Rodney Hide

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The Honourable
Rodney Hide
QSO
Rodney Hide at parliament.JPG
Minister of Local Government
In office
24 November 2008 – 14 December 2011
Prime Minister John Key
Preceded by Nanaia Mahuta
Succeeded by Chris Tremain
Minister for Regulatory Reform
In office
19 November 2008 – 14 December 2011
Prime Minister John Key
Leader of ACT New Zealand
In office
13 June 2004 – 28 April 2011
Deputy Muriel Newman
Heather Roy
Preceded by Richard Prebble
Succeeded by Don Brash
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for ACT List
In office
1996–2005
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Epsom
In office
2005–2011
Preceded by Richard Worth
Succeeded by John Banks
Majority 3102 (8.67%)
Personal details
Born (1956-12-16) 16 December 1956 (age 57)
Oxford, New Zealand,
Nationality New Zealand
Political party ACT New Zealand
Spouse(s) Louise Crome
Occupation Economist

Rodney Philip Hide, QSO (born 16 December 1956), is a New Zealand politician who was leader of the political party ACT New Zealand from 2004 to 2011. From 2005 to 2011 he represented the electorate of Epsom as its Member of Parliament. Rodney Hide was Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Commerce and Minister of Regulatory Reform.[1] The last portfolio was mainly concerned with reducing government regulation or "red tape", a topic that had been one of Rodney Hide's core policies in his election campaign. He stepped down as ACT leader in April 2011 after a leadership challenge from Don Brash.[2]

Early life[edit]

Rodney Philip Hide[3] was born in Oxford in Canterbury. His father, Philip Hide, owned a small mixed-farm at Cust and also drove trucks. In 1960, due to sickness, Philip Hide sold the small farm and moved to Rangiora, continuing to drive trucks until his retirement. Hide attended Rangiora High School, before gaining a degree in zoology and botany from the University of Canterbury. After completing his degree, he travelled overseas, eventually finding himself in Scotland. He worked for some time on oil rigs in the North Sea. Hide eventually returned to New Zealand by way of Romania, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. In Malaysia he re-met Jiuan Jiuan, with whom he had shared a house in Christchurch - the two married in 1983 (in 2007 they separated).[4] After returning to New Zealand, Hide gained a degree in resource management from Lincoln College, Canterbury. He then took up a teaching position at Lincoln, first in resource management and later in economics. He completed his master's degree in economics from Montana State University with a thesis on New Zealand's transferable fishing quotas.[3]

In 1993, Alan Gibbs, an Auckland businessman, offered Hide a job as an economist. He accepted, and also began working at a radio station owned by Gibbs. Later, Hide also met Roger Douglas, a former Minister of Finance whose radical economic reforms had made a considerable impression on him.

When Douglas established the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers (which later formed the ACT party), Hide had close involvement as the organisation's first chairman and president.

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th List 7 ACT
1999–2002 46th List 5 ACT
2002–2005 47th List 2 ACT
2005–2008 48th Epsom 1 ACT
2008–2011 49th Epsom 1 ACT

Hide first entered Parliament in 1996 as a list MP. He won the party parliamentary leadership role in a closely contested primary after the retirement of Richard Prebble in 2004. He then went on to win the Epsom electorate from sitting National Party MP Richard Worth in 2005 with the campaign message "ACT is back".

Hide had a reputation for strong views, for his media profile, and for his confrontational style. Some commentators[who?] dubbed him the "leader of the opposition" when he still sat on the back benches. His supporters often described him as one of the most effective opposition MPs, and praised him for his motivation and commitment.[citation needed]

Entry into Parliament[edit]

Hide held the seventh place on the ACT party list for the 1996 elections. ACT received enough votes for Hide to enter Parliament, making him one of the party's "founding" MPs. He gradually rose through the party's ranks, reaching second place in the ACT list for the 2002 elections.

In his maiden speech, Hide made a specific attack on "perks" enjoyed by MPs, and this "perk-busting" has become a characteristic of his political career ever since. Hide has developed a substantial reputation for finding and exposing "scandals", whether they relate to MPs' perks or to other governmental matters. Hide's critics often claim that his "scandals" rely on sensationalism and exaggeration, and have as their only purpose the gaining of media attention; but his supporters believe that Hide's constant scrutiny "keeps the government honest" and ensures that the administration does not waste taxpayers' money.

Roger Douglas himself has emerged as one of Hide's more prominent critics, referring to Hide's "stunts" as detracting from ACT's core economic message, shifting focus to populist issues of law and order and to provocative race relations policies. At a party conference, Douglas condemned MPs "who run any fickle line capable of grabbing short-term votes and attention", a comment allegedly directed at Hide or at his supporters. Hide acknowledges the criticism, but defends himself on the grounds that a focus on pure economic theory will not attract interest: "the problem is that the so-called stunts are particularly well-reported and my work explaining free market ideas disappears without trace." The tension between Douglas and Hide increased when Hide made a bid for the vice-presidency of ACT in 2000: supporters of Douglas interpreted this action as a challenge to Douglas' organisational authority within the party. Both Douglas and Hide stood down from their roles as President and Vice-President, suggesting an uneasy truce between these two factions. In 2008 the two men worked closely together with Douglas holding third place on the party list following Hide and Heather Roy.

ACT Party leadership[edit]

Many people had known for some time that Hide saw himself as a potential parliamentary leader of the ACT party, and he himself showed no reluctance in saying so. At several points, rumours circulated that Hide planned to challenge party leader Richard Prebble for his position, although such a challenge never emerged. When Prebble eventually announced his retirement, his critics[who?] claimed that this had been brought about by secret campaigning by Hide. However, Prebble himself has denied this claim and it appears more likely that he stood down for personal reasons, as he publicly claimed.

When Prebble announced his retirement, Hide quickly indicated that he would seek the caucus leadership. Prebble, however, appeared unenthusiastic about the prospect of Hide succeeding him, and in a speech praising each of the new leadership contenders, pointedly dwelled on the others. The succession method chosen by Prebble also appeared to disfavour Hide: rather than a simple caucus vote, which a conventional leadership challenge would have called, a four-way election involved all ACT party members (although the election remained only "indicative"). Many people consider[who?] that the party organisation, in which Douglas has considerable influence, dislikes Hide.[citation needed]

Hide campaigned against Stephen Franks, Ken Shirley, and Muriel Newman for the ACT party parliamentary leadership. In the race he claimed that his high public profile and his image of strength would prove crucial to ACT's political survival. Stephen Franks, seen as the primary "anti-Hide" candidate and a social conservative, had the backing of Roger Douglas. In the end, however, Hide prevailed, and the party introduced Hide as its new leader on 13 June 2004.

Post-2005 general election[edit]

Under Hide's leadership, the vote in the September 2005 elections severely reduced ACT's party parliamentary representation. ACT's share of the party vote dropped from over 7% of the total to around 1.5% and its representation in Parliament fell from nine MPs to two. The party remained in parliament due to Hide winning the Epsom seat. As a consequence of its reduced share of the vote, ACT received a significant cut in taxpayer-funded Parliamentary resourcing.

In response to the reduction in the number of ACT MPs, Rodney Hide shut his high-profile electorate office in Remuera and consolidated his electorate office with that of the ACT Party's head office in Newmarket.

As a post-election strategy, Rodney Hide has focused on his high-profile attacks on prominent Labour Party MPs. His campaign against alleged abuse of schoolchildren by Labour Party minister David Benson-Pope, which was verified by the now grown children involved, continued to make headlines in late 2005.[citation needed] With Hide winning the Epsom seat, all party votes for ACT counted and the party saw a substantial increase in votes in 2008 election and increased its representation in parliament from two seats to five.[citation needed] Hide commenced his political year in 2006 by voicing speculation on the leadership cadre of the National Party, a strategy which gained him headlines but which has raised the ire of National parliamentarians, complicating the once co-operative relationship between ACT and National.[citation needed]

Hide announced in late April 2006 that he would appear in the celebrity-based Dancing with the Stars television series, paired off with a professional dancer and competing against other celebrities, with the funds raised through his performance going to St John's Ambulance. Hide stated that he appeared on the show as a personal challenge, having never danced before.

Hide danced his way to fourth place on the show, despite harsh criticism from the show's judges.

Hide has also sought to reposition the party. While not moving away from ACT's key tenets of freedom, choice and personal responsibility, Hide has said that provided the governing Labour Party promise (amongst other things) significant tax-cuts, ACT could provide the centre-left party with support. Many see this as a departure from ACT's position[citation needed] of providing the National Party with staunch support. Others see ACT as a centre-right liberal party (as opposed to National, a conservative party) and, as such, sharing many areas of agreement with Labour (seen as more liberal than National).

This new approach by the ACT Party has emerged, at least publicly, since Rodney Hide and deputy leader (and fellow MP) Heather Roy returned from a privately funded tour of Europe. During this trip, Hide and Roy met with a number of political parties, including the Irish Progressive Democrats and the German Free Democrats, both parties with similar ideologies to ACT but substantially better electoral records.[citation needed]

2008 election[edit]

In the 2008 election the ACT won a little under four percent of all votes cast and was awarded five seats in parliament and making it the fourth largest party.[5] Hide also did well in Epsom, and was re-elected with about 55 percent of the electorate vote[6] with nearly triple the votes of the second candidate.[7] The National Party won the most seats and formed a minority government with the support of ACT, the Maori Party and United Future. Hide was appointed as a Minister outside Cabinet[8] and was appointed to the office of the Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce.[9]

Post-2008 general election[edit]

After the 2008 election, one of the main focuses of Hide's work in cabinet was the Auckland 'Super City' proposal for unification of the various local authorities of Auckland. In April 2009, Hide and John Key announced that several recommendations of the Royal Commission would not be accepted. The Commission's six district sub-councils would be replaced by a local structure of 20-30 community boards. The recommendation to have separate concept Maori representation was also not accepted.[10] In September 2009, the Labour Party accused Hide of mismanaging the Auckland reform process and criticised Hide's advocacy of privatising council assets and services. Labour also alleged that a bad process had led to the centralisation of power in the hands of a privileged few.[11]

Issues of satellite city boundaries, assets, financing & political consolidation have brought criticism from parties including North Shore City mayor Andrew Williams.[12][13]

In March 2010, an editorial in the New Zealand Herald made five criticisms of Hide's implementation of the 'super city' amalgamation:

  1. Hide had a bad track record of consultation in the design of the single city,
  2. He was plainly driven by his ideological agenda,
  3. He had threatened to resign if the Prime Minister acceded to a strong call for Maori seats,
  4. He had ignored concerns about the lack of power of local boards, and,
  5. as much as 90 per cent of services were to be run by seven Government-appointed boards.[14]

Hide was criticised in November 2009 for taking his girlfriend Louise Crome on a tax-payer funded private holiday to Hawaii and on a tax-payer funded trip to London, Canada and the United States. He repaid the money for the Hawaii trip.[15][16]

In November 2009, a special ACT-party caucus meeting was held to discuss the Hide's position as party leader, where he was chosen to be retained.[17]

On 28 April 2011, he resigned as leader of ACT after a successful challenge from former National leader Don Brash.[2] Hide indicated to Brash he would not be standing in the 2011 general election.[18] When he left parliament he chose not to give a valedictory speech.[19]

In December 2011 Hide was granted the right to retain the title of The Honourable[20] in recognition of his term as a Member of the Executive Council of New Zealand.

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Hide was made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order.[21]

Views on climate change[edit]

As ACT leader, Hide criticised Labour's emissions trading scheme in September 2008 and said climate change and global warming were a "hoax". He said that the data and the hypothesis did not hold together, and that the legislation would drive up the cost of basic goods, ruining businesses and farmers.[22] Hide stated "the entire climate change - global warming hypothesis is a hoax, that the data and the hypothesis do not hold together, that Al Gore is a phoney and a fraud on this issue, and that the emissions trading scheme is a worldwide scam and swindle".[23] In November 2008, after ACT had negotiated with National for a review of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, New Zealand Herald journalist Brian Rudman commented that Hide had "fruitcake views on global warming".[24]

In 2010, in a speech to Parliament, Hide compared government-funded climate science to the Spanish inquisition. He also accused the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of being involved in a scandal with its temperature data and claimed that its scientific credibility was shredded.[25] In response, climate change blogger Gareth Renownden described Hide as "parliament’s highest-profile climate 'skeptic', with a long track record of spouting the standard climate crank arguments"[26]

In 2012, Hide continued to write opinion articles in the press questioning climate science and emissions trading schemes. In the National Business Review, Hide claimed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 was 'infamously wrong' and contained schoolboy errors and had been written by people who had to 'believe the human-induced global warming nonsense before they start'.[27] In the Herald, Hide said that the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a 'scam and a waste'. Hide agreed that CO2 from fossil fuels is a greenhouse gas that has caused warming, but that the warming wasn't worrying until the effect had been multiplied with computer models that are programmed to cause scary climate change. [28]

Publications[edit]

  • ACT Members of Parliament. (2001), Closing the gaps: policy papers, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office, ISBN 0-9582178-1-5 
    • Hide's contribution is entitled "Taking the brake off business."
  • from ACT Members of Parliament. (2002), Old values, new ideas, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office, ISBN 0-477-01964-1 
    • Hide's contribution is entitled "Free trade: route to poverty or growth?"
  • Ackroyd, Peter; Hide, Rodney P.; Sharp, Basil M. H. (1990), New Zealand's ITQ [Individual Transferable Quota] System: prospects for the evolution of sole ownership corporations, Wellington, [N.Z.]: MAFFish 
  • Ackroyd, Peter; Hide, Rodney P. (1989), The midwife and his apprentice: an inquiry into the political philosophy of natural resources management, Lincoln,[N.Z.]: Centre for Resource Management, University of Canterbury and Lincoln College 
  • Anderson, Terry L.; Hills (eds.), Peter J. (eds.) (1996), The privatization process: a worldwide perspective, Lanham, [MD.]: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 
    • Hide's contribution (co-authored with Owen McShane) is entitled " Can privatization succeed in a western democracy? Lessons from New Zealand"
  • Anderson, Terry L.; Hide, Rodney P. (eds.) (1989), Bromley on property rights: a critique of Property rights and the environment: natural resource policy in transition, n.p.: n.p. 
  • Henderson, Dave (2007), Be very afraid: one man's stand against the IRD, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: FTG Trust, ISBN 978-0-473-12751-0 
    • Hide contributed a foreword for this book. This book originally appeared in 1999 - published by Alister Taylor IRD Press (with the ISBN 0-908578-72-5), and also with a foreword by Hide.
  • Hide, Rodney P. (1984), Insect pest resistance: technological, biological and economic dimensions [M.Sc - University of Canterbury] 
  • Hide, Rodney P. (1987), Property rights and natural resource policy [Studies in resource management; no. 3], Lincoln, [N.Z.]: Centre for Resource Management, ISBN 1-86931-050-0 
  • Hide, Rodney P. (1988), Property rights and land management, Lincoln, [N.Z.]: Centre for Resource Management 
  • Hide, Rodney P. (1988), Who owns natural resources?: an introduction to private property, liability rules and environmental policy, Auckland, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Centre for Independent Studies, ISBN 0-908816-05-7 
  • Hide, Rodney P. (1999), The power to destroy : shocking revelations of IRD harassment and abuse, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: FTG Trust, ISBN 0-473-06371-9 
    • The foreword for this book was provided by Dave Henderson (see above)
  • Hide, Rodney P. (2007), My year of living dangerously, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Random House New Zealand, ISBN 978-1-86941-935-6 
  • Hide, Rodney P.; Ackroyd, Peter (1988), Property rights and hazardous substances policy: report to the Ministry for the Environment, 17th February 1988, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: Centre for Resource Management, Lincoln College 
  • Hide, Rodney P.; Ackroyd, Peter (eds.) (1990), Depoliticising fisheries management: Chatham Islands' Paua (Abalone) as a case study, n.p.: n.p. 
  • Hide, Rodney P.; Sharp, Basil M. H.(eds.) (1987), A critical examination of subsidy to catchment works and proposals for reform, Lincoln,[N.Z.]: Centre for Resource Management, University of Canterbury and Lincoln College 
  • Levine, Stephen I.; Roberts, Nigel S. (eds.) (2007), The baubles of office: the New Zealand general election of 2005, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Victoria University Press, ISBN 978-0-86473-539-3 
    • Hide's contribution is entitled "ACT - survival in Epsom."
  • Prebble, Richard et al. (2003), Liberal thinking, Wellington, [N.Z.]: ACT New Zealand Parliamentary Office 
    • Hide's contribution is entitled "The classical liberal view."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kay, Martin (17 November 2008). "New groups part of deals". The Dominion Post. 
  2. ^ a b Satherley, Dan (27 April 2011). "Rodney Hide resigns, makes way for Brash". 3 News. 
  3. ^ a b Hide, Rodney Phillip (1992). "Monopolizing individual transferable quota: theory and evidence". Montana State University. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Cook, Stephen (11 March 2007). "Rodney Hide's marriage ends after 23 years". The New Zealand Herald. 
  5. ^ Election results 2008.
  6. ^ "2008 General Election Results of the Official Count" (22 November 2008) 180 The New Zealand Gazette 4649.
  7. ^ Epsom results 2008.
  8. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed" (19 November2008) 179 The New Zealand Gazette 4634
  9. ^ "Appointment of Ministers" (19 November2008) 179 The New Zealand Gazette 4635.
  10. ^ Orsman, Bernard (8 April 2009). "Super City: More regional representation, but less power". The New Zealand Herald. 
  11. ^ "Super city Bill flawed and undemocratic" (Press release). New Zealand Labour Party. 4 September 2009. 
  12. ^ "Andrew Williams: Downsize this Super City madness". The New Zealand Herald. 8 May 2009. 
  13. ^ Orsman, Bernard (13 April 2009). "Banks calls Williams a lunatic as Super City debate gets ugly". The New Zealand Herald. 
  14. ^ Editor (14 March 2010). "Editorial: CCO plan mocks democracy". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Rodney Hide's other holiday perk". New Zealand Press Association. 7 November 2009. 
  16. ^ "Hide against travel perk, but still used it". New Zealand Press Association. 30 October 2009. 
  17. ^ Young, Audrey (19 December 2009). "Key steps in to save Hide's Act job". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "Hide won't contest general election". New Zealand Herald. 3 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Parliament’s heavy hitter bids adieu". 8 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "Retention of the Title ‘The Honourable’" (15 December 2011) 200 The New Zealand Gazette 5729.
  21. ^ New Year Honours List 2013. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  22. ^ NZPA (2 September 2008). "Climate Change Bill attacked in Parliament". National Business Review. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  23. ^ Hide, Rodney (3 September 2008). "Hide: Emissions Trading Bill". Press Release ACT Party Speech to Parliament. ACT Party. Retrieved 12 January 2010. 
  24. ^ Rudman, Brian (19 November 2008). "Ditch fruitcake views on climate change". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  25. ^ "Speech on Prime Minister’s Statement". ACT New Zealand. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2012. "Government sponsored climate science has proved to have more in common with the Spanish inquisition than Popperian science" 
  26. ^ Gareth Renownden (February 2012). "The annotated Rodney Hide: treating parliament with contempt". Hot Topic. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  27. ^ Hide, Rodney (30 July 2012). "Audit exposes fake science of climate change". The National Business Review. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  28. ^ Hide, Rodney (15 July 2012). "Trading scheme is a scam - Opinion". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 

External links[edit]


New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Richard Worth
Member of Parliament for Epsom
2005–2011
Succeeded by
John Banks
Party political offices
Preceded by
Richard Prebble
Leader of ACT New Zealand
2004–2011
Succeeded by
Don Brash
Political offices
Preceded by
Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Local Government
2008–2011
Succeeded by
Nick Smith
New title Minister for Regulatory Reform
2008–2011
Succeeded by
John Banks