Labour leader Phil Goff today confirmed some of his MPs would step down before the next election and signalled a reshuffle.
Speaking on TVNZ’s Question and Answer programme Mr Goff said he had discussions with some sitting MPs about their future.
However he would not give details: “I’m not going to pre-announce how many Labour MPs might stand down at this time.”
A reshuffle later this year would be a smart move for Labour. The front bench stills looks like the last Labour Government – because it is!
So who might be on the Labour front bench after a reshuffle?
There can be no doubt Cunliffe will be there, as well as Goff and King of course.
Dyson has not been a great performer in Health, but she one of the power players in the Caucus. If Goff tried to shift her off the front bench, his own job could be at risk.
It should be time up for Parekura. A possible retirement at the next election also. The problem is Labour has to have a Maori on the front bench. He could arguably be replaced by Nanaia Mahuta, but a really bold move would be to put Kelvin Davis up there. Shane Jones is a possibility (he is currently on the front row of the cross benches, but not core front bench) but I think Shane is too unsubtle about his aspirations for Goff to want to encourage them. Plus some of his colleagues thinks he doesn’t do the hard yards.
Moving Chris Carter off the front bench would have to be the easiest decision for Goff. No Caucus backlash on that one!
Clayton Cosgrove might not win a lot of popularity polls in his caucus, but his portfolios pretty much require him to remain front bench.
Maryan Street is a capable performer, and even a future deputy leader. She will remain.
Trevor Mallard remains a strong symbol of the last Labour Govt, and could well move off the front bench also. But like Dyson he is too powerful to demote. Trevor will only go, if he offers.
The popular Darren Hughes could well be moved to the front benches, but he might prefer his current seat just behind the Leader where he can advise him.
David Parker is on the cross-benches, and has performed strongly this term. Even though he is not much of a fresh face, he could well move to the front bench on merit.
But a couple of others would also be contenders on merit for the front bench, or at least the front row of the cross-benches. Charles Chauvel and Grant Robertson would be the two strongest contenders. Clare Curran won’t make front bench in this term, but is also likely to at least move up to the second row in my opinion.