impressed at some jumped up little prick whos been a politician since age 18 being a national mp.

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  26. georgebolwing (679 comments) says:

    The US Constitution provides that members of congress must be at least 25, Senators 30 and the President 35 years of age. In 1783, 35 was definately middle aged, so in modern terms would probably translate to 40, 50 and 60. I can certainly see a case for imposing a minimium age of 40 for being a MP and 45 for Ministers.

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  27. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    dime

    “bruv – he worked for the ministry of foreign affairs and trade for a while..”

    Exactly….never had a real job in his life.

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  28. dime (9,660 comments) says:

    bruv – pretty much! least hes not a teacher?

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  29. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    malcolm (1,881) Says:

    February 4th, 2011 at 10:37 am
    Has Grant Robertson every created any wealth or run a business or indeed done anything but be an aspirant pollie? He studied political science, FFS.

    Just say no to career bureaucrats. They have no new ideas, only new tactics.

    Sadly, even when a politician has created wealth or run a business before doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same for the country. Just look at our PM and the government’s lack of balls to do anything significant about the economy for fear of offending ‘mum and dad voters’. Fuck I hate mum and dad voters.

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  30. peterwn (3,211 comments) says:

    My concern with Grant as a health spokesperson is he will have more concern for health sector employees (other than doctors) than patients. This would ultimately lead to the hospital in ‘Yes Minister’ with administrators and ancillary staff, but there was insufficient budget for patients or doctors. The likes of Grant would resist the firing of administrators and ancillary staff to enable doctors to be hired.

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  31. Sarkozygroupie (201 comments) says:

    Having experienced over several days the ‘so-called’ charms of his personality some years ago (when he was running for President of NZUSA), I wouldn’t vote for this man if he was the last man on earth. He is a misogynist. I’ve never forgotten the way he behaved towards me. I’ve had the misfortune of coming across three other misogynistic gay men – one at the university I attended, and two in the work place over the course of my life, and it was extremely unpleasant each time. The first one in the work place actually attacked my male partner sexually at work drinks one night (years before I met my partner), and it was sheer coincidence we ended up relating our experiences of this man to each other one day. The point being each of these men exhibited the same chilling attitude towards me as a woman. At the time I was too naive to understand what was going on, then the penny dropped.

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  32. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Sadly, even when a politician has created wealth or run a business before doesn’t necessarily mean they will do the same for the country.

    That’s true. Wanting to be re-elected has been the downfall of many a good reformer. We need PMs who are like kamikaze pilots :-).

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  33. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Sarkozygroupie

    Riiiight. I happened to be kicking round Otago at that time. My girlfriend and I were mates with grant. He had a big posse of male and female friends – essentially because he was a GC and did his job well…what was your name again?

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  34. calendar girl (1,203 comments) says:

    Another classic career politician championed by the beltway. All his professional “experience” coming from student politics, the public service and the Beehive corridors of political power.

    Following an apprenticeship like that and patronage in high places to help fast-track his political career, Robertson’s ideas, aspirations and insight will be irrelevant to the majority of New Zealanders. We have recently endured nine years of a career politician as Prime Minister (Clark). Let’s have a break of 30 years or more before we succumb again to that fatal combination of unalloyed intellectualism and belief in one’s entitlement to rule.

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  35. Johnboy (15,559 comments) says:

    Hell I wish I could be a fly on the wall when Jimbo (aged 95) takes Grant aside and tells him he will have to get married if he ever aspires to be the PM. :)

    Will he cry all night? :)

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  36. niggly (813 comments) says:

    Did anyone actually read the full DomPost article? Check this out…

    He was full of praise for Helen Clark’s principles and hard work – he was the understudy to Miss Clark’s chief of staff, Heather Simpson. He gave more muted praise to Mr Goff’s hard work, “stickability” and intellectual ability.

    Working with Ms Simpson, he was pivotal in the interest-free student loans policy that helped Labour win a third term in 2005. He said he still backed the policy for its impact on students’ debt burden and as a way to keep graduates in New Zealand.

    Oh dear …. understudy to Heather Simpson ….. “pivotal in the interest-free student loans policy that helped Labour win” in 2005 ….. in other words has absolutely no qualms working with H1 & H2, the two most corrupt bullies running the previous govt (and were responsible for the Pledge Card rort); has no financial and economic understanding of the consequences of the student loan rort on Vote Education being heavily weighted to support students rather than edu institutions; and supported a last minute “bribe” that was not in the Labour election manifesto ….. need I say more?

    If anyone seriously thinks this person, who clearly has no scruples, is economically illiterate (also demonstrated in his public service cuts rhetoric), is another Labour MP who has no practical real world experience, and looks like and has the persona of a walking carpet (Chewbacca with glasses), who has as much public appeal as Cunliffe … c’mon seriously, the next Prime Minister? Hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha ….. Sure I could imagine H1 and the Rainbows appointing him as the next Labour Party Leader … but PM? Definitely can feel a Tui billboard in the making …

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  37. Clint Heine (1,568 comments) says:

    K.jones I suspect you’re a Robertson groupie. Who walks around Otago with a posse of people surrounding them? What tosh!
    This guy idolised Helen Clark FFS. It says everything you need to know about the bloke.

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  38. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Clint – we must meet for a beer sometime

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  39. Dazzaman (1,131 comments) says:

    Grant Robertson….flaccid, fat, big girls blouse. No straight male would vote for that! LOL

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  40. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    I’m pleased to see Grant’s ability recognised, he’s remarkably talented, reasonable and thoughtful bloke who’s bloody good fun to hang out with. I worked with him closely in 1994/5 and consider him a good friend. David’s commentary is generous, but not unusual even from people who’d consider Grant a political opponent. Whether Grant’s “the” leader next, thereafter or not, he will be a leading influence in the party for many many years to come. And Dazzaman, I’m a straight bloke, and I have voted for him.

    Sarkoyswhatever, having spent a lot of time in Grant’s company, I know that you comment is simply untrue.

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