According to a range of sources the month concluded some days ago, but let’s face it you were so high on All Black hysteria you’d not have noticed the Spinoff Politics Power Rankings had we published them any earlier.
So without any further delay: the Power Rankings for the month of October and up until November 5 because October was a bit dull – and good to have something to read that isn’t about the rugby.
1. The All Blacks (feat J Key)
About that not being about rugby: sorry. What can we do? If one of them took the stage at the Wellington event on Friday and said Colin Craig was a friend and inspiration, the Conservative Party would leap over the threshold almost instantly. Actually, is Colin Craig still the leader? Google it if you care.
Included in the All Black triumph is John Key. You might mock his flesh-pressing exuberance – who hasn’t? – but in politically expedient terms he’d be mad not to get what he can out of it and, frankly, it comes across as fanboy more than calculated opportunist. Maybe a bit of both.
The biggest cheers and column inchage this week have gone to the big four of Steve, Richie, Dan and Sonny Bill, but the one I’d pick to run the country would be Keven Mealamu. I’d entrust my life, and all of yours, to him in a heartbeat.
2. Kelvin Davis
An impressive effort heading to Christmas Island to directly experience and relay back the situation of New Zealand citizens being held their under new Australian laws around deportation. Still work to do on getting the media traction, however.
3. Marama Fox
The Maori Party co-leader goes from strength to strength. She’s given strong voice to the plight of NZ citizens detained by Australia, and her popularity across the house was clear when she gave the best of the mostly tedious parliamentary tributes
4. Marama Davidson
Woah. A world first two Maramas in the upward power rankings!
Some think Davidson will be a huge asset for the Green Party, others reckon she may be a liability, but the replacement for Russel Norman got off to a good start with her maiden speech.
Even the notorious National Party pollster-cum-svengali David Farrar approved, saying “I especially liked the part about her Nan”.
5. Annette King
King has solidified her power-broking role in the Labour Party by being appointed deputy leader long term, with Andrew Little opting for experience over the fresh energy and Auckland-ness of a Jacinda Ardern or Carmel Sepuloni.
1. Ron Mark
The “go back to Korea” salvo fired on Tuesday at Melissa Lee was a disgrace.
2. Len Brown
If Phil Goff’s announcement he’ll run for the Auckland mayor is the slowest striptease in political history (© Guyon Espiner), Len Brown’s decision not to has been the slowest ejection from the premises in political history. Not a lot of fun to watch.
3. Andrew Little
Hardly a disastrous month, and for half of it Parliament was in recess, but became entangled in trying to explain the Labour position on the TPP, and was forced to announce the deputy leader decision before he’d intended, after having let slip to a journalist.
The publication of the mammoth TPP text could present a problem, too. With the Labour Party conference about to begin in Palmerston North, the chance to enjoy some spotlight and set the agenda risks being derailed by demands for more clarity in terms of the Labour stance on the trade pact, a lightning rod for difference in the Labour caucus.
4. Prince Charles
The heir to the throne arrived and no-one seemed all that bothered.
5. Bill English
He’s just serene. With Key away in Europe to watch rugby – beg your pardon, to attend international meetings and as long as he was there also watch rugby – English Bill just kept the engine humming. And yet he has to go on the downward list, simply because the concessions about the risk in the Auckland housing market, combined with rising unemployment numbers, mean that – despite the phlegmatic, avuncular half-grin that seems to say, “don’t worry, I got this” – the economy is encountering turbulence and seat belts may be required.