Sunday, 7 February 2010

A tale of two offices

The Standard has a good post up on the Herald article today about how the family Key thrust into the spotlight when he took their daughter to Waitangi in 2007 are doing now. Not Good, would be an apt two-word summation.

In fact their situation shows how many have been personally affected by cuts this Government has made; mother laid off from her job (more on that shortly), no longer able to receive a training allowance (perhaps due to the TIA cuts, not clear in the article), phone cut off, having problems moving to a more appropriate Housing NZ property. I'm sure this isn't the only family in Aotearoa NZ with this kind of story, and it's a shame that it takes the Herald following up on a political gimmick by the then Leader of the Opposition to highlight this reality.

But, as a fellow Mt Roskill electorate resident, I really wanted to touch on one aspect of the story from the Herald, right at the end, about how Nathan's job disappeared:
Jackie Blue said Nathan worked 10 hours a week doing administration for Mt Roskill office up until the 2008 election.

She wasn't re-employed because Blue merged her office with Lotu-Iiga, and didn't need to rehire staff.

Blue said she had tried to keep in touch, but Nathan's phone had been disconnected.
Now I understand that electorate office staff are in a precarious position often, their employment determined sometimes by electorate cycles and the votes of the public. In the 1996 election, my first politically-active one, a friend's mother lost her job working in Chris Carter's office when he lost his seat. It's difficult work and the lack of security probably doesn't help.

However I am a little confused by the idea that Jackie Blue (List MP, office in Mt Roskill) and Sam Lotu-Iiga (Electorate MP for Maungakiekie, office in Onehunga) have merged their offices. So confused was I that, seeing as how I was going to Onehunga today anyway, I decided to drive by and check.

And indeed here is Lotu-Iiga's office on the Onehunga Mall, where it's been since not long after the election (remember, he was a new MP in the 2008 in-take):

While here we have Jackie Blue's office on Dominion Rd, which I think was there before the 2008 election too. Certainly at Xmas time 2009 she had Bill English visit to turn her festive lights on, and there was some promotion of this:

Perhaps they merged some of their staffing functions, I don't know. But clearly they haven't merged offices. They still both maintain separate offices, with no reference to each other on their shopfronts. I wonder if Parliamentary Services thinks they have merged? My guess would be no.

And as for the last part of that quote from the Herald - Blue's difficulty getting hold of Nathan because they don't have a phone line anymore. Blue is Mt Roskill-based right? She has contested the seat here for two elections. She puts about that she is a local MP. Perhaps she doesn't know where Nathan lives? Oh, wait...


mickysavage said...


I drive past it quite often and Jackie Blue's face continues to beam over Dominion Road.

The offices do not appear to have merged at all.

Anonymous said...

Funny how joan couldn't get help from her local MP.

Who is that again? Oh yes, PHIL GOFF.

Maybe he's too busy inventing stings involving neelam choudry to help out his constituents.

Julie said...

Anon, I was a bit surprised she hadn't gone to Goff's office for assistance. The article doesn't suggest she had, and I would have thought that would be a sensible thing to do. Evidence to date suggests she didn't approach them, certainly there's nothing to suggest she did and they failed to help.

Darien said...

Great comment Julie. It will be interesting to see what Key's got anything to say about the underclass tomorrow

Julie said...

Goff mentioned this issue in his Speech in Reply on Tuesday:

Empty words and political spin too when he [Key] came to McGehan Close in my electorate, insulted the residence by calling it a ‘dead end’ street nut promised to help those there he termed an underclass.

Remember the spin around taking young Aroha up to Waitangi and giving her mum a job.

What do they say in McGehan Close now?

Joan Nathan says she has been let down by the Prime Minister and her daughter Aroha now wants nothing to do with him.

She says she and her family are worse off since National won the election.

She says she’s “pretty anti with Mr Key at the moment”.

“He fast made everything worse for us and made it easier for the ones that are higher up. I’m struggling every week”.

The job she was so generously given by the National Party mysteriously became redundant. Jackie Blue said her office had merged with Sam Lotu-Iinga.

That’s funny. One’s in Dominion Road Mt Roskill. The other in Onehunga Mall.