I’ve done the above table ranking the productivity of the 44 Labour MPs, in 2009, on three criteria. They are:
- No of press releases issued, and the associated rank (1 is most, 44 is least). This is based on a search of Scoop for their name in releases from Labour.
- No of news stories mentioning them, and the associated rank. This is based on a search of the NZPA database for political stories mentioning them.
- No of written questions asked by them, and the associated rank. This is based on a search of the Parliamentary PQs database.
So you can see the output and rank for each category, plus an overall rank based on an average of the three category ranks.
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 Labour. 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 did a similar survey of National MPs in 2008.
So what do these stats tell us, starting from the bottom:
- Ashraf Choudhary is in bottom place. Originally I had him with even lower stats as I was searching on Choudary, not Choudhary, but even after I corrected for this, he remained on bottom place.
- Next two lowest are Rajen Prasad and Raymond Huo.
- Steve Chadwick is Senior Labour Whip, so she is not expected to be doing a lot of releases.
- Carol Beaumont and Stuart Nash have little activity for new MPs wanting to win electorate seats.
- Nanaia Mahuta has had family issues, and Damien O’Connor only entered halfway through the year, explaining their fairly low ratings.
- Phil Goff’s rating is a bit misleading. He has put out by far the most releases and had many times more news stories. However he is only ranked 9th as he has done almost no PQs. Now in reality he is in 1st place, as the Leader never does his own PQs – they are done by other MPs.
- Very interesting that Grant Robertson is in No 2 place. Is he already Leader in Waiting?
- Shane Jones can be a talented performer, but his lack of activity is part of the reason why his colleagues are unlikely to make him Leader. He prefers to rely on his natural showmanship, rather than do the hard yards to a degree.
- In terms of press releases the top five are Goff, G Robertson, Chauvel, Anderton and Cunliffe.
- In terms of news coverage the top five are Goff, King, Shearer (due to by-election), Cunliffe and Mallard.
- Those MPs who have done less than 250 (average one per work day) PQs, releases or stories are (in order) Prasad, Choudhary, Chadwick, Horomia, O’Connor, Huo, and Dalziel.
Now these are a fairly crude measure of activity. I’ve used them because they are totally quantifiable, not because they are necessarily the best way to rank MPs.
Having said that, there is some correlation. MPs seem as future Ministers such as G Robertson, Twyford and Chauvel are in the top ranks, while I don’t think anyone is betting money on when Ashraf Choudhary will become a Minister!
I’ll update these in early 2011, and people can see what changes, if any, there has been.