NZ First infighting

Sam Sachdeva at The Press reports:

NZ First has been embroiled in infighting after a blog slammed the performance of some of its MPs, leaked party emails show.

Internal emails, passed on to The Press, have revealed discord within the party, with Christchurch MP Denis O’Rourke among those attacking their Whip and the party’s board.

The emails relate to a post by website that used a range of statistics to rank Opposition MPs.

The rankings placed Canterbury NZ First MPs O’Rourke and Richard Prosser in the bottom five for the third quarter of 2012, along with colleague Asenati Taylor.

I wouldn’t say the blog slammed any of the NZ First MPs. In the post I did, I mainly just report the data. Rajen Prasad is the only MP I really gave much of a swipe to.

As I said in the post, the data is quantitative, not qualitative. However I think it has some value as it does at least show if MPs are being active asking PQs and doing press releases.

To be fair to NZ First MPs, many will always struggle as Winston hogs most of the media stories, and front on almost any high profile issue. But that is no reason you can’t still be churning out some releases and gathering data through PQs.

NZ First Whip Barbara Stewart emailed the rankings to the caucus on October 4.

She said they showed “how others are judging you”.

O’Rourke and former North Shore mayor hit back, criticising the rankings and Stewart’s decision to email them out.

What is fascinating is not that MPs disagree, but that one of the MPs has leaked the e-mails to the media. Not a good sign.

O’Rourke said the rankings were “not even remotely interesting or relevant” and were “utter nonsense”.

“I find it hard to believe that anyone with any brains would actually take any notice of a stupid Right-wing blog site,” he said.

Hey, I resent the “stupid” comment! And yes my blog is from the right and I am known to be a critic of Winston, but the MP stats are not designed to be pro or anti any party or MP. They are designed to both reveal how much work MPs are doing in certain areas, and how effective they are at gaining media attention. I do them for Government Ministers also.

Williams said Stewart’s decision to place importance on the rankings was “a sad inditement [sic] on you as Whip and of this party”.

“[Q]uite frankly I do not want to receive these ‘nanny’ type sermons from you. Have better things to do than be preached at.”

It is interesting that Winston promised soon after the election that the caucus would elect a Deputy Leader by the end of March 2012. They still haven’t elected one. Is it because they can’t agree?

In response, Stewart warned the MPs that their performance had been noticed by the NZ First board.

“The number of contributions or lack of – that you make . . . is also being noticed. A picture is being created about you!”

I’m biased, but I think the data in the ratings can be of some use to a party. Certainly only of some limited value, but it allows a party to say why has Brendan Horan does 16 press releases and Denis O’Rourke only one? Now there may be a simple answer such as Horan has a portfolio that has been more high profile. So the data is not the answer, but at least allows questions to be asked.  Likewise why has Andrew Williams asked 22 PQs and Asenati Taylor just three?

So even I wouldn’t place huge reliance on the data, but that isn’t to say it can’t be of some value.

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