National’s new whips

January 29th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

John Key has announced:

Prime Minister John Key has announced the election of ’s new following the National Party Caucus this morning.

Mr Key says the new senior whip will be MP for Taupo, Louise Upston.

Louise Upston has been promoted to senior whip from junior whip after Mr Key announced last week that Michael Woodhouse will be a Minister outside Cabinet.

The new junior whip will be MP for Hamilton West, Tim Macindoe.

MP for Botany, Jami-Lee Ross, has also been appointed to the newly-created position of third whip.

The Remuneration Authority determined in its annual review last year that political parties with more than 45 MPs will have funding for a third whip.

Being a whip is pretty demanding job. A whip has to be in the House almost all the time, as they are the ones who have to make sure leave is not granted to any delaying tactic from the opposition (such as I seek leave for a 10 hour debate on the price of milk). If you don’t object within a few seconds, then bang the House has so resolved. They also allocate speakers to bills, grant leave to MPs who want to attend engagements during House sitting hours, and generally manage caucus discipline.

The senior whip almost invariably goes on to become a Minister in due course. I can’t recall the last time a National Senior Whip did not become a Minister.

Labour MP Chris Hipkins blogged yesterday:

Just before Christmas the Remuneration Authority released their determination regarding MPs pay. Naturally, all of the media focus was on the fact that MPs were getting a pay rise just before Christmas and it was to be back-dated. Personally I agree with the idea that MPs pay and entitlements should be set on a 3 yearly basis and changes should only come into force following each election, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Pleased to see Chris supports pay and entitlements being set that way. I’d advocated that position for a long time, and hopefully the Select Committee will recommend it when they report back on the MPs Remuneration Bill.

Hidden away in the determination was another interesting little change. Political parties with more than 45 MPs are now entitled to a second junior whip position. So with Michael Woodhouse taking on a ministerial role, and Louise Upston almost certain to step in the Chief Whip’s shoes tomorrow, National will now have to elect two new junior whips. The smart money seems to be on Tim McIndoe and my Breakfast TV sparring partner Jamie Lee-Ross.

Smart money indeed.

I agree with the decision to increase the number of whips big parties can have. It’s a big job and under MMP it’s getting even bigger. But it’s interesting the National government decided to implement the change now, rather than wait until after the next election, when it wouldn’t look quite so much like they were changing the rules to suit their own interests.

Chris is being a bit mischievous here. The Remuneration Authority decided, not the Government, that a party with over 45 MPs needs a third whip and will fund it. we’re not talking a huge amount of money by the way – a whip get $14,100 more than a normal MP.

Of course a party could appoint as many whips as they want. They just won’t get paid extra, unless the Remuneration Authority agrees there is a need. In fact in the early 1990s National had a third whip because their caucus was so large.

This is like that the Greens don’t get two leaders’ salaries. I presume they split the extra pay between the two of them. So it is up to each party to work out what they need, but the Remuneration Authority decides the level at which you get extra funding for such roles.  So the current rules are:

  • 1 to 3 MPs: No whip
  • 4 to 24 MPs: One whip
  • 25 to 44 MPs: Two whips
  • 45+ MPs: Three whips
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14 Responses to “National’s new whips”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The Remuneration Authority decided, not the Government, that a party with over 45 MPs needs a third whip, and will fund it.

    The Government isn’t funding this third whip, but will get the money from the Remuneration Authority? Can we get it to pay for other stuff too? Does it use investment income, or something else?

    [DPF: Parliament, not Government, provides the funding]

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  2. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    Interesting that Hipkins expects National to still be implementing anything after the next election. A two term government doing this part way through their second term is hardly ‘changing the rules to suit their own interests’. Even if it’s a three term government we’re still nearly half way there. Maybe Hipkins expects National to have four terms of 45+ MPs. This would be consistent with his outspoken support for Shearer.

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  3. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    “The Remuneration Authority decided, not the Government” – Yeah Right. I am sure the Tories had nothing to do with it.

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  4. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    I am surprised how relatively fresh MPs have these jobs. Louise Upston is in line for further promotion. I assume the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister make the big decisions. The whips act under delegated authority and their role is more administrative.

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  5. David Farrar (1,895 comments) says:

    Louise, Tim and Jami-Lee are all in their second terms. To be fair though Jami-Lee can in late in the previous term.

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  6. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    [DPF: Parliament, not Government, provides the funding]

    Parliament provides the funding for everything.

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  7. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Personally I agree with the idea that MPs pay and entitlements should be set on a 3 yearly basis

    If that was the case you could be sure as hell inflation would be kept to an absolute minimum (or there would even be deflation).

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  8. Neil (586 comments) says:

    I realize that Jami-Lee Ross came in after the Botany by-election.
    I watch parliament a bit and on my observation he would seem to be one of the weaker National MP’s. Apparently he is very young. He was on the Auckland City Council. What are his particular skills ? Has he got a core constituency ?
    He certainly is no stem winding orator and he has been invisible in the house in major issues.
    What claim has he got on his promotion?

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  9. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Have just heard that Winston will vote against Carter as Speaker supported by the Greens, as an unconstitional vote.

    Does this mean that Winston is still wrangling upon him being Speaker ?

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  10. double d (225 comments) says:

    Another razor sharp comment from hammy still pushing his Tories / neoliberal line. Snort.

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  11. peterwn (3,272 comments) says:

    AFAIK the late Alf Allen (Nat MP for Franklin up to 1972) was a senior whip who did not get a Minister-ship. He was Speaker for his final few years in Parliament.

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  12. big bruv (13,892 comments) says:

    So the snotty nosed kid gets another top job without any real life experience.

    Just who the hell is going to listen to somebody who has never had a real job in their life?

    I have said it before about Ross, he may well end up being a good MP but he would have far more claim to being a peoples representative had he spent three years working for a living before becoming a bludger for life in Parliament.

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  13. southtop (265 comments) says:

    “Parliament not govt provides funding” BS I DO AND I’M TIRED and PISSED OFF
    Time for new rule – ALL govt (central, local and associated cancerous attachments) cannot spend more than 20% of GDP in a year!

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  14. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    Whips are just party hacks. They (and their leaders for that matter) should be funded by the parties not the public as they provide no public or wider parliamentary benefit, unlike say an SC chair

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