Wednesday, October 26, 2005

And in the blue corner...

With a super-sized choice of MPs this time round, the Nats' new portfolio line-up makes interesting reading.

By far and away the least boring announcement is Wayne Mapp's portfolio of Political Correctness Eradication. As many around the blogosphere are pointing out, this trick could go either way. If the former Army Intel guy treats it with a light touch, taking the piss and demonstrating the patent absurdity of the more deranged hand-wringing, it is all well and good. However, I have witnessed scant evidence that there is a comedian's touch in his delivery so he had better make sure he doesn't turn all sourpuss and grumpyface over PCness like Muriel Newman did.

Mapp's portfolio is the key to the new-look Nats. Transitional Portfolios abound, with Liaisons in Pacific Island, Asian, Women's, Youth and Ex-pats. These TransPorts are a novel idea, responding to niche groups with go-betweens and not some bureaucratic office patronisingly patting their heads. It also foreshadows an intention to eventually do away with the Ministries of Silly Walks entirely. However, I remain sceptical as to whether this is all so much window-dressing. I can't see Judith Collins jumping in to help solve the Otara youth gang problem in a hurry.

It is good to see Katherine Rich back on the front bench with the Economic Development portfolio. With Maharey in her targets, this looks to be a battle to the death between Ken and Barbie. Former WTO man Tim Groser will be going head-to-head with Helen Clark in the Arts and Culture portfolio. Niiiice. Likewise, lawyer Simon Power has a good chance to make his bones against Labour's Police Minister and former dental nurse Annette King.

When are those parliamentary cameras getting installed? $6.2 million should be a doddle to find out of that $1.9 billion election bribe fund. Next year's "House, MP" will be a hell of a lot more entertaining than the endless "NZ celebrity" reality shows.