The Labour reshuffle

February 21st, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Eddie at The Standard blogged:

It’s well known that 10 or 11 members of caucus did not give confidence to David Shearer as leader. He might be tempted to punish them in the upcoming reshuffle.

Shearer should go with his instinct and do the opposite. …

To win, must unify. To win must use the best talent caucus has. Shearer should promote some of those capable members even if they have been part of the group pushing for change. Even if that means dislodging some of his own lieutenants. Because that is real leadership.

A couple of hours later chief Cunliffe lieutenant Charles Chauvel resigned from Parliament, with reports emerging he had been told he had no role in a future Labour Government.

But I agree that the smart strategy for Shearer is to unify the caucus. I blogged on 5 February:

I think that Shearer should give Cunliffe a meaningful portfolio in the reshuffle, and offer him a path back the front bench.

So what other changes should Shearer be looking at. Some thoughts:

  • Shane Jones – clear he will be promoted back on front bench. Jones is one of Labour’s best communicators and has charisma. Also business smart. However is notoriously lazy, and often lacks judgement. A risk, but one Shearer needs to take. The only one who can attack the Maori Party with credibility.
  • Nanaia Mahuta – no doubt she will lose Education. The issue is whether Shearer keeps her on the front bench. If he demotes her it looks bad to sack someone who is on pregnancy leave. Also sacking both Mahuta and Sio could mean no brown faces on front bench which would upset many in Labour. Hence promoting Jones is needed to demote Mahuta. At end of the day I don’t think Mahuta has done enough to deserve to stay. She should get a respectable second row portfolio.
  • Maryan Street – a competent Minister who struggles in opposition.  Being up against Ryall makes it harder. Hard to see a place remaining on front bench on merit, but sacking two women would be difficult for Shearer.
  • Su’a William Sio – the easiest decision to make. Not effective at all. Something wrong if he stays.
  • Chris Hipkins – a no brainer to promote him. A good performer in the House and with the media. Knows education well but Labour may find that a young MP whose only experience is student associations and working in Parliament is not going to be seen as a credible future Education Minister. Hughes had the same challenge (and background). But Chippie will do well holding the Government to account – his challenge will be articulating an alternate vision to parents.
  • Lianne Dalziel – could be in line for a promotion – especially if Mahuta or Street is dropped. The departure of Chauvel sees her legal background as a plus.
  • Andrew Little – no doubt he gets promoted. Only issue is whether to the front bench. For my 2c I’d promote him there – he will obviously be a senior Minister when Labour get into government.

It will be interesting to see what Shearer does.

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11 Responses to “The Labour reshuffle”

  1. Dave Guerin (32 comments) says:

    Shearer could make Little shadow Attorney-General too. He was the EPMU’s lawyer before he became its head.

    [DPF: I agree]

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  2. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    I still don’t understand this Chauvel quitting because someone he doesn’t like told him he had no future in any Labour Government. As if that had ever stopped Maurice Williamson or Winston Peters.

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  3. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Good predictions. Shearer has to unify his caucus. Mahuta is useless always has been. If she want to have a family then do so. But it does not work at the top of politics where you have to put the job first. Dalziel could move into the justice portfolio. But Labour is not getting runs on the Board in the big portfolios. Hipkins is performing well against Parata but then that would be like shooting fish in a barrel Parata is simply too arrogant to be a success at the top of politics in a democratic country.

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  4. double d (225 comments) says:

    why is it a bad look to demote Mahuta when she is on annual leave? conversely, how well is she performing in her portfolio if she is on maternity leave. has this world gone mad?

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  5. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    A reshuffle is a major test for Shearer – will he signal an attempt to bring together his caucus and promote on merit, or will he add to the current division?

    If Cunliffe remains shunned by Shearer there will remain many disillusioned party activists and supporters.

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  6. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Little is virtually invisible in Parliament.
    Street has been weak.

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  7. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    At the end of the day, he can do what he wants but you cannot polish a turd! The Labour party just doesn’t have the talent yet unfortunately it is looking like they have a more then even chance of governing next election. Scary indeed.

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  8. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    Shane could be shadow Immigration Minister, I didn’t realize Nanaia was pregnant I thought she was slimming. Is Meteria pregnant too.? Shearer should do with Cunlliffe what Clark did to Goff (and Peters) give him Foreign Affairs to make him feel important and occupy himself eyeing all the overseas perks.

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  9. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “chippie” was abysmal when debating Joyce the other day.

    He was ok when the topic got back to education.

    Im sure the waitakere man will embrace the wing nut ginga nerd though

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  10. rg (214 comments) says:

    ” he will obviously be a senior Minister when Labour get into government.”

    A bit defeatest isn’t it. I think this National Govt has been the worst National Govt NZ have ever had, I don’t know how anyone can defend their incompetence and their ability to do and achieve nothing, but a bit early to throw in the towell I would have thought.

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  11. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    Conversely, who will bite the bullet after next year, provided that the Key administration wins a third term? Will Nick Smith slip up again? How will any residual local animosities about the Christchurch reconstruction effort affect its voting patterns?
    Will Hekia Parata survive? What about John Banks- and will Catherine Isaac replace him either before or at the next election, and take the education portfolio (presumably to direct the charter schools rollout more intensively)? Is there any blue deadwood that can be pushed out of the list lifeboat to insure that the detrimental effects of incumbency fatigue don’t deprive the governing party of its more useful core operatives? And if the shine is starting to wear off Key, when will Joyce take over?

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