Lots of praise for Key Ministry

November 18th, 2008 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

There’s so many positive stories I don’t know where to start. Alphabetically maybe with Audrey Young yesterday:

Popular Westie Paula Bennett is the big winner as Minister of Social Development and Employment – one of the biggest jobs overseeing the biggest ministry with the biggest budget.

It has gone to someone with just three years as an MP who has drawn on the DPB herself in the past as a solo mother .

Key said it was not it risk. It is but it one worth taking. She proved herself an able politician quickly in opposition embarrassing plenty more seasoned MPs in Government in early childhood education.

Most people are celebrating Paula’s story of having been a young Maori solo mother, working all sorts of low paid jobs to earn some extra money, educating herself, becoming an MP, winning Waitakere and then becoming Minister of Social Development. It’s a great aspirational story. Alas, the bitterness has not ended with the election campaign, with Clinton Smith labelling her “thick as two short planks”.

Luckily for Labour, Phil Goff is showing his smarts. Goff has resisted the urge to criticise the Cabinet – knowing that doing so may just make him look churlish. He has said he’ll hold them to account, but will give them a fair go in the job.  I am starting to get quite positive about Labour under Goff’s leadership – the mea culpa over the EFA and now this.

Colin Espiner blogged:

John Key’s announced his new Cabinet lineup. It’s not a bad one, either. I think he’s picked through the talent available very well.

Colin also updates us:

On another matter, thanks to everyone who has posted suggestions on helping me eat my words. After much deliberation, I have settled on the suggestion provided by Lizbeth of making a “coalition smoothie” from my blog. I’ll be doing this on video in the press gallery kitchen on Tuesday lunchtime. We hope to have it posted on the Stuff website early afternoon.

Like John Key, I’m keen to try out my kitchen cabinet whiz.

I think Colin should invite the Maori Party MPs to witness it :-)

On the Greens G-blog, Stevedore blogs:

And Key seems to be giving it his best shot. The arrangement he has put together seems to reflect what people voted for. The cabinet he has announced looks a lot more diverse, fresh and representative than it threatened to be a few months ago.  The whole thing looks stable and consultative.  Which is exactly what MMP should provide.

Tim Selwyn at Tumeke provides lots of provocative commentary.

Barnsley Bill invents a new term – a SDMILF. Oh dear. Paula may need to warn the Diplomatic Protection Squad!

John Armstrong writes this morning:

The message is loud and clear: to survive as a minister in John Key’s Cabinet, you’re going to have to perform.

That will make a nice change.

Key has taken a less sentimental approach to Cabinet construction than previous Prime Ministers, with somewhat more emphasis on talent and ability and slightly less stress on loyalty and length of service.

Indeed. Although some appointments could still be seen as sentimental – but overall many fresh new faces.

The Herald has a summary of business and industry reaction, and lobby groups here.

The Herald editorial calls the Ministry solid and safe:

The line-up looks to be a good mixture of fresh faces and experience. …

As Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, Georgina te Heuheu will have a seat at the Cabinet table while the minister, the Maori Party’s Pita Sharples, will not. They will have to be in tune. So will Paula Bennett and Tariana Turia, minister and associate minister respectively of social development and employment. Ms Bennett, who has known life on a benefit, is the most unexpected of Mr Key’s appointment and perhaps the most inspired.

The Dom Post editorial calls it the bold and the new.

John Key has shown wisdom beyond his political years by tempering boldness with caution in naming his new ministers, The Dominion Post writes.

In opting for the promise of a Steven Joyce over the experience of a John Carter, Mr Key is reflecting his own rise to the top after only six years in Parliament. Time served is not an indication of talent.

However, neither has he left out in the cold any of those who would have reasonably expected to make it. There would have been dangers in doing that. Mr Carter, along with Maurice Williamson and Richard Worth, his fellow ministers outside Cabinet, have all been given a clear signal that this is as good as it will get.

But they have not been humiliated. Left to languish on the back benches, they could have devoted their time to sowing discord and undermining the leader who failed to give them anything else to do.

Being a Minister outside Cabinet is still a hell of a lot better than not being a Minister at all.

Mr Key’s decisions in allocating ministerial positions underline that he is seeking to advance his agenda through consensus rather than by bulldozing it through. The naming of his ministers is a good start to his administration.

Yep.

The only quibble is that he convinced himself he was unable to trim his ministry from a bloated 28. Maintaining an executive of that size means that his plans to reduce the Wellington bureaucracy will be greeted with a measure of justified cynicism.

I also wanted it less than 28. But as one can see, there were enough upset MPs anyway. Technically his promise is to keep the Wellington bureaucracy from growing further, so keeping the Executive the same size is consistent.

Martin Kay in the Dom Post provides useful commentary on each Minister.

An odd report in the ODT, with Dene Mackenzie bizarrely labelling the Cabinet a move to the right. Dropping Lockwood Smith and Maurice Williamson from Cabinet is as far from a move to the right as you can get. Replacing Judith Collins with Paula Bennett is Welfare is not a move to the right. Giving Bill English infrastructure is not a move to the right.

So when Dene says:

His new Cabinet, which will be sworn in tomorrow, shows a bias to the Right despite moves during the election campaign to position National as a centrist party.

could someone ask him for an example?

The ODT editorial is better:

The immediate response is that Mr Key has continued in his briskly positive mode and got the balance about right.

Now comes the difficult part: moulding this executive into an effective and harmonious team able to put longstanding differences aside and address the many issues facing the country – not least the recession and the international financial crisis.

If anyone inspires confidence with his experience and economic competence it is Mr English, on whom much of the burden will fall.

Overall, very positive responses.

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Blog Bits

June 16th, 2008 at 5:41 pm by David Farrar

Barnsley Bill blogs on the 35 kg stone which was flown first class to China as it was culturally insensitive to have it in the hold.

Frog Blog has a look at parties on Facebook. Frog has even found a Winston for PM group – but with slightly less members than the Bring back the Good Night Kiwi group.

American Thinker mentions NZ’s Trevor Loudon, and his work on Obama’s past.

Dim-Post looks at the options for Labour with the ETS:

  1. Rush the hastily amended, highly complex legislation into law by buying off the Greens and Winston Peters, paying a high political price now and ensuring at least six months of dire headlines as horrible mistakes and unintended consequences in the law are bought to light repeatedly embarrassing the government right in the middle of an election campaign they’re already losing.
  2. Admit the bill is dead and face a couple of days bad news focusing on the failure (which you can mostly blame on National).

And his prediction:

Scenarios like this are when Clark’s ultra-competitive personality undermine her own self-interest and that of her party – she’ll press for a parliamentary victory even if it is spectacularly pyrrhic one.

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