For a Friday afternoon, Wellington has been a hotbed of rumour.
It seems that Conor Roberts (Len Brown’s Senior Political Advisor) is off to manage Corporate Affairs for Todd Property.
Leaving aside the implications of this for Brown, this is an interesting move by Roberts. I’ve highlighted before that Conor will have a political career and a part of Labour’s future Cabinet. I imagine Conor is looking for a bit of real world experience before taking the plunge into a Labour party parliamentary career. Labour seriously lacks MPs who have real world experience and Conor also lacks that – for now. The difference between most Labour lackeys and Conor is that he has realised the problem, and set about doing something about getting the experience he needs.
When Roberts becomes an MP (I suspect he is targeting 2014, but if I was advising him would suggest 2017), he will have that rarest of qualities among Labour people, experience in business rather than as a teacher or a unionist.
Put this private sector time alongside his well know political abilities, and I suspect today’s news represents another step in the development of a politician who will be invaluable to the Labour cause.
Conor will need to tread carefully though. By putting his neck out many Labour activists, especially in this part of the cycle, will be out to trip him up or paint him as some sort of corporate drone. Some still blame him for Len not backing the Maritime Union over Ports of Auckland. If he seeks a seat, you can be sure the Maritime Union delegates will be voting for his opponent!
This also means Len Brown will need a new campaign manager for 2013. Of course, the fact there is no high profile candidate yet identified to stand against him is a plus!Tags: Conor Roberts, Len Brown