Manawatu MPs get annual report cards

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:00 04/12/2012

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Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie is a "nice guy" who is "pretty invisible", while Palmerston North's MP Iain Lees-Galloway is an "enthusiastic contributor in Parliament", according to a prominent political journal.

The Trans Tasman newsletter has released its annual ratings for MPs and Manawatu's politicians have not set the rankings alight.

Mr McKelvie, of National, earns a 3 out of 10 in his first rating, while Labour's Mr Lees-Galloway is up 0.5 from last year to 3.5.

Otaki MP and Immigration, Veterans Affairs and Racing Minister Nathan Guy stays steady on 5.

All three men declined to give themselves a mark out of 10 when contacted by the Manawatu Standard yesterday, saying it was up to their electorates to judge them.

Trans Tasman rated Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson as the politician of the year on 8 out of 10, a mark also attained by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman and Prime Minister John Key.

ACT leader John Banks received 0 out of 10.

The judges praised Mr Lees-Galloway and noted he was an "enthusiastic contributor in Parliament" and had made "not a bad effort on defence", but still gave him a relatively low score.

"I've never paid a whole lot of attention to the results. They are very heavily targeted towards the National Party."

Mr Lees-Galloway said he had held the Government to account in his role as defence spokesman on areas like the "appalling morale" in the defence force and recruitment.

"I suspect that's what they've described as being a not-bad job."

Locally, Mr Lees-Galloway highlighted his role in the campaign to save the Capital Connection commuter train to Wellington.

Mr McKelvie, 60, thought his rating was fair when compared with the likes of Mr Key, but said he would be disappointed if it didn't improve as he found his feet as an MP.

This year's assessment that he would "have to pull something out of his hat to advance" came hot on the heels of last year's criticism: "Not expected to shine - too old".

"When you're a backbench MP from the Rangitikei it's very hard to rate much higher," Mr McKelvie said of his mark.

"My challenge is to make sure that the Government understands the issues that the rural towns have. That's not going to get a lot of publicity but my role is to advocate for the community in my areas."

Should Mr McKelvie be unable to achieve his aims, he wouldn't stick around, he said.

Mr Guy was said to be "lucky" to get a Cabinet spot and "he may have to work hard for further elevation".

The judges said immigration reform had stalled on his watch, but he pointed to proposed legislation about how to deal with boat people that would likely reach Parliament in the new year.

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He said Trans Tasman had not mentioned his reform of the War Pensions Act that gives veterans a 5 per cent rise in the new year.

Wairarapa MP John Hayes, National, was steady on 4 out of 10, while Te Tai Hauauru MP and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia was down slightly to 6 out of 10.

- The Manawatu Standard

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