Gower’s MP of the Year

December 17th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News Political Editor blogs:

It ‘Twas the year of the ball-breaker: and therefore is my politician of the year.

No doubt this will make plenty of people angry, because “Crusher” has her enemies not just on the Left, but on the Right.

But the fact that she is now widely recognised as a front-runner for National’s leadership shows just how big a year Collins had.

She simply smashed her way through the year – nearly everyone who came up against Collins came off second-best.

Gower looks at the other contenders:

Greens co-leader Russel Norman’s been cited by most of the commentariat as politician of the year. He had a great year, rising as defacto leader of the Opposition and was a superb economic communicator, even putting himself up as a future Finance Minister.

But Rusty came off second-best when he came up against himself. Yes, that moment of madness when Norman thought getting a laser printer to copy off some New Zealand $20 notes could pay for the Christchurch rebuild and solve New Zealand’s economic woes. It is frankly impossible to name someone who suggests printing money as politician of the year.

It is good to see a journalist actually cite policy issues in appraising an MPs performance, rather than purely how they handle the media etc. We need more focus on policies.

That takes me to Collins – she did not come off second-best, even when hit with the full-on wave of destruction that was the ACC Bronwyn Pullar scandal.

It wiped out Nick Smith as a Minister. It swept so far it even briefly touched Key – nobody seemed immune.

But Collins wiped out the chairman John Judge, and board members Rob Campbell, John McCliskie and Murray Hilder. Chief Executive Ralph Stewart freaked out and jumped.

Heads rolled.

Collins never looked entirely safe throughout – it was “harum scarum” stuff by her.

Collins was under extraordinary pressure. It seemed she had mishandled it – that there were things that would come back at her. They haven’t – yet. How she managed that, I don’t know.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little tried to take her on over it. They lost – in the courts no less, when Collins did them for defamation. Collins put a hit on Mallard – that should not be under-estimated as a political hit. Collins beat up Mallard.

By the time the ACC report came out, Collins had it under control. The heads had rolled – this in a country where heads never roll.

In a scandal to hurt so many, for Collins to come out virtually unscathed shows considerable political skill. And maybe some luck.

Not much luck I’d say.

Next year there must be more policy and less politics from Collins – she must sort out ACC to really prove her mettle.

But this year Collins made a move.

She survived and managed the ACC mega-scandal. She put Bain’s Compensation claim in a choker-hold.

She got her way time and time again.

She has cemented herself as a potential future leader of the National Party.

And not once did she come off second-best. It was ball-breaking stuff, it wasn’t always pretty, but it worked – and Collins is my politician of the year.

A ballsy call.

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31 Responses to “Gower’s MP of the Year”

  1. dime (9,459 comments) says:

    Dime would be happy to see crusher become PM :)

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  2. Manolo (13,384 comments) says:

    I don’t get it at all. Gower’s commentary is as shallow as puddle after rain, and his interviewing skills leave a lot to be desired.
    I’ll never forget his obnoxious face when Don Brash called him by his correct name.

    The fact that this intellectual pygmy and hack is a “star” of TV journalism is an indication of how low the profession has sunk in NZ.

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  3. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    I just don’t understand how Gower could have left Rajen out of his assessments…

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  4. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    They should reshuffle and give her welfare or education. Those are where crushing is most needed.

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  5. bc (1,334 comments) says:

    I have to disagree with Gower. Collins is too polarising. If she was a future leader of National, it would ensure that National is in opposition for quite some time.

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  6. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    bc,

    It’s a moot point for a few more years yet, I think.

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  7. Manolo (13,384 comments) says:

    It’s a moot point for a few more years yet, I think.

    I congratulate my good friend bhudson for his immarcescible optimism.

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  8. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    “Collins is too polarising. If she was a future leader of National, it would ensure that National is in opposition for quite some time.”

    OH yeah, National should of course pander to the idiocies of the far left when choosing their leaders.

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  9. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    And she finally crushed a boy racer car!

    Awesome. :neutral:

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  10. James Stephenson (2,036 comments) says:

    Collins is too polarising.

    Are you running Labour’s strategy or something bc? This is really the exact mistake that they’re making with Shearer. Just because John Key makes the “good bloke” thing work for him, it doesn’t mean the only way to be successful is to play the “good bloke” card.

    I suspect that by time the JK era comes to an end, everyone (and not just the several of us on here) will be sick of the wishy-washy just-want-to-be-liked routine and ready for a bit of “polarisation”.

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  11. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    My guess is that Gower is trolling for favours from the future PM. Perhaps he knows something we don’t.

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  12. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    She lacks John keys good old boy charm. But she has a style that gets results. And best of all sound judgment. I trust her.

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  13. PaulD (97 comments) says:

    “Labour’s Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little tried to take her on over it. They lost – in the courts no less, when Collins did them for defamation. ”

    Hardly a proper crushing “After a closed settlement hearing in Auckland High Court on Wednesday the three politicians issued a joint statement saying they still differed over whether the comments were defamatory but the case wouldn’t go any further.”

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  14. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    Nature hates a vacuum James Stephenson – IMHO a big reason for Key’s popularity is that after 9 years of Helen Clark’s polarisation, probably a lot of people were ready for Johnny Good Guy. As you say it’s harder to see people getting excited about a new Johnny Good Guy to replace the old one.

    I don’t know if Judith Collins will ever be able to portray herself as someone you can like, so I guess she has to portray herself as someone you can trust to do X, Y and Z…?

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  15. hmmokrightitis (1,513 comments) says:

    Come back to us when youve seen the stats for boy racer arrests and problems since that policy was introduced RRM. Think steep decline. Even boy racers have more brains than you.

    Until then youre a dick. And probably even after that too I suspect.

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  16. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    What a silly thing to say. She’s too ‘polarising’ – why? Because she can run a department? Because she holds her officials to account? Because she sticks to her guns? Because she has principles? Because she is prepared to pay the political price for her decisions?

    Or because she is a modern woman – well educated, professional, married, goodlooking, tough-minded, sense of humour, doesn’t take herself too seriously. Enough to scare your socks off, bc. Time to man up and accept women are not doormats any more.

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  17. trout (902 comments) says:

    Hear hear

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  18. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    RRM
    We all know John Key is a good guy – and a good leader, a good man manager and a good politician. We won’t be looking for his opposite when, sadly, he departs the job, we’ll be looking for his equal.
    Judith Collins is fitting the bill very nicely.

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  19. RRM (9,471 comments) says:

    hmmok –

    There have been other events affecting the boy racer scene than just Judith Collins. I understand it’s now a bit harder to do laps of the 4 avenues in Chch than it used to be, for example…

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  20. Dazzaman (1,123 comments) says:

    She’d be a good PM. Crusher has the air of a….boss!

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  21. Ross Miller (1,664 comments) says:

    I first developed an association with Judith Collins a decade ago when she was first elected when, together with the late John Masters, we worked on a strategy which saw the Government controlled Health Select Committee forced to hold hearings on the canard that NZ troops in Vietnam were never exposed to Agent Orange. Everything that has happended since in this regard can be traced back to an MP prepared to take on the establishment in order to achieve justice for those who did their duty.

    That set the tone for a relationship that I value immensly. She is tough but fair. She is both bright and politically smart. She knows how to manage bureaucracy to get results. That she has enemies on the left (and right) of politics I suspect worries her little. She is too focused for that. Her time will come.

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  22. bc (1,334 comments) says:

    Nice attempt at throwing the sexist label at me BeaB.

    What I meant by polarising is that I feel that the country is not in the mood for someone like Collins to be the next Prime Minister. The reason why John Key is the most popular PM we have had is because he has that aw-shucks, kiwi joker manner about him and that is is “relaxed” about everything! RRM made the same point @ 2.58pm (maybe he is sexist too).

    Now, John Key has already said that he is not interested in being in opposition. So we know that if there is a Labour-Greens government in 2014, it’s bye bye John. My point is that, if that happens and Collins becomes the next National leader, then it is my OPINION that National will remain in opposition for some time.

    You are of course quite welcome to disagree, BeaB. I promise I won’t throw labels at you.

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  23. GPT1 (2,090 comments) says:

    From the point of view of the legal profession Judith Collins’ appointment was met with trepidation – fears that the Power regime would be lead by someone as strong willed and competent as Collins was a frightening thought indeed. Although the jury very much remains out and the position, in legal aid especially, is tenuous from decades of neglect there have been some promising signs that the rape and pillage approach of Power, if not stopped, may be reigned in. I was in a meeting with the MOJ re Legal Aid recently where they noted the direction from the minister that they had to actually consult and not just say they were – by no means enough to break out the champagne but a nice change from the approach in recent years of ‘you are going to cop one up the bum but we will consult you on whether you want lube’.

    She has even shown an appreciation of things such as the rule of law and the importance of a fair trial – even after the MacDonald trial where a populist light weight (ahem, Power) would have been tempted to go with the prevailing wind and talk about changes to the Evidence Act as the knee jerked uncontrollably below the table.

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  24. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    This narcissistic woman is so unbelievably overrated and absolutely NOT leadership material. She is as self centred, selfish and profile hungry as Jenny Shipley was, with the same infuriating habits that Shipley had of saying two contradictory things in the same sentence with perfect sincerity, but without even Shipley’s talent to go with the arrogance. Collins would be a fucking hopeless, terrible, awful leader. She was promoted as a ‘star’ actually without the ability. She has managed to improve slightly from her ridiculous high school caucus presentations, but not by all that much actually. She did well to ‘just’ avoid the mud that was going around with ACC but I don’t see how that suddenly renders her this amazing leader in waiting. Heaps of other National MP’s who go about their work a lot more competently but also lot more quietly could have and should have won MP of the year. On no planet does she beat Ryall, Finlayson, English, Bennet, McCully even Grosser. She’s TV hungry and only cares about herself. What a stupid award.

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  25. hmmokrightitis (1,513 comments) says:

    There have been other events affecting the boy racer scene than just Judith Collins. I understand it’s now a bit harder to do laps of the 4 avenues in Chch than it used to be, for example…

    Right, so thats Christchurch sorted then…oh hang on, no its not. Shows you how little you know on the topic. Talk to them RRM, and you will understand why their habits have changed. More organised track days, and the boys – and girls – respect the fact that the law will act, so they have changed what they do. And good on them too. Shows what good law making can do.

    But then its not like you’ll admit that is it?

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  26. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    lol and it cracks me up how Kiwibloggers go on about how Judith Collins is a good looking woman. You lads need to effing raise your standards a bit aye.

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  27. mikenmild (10,765 comments) says:

    UpandComer
    I was thinking of Jenny Shipley as I read down the comments. I think you have Collins well summed up as from the same mould.

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  28. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Polarising? Absolutely – cringe material to watch.

    A reincarnation of Shipley? Maybe.

    Shades of Muldoon – yes, but with less finesse, more height, and more testosterone.

    Her dissing of Binnie last week made NZ look like a banana republic, denied a citizen natural justice after probably being locked up for a crime he did not commit, and broke every rule of etiquette and proper process. It demonstrated her absolute conviction of her own infallibility about every topic. Not an attractive quality for a leader.

    Definitely not the leader I would like to see for this country. I’d put Joyce and English way ahead.

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  29. Ross Miller (1,664 comments) says:

    and so it appears the Standard have roped in UpandComer, milkenmild and orewa1 as late comers to the debate to provide some ‘balance’ … hardly, and the fact is that Collins would eat you for bkfst and spit out the pips. And what about your own parliamentary giants … Dyson, Street, Mahuta, and super lightweight Jacinda … not much of a contest, in fact no contest at all even colectively.

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  30. s.russell (1,564 comments) says:

    Not a bad pick from Gower, Collins has certainly earned respect.
    She is, of course, VERY different from John Key in personality. But when the time comes (and not for a good long while yet I hope) that will be a virtue. Eventually, people will want a change and if National want to stay in office it will need to offer new faces and new style.

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  31. emfalla (1 comment) says:

    Yes, yes, but quite apart from all that, Gower’s intro was grammatically was arsey-boo. ‘Twas is already short for “it was”, so you don’t say “It ‘Twas”. Gower isn’t a bad journo but sometimes he’s a t’wat.

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