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Prebble’s The Letter

Published: Mon 20 Oct 2003 10:37 PM
Prebble’s The Letter
THE MOST EFFECTIVE MPS Two weeks ago the Sunday Star-Times (SST) published Parliament’s 10 least effective MPs.
The Letter, being a positive publication, today lists Parliament’s best MPs.
The Letter has followed the SST method – gauging how many primary oral questions, supplementary questions and written questions have been asked this year by each MP, and the amount of press releases and the number of times each MP has figured in New Zealand’s main newspapers. The SST excluded Ministers from its survey, so The Letter has excluded the front bench MPs, i.e. the leader, deputy leaders and National MPs Mapp, Scott, Powers, Brownlee and Brash.
THE LIST The number one, most effective backbench MP in Parliament is Rodney Hide. Rodney has asked 28 oral questions, 97 supplementaries, an amazing 1180 written questions, figured in the media 317 times and issued 51 press releases for a total of 1673.
No. 2 is ACT’s Muriel Newman. Muriel has asked 10 orals, 62 sups, a staggering 1257 written questions, appeared in the media 152 times and issued 152 media releases for a total of 1633.
No. 3 is National’s Nick Smith with 30 orals, 139 sups, 251 written questions, 397 media appearances and 51 media releases for a total of 868.
No. 4 is ACT’s Deborah Coddington with 4 orals, 39 sups, 517 written questions, 127 media appearances and 94 releases for a total of 781. Note: During this parliamentary term, Deborah has spent 10 weeks at Cambridge University as a visiting fellow, published two books, and is still no 4 in Parliament!
No. 5 is National’s Tony Ryall with 6 orals, 42 sups, 535 written questions, 116 media appearances and 57 releases for a total of 756.
No. 6 is ACT’s Stephen Franks with 9 orals, 73 sups, 207 written questions, 173 media appearances and 160 releases. A total of 622.
No. 7 is National’s Katherine Rich with 14 orals, 69 sups, 178 written questions, 240 media, and 74 releases - a total of 575.
Eight is National’s Murray McCully with 20 orals, 78 sups, 256 written questions, 193 media appearances and 16 releases. A total of 563.
Why are Nick Smith, Tony Ryall, Katherine Rich and Murray McCully not in National’s front bench? At number nine appears Green MP Sue Kedgley. She asked 15 orals, 85 sups, 237 written questions, made 111 media appearances and 97 media releases. A total of 545.
At 10 is NZ First MP Ron Mark. He asked 21 orals, 93 sups, 247 written questions, made 120 media appearances and issued 57 releases. A total of 535.
At No. 11 is ACT’s new MP Heather Roy with a total of 442.
ACT IS MOST EFFECTIVE Using the SST’s methods, ACT provides five of the top eleven MPs. ACT’s lowest rating MP, Gerry Eckhoff, comes in at a respectable 21st with 257. Gerry took six weeks off Parliament to travel 7,500km in ACT’s bus to gather 64,000 names in his petition that defeated the FART Tax. Arguably he has been the most effective backbench MP.
UNITED LEAST EFFECTIVE The United party has Parliament’s least effective MPs. United’s best MP is Bernie Ogilvy, who comes in at number 24! Peter Dunne has not encouraged the development of his MPs.
LABOUR’S MOST EFFECTIVE Labour’s most effective backbencher is prostitution promoter Tim Barnett at number 20. Progressive MP Matt Robson comes in at number 26.
SUNDAY STAR-TIMES WRONG The Letter, which used the Parliamentary Library for its research, and the SST criteria, was shocked to discover that the paper’s list of the worst MPs is seriously wrong. Jim Peters was ranked as one of Parliament’s 10 worst MPs when our list makes him the 13th most effective (his sin according to the paper is to be Winston’s brother and Parliament’s oldest MP). Is that why Craig McNair, one of the youngest MPs, and in our list of the worst 10, was missed out?
Also wrongly listed by the paper were Sandra Goudie (National) and Brent Catchpole (NZF).
The real list of least effective MPs in order are: Clem Simich (N) (bottom), Doug Woolerton (NZF)*, Janet Mackey (L), Lindsay Tisch (N)*, Bill Gudgeon (NZF), Edwin Perry (NZF), Dave Hereora (L)*, Mita Ririnui (L)*, Craig McNair (NZF)*, Lynne Pillay (L). * Missed out of Sunday Star-Times list.
A BRICK BAT A paper that is going to produce a list of the top ten worst MPs has a duty to get it right.
A CRITICISM Including media appearances elevates notorious MPs. By using only the criteria of work produces a different order. Muriel Newman becomes the hardest working MP. Awatere Huata becomes 3rd worst. Maurice Williamson the 2nd laziest. Clem Simich, no matter how you measure it, is bottom.
ACT MPS WORK HARDER The combined score of ACT’s seven MPs is equal to the bottom 53 MPs!
ON THE WEB The full list ranking are on ACT’s website is at http://www.act.org.nz/mps. Also on the web is Professor Gustafson’s paper at ACT’s Northern Regional Conference on coalitions: http://www.act.org.nz/gustafson.
MORE CENTRE-RIGHT UNITY Labour is in trouble on education. It is captured by the teachers’ unions. The centre-right is working well together. ACT, National, NZ First and United attended pro-market research group Education Forum’s launch of ‘A New Deal’, a comprehensive manifesto outlining how to return world-class standards to New Zealand classrooms. This is a road map to introduce ACT policy. Every parent should read the manifesto (as well as Deborah Coddington’s book, Let Parents Choose). The manifesto is at http://www.educationforum.org.nz.

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