Vernon Small at Stuff reports:
Labour leader David Shearer is refusing to rule out sanctions against David Cunliffe’s supporters, after winning unanimous backing at a crisis caucus meeting. …
Mr Shearer said he had no plans to demote any of Mr Cunliffe’s backers, thought to number fewer than 10 by yesterday.
“I want to sit down with them and see where they are going in the future. I have no plans at the moment, but that will be done in my own time if that was to come.”
Party sources expected a reshuffle to be announced before Parliament resumed on Tuesday.
It is understood Mr Shearer is balancing the need to further stamp his authority with the requirement to reunify his caucus.
The reshuffle is going to be a challenging test for Shearer – in some ways more challenging that Cunliffe’s demotion.
Numerous commentators and editorials have pointed out that Labour as a whole has not been greatly effective. The recent front bench ratings by the Herald showed that. At a minimum two of his front benchers are not performing anywhere near well enough to justify staying on there.
But if Shearer actually does a reshuffle based on merit and ability, then he will increase the number of disaffected MPs in caucus. And just a couple of MPs may be needed to make the vote in February 2013 a toss-up.
Hence my conclusion is Shearer will not rock the status quo very much. He’ll do a couple of promotions based on the sacking of Cunliffe, but will in the main leave non-performers alone.
Also this article by Tracy Watkins is revealing;
What would it take to quieten Camp Cunliffe after Labour’s pro forma backing of David Shearer? An olive branch, and preferably with the heads of Trevor Mallard, Annette King and Phil Goff skewered on it. …
Mr Shearer was perceived as having been anointed by the ABC – Anyone But Cunliffe – club, whose key members included Mr Mallard, Ms King and Mr Goff. …
Those three are seen very much as the controlling bloc in caucus, backed by their former staff members – Robertson, Ardern and Hipkins.
If this is Shearer’s last reshuffle, then keeping them on will be signalling that they all plan to stand again and will be senior Ministers in a future 6th Labour Government, just as they were in the 5th and even the 4th!