English tops southern MP ranks

Bill English.
Bill English.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English was unsurprisingly the top-ranked southern MP in the Transtasman's eighth annual roll call on how MPs performed in 2012.

He is the MP for Clutha-Southland.

But Mr English, despite getting good comments from the Transtasman editorial team, slipped one point to 7.5 in 2012 from 8.5 last year.

As Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minster, Mr English had supplied the ballast to complement the effervescent Prime Minister John Key in the coalition, supplying the intellectual grunt for policies across the spectrum from welfare reform to housing affordability, Transtasman said.

"He's kept the party on-message in the House. Away from the limelight, English deserves credit for encouraging a more flexible, free-thinking and results-oriented public service."

The Better Public Services initiative was feared as "slash and burn". Instead, Mr English had used fiscal pressure to pursue intelligent improvements in the value of the public sector's output.

Chief whip Michael Woodhouse, a list MP from Dunedin, is rated the second-highest National Party MP in the South with six points, rising from five last year.

Transtasman said Mr Woodhouse had a case to make for promotion, something Mr Key indicated at a function in Dunedin earlier this year. Mr Woodhouse is seen as a student of standing orders and did well in the House against the likes of Labour MP Trevor Mallard.

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew's (Rangitata) ranking is unchanged at five points. She had not made many gaffes in her portfolios which were not the most testing. Critics said not enough had been done to tackle the pay gender gap but she did not have the levers to make much of a difference.

Invercargill MP Eric Roy rose one point to five this year.

Described as an affable bloke, Mr Roy had carried out his deputy speaker role with care, competence and diligence. Most likely, Mr Roy was in his last term and would go out with the quiet grace and dignity he had displayed throughout his Parliamentary career.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean rose one point to four. Mrs Dean worked hard in her electorate, chaired the law and order committee and was a good speaker in
Parliament. She would be hoping for promotion but there could be better candidates.

Green Party co-leader and Dunedin-based list MP Metiria Turei was unchanged on six points. Mrs Turei was said to have equal distaste for National and Labour, which might make a coalition negotiation tough. But she was ambitious and believed there was plenty of money to solve New Zealand's problems.

Dunedin North MP David Clark was seen as one of the more impressive of the new intake of Labour MPs at the last election. He earned five points.

"He annoys the hell out of Revenue Minister Peter Dunne, which is a good sign."

Dr Clark had the good fortune to have two of his member's Bills drawn out of the ballot and one of them through its first reading when the Government lost a vote. He was learning fast.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran went up 1.5 points to 4.5. She was described as trying to be Parliament's top geek. Ms Curran got very earnest and intense on issues which most people found dull as ditch water. She received extra points for visibility and indefatigability.


dene.mackenzie@odt.co.nz

 

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