I’m always interested in the people who get involved at an early stage in politics, and what roles they may hold in the future. Over the last month I’ve chatted to a number of people in Labour about who might be the people who make up the 7th Labour Government. Clark was the 5th Labour Government. The next Labour Government will be the 6th Labour Government. This is about the one after that – so think in the 2020s.
Marcus Ganley, currently working for ALP Senator Penny Wong he was previously Goff’s research unit lead and also a former Clark and Tamihere staffer. Marcus signalled his desire to be in Parliament by dipping his toe in the water with his run for Wellington City Council in 2010.
James Caygill has already stood for nomination once and the proud Cantab is waiting for a Christchurch seat to be made available – Christchurch Central could be on the cards. His biggest hurdle is probably his name and the irrational response of many members to a past that James had little control over.
Deborah Mahuta-Coyle – after a disappointing election result, Deb has impressed by not taking the easy route to redemption via a union and has taken on a PR role in the energy sector and will be all the better for spending some time out side of Parliament. The other half of the Mahuta-Coyle combo, Hemi (or James), has also signalled he may one day look to run in his turangawaewae, Rotorua. James is also a former staffer in the Labour Research Unit – he is a popular guy and has paid his dues. They could be the first husband and wife team in Parliament.
Kaine Thompson, young, Maori and smart, he shouldn’t have too much trouble getting selected. A former staffer for Rick Barker and Mallard he remains tight with Cunliffe, Moana Mackey and Charles Chauvel.
Stuart Nash, although apparently quite bruised by his time working for Shearer and probably very disillusioned with his former boss, he remains determined to win Napier and did well against the swing last year. Nash will grow and if elected is a likely Revenue Minister.
Alastair Cameron, the man who replaced Nash, is also a former political advisor to Marian Hobbs. A Wairarapa boy, he had previously signalled a desire to run and while that is probably on hold until 2020, his future candidacy now rests on whether he can deliver the strategy and campaign tactics for Labour to be the biggest party and win in 2014… which surely must be the key metric for him?
Jordan Carter has arguably done more hard-yards than anyone having run in two unwinnable spots in 2008 and 2011 and an almost ridiculous number of Party positions. He is at the core of shaping the current Party policy and his time is rapidly approaching. He will be a key figure in the 7th Labour Government, possibly serving as its Finance Minister.
Conor Roberts has made a name for himself as Len Brown’s strategist and has impressed many along the way. Ideally he will spend some time outside of City Hall and will be a significant force in the Party. In Cabinet, he could be the Steven Joyce type campaign supremo.
Michael Wood is focused on being the next MP for Mt Roskill and remains highly regarded… despite marrying a (former) Alliance activist and being a Christian… could only be because he hasn’t done the cringe-worthy double-barrelled name schtick. He has done his dues within the Party as a local board member in Auckland and candidate in the Wong by-election. A likely Minister of Labour.
Paula Gillon is determined to win back the Northcote electorate, and it does tend to be held by the governing party. Paula is often remembered for her ‘naked politician’ routine from a previous run at City Council, and while this undoubtedly helped get her elected by getting attention, it put her at odds with the staunch feminists who have maintained their dislike of her. May not be a Minister, but could be Chief Whip.
David Talbot had once looked destined to enter Parliament – why else would you take on the thankless task of working for Mike Smith and then Phil Goff as well as standing in Clutha-Southland? Not a natural campaigner though and it seems he may be more focussed on the inner workings of Labour rather than standing. If not an MP, maybe Party President.
Carmel Sepuloni lost Waitakere and any sympathy any thinking person might have had when she laid into Paula Bennett when it looked (for a brief moment) like she had won. Still popular in the party and will be back. Won’t be a front bencher, but will be a Minister.
Tony Milne hasn’t been as visible in recent times in the wider Party but is very active at a grass roots level in Christchurch. He will likely pop up again when the swing heads back towards Labour and would relish a Christchurch seat.
Darren Hughes will likely be rehabilitated and could well be Minister of Health, as well as Leader of the House.
Max Harris could be the country’s Attorney-General. A Rhodes Scholar who is a law clerk to the Chief Justice, and solid Labour supporter. A talented legal mind, and top debater.
Kate Sutton. Has been building up good private sector experience, while still flying the Labour flag. Will be a Minister, probably Women’s Affairs but something more challenging also.
Glenn Riddell. Current Labour Youth Vice President. A rarity in Labour – an entrepeneur, and at a young age. Can work across the political spectrum. A future Minister of Business and Innovation.
Nick Leggett – the young Mayor of Porirua with a background in commercial property stands out who joined the Labour Party when barely out of nappies. Of course the main criticism of Nick from within Labour is that he attracts support from across the entire spectrum… including the dastardly right. A sensible centrist, he could present the best opportunity for Labour to win and then hold Peter Dunne’s seat. The other factor for Nick could be the possibility of being Wellington’s super city mayor in 2019. If an MP, a reforming Local Government Minister.
Ana Coffey, an ally of Leggett on the Porirua City Council of Maori and Pacific Island descent. She is switched on and smart, ‘Ana and her husband are small business owners having run a furniture business she polled ahead of the Deputy Mayor and uber-unionist Ken Douglas in her ward. With her Taranaki roots and home patch of Titahi Bay being the biggest population base for the Te Tai Hauauru, she could be a strong challenger to take that seat in the future.
Paul Eagle a Wellington Southern Ward councillor reintroduced the Wellington Labour Party to the art of door knocking and canvassing as he romped home to victory in 2010. Hugely popular, he was recently rated the most effective councillor by the Wellingtonian. He is sure to rise through the Labour ranks.
Yani Johansson a Christchurch City Councillor who has positioned himself relatively well as the quasi ‘leader of the opposition’ on Council following the quakes. Could succeed Dalziel in Christchurch East.
Adrienne Staples is the Mayor of South Wairarapa and while not overtly Labour, many believe she represents the Party’s best opportunity to win the Wairarapa seat back eventually. Another sensible voice from a regional area would be hugely valuable and she could become a much needed rural voice in a Labour Government.
Aldo Miccio is the young Mayor of Nelson who has handled the pressure of office well. While he is the type who could fit easily into either major Party, he could relish the challenge of winning Nelson for Labour and would be a great addition to Parliament.
Meng Foon has been Mayor of Gisborne since last century and is probably the one person who could turn the East Coast electorate around for Labour. Foon would be a credible potential Minister from day one and would also provide the all important ethnic diversity in the caucus without clogging up a list seat.
Anton Oliver – while Labour doesn’t have a great record with former All Blacks, there seems to be a natural political synergy between Oliver and Labour and the Oxford University graduate could actually be a decent caucus member for Labour if he doesn’t stand for the Greens.
Ross Robertson will still be there, and will finally be Speaker!
Grant Robertson will have had a leadership role in the 6th Labour Government, but will eventually make way for younger blood. Robertson in the 7th Labour Government will be the distinguished Foreign Affairs Minister.
Jacinda Ardern will be leader, and Prime Minister. Leaders need safe seats so like her mentor, she will be the MP for Mt Albert. Ardern has many of the attributes of a young Helen Clark, and will inherit the Clark machinery from Robertson when her time comes.