Audrey Young writes at NZ Herald:
Local Government and the job of shepherding through major reforms in the area designed by Dr Smith has been allocated to Primary Industries Minister David Carter.
But Mr Carter is one of the contenders for the position of Speaker to replace Lockwood Smith, who is earmarked for the role of High Commissioner to London this year.
If Mr Carter becomes Speaker, Dr Smith could be rehabilitated back into the ministry without much fuss.
As I see it, there’s four issues here, around whether Nick Smith might return to the ministry.
- Will John Key change his previous policy of not having former Ministers return to the ministry. The public get rather cynical if a resignation in fact turns out to be a temporary sin-bin. They know that in the real world if you resign your job, you don’t get it back in six months.
- David Carter may not become Speaker. As I understand it the three main contenders are David Carter, Anne Tolley and Maurice Williamson.
- What risk is there that if returned to the ministry, Nick may commit another judgement of error. Because if a PM returns a Minister to the ministry, and there is a further judgement of error – then the media and public will hold the Prime Minister responsible, not the Minister.
- Against the risks in (1) and (3) you balance the benefits of having an experienced and effective Minister back in the Cabinet.
It will be interesting to see what happens in due course.