If John Key was looking for evidence that his Cabinet needs a shakeup look no further than the ratings that leading chief executives have awarded his ministers' performance over the past 12 months.
Yet again Finance Minister Bill English is the star of the show with his performance rated at 4.51/5 on a weighted averaged basis where 1 = not impressive and 5 = very impressive.
But aside from Key himself -- who just marginally scrapes above the 4/5 level -- no other Cabinet Minister squeezes into the top ranks.
A multi-national local boss, said "considering Key is well into the third term and is still favoured to lead the Government to a fourth term, irrespective of some of the shortcomings -- that's pretty impressive."
But a banker said he'd given Key the lowest ranking because it should be his job to drive the overall strategy. "That strategy seems to be 'let's not rock the boat'." Fifty-five chief executives rated the finance minister at 5/5; just 33 CEOs gave Key full marks for his performance.
"The senior ministers need to start to move beyond incrementalism to identifying some big (but sensible) moves that will engage the voting public," said a transport player.
The EMA's Kim Campbell said it was a mixed performance reflective of "a third-term Cabinet who have become unimaginative and risk-averse".
What is notable is the slide in rankings of Key's own "kitchen Cabinet".
The 'Minister of Everything' Steven Joyce has slumped down to 3.51/5 -- Joyce usually scores above 4/5. Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett -- once seen as a future National Prime Minister -- has lost her gloss. For third-ranked Gerry Brownlee his downwards trend has continued.
Other Cabinet ratings are:
• Health Minister Jonathan Coleman 3.17/5
• Energy Minister Simon Bridges 3.12/5
• Social Development Minister Anne Tolley 3.09/5
• Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse 3.06/5
• Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy 2.91/5
• Trade Minister Todd McClay 2.90/5
• Education Minister Hekia Parata 2.85/5
• Police Minister Judith Collins 2.85/5
• Foreign Minister Murray McCully 2.77/5
• Defence Minister Brownlee 2.66/5
• Environment Minister Nick Smith 2.52/5.
Those who rated under 2.5/5 included Seniors Minister Maggie Barry 2.34/5 and Local Government Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga 2.15/5.