Category: Hekia Parata

Where is Canterbury in the Labour reshuffle?

shearer mt albert firstPhoto by Greg Presland

The spectre of a possible leadership challenge in Labour isn’t going away as long as David Shearer remains incoherent, visionless and powerless against John Key.  A lot of good stuff has been said about this whole mess by The StandardTumeke, Chris Trotter, Gordon Campbell, Brian Edwards etc, but I want to highlight one sad result of the ongoing dominance of the caucus by the old guard, anti-democratic, right-leaning, “Anyone but Cunliffe” clique.

The main feature of the recent Labour rankings reshuffle is promotions of Shearer supporters and opponents of the democratisation of the party, and demotions of Cunliffe and democratisation supporters (note also Charles Chauvel’s recent resignation).

Most notable among these demotions is Lianne Dalziel, who goes from list rank 14 to the unranked back benches with Cunliffe and most of his other supporters.  This is a slap in the face to Dalziel who has been a tireless advocate for Christchurch, and an advocate for the East and the people against Brownlee’s support of big business in the recovery.  Unfortunately for her, she has also been an advocate for the democratisation of the Labour party and for a return to its left-wing roots.  The only two Canterbury-based MPs in Labour’s top 20 now are Clayton Cosgrove (who has no earthquake-related portfolios) and Megan Woods (who moves off the back benches to number 20).

Of course, the lack of Christchurch representation in Labour isn’t new.  Christchurch people, who tend to be more working class than Auckland or Wellington, are more left than liberal; that is, they seem to be more attracted to a classic left politics of economic justice, as embodied by the last great Christchurch prime minister Norman Kirk, rather than the liberal identity politics that Labour has turned to since Kirk’s time.  I’m a lot more supportive of Mana and the Greens than what Labour have become, but I’d still hope that Labour would prioritise the Canterbury region at the moment.  If they really want to win back the city, they should be articulating a powerful people-first alternative to Brownlee’s way of doing things – not to mention to school closures and the steamrolling of ECAN.

I’ve remarked before that “Anyone but Cunliffe” should apparently be taken in its full possible meaning: “Key rather than Cunliffe”.  It’s very sad that it apparently also means “Brownlee rather than Dalziel”.

Here’s the full numbers for the reshuffle; list and portfolios are here, I’ve noted promotions, demotions, locations and (suspected) factions/cliques.  Sue Moroney is the only exception to the general pattern.

‘Cunliffe’ supporters are taken from TV3’s Patrick Gower, so should be taken with a massive grain of salt.  ‘Old Guard’ are taken from bloggers Chris Trotter and The Standard, who seem to have have been a lot more honest on these matters than the mainstream media (please note this conflates various groups that don’t necessarily fit together neatly: the ‘old guard’, opponents of democratisation, neo-liberals or those fearful of returning to the left, and supporters of Shearer).  The rest all most likely support Shearer, but have been less vocal about it.

Shadow Cabinet

1 David Shearer (no change) – Auckland
2 Grant Robertson (no change) – Wellington – OLD GUARD
3 David Parker (no change) – Dunedin
4 Jacinda Ardern – (no change) – Auckland – OLD GUARD
5 Clayton Cosgrove (little change) – North Canterbury (office in Kaiapoi) (no earthquake-related portfolios)
6 Annette King (PROMOTION) – Wellington – OLD GUARD
7 Shane Jones (no change) – Whangarei
8 Phil Twyford (promotion) – Auckland – OLD GUARD
9 Maryan Street (no change) – Nelson
10 Chris Hipkins (PROMOTION) – Wellington – OLD GUARD
11 Nanaia Mahuta (demotion) – Waikato-Hauraki (offices in Hamilton and Auckland) – CUNLIFFE
12 David Clark (PROMOTION) – Dunedin
13 Sue Moroney (PROMOTION) – Hamilton – CUNLIFFE
14 Su’a William Sio (demotion) – Auckland – CUNLIFFE
15 Phil Goff (little change) – Auckland – OLD GUARD
16 Darien Fenton (promotion) – Auckland – OLD GUARD
17 Damien O’Connor (promotion) – South Island West Coast (offices in Motueka, Westport and Greymouth)
18 Clare Curran (promotion) – Dunedin – OLD GUARD
19 Andrew Little (promotion) – New Plymouth – OLD GUARD
20 Megan Woods (promotion) – Christchurch (Christchurch Transport Issues Spokesperson) – OLD GUARD

Remainder of Caucus listed by length of time in the House

Trevor Mallard (DEMOTION but lined up for Speaker) – Wellington – OLD GUARD
Lianne Dalziel (DEMOTION) – Christchurch (Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, EQC Spokesperson, Civil Defence and Emergency Management spokeperson) – CUNLIFFE
Ruth Dyson (no change) – Christchurch (no earthquake-related portfolios)
David Cunliffe (DEMOTED last year) – Auckland – CUNLIFFE
Parekura Horomia (no change) – North Island East Coast (Office in Hastings) – CUNLIFFE
Moana Mackey (no change) – Gisborne – CUNLIFFE
Iain Lees-Galloway (no change) – Palmerston North
Raymond Huo (no change) – Auckland – CUNLIFFE
Rajen Prasad (no change) – Auckland? – CUNLIFFE
Kris Faafoi (no change) – Wellington – OLD GUARD
Carol Beaumont (promotion – brought into Parliament as Chauvel leaves) – Auckland
Louisa Wall (no change) – Auckland – CUNLIFFE
Rino Tirikatene (no change) South Island (offices in Invercargill, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington) – CUNLIFFE
Ross Robertson (no change) – Auckland

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Parata and Key really do under-rate our educational achievement if they think the public aren’t capable of making spreadsheets.

Schools’ National Standards results to go online (John Hartevelt, 08/08/2012)

Schools are to have their National Standards results published on a Government website.
Education Minister Hekia Parata today confirmed the contentious data would be added to an existing Government website called Education Counts.

“This information will be available on the website and parents or members of the public will be able to go on and look at all of it,” Parata said.
“Parents and schools have wanted both and from the outset, that has been the intention of National Standards and now we are designing a tool that will deliver that.” …

Parata said the Government would not arrange the performance of schools in to a league table …
However, the website would collect schools within regions for parents to view. That would show the overall performance against the standards in each region, as well as showing the overall national performance.

The only possible justification for (something like) national standards is so that the ministry and other concerned parties can monitor which schools and communities are struggling, and target them for extra educational/economic/health assistance. That is, to ensure all kids can get a quality education.

But in fact the aim is quite the opposite. The figures are being broadcast publicly to aid consumer choice, so that those parents who can afford to choose can choose where to send their kids, to give them a competitive advantage over everyone else’s kids. This government worships competition as the best way to deliver any service, but in this situation it can only serve to reinforce existing cycles of privilege and poverty. Not to mention undermining the collegiality that makes our education good at the moment.

This stated intention makes a mockery of Parata’s meaningless assurance that, although all the information will be publicly available as if there were league tables, it’s not being published in table format, so technically there are no league tables.