Valedictories

July 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Some extracts from the valedictories delivered yesterday:

Dr CAM CALDER (National): Six years ago when I came into Parliament, some queried why: “Why has he come in? Does Parliament need yet another doctor?”. When I announced my intention to step down, again some queried: “Why him? Surely some mistake? Parliament is losing too many of its doctors.” There was no talk, as far as I know, of McCully having any incriminating photographs. 

Can’t rule it out though! :-)

No Government can legislate love, but through careful formulation of policies and legislation we are succeeding in wrapping services around the most vulnerable and the less well loved. People need something to believe in and someone to believe in them. 

Very true.

In my maiden speech I outlined areas of special interest to me. Among them were: tackling New Zealand’s growing incidence of obesity, the need for more marine reserves, and a prostate cancer awareness programme for New Zealand men. I soon learnt some fundamental truths of Parliamentary life: few things move fast. As the French say: “Petit à petit l’oiseau fait le nid.” Little by little the bird makes the nest. One can plant seeds in soil, but the soil receiving the seed may or may not be fertile. The idea might lie there quiescent forever or receive a burst of interest from an unexpected quarter and suddenly flourish and be accepted. Certainly one never achieves anything in this House alone and success truly has a thousand fathers. I am gratified to note that the Government has made progress in all the above special interest areas, which I mentioned in my maiden speech, but today I make a call for more resources to be devoted to proven measures to combat the alarming incidence of obesity in New Zealand. The cost of such interventions will amply repay themselves in substantially reduced health care costs and in thousands of New Zealanders living longer, healthier, more productive lives.

I’m in favour of anti-obesity measures so long as they are about promoting choices, not taking them away.

JOHN HAYES (National – Wairarapa): This afternoon I come to say farewell and to share a few final thoughts with you, my colleagues, and the Wairarapa community. But first I want to thank the Wairarapa, * Tararua, and * Central Hawke’s Bay communities who three times elected me as their representative, each time by a greater margin. 

The seat was previously held by Labour.

Much of my first term here was spent reflecting on why I had come. The atmosphere was toxic, not helped by a Speaker who was shrill and screamed and loopy committee chairs * Pettis and Yates.

The good old days!

Were I New Zealand’s next Prime Minister, I would ensure that the next Parliament got rid of a plethora of unnecessary legislation and excessive regulation. Three years is not long enough. This year’s election is going to cost taxpayers $27 million, together with the time they have invested in MPs who are going to be distracted by parliamentary campaigning. Were I Prime Minister—and do not laugh, Brendan; it is not too late to nominate—I would promote a 4 or 5 year term to spread the cost over more years. Doing so would give Parliament a more reasonable time to implement its programmes.

I strongly support a longer term.

I was pleased in the last Parliament to complete a * Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee inquiry into New Zealand’s relationship with the South Pacific. The Government did not have a majority on the committee, and the report had more than 40 recommendations unanimously supported by all parties. 

That was very well done.

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National): Thank you very much indeed for the call to give my valedictory statement. It is a privilege that is given to retirees—15 minutes of uninterrupted discourse, where the opportunity is given to say it the way it really is and the way I see it, and I intend to do that now. If we glance overseas back to Westminster, where our parliamentary system began before it was improved by the New Zealand system, we see that the parliamentary media over there have adopted the sobriquet of “pale, male, and stale” for those whose Cabinet warrants Mr Cameron should no longer hold. How cruel! How cruel is that to sensitive people? Well, if you cannot take the heat, do not stand in the kitchen. 

Very good advice.

I have achieved more for the electorate in the last year in the cumulative improvement in West Coast – Tasman health infrastructure than ever before, and have we not had such a wonderful Minister of Health?

Chris fought hard for the new hospital.

 I do not know of any other serving National MPs who are 69 years old, but as we sign up to 3 year brackets of tenure, would you really want to still be trundling around Parliament at 72? You need quite an ego if you thought you could not be replaced effectively by a younger person. I guess the only extenuating circumstance would be if you were a party leader who had a Scottish mother from the Isle of Skye, but even then you would be pushing it.

A great not too subtle poke at Winston.

 For me, the most significant part of the parliamentary process as a backbencher* is the select committee system. This is our second House, our senate, our * House of Lords, as this is where the public have a direct interface with the legislative process. This is where the public are asked what they think of the legislation being put forward. In my experience, the adversarial relationship between parties and individual members is subsumed to less of a partisan system, where members each consider the evidence put before them in submissions from people, often based on a personal or observed experience.

We do have a very good select committee system.

COLIN KING (National – Kaikōura): Thank you for this opportunity to make this, my final statement in the debating chamber* of the 50th Parliament of New Zealand. May I begin by acknowledging some of those who have put up with the 4-metre swells across Cook Strait* today to be with us

Sounds a normal day on Cook Strait!

Sir Henry Maine, speaking on social structure, put it well when he said: “Nobody is at liberty to attack private property and to say at the same time that he values civilisation. The history of the two cannot be disentangled, for the institution of private property has been a wonderful institution for teaching man and woman responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labour, to be able to see one’s work made manifest, to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity, to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment, to have something that is really one’s own. There are advantages with this difficult to deny.” In drafting policy and bringing forth legislation in this House, may all members continue to recognise the value of those who toil in the sun or labour under the tin roof, neither despising the value of that work or thinking that it is beyond one’s dignity, because the wealth of this nation was created on the back of physically demanding labour. 

Great quote.

Hon CHRIS TREMAIN (National – Napier): In life there are many different definitions of success, and in Parliament the same goes. There are many different definitions of what makes a successful politician. Nine years ago I entered Parliament, and I have got to say I was pretty naïve. Some would probably argue that that has not changed too much. I had just won the Labour-held seat of Napier, the first time in 50 years, and I thought I had been pretty successful at that point in time. But like all politicians across this House, I entered this place with the intention of helping to create a better New Zealand. We all have the same purpose, just different ideas of how we might achieve that goal. But success in Parliament is not defined by just winning a seat or becoming a Cabinet Minister.

Very true.

One of the more memorable experiences was being asked to be the guest of the Go Natural Lifestyle Club to open its new gazebo. I consulted my wife, Angela, as I was too scared to go on my own. She agreed to join me. I spent more time that Saturday morning deciding what to wear than to any other occasion I have ever been to since. Should I be in casual or formal dress, or should I be in my birthday suit? Who knows? Well, we arrived at 11.30 a.m., in time for a tour and lunch. To this day I will never forget driving up the pine-enclosed complex, pulling over in the car-park*, , and watching the reception party walk down to greet us both. Ange leaned over and whispered in my ear: “My God, CJ, they really are naked.”

Heh.

To Mac Dalton, Alistair Shelton, Pat Humphries, and Stefan Slooten, who have supported me in my parliamentary office, thank you. In particular, can I acknowledge Pat Humphries, who has worked in this amazing institution for much of her life. From junior backbench MPs to two Prime Ministers, Pat Humphries has supported MPs to rise to the top of the ladder. Pat, thank you.

Pat is a legend.

I am proud to see how much progress has been made in the area of Treaty settlements and to see the huge progress in my own rohe. Although there are still settlements that need to be completed, we are in a totally different place from where we started. The Hon Chris Finlayson will be knighted at a future time for his service in this area. You can hold me to that!

I think Chris would rather be a Judge – or a Cardinal!

Hon KATE WILKINSON (National – Waimakariri): When I first entered this House 9 years ago I was a list member of Parliament in a Labour-held safe seat. I leave this place as the electorate member of Parliament for Waimakariri in a National-held seat. This just goes to show that anything can happen and one should never ever take one’s electorates for granted. 

To win the seat off Clayton Cosgrove is no mean thing.

They say things happen in threes. Well, I was a member of Parliament in Canterbury. Under my watch the worst natural disaster, the earthquakes, happened. I was Minister of Conservation. Under my watch the worst environmental maritime disaster, the * Rena, happened. And I was Minister of Labour. Under my watch the worst workplace safety disaster, Pike River, happened. Can I say that at least as * Associate Minister of Immigration I did not let ** Mike Tyson into the country. Like every Canterbury member of Parliament, the earthquake events will always stand out for me. What a remarkable time to be a member of Parliament for an electorate and in a home town that was devastated by the earthquakes. I feel honoured to have helped our district in my capacity as MP through what has surely been its darkest time, from shovelling silt during those early days to informing residents of each and every new service and funding the National-led Government provided towards our recovery, as well as the hours and hours of work helping our residents navigate through the repair and rebuild of their homes. 

I think all Christchurch MPs have had a special connection with their constituents as they help them through the disaster.

The ink on my warrant barely had time to dry when I was told that my 90-day trial bill would be one of the first in our term to go on the * Order Paper. It has now been in place for just on 6 years. The protections we built into the legislation worked, and in that time there has been no amendment needed apart from, of course, extending it from small businesses to all businesses. Indeed, that one piece of policy and legislation was credited with having provided 13,000 new jobs in its first year. 

Yet Labour want to abolish it.

Most memorable, sadly, was the Pike River mining tragedy. I cannot resile from the absolute fact that 29 men died under my watch. Although I was not personally responsible, I was the responsible Minister, and it happened under my watch. We all wish we could turn back the clock and prevent such a disaster and keep those men safe. We cannot, but I am proud of the setting up of the Royal commission inquiry and now implementing its recommendations, putting the spotlight on workplace safety. We often have a national culture of “she’ll be right”, but it too often is not right. We lose a worker about once a week and a farmer once a month, and a farmer is hurt about every 30 minutes. So often those deaths and injuries could have been avoided. We need to change that culture and simply look after our workmates. Governments can only do so much and can only be so effective. Workplaces and workmates can do more. 

Workplace safety is indeed a shared responsibility.

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A NZ-Uk op-ed

January 13th, 2014 at 7:03 am by David Farrar

An op-ed in The Guardian by NZ Minister Chris Tremain and UK Minister Francis Maude on digital services:

At the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in London in November 2013, New Zealand became the 61st member of a rapidly expanding global movement.

The OGP is all about making governments more transparent, accountable and responsive to citizens. International co-operation and the exchange of ideas are essential to embedding openness and transparency across the world. In different ways Britain and New Zealand are already world leaders in transparency. They have a great deal to learn from one another. And we are already partners in the digital revolution that is helping to make open government an everyday reality for citizens. …

Both our countries have taken significant steps towards a new digital world. After the election in May 2010, the UK established the Government Digital Service (GDS) to drive a new “digital-by-default” agenda through Whitehall. In 2013, the New Zealand government launched a new ICT strategy and action plan focused on using technology to deliver better services. Whether in Britain or New Zealand, the cornerstone of digital transformation is a user-friendly domain for government information.

Until our governments embarked on a new digital push, neither country had a digital portal which met the acid test of really meeting users’ needs. Directgov in the UK was an entry point into a confusing maze of additional sites. It was hard to navigate, duplicated information and had confusing design, presentation and language. User research in New Zealand showed that the newzealand.govt.nz portal could also do a much better job of meeting the needs of users.

I didn’t even know we had such a portal!

New Zealand’s project to replace their portal is called Govt.nz. The site is now in beta stage, for public testing with real users at beta.govt.nz. As was the case with the groundbreaking GOV.UK, Govt.nz is being built through an iterated, user-tested design.

GOV.UK was built for sharing. Most of its code is open source so other countries can use it, rather than having to develop their own. The New Zealand team adapted GOV.UK’s basic design elements, saving time, money and resources.

At the same time, ideas and information are flowing back to the UK. Research in New Zealand corroborated similar studies in the UK which highlighted the need to simplify website design. The Govt.nz team routinely shares the results of its research with its counterparts in the UK, so they can learn from it as well. We know that there’s greater scope for co-operation as independent research and user testing often throws up the same challenges. We look forward to working together ever more closely.

After testing and feedback from the beta site, New Zealand expects the new Govt.nz site to go live in 2014, and by 2017 wants all new government services to be digital-by-default.

Sounds excellent, and good to see the two countries learning from each other rather than operating in silos.

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Premature success

October 17th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Well this is a new one for me – a campaign winds up before it even launches, because it has had premature success.

As readers will know I have been advocating a trial of e-voting for local body elections for some time. A few months ago the Government agreed to a trial in 2016 and possible implementation in 2019. This was a welcome decision, but myself and other advocates thought it wasn’t ambitious enough and we decided to launch a campaign next week to try and speed things up. The aim was to use any by-elections as a trial and then get as many Councils as possible in 2016 committing to using e-voting.

Myself and Conor Roberts (ex Len Brown political advisor) were going to be co-spokepsersons (political balance to show not a partisan thing). We had three major city mayors on board, plus other prominent Mayors. We were all set to launch next Monday.

Then Chris Tremain yesterday announced:

Local Government  Minister Chris Tremain says he will be instructing a working party to explore what would be needed for online voting to be fully introduced in the next local  body elections.

Voter turnout at the 2013 election was the lowest ever recorded with a projected figure of around 40 per cent.  Final results will be confirmed by Local Government New Zealand on Thursday.

“Figures as far back as 1962 (see below) show voter turnout at local body elections are traditionally low but I am concerned that it is on a slow decline,” says Mr Tremain. 

“A large number of people work from smart phones and online voting is definitely the way of the future.  However there are risks involved in transferring to an online system, so it is important we clearly understand those risks before making any final decision.  Accessibility for all voters is a critical consideration in any move forward.

“The government has invested in online verification technology, RealMe, which will enable secure authentication of a person’s identity for online voting.

“The working party, which was announced before the recent local body elections, is being tasked with establishing the technical, financial, and security issues involved in online voting.  In addition I will now ask them to explore the possibility of having full online voting available at the next local body elections.  A condition of this must be that an opportunity exists for a significant trial before 2016. 

This is basically the outcome we were after, so we’ve decided there is no point in launching a campaign when we’ve already had premature success and got what we want! I wish we could take credit for it, but the credit goes to Chris Tremain for deciding to prioritise the trial. And it is important we do have a trial – there are security issues to be worked through etc.

“I will also be inviting the Justice and Electoral Committee, who conduct reviews of local and national elections, to investigate other initiatives that will lift voter turnout. 

“Part of this will be considering the confusion created by the single transferable voting system especially when voters are presented with two voting systems on the same voting papers. Another issue that has been raised, post the elections, has been the three week voting timeframe, so it would be timely to consider this as well.

“Online voting will give people more choice but on its own will not solve low voter turnout.”

It will not get people to vote who are not interested in voting. But it will make it easier for people who do want to vote, to vote. The postal system is slowly dying and the future for local body elections will either be ballot box voting or e-voting, or both.

The annoying thing with the campaign being over before it starts, is we don’t get to do the usual celebratory drinks :-)

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Tremain to retire

September 30th, 2013 at 4:35 pm by David Farrar

Chris Tremain has announced:

Chris Tremain, MP for Napier, announced today that he will not be contesting the 2014 general election.

“I am proud of the significant achievements of this government led by Prime Minister John Key. Under his leadership New Zealand is now one of the strongest growing economies in the western world and has a very bright future. I intend to continue to contribute to this exciting future but now in the commercial sector of our economy.

“My family has been a huge part of my decision. I have three children finishing high school and I want to devote more time to them before they leave home,” Mr Tremain says. …

“The National Party continues to enjoy unprecedented support as a second term government, which means we are well placed to win a third term next year. In the last election, I had a 6600 party vote majority and a 3700 electorate vote majority, which I believe provides a solid platform for a strong National Party candidate to win Napier once again in 2014,” Mr Tremain says.

Chris is a popular and effective MP. Being an MP, let alone a Minister, with school age kids is tough. I’m sad to see Chris retire, but renewal is a healthy thing for a political party. I much prefer MPs to come in for say nine to 15 years, than be an MP whose only life experience is being a parliamentary staff member and then an MP.

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Online voting for 2016

September 4th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Tremain has announced:

Local Government Minister Chris Tremain today announced that a trial of online voting will take place in the 2016 local authority elections.

“Online transactions are the way of the future and the Government is committed to rolling out digital services for New Zealanders,” says Mr Tremain.

“I have asked the Department of Internal Affairs to put together a working party from across government and local authorities and with information technology experts. They will consider the options, costs and security issues involved in online voting.

“Voter turnout in local body elections is traditionally low and we need to look at other ways to encourage people to become involved in the democratic process.

“Online voting will be more convenient and appeal to young voters. It will also make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. “

“There is a high level of interest from the sector in online voting with organisations like the Porirua City Council and the Manawatu District Council volunteering to take part in the trial.

“Robust regulations need to be in place so voters have trust and confidence in the system. The working party will be assessing the security and technology used in public elections overseas to mitigate risk.

“Once the working party reports its findings the next step will be to formulate a plan to implement online voting in local body elections.

This is great news. Postal voting is a dying mechanism. More and more people have no relationship with a post office. I only post around a letter every three months.

I’ve been involved in pushing for a trial of online voting for local body elections since 2011 and have had numerous meetings about this. The local body sector is keen and enthusiastic. The central government bureaucrats though have, to be blunt, done almost everything possible to never have even a trial.  They seem to be resistant to anything that involves change!

So its great to have the Minister cut through the bureaucratic resistance and announce a definite time-frame of a trial for the 2016 elections. It may even be possible to trial it before then if there are some local body by-elections. Most of the background work needed has already been done through various local government working groups.

I don’t (at this stage) advocate e-voting for parliamentary elections. Enough people are turning up to vote at the ballot box. But for local body elections, an option of online voting is essential to complement postal voting.

Online voting will hopefully both arrest the decline in turnout, but also help people make better informed votes. If voting online, it is much easier to go to candidate’s websites etc as you vote rather than just rely on the 200 word blurbs.

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New Minister announced

April 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm by David Farrar

Congrats to Simon Bridges who has been appointed Consumer Affairs Minister, plus Associate Transport and Climate Change. It was inevitable Simon would become a Minister at some stage – after three years and four months is pretty good time-wise.

Chris Tremain gets promoted to Cabinet, drops Consumer Affairs and gains Internal Affairs.

Amy Adams picks up Environment in exchange for Internal Affairs. A big vote of confidence in her abilities.

Tim Groser gets Climate Change (he already had the international negotiations side of it) and David Carter gets Local Government.

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Apples for Julia

October 17th, 2011 at 2:56 pm by David Farrar

Hawkes Bay Today reports:

Hawke’s Bay apple producer Apollo made a cheeky but tasteful offer to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the Rugby World Cup semifinal between the All Blacks and Wallabies.

Apollo’s director, Bruce Beaton, packed a carton of New Zealand Queen apples and asked Napier MP Chris Tremain to transport the fruit to Prime Minister John Key’s house in Auckland at the weekend.

“The idea was that if Julia was over watching the rugby with John in Auckland, she could have a tasty New Zealand apple to munch after the game,” Mr Beaton said.

She wasn’t there, but hopefully the apples will get to her in Australia.

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Napier and kindies

April 15th, 2011 at 3:42 pm by David Farrar

Had a breakfast coffee this morning in Napier with local MP Chris Tremain.Was amused that around two out of three people walking past stopped to greet him – one seat where the MP has no problems with recognition. Also noted that he seemed to know most of them by name also – one of the nice things about provincial seats.

Chris also showed me the accounts of the local Napier Kindergarten Association. He noted in a local release:

The Napier Kindergarten Association is to be highly congratulated, says Chris Tremain MP for Napier.

“On Monday evening I attended the Napier Kindergarten Association AGM where it was disclosed that despite a change in Government funding the Association would deliver more services for less money,” says Chris Tremain.

“This is an outstanding result and goes to the heart of the Government’s drive to get more value for taxpayer dollars.

“The Association have achieved this result without reducing the 100% teacher qualified rates, without increasing costs to parents and without any loss of jobs, while at the same time increasing access to more kids. In addition their sound management ensures that more kids in disadvantaged communities around the country will get more access to ECE. This is an outstanding effort and the Board and senior management are to be congratulated.

So what did the NKA do:

“The Napier Kindergarten Association are a highly professional group of people absolutely devoted to the education of our children. They were concerned about the Budget 2010 decision that they would only be funded to 80% Teacher Qualified from February, 2011.

“But the Annual Report shows that the Association has risen to the challenge by introducing Friday afternoon sessions, opening for 5 more days, diversifying Marewa and Taradale to 5 day licenses, and shaving some non-essential expenses. This has resulted in more ECE places in Napier/Wairoa for less money, an outstanding result.

“The 2010 accounts presented at the AGM showed that the Association budgeted for a $139,000 loss, but actually made a surplus of $328,000. On top of this their balance sheet shows investments of $1.85 million and equity of $1.4 million. Despite the funding changes, it was reported that the forecast for 2011 shows a deficit of just $70,000, which is significantly smaller than the budgeted deficit in 2010.”

So the NKA has made a significant surplus, has kept 100% qualified teachers, has not out fees up, and has delivered more services. They’re an example for the country.

And the contrast to this is what happened to ECE under Labour. Labour increased funding by 200%, yet the number of children in ECE increased by only 1%.

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Will it be the Hon Hekia Parata?

November 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes at the Herald:

The strong performance of National candidate Hekia Parata in the Mana byelection has boosted her chances of being promoted this week.

It certainly has not harmed it. And the fact the PM did not announced last week the new Minister night suggest he was waiting to see how Mana went.

Ms Parata, a former public policy and Treaty of Waitangi consultant, not only slashed Labour’s majority, but performed well under pressure and ran a strong team.

Counting against her is that she is a first-term MP. Her promotion ahead of the class of 2005 could put some noses out of joint.

The leading contenders in that pack are Craig Foss, the MP for Tukituki and chairman of the finance and expenditure select committee, and Chris Tremain, MP for Napier and the chief Government whip.

I think both Craig and Chris know that their ascension is a matter of when, not if, which would help molify them if Hekia jumps ahead of then. But having said that, 2010 is far preferable to 2012 in terms of ascension.

What may count against them this time is that if they are promoted, then there has to be a minor reshuffle. While Hekia can slip in and take over Pansy’s portfolios directly.

Selwyn MP Amy Adams, in the same cohort as Ms Parata, is also tipped for future promotion in a commerce or economic role.

Or Agriculture. Or Justice. Amy is multi-talented :-)

Mr Key could save a little money by appointing no one to the Cabinet and appointing another minister outside the Cabinet. He could make an even bigger saving by appointing no one at all and upsetting no one.

This is the only error in Audrey’s article. If the PM makes no appointment at all, this will in fact upset every single Backbencher. Reducing the size of the Ministry means more people competing for fewer places. A smaller Ministry is regarded by backbenchers with the same loathing as teacher unions performance pay.

Personally an Executive of 28 is larger than we need. However the time for change would have been when first forming the Government, rather than doing it by attrition.

But that would suggest Mrs Wong’s role was surplus to requirements in the first place.

Well …..

Mr Key is not seen as a slave to “political correctness”; he is not oblivious to gender and identity issues in National’s line-up either.

It is a factor, but not the sole or even the dominant factor.

The importance of the Mana byelection is that a promotion would be seen on the basis of talent, not tokenism

Yes, a promotion would be seen as gained on the basis of performance.

Making one appointment outside of the Cabinet to take over Mrs Wong’s two portfolios makes most sense, and of the contenders, Ms Parata’s sphere of interest is best suited to the vacancies.

We may find out later today who it is.

Talking of Mana, kudos must go to Phil Quinn who predicted a Faafoi win by just 1,000 votes.

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Good MPs website

August 30th, 2009 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

Just looked at new website for Craig Foss and Chris Tremain – their Backing the Bay site.

The joint site to brand them as the regional MPs is good (and they have done that for some time),but also their use of Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. And an RSS feed of course.

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Goodhew new Junior Whip

June 16th, 2009 at 12:06 pm by David Farrar

As I predicted Chris Tremain has gone from Junior Whip to Senior Whip, and the new Junior Whip is Jo Goodhew – a fellow member of the Class of 2005.

Both Tremain and Goodhew won what were safe Labour seats in 2005. Napier had been with Labour for decades, and Chris Tremain has made it an incredibly safe seat for himself. It helped to have Russel Fairbrother as the opponent, but Tremain is hugely high profile and popular in Napier.

Likewise Goodhew won Aoraki off Jim Sutton in 2005, turning a 6,500 deficit into a 6,500 margin, and she increased that to 8,000 on teh new Rangitata boundaries.

Both will be Ministers sooner rather than later – possibly even in this term if Key does a reshuffle before the election.

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The Central North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 12:15 am by David Farrar

Oh I do like that solid blue look. And in 2002 only a handful were blue.

Hunua is a new seat. The party vote is another 60:20 type solid seat. On the electorate vote Paul Hutchison narrowly beat Jordan Carter by 14,738 votes and Roger Douglas another 2,700 votes behind Jordan.

Waikato is 58% to 22% on the party vote. And Lindsay Tisch drove his majority from 7,000 to almost 12,000.

Coromandel went from 45% to 31% up to 51% to 26%. And Sandra Goudie scored a 13,400 majority for the seat she won in 2005.

The two Hamilton seats are no longer marginal weathervanes. Hamilton East went from a 9% party vote lead for National to a 19% lead. And David Bennett turned a 5,300 majority into one of over 8.000. Hamilton West saw an 11% lead in the party vote for National after being 2% behind in 2005. And Tim Macindoe turned his 1,100 loss in 2005 to a 1,500 victory in 2008.

Bay of Plenty is another 60:20 seat on the party vote. and Tony Ryall got a massive 16,500 majority up from 11,000 in 2005.

In 2005 in Tauranga, National had a 15% lead in the party vote. In 2008 the lead was 32%. Bob Clarkson beat Winston Peters by 730 votes in 2005. This time Simon Bridges beat him by 10,700. Simon will be happy to be the Member of Tauranga for some time.

Rotorua saw National lift the party vote from 43% to 51%, and Todd McClay scored a majority of almost 5,000 over a sitting Minister.

Taupo saw a party vote victory of 15% and Louise Upston beat Mark Burton by almost 6,000 votes. She ran a good campaign and for a big enough majority to make it safe for National. Burton got 2300 more votes than Labour so even harder for any future Labour candidate.  I also heard a rumour that Louise held the first meeting of her 2011 campaign committee at 8.15 am on Sunday morning :-)

The East Coast had a 15% lead in the party vote (the graphic has it wrong) and on the electorate vote Anne Tolley turned a 2,500 majority into a 6,000 majority.

The growing seat of Napier saw National go from a 1% lead in the party vote to a 12% lead. And Chris Tremain drove his 3,300 victory over Russell Fairbrother in 2005 to a 8,400 margin. Remember this is a seat Labour held for all but three years from 1928 to 2005 and Tremain is building John Carter or Nick Smith type majorities as a brilliant local MP who owns his seat.

Over on the west coast, we have the huge Taranaki-King Country seat which is another of those lovely 60:20 seats.  And the 12,000 majority motors up to 14,500.

Finally we have New Plymouth. National was ahead on the party vote last time by 8% and this time it was 20%. And it was too much for Harry Duynhoven who lost the seat by 300 votes. In 2005 he held it by almost 5,000 votes and in 2002 his majority was a staggering 15,000. New candidate Jonathan Young will be watching the special votes though.

Labour will struggle to form a Government again, while so many seats have them getting just 1 in 5 party votes. Every seat in this region had at least an 11% gap in the party vote, with many having a 40% gap.

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Own Goal

August 26th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Labour MP Russell Fairbrother has been left red-faced after attacking his National Party rivals for erecting electoral hoardings “weeks early” – only to discover it was him that was late.

Mr Fairbrother, a list MP based in Napier, issued a media release yesterday accusing Napier MP Chris Tremain of putting up his hoardings six weeks early.

“The National Party is quick to accuse others … when they suspect they may have been in breach of the rules,” Mr Fairbrother said.

“But when it comes to their own election campaign, it is clear they couldn’t care less what the bylaw says – they just go ahead and do whatever suits them.” Labour hoardings were ready but would not be going up ahead of time.

Later, he said his campaign manager had rung the city council to check and had been told hoardings were allowed six weeks before the election.

The period is actually three months.

It is nice of Russell to be trying so hard to give Chris Tremain such a large majority.

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Hawke’s Bay District Health Board

February 29th, 2008 at 10:20 am by David Farrar

I’ve not had time to do as detailed a post as I would like to on this, and the media have covered the issues well.  So I’ll just ask a few questions:

  1. Why would the Minister not sack the Capital Coast DHB (which would probably be met with universal support) but instead sack the HB DHB – something the local community is dead set against?
  2. Isn’t it rather perverse to go public with anonymous criticisms of the Board by anonymous surgeons, and then complain when the DHB Chair responds in the media also?
  3. Will the majorities of local National MPs Chris Tremain and Craig Foss increase by 25%, 50% or 100%?
  4. The Govt is trying to suppress the draft report and the former DHB members the final report.  Why not release both the draft and final and let the public form their own views.  Plus lets face it – they will both end up on the Internet anyway I suspect.
  5. Why is the Government apparently punishing the DHB for acting to prevent a conflict of interest in a contract, when the Auckland DHB got lambasted by the High Court for not being diligent enough in dealing with conflicts of interests?
  6. Why did Annette King appoint someone to the HB DHB when it was known he was likely to bid for a major contract off them?
  7. How bad is it for the Government to have the local Councils taking the Minister to health over the sacking?
  8. Has a doctors union ever before praised a DHB Chairman? Don’t they normally refer to all Chairs as cheap bastards who won’t pay us enough.

I look forward to seeing both the final report and hopefully the draft report.

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