NZ First infighting

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

Sam Sachdeva at The Press reports:

NZ First has been embroiled in infighting after a blog slammed the performance of some of its MPs, leaked party emails show.

Internal emails, passed on to The Press, have revealed discord within the party, with Christchurch MP Denis O’Rourke among those attacking their Whip and the party’s board.

The emails relate to a post by website Kiwiblog that used a range of statistics to rank Opposition MPs.

The rankings placed Canterbury NZ First MPs O’Rourke and Richard Prosser in the bottom five for the third quarter of 2012, along with colleague Asenati Taylor.

I wouldn’t say the blog slammed any of the NZ First MPs. In the post I did, I mainly just report the data. Rajen Prasad is the only MP I really gave much of a swipe to.

As I said in the post, the data is quantitative, not qualitative. However I think it has some value as it does at least show if MPs are being active asking PQs and doing press releases.

To be fair to NZ First MPs, many will always struggle as Winston hogs most of the media stories, and front on almost any high profile issue. But that is no reason you can’t still be churning out some releases and gathering data through PQs.

NZ First Whip Barbara Stewart emailed the rankings to the caucus on October 4.

She said they showed “how others are judging you”.

O’Rourke and former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams hit back, criticising the rankings and Stewart’s decision to email them out.

What is fascinating is not that MPs disagree, but that one of the MPs has leaked the e-mails to the media. Not a good sign.

O’Rourke said the rankings were “not even remotely interesting or relevant” and were “utter nonsense”.

“I find it hard to believe that anyone with any brains would actually take any notice of a stupid Right-wing blog site,” he said.

Hey, I resent the “stupid” comment! And yes my blog is from the right and I am known to be a critic of Winston, but the MP stats are not designed to be pro or anti any party or MP. They are designed to both reveal how much work MPs are doing in certain areas, and how effective they are at gaining media attention. I do them for Government Ministers also.

Williams said Stewart’s decision to place importance on the rankings was “a sad inditement [sic] on you as Whip and of this party”.

“[Q]uite frankly I do not want to receive these ‘nanny’ type sermons from you. Have better things to do than be preached at.”

It is interesting that Winston promised soon after the election that the caucus would elect a Deputy Leader by the end of March 2012. They still haven’t elected one. Is it because they can’t agree?

In response, Stewart warned the MPs that their performance had been noticed by the NZ First board.

“The number of contributions or lack of – that you make . . . is also being noticed. A picture is being created about you!”

I’m biased, but I think the data in the ratings can be of some use to a party. Certainly only of some limited value, but it allows a party to say why has Brendan Horan does 16 press releases and Denis O’Rourke only one? Now there may be a simple answer such as Horan has a portfolio that has been more high profile. So the data is not the answer, but at least allows questions to be asked.  Likewise why has Andrew Williams asked 22 PQs and Asenati Taylor just three?

So even I wouldn’t place huge reliance on the data, but that isn’t to say it can’t be of some value.

Tags: , , , , ,

Opposition performance statistics Q3 2012

October 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Q1 2012 stats have the details on methodology.

First looking at the parties, the average for Labour and Green MPs is 13 press releases and NZ First MPs 10 releases.

For media stories Labour is 16, Greens 15 and NZ First 14. In terms of PQs Labour averages 78, NZ First 43 and Greens 33.

For press releases, the five top MPs are David Shearer, Russel Norman, Winston Peters, David Parker and Hone Harawira.

The MPs who have done the least releases are Shane Jones (none ), and Rajen Prasad and Denis O’Rourke (one each).

For news stories, the top five MPs are David Shearer, Winston Peters, Russel Norman, Lousia Wall and Gareth Hughes.

The MPs with the least news stories (as indexed by Google News) are Raymond Huo , Tracey Martin and Asenati Taylor on one each.

For PQs, the top five MPs are David Cunliffe (519), Darien Fenton (225), Chris Hipkins (212)). While PQs are a good resource that MPs should use, I think 519 over 90 days is getting excessive. Each PQ can cost $100 or so of staff time answering it, so $50,000 worth in a quarter is a bit over the top.

Eight Opposition MPs have not asked a single written PQ this quarter.

This shows the output of each MP compared to the median. The simple average is just that. The weighted average applies a weighting of 1/2 to news stories, 1/3 to press releases and 1/6 to PQs. Also to discourage abuse of PQs, the maximum number of PQs counted is 12 time the median, or 200% weighted.

So overall the top of the league table goes to Opposition Leader David Shearer, which is as expected. Second is Winston Peters, then Russel Norman and David Cunliffe.

Down the bottom of the league table is is Rajen Prasad whose activity is 12% of the median. Next lowest is Richard Prosser and Kris Faafoi at 18%.

Note that of course these stats are quantitative, not qualitative. Just because an MP is being reported in the media, doesn’t mean it is positive publicity.

This shows the rankings over the three quarters since the election. Thee top three have not changed much. Cunliffe has shot up this quarter. Down the bottom, Rajen Prasad seems to occupt bottom spot on a permanent basis. Press releases and PQs are for other MPs! Prasad was Labour’s top ranked new candidate in 2008, being given a list ranking of 12.

 

Tags: ,

Opposition performance statistics Q2 2012

July 2nd, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

This is the second quarter of performance stats for opposition MPs. The post of the first quarter stats has the full explanations and methodology.

First looking at the parties, there is a small difference in terms of press releases. NZ First average the most, then Greens, then Labour. We see the same with news stories, with NZ First highest, then Greens and then Labour.

However when it comes to asking written questions, Labour are out in front of the other parties, with Greens and NZ First well behind.

For press releases, the five top MPs are Winston Peters, David Shearer, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei and Hone Harawira – the five party leaders. Turei is now doing far more than in Q1. After the five party leaders, the next two MPs are Clare Curran and Grant Robertson.

The MPs who have done the least releases are Rino Tirikatene, Parekura Horomia, Louisa Wall and Megan Woods who have done two each.

For news stories, the top five MPs are David Shearer, Winston Peters, Russel Norman, Kevin Hague and Hone Harawira. The next time Winston claims the media do not report him enough, recall he had only six fewer stories than the leader of the party which got four times his support. Also interesting that Kevin Hague has had more stories than Andrew Little.

The MPs with the least news stories (as indexed by Google News) are Rajen Prasad (1), Raymond Huo (1), Denis O’Rourke (2) and Su’a Wiliam Sio (2).

For PQs, the top five MPs are David Cunliffe (415), Phil Goff (197), Iain Lees-Galloway (190), Darien Fenton (189) and Annette King (91). It is pleasing to see the abusive fishing expediations by Mallard and Hipkins in Q1 have not been repeated. The level of use is now pretty good.

14 Opposition MPs did not ask a single written PQ this quarter. Incredible that there is nothing they wish to find out in their portfolios.

This shows the output of each MP compared to the median. The simple average is just that. The weighted average applies a weighting of 1/2 to news stories, 1/3 to press releases and 1/6 to PQs. Also to discourage abuse of PQs, the maximum number of PQs counted is 12 time the median, or 200% weighted.

So overall the top of the league table goes to Winston Peters, then David Shearer, Russel Norman, David Cunliffe and Metiria Turei.

The big moves up are Megan Woods (+24), Clayton Cosgrove (+22), Shane Jones (+21) Metiria Turei (+20), Kevin Hague (+20), Catherine Delahunty (+20).

Down the bottom of the league table is is Rajen Prasad for the second quarter running whose activity is 14% of the median. Next lowest is Denis O’Rourke at 24%, Raymonds Huo at 25%, Parekura Horomia at 33%, Brendan Horan at 33% and Mojo Mathers at 34%.

The big moves down have been Trevor Mallard (-24), Chris Hipkins (-16), Mojo Mathers (-16), Maryan Street (-15),

Note that of course these stats are quantitative, not qualitative. Just because an MP is being reported in the media, doesn’t mean it is positive publicity.

Tags: ,

Opposition performance statistics Q1 2012

April 23rd, 2012 at 10:19 am by David Farrar

In 2010 I blogged two tables (here and here) looking at some “performance” statistics of Labour MPs in 2009. I’ve decided to expand this to include all opposition MPs and make it a regular quarterly feature.

The three criteria are:

  1. No of press releases issued, and the associated rank (1 is most, 56 is least). This is based on a search of Scoop for their name in releases from their party.
  2. No of news stories mentioning them, and the associated rank. This is based on a search of Google News NZ and counting the number of hits, which roughly corresponds to number of distinct stories. The Voxy and Scoop sites are excluded as these report press releases which are covered in (1).
  3. No of written questions asked by them, and the associated rank. This is based on a search of the Parliamentary PQs database. Incidentally this database is seriously stuffed. Each query takes 1 to 2 minutes. Could someone in the Parliamentary Service please fix this. I understand it has been this way for a while. Note that this covers the period from the election to yesterday as the database does not allow you to specify an exact time period.

To some degree the three categories represent inputs, outputs and outcomes. The written PQs are the inputs – the grunt work you do to find out information for your portfolio. Some MPs actually abuse the facility, but overall it is a reasonable indicator of activity.

The media releases are the outputs – how often an MP is actually putting a statement out there for the media to pick up.

The news stories are the outcomes – how often activity by that MP actually makes the news. Of course not all news stories are positive ones, but overall a harder working MP will get more news stories.

I have not surveyed the number of oral questions they ask, or the number of speeches in the House. The reasons for this is that the leadership tend to allocate these out or roster people on for these. It is not the same as MP generated activity.

People may wonder why I have only done these for Opposition MPs. Well Government backbenchers are not actually encouraged to do press releases (except on local issues) or ask PQs. It is only for an Opposition party, these stats make sense. I do plan to publish similar ”league tables” for Ministers.

First looking at the parties, they seem to have a very close average to each other for press releases. For media stories the Greens lag behind Labour and NZ First. And when it comes to PQs Labour is massively higher, but that is more due to what I’d call abusive behaviour by a couple of MPs.

For press releases, the five top MPs are Winston Peters, Hone Harawira, David Shearer, Clare Curran and Russel Norman. Interesting that Peters and Harawira put out more releases than the Leader of the Opposition. Also interesting that Curran has such a high number of releases. Also Norman has put out twice as many PRs as his co-leader.

The MPs who have done the least releases are Rajen Prasad (none) followed by Shane Jones, Trevor Mallard and Rino Tirikatene (one each).

For news stories, the top five MPs are David Shearer, Winston Peters, Russel Norman, Trevor Mallard and Grant Robertson. Interesting that Peters gets twice as many stories as Norman, despite being the smaller party. Also Norman has five times as many stories as Turei. Also of interest is how prominent Mallard is in the media for Labour – second only to their leader.

The MPs with the least news stories (as indexed by Google News) are Raymond Huo (1), Asenati Taylor (1), Rajen Prasad (2), Megan Woods (2).

For PQs, the top five MPs are Trevor Mallard (2,936), Chris Hipkins (1,294), Iain Lees-Galloway (428), Phil Goff (245), David Cunliffe (200). While PQs are a good resource that MPs should use, I believe Mallard and Hipkins are abusing the system with massive fishing expeditions that cost tens of thousands of dollars. I will blog later some examples of that. PQs should be used to get information an MP needs, and most MPs should use them more. But a couple should use them less.

15 Opposition MPs have not asked a single written PQ this term.

This shows the output of each MP compared to the median. The simple average is just that. The weighted average applies a weighting of 1/2 to news stories, 1/3 to press releases and 1/6 to PQs. Also to discourage abuse of PQs, the maximum number of PQs counted is 12 time the median, or 200% weighted.

So overall the top of the league table goes to Opposition Leader David Shearer, which is as expected. Second is Winston Peters, then Phil Goff, Russel Norman and Trevor Mallard.

Down the bottom of the league table is is Rajen Prasad whose activity is 5% of the median. Next lowest is Megan Woods at 21% and Parekura Horomia at 26%. Equal fourth lowest are Andrew Williams, Richard Prosser and Shane Jones at 29%.

I’ll publish in July the stats for the second quarter, and we’ll see if there has been any change. Hope to also publish the ministerial stats within a week or so.

Note that of course these stats are quantitative, not qualitative. Just because an MP is being reported in the media, doesn’t mean it is positive publicity.

Tags: ,