Fairfax rates the front benchers

December 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Fairfax rates the frontbench MPs. The summary is:

  • Bill English 8.0
  • Paula Bennett 8.0
  • David Cunliffe 8.0
  • John Key 7.5
  • David Parker 7.5
  • Russell Normn 7.5
  • Judith Collins 7.0
  • Jonathan Coleman 7.0
  • Shane Jones 7.0
  • Gerry Brownlee 6.5
  • Chris Hipkins 6.5
  • Hone Harawira 6.5
  • Te Ururoa Flavell 6.0
  • Chris Finlayson 6.0
  • Tony Ryall 6.0
  • Clayton Cosgrove 6.0
  • Metiria Turei 6.0
  • Winston Peters 6.0
  • David Parker 6.0
  • Steven Joyce 5.5
  • Grant Robertson 5.0
  • Jacinda Ardern 5.0
  • Kevin Hague 5.0
  • Annette King 4.5
  • Peter Dunne 4.0
  • Tariana Turia 4.0
  • Hekia Parata 3.0
  • Tracey Martin 3.0
  • John Banks 1.0



The 2013 Trans-Tasman Ratings

December 2nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Transtasman has published its annual ratings for the 120 (currently) MPs. As usual, I do some analysis.

The overall average rating is 4.7 (+0.3 from 2012, which is a reasonable increase)

Average Ratings per Party

  1. Maori 5.2 (-0.5)
  2. National 5.1 (+0.2)
  3. Labour 4.6 (+0.6)
  4. Green 4.4 (+0.4)
  5. United Future 4.0 (-2.5)
  6. NZ First 3.3 (-0.1)
  7. Mana 2.5 (-2.0)
  8. ACT 1.0 (+1.0)

The small parties all get pretty hammered. NZ First says much the same, and National, Greens and Labour all go up. Labour’s average rating has increased the most.

Top MPs

  1. Bill English 9.0 (+1.5)
  2. John Key 8.5 (+0.5)
  3. David Cunliffe 7,5 (+3.0)
    Steven Joyce 7.5 (+0.5)
    Tim Groser 7.5 (nc)
    Chris Finlayson 7.5 (-0.5)
    Judith Collins 7.5 (nc)
    Paula Bennett 7.5 (+0.5)

Bottom MPs

  1. John Banks 1 (+1.0)
    Rajan Prasad 1.0 (nc)
    Brendan Horan 1.0 (-1.0)

Top Labour MPs

  1. David Cunliffe 7.5 (+3.0)
  2. David Parker 7.0 (+0.5)
    Phil Goff 7.0 (+0.5)
    Annette King 7.0 (+1.0)
    Chris Hipkins 7.0 (+1.5)

Top Third Party MPs

  1. Russel Norman 7.0 (-1.0)
    Winston Peters 7.0 (nc)
  2. Tariana Turia 6.5 (+0.5)
  3. Metiria Turei 6.0 (nc)
    Te Ururoa Flavell 6.0 (nc)
    Kevin Hague 6.0 (+1.0)

Biggest Increases

  1. David Cunliffe +3.0
    Hekia Parata +3.0
  2. Paul Goldsmith +2.5

Biggest Decreases

  1. Peter Dunne -2.5
  2. Phil Heatley -2.0
    Hone Harawira -2.0
    Pita Sharples -2.0

Group Ratings

  1. Ministers 6.3 (+0.3)
  2. Cabinet 6.7 (+0.6)
  3. National frontbench 7.4 (+0.6)
  4. Labour frontbench 5.8 (+1.7)
  5. National backbench 4.0 (nc)

The Cabinet have improved their rankings this year and the National front bench are scoring very highly. However a significant increase for Labour’s front bench which finally has most of their strongest MPs on it.

Worth noting that as always, I of course disagree with some of the ratings. Some of the National backbench ratings are seriously astray for example.

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Herald report card on Ministers

August 11th, 2013 at 4:31 pm by David Farrar

The Herald has done a new report card on the performance of Ministers. Not online, but a photo is on Facebook. The summary of scores is:

  • Steven Joyce 9.0 (+2.0)
  • Bill English 8.5 (+0.5)
  • Chris Finlayson 8.5 (-0.5)
  • Tony Ryall 8.0 (-0.5)
  • Paula Bennett 8.0  (+1.0)
  • Murray McCully 8.0 (+1.0)
  • Anne Tolley 8.0 (+1.0)
  • Nick Smith 8.0
  • Tim Groser 8.0 (nc)
  • Simon Bridges 8.0 (+1.0)
  • Gerry Brownlee 7.0 (-0.5)
  • Judith Collins 7.0 (-1.5)
  • Jonathan Coleman 7.0 (-1.0)
  • Nikki Kaye 7.0
  • John Key 6.0 (-1.0)
  • Amy Adams 6.0 (-1.0)
  • Chris Tremain 6.0 (nc)
  • Hekia Parata 5.0 (+2.0)
  • Nathan Guy 5.0 (-1.0)
  • Craig Foss 5.0 (-1.0)

As always you agree with some of them, and disagree with others. I think most of them are pretty fair and Steven Joyce is definitely doing a great job. However I think it is beyond ridiculous to have the Prime Minister in the bottom quarter of Cabinet. National is polling better five years in than any other Government has ever managed – and no small part of that is because of the PM. With respect I think the Herald is too focused on issues that matter to them – but not to most New Zealanders.

The average or mean score was 7.2 out of 10, which is an increase of 0.4 from a year ago.

The median was 7.5, up from 7.0 a year ago.

If you take the 10 frontbench Ministers, their average is 7.4 out of 10, the same as a year ago.


Best Maori politicians

January 11th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Morgan Godfery at Maui Street blogs his picks:

Best Maori MP: Louisa Wall – for services to equality and old school lobbying. 

Best Maori Minister: Paula Bennett – a competent manager, good communicator and is overseeing some innovative programmes. 

Best Maori electorate MP: Parekura Horomia – for what he lacks on the national stage, he makes up for on the ground. His majority (the largest in the Maori electorates) wasn’t a mistake. 

Most improved: Te Ururoa Flavell – after a shocking 2011 and despite a fail on education in 2012, Flavell has made up ground with his strong support for Tuhoe, competent debate performances and electorate work. 

Most consistent: Metiria Turei – points for tireless advocacy for Maori, women and beneficiaries. Always takes a consistent and articulate line. Stand out performer in the Native Affairs debates.

Joshua Hitchcock also provides his list:

The Iwi Leaders Group

Without a doubt the big winners from 2012, the Iwi Leaders Group have established themselves as the go-to national Māori body for Crown engagement on national issues.  They have established a good working relationship with the Government over the past 18 months, and have clearly adopted the approach of working with Government to achieve progress for Māori rights over a more antagonistic approach.  While many question their standing and their beliefs (occasionally referred to disparagingly as the “Iwi Elite”), you cannot overlook the fact that this self-selected group comprise the elected leaders of many of the major Iwi in the country. With this comes a lot of weight, and a lot of influence with the Government.

Paula Bennett 

This may come as a surprise to many of my readers, but I consider Paula Bennett to be the Māori politician of the year.  You might question her kaupapa, but to survive the MSD security breach scandal and to oversee the most drastic reform to our welfare system since Jenny Shipley in the early 1990s is no easy task.  Add to that the ease with which she brushes aside the attacks from Jacinda Ardern in the House and you have a Māori politician who appears brilliant at her job.  With the remainder of the National Party Māori caucus either failing to fire (Henare, T) or making a complete fool of themselves (Parata, H), having one competent Māori in the National front bench, regardless of her politics, is something to celebrate.

Louisa Wall

Runner-up in the Māori politician of the year awards, Louisa Wall has shown herself to be the exemplary opposition M.P.  Having such a contentious bill pass its first reading with a massive majority is no easy task for an opposition M.P, what makes her all the more remarkable is the effort she  undertook to sit down with opponents, listen to their concerns, and quietly convince them of her case.  A future Minister of Māori Affairs, if not destined for higher honours.

Tariana Turia

It is hard to think of a Māori politician who has made as great an impact as Tariana Turia has over her 18 years in Parliament.  Her decision to cross the floor on the Foreshore and Seabed Act led to the formation of not one, but two Kaupapa Māori political parties and a renewed influence of Māori politicians in the House.  While Whanau Ora is a mere shadow of her initial dream, her efforts to curb smoking in Aotearoa have been immense and caused even given the big Tobacco companies something to worry about.  Her decision to retire marks the great cross roads in Māori politics.  Can the Māori Party survive without her, or will the independent Māori voice represented by the Māori Party and Te Mana be dragged back into the welcoming arms of the Labour Party?

The National Party

Yes, the National Party are one of the big winners of 2012.  While the partial asset sale programme has been delayed, a crushing victory in the High Court a few weeks ago means that it will take a miracle in January to bring about a final halt to their key policy platform.  Ructions within Ngāpuhi aside, they have also made great strides in settling historical grievance claims with Hapū and Iwi and an historic Tuhoe settlement is on the cards for early 2014 – a mere two years after it lay in tatters.

Rahui Katene

With the retirement of Tariana Turia in 2014, Rahui Katene looks set to succeed to her Te Tai Hauaurau electorate seat and, by extension, the co-leadership of the Māori Party.  Her work with the New Zealand Māori Council, and a renewed effort working at the ground level, has seen her restore the mana lost when she was defeated at last years election.  Expect to see and hear more from Rahui in 2013 as the Māori Party look to position her as Tariana’s natural successor.

Both Maori bloggers (whose politics are quite different) cite Paula Bennett and Louisa Wall as having done well.


Comparing the MP ratings

December 17th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve done a little table comparing the MP ratings done this year by Fairfax, NZ Herald and Trans-Tasman.

The Fairfax ones were out of five, so I have doubled them for comparison purposes.


The National Minister with the greatest variation is David Carter. Fairfax had him as a 5/10 while Herald had 8/10.

Steven Joyce was only Minister to get the same score from all three publications – 7/10.

The overall highest ranked Minister was Tony Ryall on 8.3, followed by Finlayson and Collins on 8.0 each.

The Labour MP with the greatest variation is David Shearer. Fairfax had him at a massive 8/10 while Trans-Tasman had 4/10 and Herald 6/10.  Also great variation with David Parker whom Fairfax had at 9/10, Trans-Tasman 6.5 and Herald 6.0.

Parker’s overall average was highest for Labour at 7.2, followed by Robertson at 6.7.

All three publications had the National frontbench ranked higher than Labour, but still significant variation. For National the average was 6.9 TT, 6.8 Fairfax and Herald a bit higher at 7.4.

For Labour Fairfax highest at 5.6, Herald at 5.5 and TT 4.1.

So in terms of the average difference, TT had Nats +2.8, Herald had Nats +1.9 and Fairfax Nats +0.8.



The Fairfax front bench ratings

December 15th, 2012 at 8:24 am by David Farrar

Fairfax have rated the respective front benches. Their ratings on a one to five star scale are:

  • Tony Ryall 4.5
  • Paula Bennett 4.0
  • John Key 4.0
  • Gerry Brownlee 4.0
  • Judith Collins 4.0
  • Chris Finlayson 3.5
  • Bill English 3.5
  • Steven Joyce 3.5
  • David Carter 2.5
  • Hekia Parata 0.5

The minor parties:

  • Russel Norman 4.5
  • Peter Dunne 3.5
  • Winston Peters 3.0
  • Hone Harawira 3.0
  • Tariana Turia 2.5
  • Metiria Turei 2.5
  • Barbara Stewart 2.0
  • Pita Sharples 1.5
  • John Banks 0


  • David Parker 4.5
  • David Shearer 4.0
  • Jacinda Ardern 3.5
  • Grant Robertson 3.0
  • Clayton Cosgrove 2.5
  • Maryan Street 2.0
  • Su’a William Sio 2.0
  • Nanaia Mahuta 1.0

A fair few there I’d dispute, but each to their own!

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The 2012 Trans-Tasman Ratings

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Transtasman has published (not yet online) its annual ratings for the 121 MPs. As usual, I do some analysis.

The overall average rating is 4.4 (-0.6 from 2011, which is a significant drop)

Average Ratings per Party

  1. United Future 6.5 (+1.5)
  2. Maori 5.7 (-0.1)
  3. National 4.9 (-0.3)
  4. Mana 4.5 (-0.5)
  5. Green 4.0 (-0.7)
  6. Labour 4.0 (-0.1)
  7. NZ First 3.4

I actually thought the Greens were a bit hard done by. I thought Hague, Hughes and Genter who scored 5, 3 and 3.5 all should have got higher marks.

Top MPs

  1. Chris Finlayson 8.0 (+1.0)
  2. Russel Norman 8.0 (nc)
  3. John Key 9.0 (-1.0)

The next five MPs on 7.5 are Tony Ryall, Tim Groser, Bill English, Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee.

Bottom MPs

  1. John Banks 0
  2. Rajan Prasad 1.0 (nc)
    Kanwalkit Bakshi 1.0 (-2.0)

14 MPs were rated just 2/10.

Top Labour MPs

  1. David Parker 6.5 (+0.5)
    Phil Goff 6.5 (+0.5)
  2. Grant Robertson 6.0 (nc)
    Annette King 6.0 (nc)

David Shearer was rated 15th equal in Labour, along with Kris Faafoi, Shane Jones and Megan Woods!

Top Third Party MPs

  1. Russel Norman 8.0 (nc)
  2. Winston Peters 7.0
  3. Peter Dunne 6.5 (+1.5)
  4. Tariana Turia 6.0 (-0.5)
    Metiria Turei 6.0 (nc)
    Te Ururoa Flavell 6.0 (+1.0)

Biggest Increases

  1. Louisa Wall +2.0
    Colin King +2.0
  2. Peter Dunne +1.5
    Jonathan Coleman +1.5
    Chris Hipkins +1.5
    Paul Hutchison +1.5
    Ross Robertson +1.5
    Clare Curran +1.5

Biggest Decreases

  1. Hekia Parata -4.5
  2. Kanwlakit Bakshi -.2.0
    Nanaia Mahuta -2.0
    Phil Heatley -2.0

Group Ratings

  1. Ministers 6.0 (-0.3)
  2. Cabinet 6.1 (-0.3)
  3. National frontbench 6.8 (-0.4)
  4. Labour frontbench 4.1 (-0.7)
  5. National backbench 4.0

Both front benches have dropped compared to 2011. However National’s frontbench still rates an average 1.9 higher than National as a whole. Labour’s frontbench ranks just 0.1 higher than the caucus as a whole, which cements the perception that a reshuffle is definitely needed. Five of Labour’s eight frontbenchers got a score of under 5/10.

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The 2011 Trans-Tasman Ratings

December 15th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Transtasman has published its annual ratings for the 92 re-elected MPs. As usual, I do some analysis.

The overall average rating is 5.0 (+0.5 from 2010)

Average Ratings per Party

  1. Maori 5.8 (-1.0)
  2. National 5.2 (-0.2)
  3. United Future 5.0 (-0.5)
  4. Mana 5.0 (+3.0)
  5. Green 4.7 (+0.9)
  6. Labour 4.1 (-0.4)

Labour overall rated the bottom party, based on the MPs re-elected. The Greens are most improved of the parties with more than one MP.

Top MPs

  1. Gerry Brownlee 9.0 (+1.0)
  2. John Key 9.0 (nc)
  3. Bill English 8.5 (nc)

The next four MPs on 8.0 are Russel Norman, Tony Ryall, Lockwood Smith and Murray McCully. They say about Gerry:

As Minister in charge of directing recovery from the devastating earthquakes in Canterbury, and faced almost daily with hard decisions, Brownlee has shown his true mettle. He has stood four-square behind the Govt’s determination to rebuild Christchurch, and has given back hope to those whose homes and businesses were torn apart. The job is far from done and Brownlee is expected to remain in charge for at least a year as the process of rebuilding gathers pace. What may have exercised a strong influence on the outcome of the election, as National harvested majorities in onetime Labour fiefdoms in Christchurch, was the conviction the Govt totally supported the city, transmitted through the Brownlee personality, and built around the extraordinary generosity in the payouts to citizens whose homes had been destroyed.

Bottom MPs

  1. Rajan Prasad 1.0 (-3.0)
  2. David Clendon 2.0 (-1.5)
    Darien Fenton 2.0 (-2.0)
    Louisa Wall 2.0 (-2.0)
    William Sio 2.0 (-1.5)
    Parekura Horomia 2.0 (-1.0)
    Melissa Lee 2.0 (-1.5)
    Colin King 2.0 (-1.5)

And Rajen Prasad was rated higher on Labour’s List than Stuart Nash etc!

Top Labour MPs

  1. Annette King 6.0 (-0.5)
    David Parker 6.0 (-0.5)
    Phil Goff 6.0 (nc)
    David Cunliffe 6.0 (+0.5)
    Lianne Dalziel 6.0 (+0.5)
    Jacinda Ardern 6.0 (+1.0)
    Grant Robertson 6.0 (+1.0)

Top Third Party MPs

  1. Russel Norman 8.0 (+3.0)
  2. Tariana Turia – 6.5 (-.10)
  3. Metiria Turei 6.0 (+1.5)
    Pita Sharples 6.0 (-1.0)
  4. Peter Dunne – 5.0 (-0.5)
    Hone Harawira – 5.0 (+3.0)
    Te Ururoa Flavell 6.0 (-1.0)
    Gareth Hughes – 5.0 (+2.0)

Biggest Increases

  1. Hone Harawira +3.0
    Russel Norman +3.0
  2. Michael Woodhouse +2.0
    David Shearer +2.0
    Gareth Hughes +2.0

Biggest Decreases

  1. Rajan Prasad -3.0
  2. Paul Hutchison -.2.0
    Sue Moroney -2.0
    Darien Fenton -2.0
    Louisa Wall -2.0

Group Ratings

  1. Ministers 6.3 (-0.3)
  2. Cabinet 6.4 (-0.7)
  3. National frontbench 7.2 (-0.7)
  4. Labour frontbench 4.8 (-0.2)
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