More National retirements

October 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

list MP Chris Auchinvole has confirmed he is one of a number of MPs planning to step down at next year’s general election.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said on Monday he would not contest the Napier seat he has held for almost a decade. …

Other MPs expected to stand aside are Invercargill MP Eric Roy and Hunua MP Paul Hutchison, who are both 65.

Auchie will be missed. A wonderful guy wit a great sense of humour.

I always have mixed feelings when an MP announces they are retiring. On a personal level I feel sad, because the majority of MPs are really decent people and make good contributions to Parliament. However on a political level I welcome the because a political party that doesn’t renew will struggle to get re-elected.

At present I can honestly say there isn’t a single National MP that I dislike and want gone. Being lucky enough to get to know many of them reasonably well, I appreciate the contributions they all make.

However as I said, the demand for renewal is important, especially when there is limited opportunity to gain additional MPs (hard to increase the vote very much from 47.5%!). The public have shown they will not keep voting for the same faces time and time again, unless there are some new faces coming through also.

So renewal takes place at two levels – cabinet and caucus.

At the cabinet level, John Key has shown he is determined to have renewal. In almost a first, he dropped two Ministers at the beginning of this year, to allow new Ministers to come through. This is very rare. Normally Ministers only go mid-term when they have done something wrong (and neither had). This was a very encouraging sign. It is possible there could be another cabinet reshuffle early next year as there are certainly some good backbenchers waiting in the wings to become Ministers who should be given the chance.

Renewal at caucus level can be more challenging, as that only really gets done at election time. Ideally you want MPs to decide for themselves if their spell has been long enough, and as Chris and Chris have done make an announcement around a year out from an election.

If an MP is an electorate MP, they can of course be challenged and National has a proud history of allowing members to decide the local representative without head office getting a vote. John Key and Judith Collins both won their seats by challenging an incumbent.

The list is the other area of renewal. In previous elections the caucus has been mainly protected on the list, with all but a handful of new candidates ranked below current MPs. Doing so helps maintain the stability of a Government. However it has a price to pay in not having enough renewal. My hope is that the PM will make clear to the party that in 2014 the caucus should not be automatically protected in list ranking. This doesn’t mean that they don’t all get winnable spots. It means that you only over-ride the regional rankings by members unless there are exceptionally good reasons to do so. We won’t get good candidates coming forward on the list if they see the top 55 or so spots are already taken up.

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39 Responses to “More National retirements”

  1. iMP (2,420 comments) says:

    MEH, Auch has made zero contribution at a South island level, even during Pike River in his patch. He is considered a humorous but light-weight MP by local Nats, a bit of a likeable buffon come -after-dinner speaker, but that’s about all. Probably why he’s been shoulder tapped to walk the plank.

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  2. lazza (382 comments) says:

    Yes David good analysis. Pray tell me folks, with hand on heart, how many in the Lab caucus engender the same feelings of warmth, personality, skills and humanity as David refers to (no one to dislike) for the Nats?

    Geez what a sorry arsed bunch of oddball misfits … on the Lab benches … and they pretend to have “aspirations’. “Spare Me … (Us)”.

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  3. tvb (4,498 comments) says:

    Yes John Key is quite skilful at getting members to move on. I assume he has a discussion with the relevant MP and asks them what do want to achieve from being in politics. Quite a few I suspect would not be able to answer that question. They want to be an MP for the perks and the minor privileges. That is not a good enough reason to remain. Politics involves too many sacrifices for that.

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  4. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The reek of impending defeat is getting stronger every day.

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  5. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    At present I can honestly say there isn’t a single National MP that I dislike and want gone.

    That’s some top shelf brownnosing right there. ;-)

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  6. YesWeDid (1,050 comments) says:

    If Labour MP’s retire its ‘rats leaving a sinking ship’, if National MP’s retire its ‘healthy renewal’.

    Political spin 101.

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  7. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Perhaps they don’t want to serve under Collins as leader. I’ve heard she will personally paddle any miscreants.

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  8. flipper (4,198 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson (1,254) Says:
    October 2nd, 2013 at 9:17 am
    The reek of impending defeat is getting stronger every day
    *****

    Pray tell us why.

    Is it the economy, that is taking off with one of the best w/world growth rates?
    Is it that ACC profit, that will result in a worker premium/tax cut?
    Is it that ACC profit, that will result in a motor vehicle rego cut?
    Is it the stable, low interest rates?
    Is it the low, and dropping unemployment rate?
    Is it so on, and so forth…
    or
    Is it the emergence of the great self aggrandiser and goiter chinned (great cartoonist’s target that) minus T?

    Do tell, Tommie….

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  9. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Do tell, Tommie….

    A tired government that is mired in sleaze with a leader who stopped giving a shit sometime last year.

    No viable coalition partners.

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  10. lazza (382 comments) says:

    Which would you prefer Buddy? … a short sharp paddling from “Crusher” or an excruciating, pious, opinionated “Kiss my Ass” and read my lips from Cunliffe?

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  11. iMP (2,420 comments) says:

    If Crusher is paddling, will Shane Jones stand as deputy Nat Leader?

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  12. iMP (2,420 comments) says:

    John Banks also challenged an incumbent, and entered National’s ranks, then came back as a one man ACT and challenged a Nat again; but in all three cases, excluding Epsom last time, they were light weights and one had a drinking issue. It is almost impossible to challenge an Incumbent within National. Theoretically possible, but political suicide.

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  13. flipper (4,198 comments) says:

    Good fun…

    *** … “…a short sharp paddling from “Crusher”..”

    … provided I can “paddle” back, in my own way…. Well, made up, and after a glass or two, she has a certain attraction, does she not? :) :) :)

    I cannot say the same for minus T.

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  14. James Stephenson (2,223 comments) says:

    @iMP – eh? Didn’t DPF say that both John Key and Judith Collins challenged incumbents? How does that equate with “theoretically possible” and “political suicide”?

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  15. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    The fact that it is senior MP’s that are leaving will encourage those lower caucus ranked MP’s to work towards some level of professional growth (as much as I loathe the concept of a professional politician). Having a role to work towards is always an incentive and being able to show a path in a role is always useful.

    It should be noted that this sort of conduct was lacking in the last Labour Government which seemed to stifle talent at every opportunity, and we have seen the result with it’s third new leader in 5 years.

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  16. BeaB (2,143 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson
    Surely you are old enough to have got over puerile giggles about women in power.
    Judith Collins has better things to do with her time than fantasise about creepy blokes like you, much less your even more unsavoury backside.
    Although a well-aimed kick might do the trick.

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  17. AG (1,831 comments) says:

    If an MP is an electorate MP, they can of course be challenged and National has a proud history of allowing members to decide the local representative without head office getting a vote. John Key and Judith Collins both won their seats by challenging an incumbent.

    Except, of course, that isn’t quite what happened in John Key’s case. Here’s National’s northern regional chairman, Scott Simpson, on the 18 (out of 60) “top up” voting delegates that were chosen to decide who National’s candidate in Helensville would be:

    “They were chosen by me personally and they were people I felt had the interests of the party at heart. I recall inviting a number of electorate chairs from neighbouring electorates, party officers from around the region. Those types of people and that’s not uncommon.”

    So they were hand-picked? “Well, that’s what the rule required me to do actually. The rule doesn’t provide for any other process.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10523287

    [DPF: The Regional Chair is not head office. And he does not get a vote. He selects some delegates if the membership is below a certain level.]

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  18. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    I’m impressed by the tolerance here of blatant trolls like Tom J, so different from the intolerance over at the Stranded.
    Retirement of older National members is instantly interpreted as leaving a sinking ship. This is the current left wing wet dream. They forget that in order for Labour to form government next year they have to share with the Greens. The Greens have NEVER been in any government for a very good reason. They are hysterical economic illiterates who are opposed to all economic progress. They have never come under the microscope of public scrutiny and simply dupe the gullible young and middle class enviro-guilts.
    Person for person the Blue team calibre is far better than the Socialist/Watermelons.
    I see no reason that the old pattern of government change has to be inevitable especially when there is seamless renewal. The National led governments of 2014-17 and 2017-20 will see the emergence of talent currently outside parliament some of whom will take over from the retirees of 2014.
    My picks for national rising stars over the next 7 years from the current crop
    1. Paul Foster-Bell
    2. Mark Mitchel
    3. Scott Simpson
    4 Simon O,Connor
    5. Louise Upston
    6 Amy Adams
    7 Jian Yang

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  19. Harriet (5,118 comments) says:

    This is very good news for the Conservatives – going up against fresh National faces.

    I can see a HUGE swing in the party vote for the Conservatives – at the very least in these electorates!

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  20. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Here’s National’s northern regional chairman, Scott Simpson, on the 18 (out of 60) “top up” voting delegates that were chosen to decide who National’s candidate in Helensville would be

    According to the article, 6 of the 18 ‘top ups’ were filled by local members. So local membership accounted for 48 out of 60 votes. I’m not quite sure how that is not a case of local members deciding on their candidate.

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  21. s.russell (1,646 comments) says:

    My general view is that if you are completing your third term and you have not reached ministerial rank or the Opposition equivalent, then it is probably time to move on. National got a lot of new MPs in 2005 and not all of them have soared, so there are quite a few who should be considering their positions. As DPF says, they are generally nice people who work hard and do a lot of good in small ways, so it is not nice to name names, but we should be demanding more from that of our MPs. We need good ministers not just good backbenchers. So I am hoping for the retirees list to grow a good bit longer. And that applies to Cabinet too.

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  22. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    … provided I can “paddle” back, in my own way…. Well, made up, and after a glass or two, she has a certain attraction, does she not?

    I’d be worried about her forehead exploding under the strains of coitus.

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  23. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    AG: yes, a significant proportion of the voters were hand-picked by the regional chair. But the important thing is that it has the appearance of local members selecting their candidate without interference from head office. Maintaining appearances is what politics is all about, after all.

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  24. AG (1,831 comments) says:

    According to the article, 6 of the 18 ‘top ups’ were filled by local members. So local membership accounted for 48 out of 60 votes. I’m not quite sure how that is not a case of local members deciding on their candidate.

    Well – it’s 6 “local members” that the regional chair decided would have “the interests of the party at heart” – insofar as he (and other leadership figures) saw those interests, of course. Put it this way … if the EPMU chooses someone from a particular electorate to sit on a Labour Party selection panel for that electorate, would you accept the argument that “local Labour Party members are choosing their own candidates”?

    I can see a HUGE swing in the party vote for the Conservatives – at the very least in these electorates!

    How will having new electorate candidates lead to a change in how people cast their party votes?

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  25. Dennis Horne (2,403 comments) says:

    I am so pleased for you, David; you think some MPs are sound and rather nice – because you know them. I feel mightily relieved.

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  26. BeaB (2,143 comments) says:

    Oh dear, Tom Jackson. I think in your case any explosion would be more of a damp squib.

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  27. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Well – it’s 6 “local members” that the regional chair decided would have “the interests of the party at heart” – insofar as he (and other leadership figures) saw those interests, of course.

    Actually the additional 6 local members would not have been hand-picked, but I am not going to quote from the rulebook. The top ups from outside of the local membership would have been at the discretion of the regional chair (so 12 out of a total of 60.)

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  28. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    National’s biggest problem is not the number who retire but the number of really talented people who want to come into parliament for National in 2014. There are too many talented aspirants and talented incumbents to accommodate everyone with talent.
    This is what is called “The All Black dilemma” in sport.
    An All Black B team would be competitive with most other teams.
    Same goes for a National B team.
    If your are in the National A squad but have only ever warmed the bench or not even made the bench then watch out for being shoulder tapped in the next few months by John Key and asked to stand aside for rising stars in the B team who have A team potential.
    This is the way of all great sports teams.
    This is the reason that whilst the All Blacks do not win every game they are ALWAYS rated as the best team in the world. National are the political equivalent of the All Blacks
    Labour are like the woeful Wallabies
    and the Greens are like the North Korean team.

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  29. greenjacket (482 comments) says:

    A strong party needs balance – not all can be high flying cabinet ministers – there also need to be hard workers who are loyal, work hard in the electorates and provide wisdom in caucus. Eric Roy will be missed in Parliament I think.

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  30. Redbaiter (9,509 comments) says:

    As a fan of term limits I would most often agree that it is good to see politicians move on, but I have the suspicion this is the left wing and socially liberal Key attempting to consolidate his power base and impose unity within a party feeling some heat for its failure to stand for anything. I’d like to see Key go and a Thatcherite leader appear in his place. National don’t actually have a vacuum in terms of leadership, but the poll driven Key is the nearest thing.

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  31. Michael (910 comments) says:

    Looks like the party is having a few frank chats with the caucus about the need to freshen up.

    On that note, I hope the party is having a chat to John Key, Bill English, Tony Ryall, Nick Smith (and a few others) about thinking about other jobs post 2017.

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  32. AG (1,831 comments) says:

    Actually the additional 6 local members would not have been hand-picked …

    Odd. Because that’s what Scott Simpson seemed to imply … but I’ll accept the point.

    [DPF: The Regional Chair is not head office. And he does not get a vote. He selects some delegates if the membership is below a certain level.]

    Right. So, technically true. But in terms of how the world actually works …?

    I accept National does have a greater degree of local electorate participation in its selection processes than does Labour (the unvoiced comparator in place here). But let’s not pretend that the party’s national organisation doesn’t exercise some degree of influence … with John Key’s replacement of Brian Neeson being a quite stark example of that in action.

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  33. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    But let’s not pretend that the party’s national organisation doesn’t exercise some degree of influence

    At best people within the party hierarchy could lobby those with votes, but they have no coercive power. Their influence is actually extremely limited. The national organisation cannot interfere with elections to electorate or regional offices; they hold no power to force anyone to vote a certain way. [And I would suggest very strongly that they have no wish to. The independence of local electorates and membership is a strongly held principle within the party organisation.]

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  34. Redbaiter (9,509 comments) says:

    Tony Ryall is OK actually.

    Nick Smith should have fucked off to Labour a decade ago.

    Poisonous blue green idiot.

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  35. AG (1,831 comments) says:

    At best people within the party hierarchy could lobby those with votes, but they have no coercive power.

    Not so. The “party hierarchy” chose at least 20% of the voting delegates in the example of John Key’s selection. That’s a bit more than “lobbying” power in the process. Of course, they couldn’t force those delegates to vote for him … but when you get to pick them, you don’t need to, do you?

    Also, can you point to a party where the “national organisation” does have the “power to force anyone to vote a certain way”? Otherwise we’re fighting against a strawman.

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  36. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    The “party hierarchy” chose at least 20% of the voting delegates in the example of John Key’s selection.

    The regional chair is elected solely by the members of the region they represent. They are not part of the “party hierarchy” (as you seem to interpret my phrasing.) Their nomination, election and serving of their term is not determined by a “party hierarchy” [my words] or “national organisation” [yours.]

    The Party board of directors, general management (and other paid party employees), and parliamentary leadership have no say in the selection of that 20%. And they have no means to exert influence on the election, or continuation, of the regional chair that could amount to coercive influence over that chair’s selections (i.e. the chair cannot be influenced to select certain delegates under some real or perceived threat to their position, other than from the members that elect them – which is not the “national organisation.”)

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  37. Viking2 (11,561 comments) says:

    When is Nick Smith quitting?
    Before Labour get him again or 2030?

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  38. Chi Hsu (101 comments) says:

    The fact that they are being shoulder tapped to go says a lot about those MPs’ worth and the contribution they’ve made to Parliament during their time there. Obviously you wouldn’t make a valuable employee redundant. I am not surprised to see DPF spinning it as being for the purposes of renewal though.

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  39. Andronicus (219 comments) says:

    The mere thought of Crusher as PM makes me glad I moved to Australia.

    I’d rather have a dithering Tony Aboott than that cold hearted, callous bitch any day.

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