The new front bench

December 15th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I like this photo (from Stuff) of the Ministers being sworn in. I like the fact that a third of the front bench are woman (and two are Maori women) and indisputably all there on merit – not on the basis of quota or factional appeasement.

I also likes this response from John Key to David Shearer’s call to be on the Ministerial committee on :

Mr Key wished new Labour leader David Shearer all the best in what was a “thankless” job as leader of the Opposition.

Mr Shearer had been “quite quiet” as an MP so it was difficult to tell how he might perform.

However, he rejected Mr Shearer’s call to widen a ministerial group on poverty to all MPs.

“I’m more than happy for David Shearer to be a part of the ministerial committee if he’s happy to give the Government confidence and supply.”

Heh.

On the serious substantive issue, both John Key and David Shearer would sincerely like to see less poverty in New Zealand. They agree on the aim, but the reality is and Labour disagree strongly on the solutions. This is not always a bad thing – it means NZers get to choose whose policies etc they prefer.

For example National believes a key way to reduce poverty is to reduce the numbers on . Labour however believes that you reduce poverty by paying those on more.

One could argue shouldn’t we do both. Well, yes you can but the policies are not that compatible. The more you pay people on welfare, the harder it generally is to reduce the numbers on welfare.

Ultimately it is of course a bit of a balancing act. Few advocate abolishing the welfare state and having a Singapore system where families must support those not in work, rather than the state. And likewise few support having a welfare state where work is voluntary and you can just go on a benefit whenever you feel like it.

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44 Responses to “The new front bench”

  1. Other_Andy (2,466 comments) says:

    Hekia Parata looks ready for business.

    PPTA and NZEI…………make her day.

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  2. Psycho Milt (2,348 comments) says:

    …indisputably all there on merit – not on the basis of quota or factional appeasement.

    Ouch! That’s a searing indictment of their male colleagues – those guys must feel like somebody just slapped them…

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  3. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Labour’s front bench does not have the muscle those three possess, they have a long way to catch up. Maybe 2017 if they are lucky.

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  4. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Well it didn’t take long for the labour sense of entitlement to hit Shearer did it, been the leader of the opposition for 48 hours now he things he should be in the government.

    Maybe conservative are more interested in ability that penis counting milt. Must suck to be of sex based in your thinking and bitchslapped back into opposition… by chicks.

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  5. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    I suspect quite a few would argue the effectiveness of one of the three in that photo (I’ll let you guess which one…)

    “And likewise few support having a welfare state where work is voluntary and you can just go on a benefit whenever you feel like it.”

    Actually, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that perhaps that is what we should have: A universal allowance paid to all. After all, we do it for the over 65′s. We give a bunch to those working with kids. We give a bunch to single parents that have kids and aren’t working. Really there’s not that many that don’t get some sort of allowance from the government. It would be much fairer if everyone got the same. It doesn’t have to be much, ofcourse (it can’t be, else we couldn’t afford it) but the equivalent (tax-free) of the current unemployment benefit is acheivable with something like a 30% taxrate on everything earnt (you needn’t have a progressive income tax system any longer as there is no problem with abatement rates or silly high effective marginal tax rates). It gets rid of the concept of “beneficiaries” being bludgers as everyone has exactly the same benefits and opportunities. Further, everyone that earns pays the same proportion of tax.

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  6. mavxp (494 comments) says:

    Now if Shearer was really serious about poverty and changing the direction of Labour from the “anti-party” to a constructive force in NZ politics, he should call John Key’s bluff and open negotiations with him to get Labour input into government policy. This need not be a confidence and supply arrangement as Key suggests, but more a Memorandum of Understanding. They could do this with all parties (even Act) rather than just pinch Green policies and anything opposite what National is doing by default. Being able to get around the table and be constructive will allow them to deliver “gains” to the electorate come the next election – like the Greens did with housing insulation. This is MMP not FPP – time to use it to maximum effect even from the opposition benches.

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  7. James Butler (76 comments) says:

    For example National believes a key way to reduce poverty is to reduce the numbers on welfare. Labour however believes that you reduce poverty by paying those on welfare more.

    One could argue shouldn’t we do both. Well, yes you can but the policies are not that compatible. The more you pay people on welfare, the harder it generally is to reduce the numbers on welfare.

    See, this correlation is tenuous at best. If we look at the last few years, we can see that welfare numbers pretty closely track the performance of the economy – show me a similar correlation with benefit levels.

    But the main problem is that by accepting it, by saying that we will fix poverty by getting more people off welfare into work (however that is done), you have to also accept that those not in work will be poor, and that that’s OK. Is poverty – real poverty, where you start having to choose between necessities – an acceptable consequence of losing a job? Is it OK for people in our society to be poor or not based just on the performance of the global economy? Because by allowing welfare payments to approach poverty levels in the last 20 years, something both Labour and National bear responsibility for, that’s what we have done. And it’s bullshit. And unless the government wants to implement a 50s-style “full employment” policy suite, it guarantees that we will have people living in poverty in our wealthy country, which is morally bankrupt.

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  8. Richard Hurst (781 comments) says:

    Johnny’s angel’s?? ;)

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  9. Other_Andy (2,466 comments) says:

    “Is poverty – real poverty, where you start having to choose between necessities – an acceptable consequence of losing a job?”

    Drop Sky Sport or Sky Movies?
    Going to the pub only twice a week instead of four?
    Having takeways for luch three times a week instead of seven?
    Going to the movies once a fortnight instead of every week?
    Have that new iPhone-s or keep the iphone 3 for another year?

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  10. James Butler (76 comments) says:

    Drop Sky Sport or Sky Movies?
    Going to the pub only twice a week instead of four?
    Having takeways for luch three times a week instead of seven?
    Going to the movies once a fortnight instead of every week?
    Have that new iPhone-s or keep the iphone 3 for another year?

    Right, so if you think that’s the level of poverty the unemployed in this country experience, then why the fuck are we having a Ministerial Committee on poverty?

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  11. nixie (3 comments) says:

    I know Hekia is a Māori who is the other?

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  12. Lance (2,540 comments) says:

    @nixie
    Are your eyes just painted on?

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  13. Other_Andy (2,466 comments) says:

    “…then why the fuck are we having a Ministerial Committee on poverty?”

    Politics.
    “National and the Maori Party have signed a confidence and supply agreement to tackle poverty.”

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  14. Fisiani (981 comments) says:

    So when Shearer asked to go on the committee in his leadership acceptance speech and was turned down does that count as the fastest points loss ever! Shearer Shorn #1

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  15. James Stephenson (2,078 comments) says:

    Johnny’s angel’s?? ;)

    With a nod to Terry Pratchett, and bearing in mind the future for whoever get the job of opposing them, isn’t The Agony Aunts more appropriate?

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  16. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    Surely the first step toward cutting poverty is stopping the tide of unskilled immigrants hopefully freeing up some bottom end jobs for those that actually want to work?

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  17. Rich Prick (1,604 comments) says:

    It is not “poverty”, rather it is income and asset wealth inequality. There is a significant difference between the two and in this country poverty if it truly exists, is by choice.

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  18. Bob R (1,354 comments) says:

    ***And likewise few support having a welfare state where work is voluntary and you can just go on a benefit whenever you feel like it.***

    I would support higher welfare payments if the downstream costs were to be limited by requiring recipients to use contraception.

    I think both Labour and National are in denial. The underclass is simply going to increase given current birth rates & low skill jobs disapearing overseas.

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  19. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paula Bennett is most definitely not there on merit. She’s a ditz and that’s being very polite. Any politician that can make Christine Rankin look like a Rhodes Scholar doesn’t deserve to hold a portfolio, let alone be in Parliament.

    As for Judith Collins she doesn’t flll me with confidence. Steven Price has previously raised doubts about Collins’ capabilities.

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  20. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Collins completely stuff up on the issue of video surveillance and didn’t know what she was talking about. We’ll see if she is fit for the job but it doesn’t look promising.

    http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=505

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  21. labours a joke (442 comments) says:

    nice…3 seeeexy looking ladies with brains.

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  22. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    “Well it didn’t take long for the labour sense of entitlement to hit Shearer…”

    Thanks for the laugh, you don’t know what sense of entitlement means. Why don’t you ask Bill English, who apparently doesn’t get paid enough to afford a cleaner without charging the taxpayer. Now that’s a sense of entitlement!

    As for Shearer, I guess he was hopful that Key’s decision to set up a committee into poverty was genuine. The PM’s pathetic response has shown that it wasn’t.

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  23. KevinH (1,142 comments) says:

    All three women in the photograph are extremely capable and experienced politicians and reflect the changing face of the National Party. One of those three women will be the next Leader of the National Party and Prime Minister.

    With regards to Poverty, DPF says:

    “For example National believes a key way to reduce poverty is to reduce the numbers on welfare. Labour however believes that you reduce poverty by paying those on welfare more.”

    Neither of those solutions is palatable or aspirational in the long term. The key to resolving poverty is by introducing equity to the individual via work.
    Work is the answer, getting New Zealands stalled economy moving and creating momentum in the marketplace is the way forward.
    Slashing welfare numbers will exasperate an already difficult situation.That solution is narrowminded.
    Paying more welfare is equally stupid because it demotivates people as well as disguising the problem which is a lack of work.
    In the next three years I want to see National pull it’s finger out and get this economy going, there are opportunities developing in the Northern hemisphere for market access for our primary products. I would like to see our trade commissioners getting motivated and get cracking on filling up those order books.

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  24. hmmokrightitis (1,558 comments) says:

    @ross – pathetic response? Please. Shearer deserved the slap, it was a brainless and fatuous suggestion at best. Once labour finally ‘find themselves’ after years in the wilderness, then they can get involved in running the country. Until then, back in your box, or, the opposition benches and suck it up princess.

    Losings a bitch init? :)

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  25. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Ladies ,check out the deals going at weightwatchers,you can afford them.

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  26. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    “Any politician that can make Christine Rankin look like a Rhodes Scholar doesn’t deserve to hold a portfolio, let alone be in Parliament.”

    Haha ross, having another bad day? Still pissed with the election results? Surely, even you would struggle to defend the laughable suggestion that any one of these MPs would have MENSA knocking on their door:

    Parekura Horomia. Nope.
    Ruth Dyson? Nope.
    Ross Robertson? Nope.
    Carmel Sepuloni? Nope.
    Nanaia Mahuta? Nope.
    Maryan Street? Nah.
    Clayton Cosgrove? Nope.
    Sue Moroney? Bwahahahaaaaaa
    Lianne Dalziel? No!

    Jeez ross, – I can only guess the one good thing about being myopic is that you’ll save on the cost of replacement specs.

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  27. labours a joke (442 comments) says:

    “Thanks for the laugh, you don’t know what sense of entitlement means”

    2 words..Chris Carter.

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  28. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    KevinH

    The key to reducing poverty is to reduce the number of those on Welfare, by getting them into work. National does not want to withdraw the safety net, but it does want to eliminate welfare as a lifestyle choice.

    As to poverty in NZ. We do need to understand why people are in a state of poverty in NZ. In a country such as ours, where every child has access to education in order to prepare themselves for life as an adult, we need to ask why so many of our young people end up without even the most basic skills. To be fair, the education system can only do so much, and there has to be a better approach to tackling the generational nature of poverty.

    The stories of beneficiaries breeding beneficiaries are rife. The entrenched dependency of 3rd and 4th generation welfare dependants where mum and grandma don’t work, so the daughter has kids for money is simply nothing more than breeding poverty. The move from national to have a social worker in all decile 3 and below schools may assist in identifiying problems, but will it help? I hope so.

    We need to look at the issue of welfare payments, and how they contribute to the very problem they were designed to solve. We need to look at WFF, which has absolved the market of the need to pay living wages as there is now an effective government subsidy to top up these wages. We need to look at the DBP, which is now seen by many as the only path available by those who have failed to take the opportunities afforded by education.

    We need to look at the education system. In this regard, Charter Schools give me some hope. It is obvious that the one size fits all approach is failing too many of our young people and that other options need to be looked at. Those less academically inclined should be looking at more vocational training.

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  29. Elaycee (4,322 comments) says:

    plebe says: “Ladies ,check out the deals going at weightwatchers….”

    Actually, they were promised a pineapple chunk for every occasion they detected / outed a Labour MP / infiltrator / staffer telling porkies.

    Not many weeks since the election and already the pineapple chunks are being delivered by the carton…

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  30. backster (2,109 comments) says:

    I don’t know about ‘front bench’ but they impress as a formidable ‘Front Row’ to me. Have they tried out for the Parliamentary Rugby team.

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  31. Bob R (1,354 comments) says:

    ***We need to look at the issue of welfare payments, and how they contribute to the very problem they were designed to solve. We need to look at WFF, which has absolved the market of the need to pay living wages as there is now an effective government subsidy to top up these wages. We need to look at the DBP, which is now seen by many as the only path available by those who have failed to take the opportunities afforded by education.***

    As I said above, make contraception a condition of welfare. There was actually someone on Maori TV a few months ago suggesting using contraceptive implants.

    ***We need to look at the education system. In this regard, Charter Schools give me some hope. It is obvious that the one size fits all approach is failing too many of our young people and that other options need to be looked at. Those less academically inclined should be looking at more vocational training.***

    Indeed.

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  32. hmmokrightitis (1,558 comments) says:

    Actually, the RH Paula B was in the Koru Lounge in Welly this AM as I was flying out of the rain soaked capital to the rain drenched ‘naki. Dressed in loudest pink, huge smile, she looked wonderful, and good on her. But of course, there isnt an ounce of fat on backster or plebe is there – or maybe just your heads.

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  33. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    “Once labour finally ‘find themselves’ after years in the wilderness, then they can get involved in running the country.”

    Select committees involve Opposition MPs.

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  34. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Sounds like she was dressed like the late Carmen,did she have the same built?? (ps i suppose im paying for her PINK (loud)wardrobe SIGH)
    Dressed in loudest pink, huge smile, she looked wonderful, and good on her. But of course, there isnt an ounce of fat on backster or plebe is there – or maybe just your heads.
    I try to stay fit, and my head works out to.

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  35. RRM (9,606 comments) says:

    :-/ A trio of cold, hard, sneering right-wing women.

    Giggity giggity.

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  36. RightNow (6,799 comments) says:

    “I try to stay fit, and my head works out to.”

    Seems like it works its way out of doing any work.

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  37. Mark (1,406 comments) says:

    Collins is capable and has been given ACC as a clear signal that it will be privatised in some form.

    Bennett I am less sure about. Has yet to put any meaningful runs on the board although we hear a lot from her.

    Parata is untested and she has a sink or swim portfolio in education. Tolley sank and had half the education portfolio taken away so she could cope

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  38. Jinky (180 comments) says:

    2 of them in on the list after being rejected by their electorates. or is that only unacceptable when Labour MPs do it?

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  39. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    Sorry to be that annoying pedant, but

    Woman – singular
    Women – plural

    Just like man and men.

    I have no idea why so many people get “women” wrong, but everyone manages “men”.

    / couldn’t help myself, it’s even more grating than an apostrophe in the wrong place

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  40. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    So, we are going to have Shearer womble on about “poverty” for 18 months until he gets the arse.
    He’s proving to be a monosybillic issue man already.

    The worst of ot it is his “issue” doesn’t really exist i.e no poverty, just lots with no life skills. We don’t live in Somalia (OK parts of Roskill maybe, no poverty just lots of Somalians)

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  41. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    I fart at them, and I wave my private parts at thier aunties

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  42. slijmbal (1,223 comments) says:

    the word poverty gets used in 2 meanings – the original and commonly accepted meaning of the word i.e. lack of food on the table, no shoes, no clothes, no medical treatment, bones protruding through the skin etc. and the more modern relative poverty whereby it’s about the fact that they have less than others but have enough for the basics of life.

    Many are utterly fed up with the latter being used as a definition of poverty.

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  43. Other_Andy (2,466 comments) says:

    “Many are utterly fed up with the latter being used as a definition of poverty.”

    Other irritating catch phrases:
    Income inequality
    Equality of outcomes

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  44. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Caption: “New production of Macbeth auditions actors for opening scenes. . .’

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