Reshuffle expectations

January 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

My expectations are that David Carter will be nominated and elected as Speaker, and that Nick Smith will be reappointed to Cabinet. This is not based on inside knowledge but the well telegraphed signals from the Government.

Apart from some minimal portfolio shuffling, I don’t expect too much else to change. That is because your major reshuffle doesn’t tend to happen just a year after an election. There are two sort of reshuffles – forced and voluntary.

A forced reshuffle occurs when you get a vacancy due to a Minister resigning. Normally it is due to a scandal (Dyson, Dalziel, Smith, Wong) or sometimes due to a good thing (becoming Speaker). The focus of the reshuffle is to replace the Minister and tweak things a bit.

A voluntary reshuffle is when the PM wants to significantly freshen the ministry, both in personnel and portfolios. This occurs after each election to some degree, but after your first term, will normally also occur mid-term.

It is difficult to win a third (let alone a fourth) term when your lineup looks much the same as what you won your first term on. Hence, even if there are no major performance issues, it is always important to bring in fresh blood so to speak.

The logical timing of any voluntary reshuffle is around the end of the second year or start of the third year of a term. This is when seat selections start to get underway so means that if the PM indicates to a Minister they won’t be in Cabinet if re-elected, the Minister can decide whether or not to retire from the House also, and not seek re-selection. They may go onto the backbench for their final year in the House.

So as I said my expectation is this reshuffle will be quite minor, and most likely just see Nick Smith replace David Carter. But I would expect that late 2013 or maybe very early 2014, to see a more significant reshuffle – with say three or four personnel changes.

A complicating factor could be if Tim Groser does win the WTO DG job. This will be known in May, and would mean another forced reshuffle. The PM would then have to decide whether to do just about minimal one, or bring forward a more major one.

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Trevor agrees with me

December 15th, 2011 at 6:53 pm by David Farrar

In April I blogged:

This means you could have a cabinet of 12. The Speaker looks after Parliament, and one Minister per major agency. One could have associate ministers outside cabinet who get delegated some of the specialist areas within an overall portfolio.

Yesterday Trevor Mallard blogged:

New Zealand has a ridiculous number of Ministers for a country our size.

It had got slightly worse under MMP but this government has taken it beyond absurd with 80% of the non National confidence and supply partner members bought off with a Ministerial post, and the final one on a promise of getting one during the term.

It would have been nice to have Trevor speak up when he had influence. I’ve long said we should have a smaller Ministry. It was in fact Helen Clark who increased the size of the Executive to 28. Key has just maintained it at that size.

I spent three years as a whip which included cabinet committee experience in the 1980s and the nine years as a Minister in the Clark government.

I saw lots of weak, and some frankly useless Ministers. Most, but not all, were in the second half of the rankings. They often caused more work than they added value. There was an enormous amount of time wasted explaining what was either obvious or buried in papers that if they had been read hadn’t been understood.

Trevor should name names! :-)

I tend to divide Ministers up into three camps – leaders, administrators and bumblers.

The ideal Minister leads their portfolio and ministry. They impose the Government’s policy agenda on the ministry, listen to officials but do not always follow their advice. The number of “leader” Ministers in a Ministry does tend to be rarely more than a dozen.

Hence why I’d restructure the state sector into 12 super-ministries as advocated in my linked post. That way each super-ministry is likely to have a “leader” Minister who will apply strategic leadership to the portfolios within. Also there are probably only a dozen great CEOs in the state sector, so you get benefits at the CEO level also. Finally it reduces Cabinet from 20 to 12, which makes it a more effective decision making body.

The “administrator” Minister is probably the most common type of Minister. Unlike Trevor I would not call them useless. Their problem is more they just do what their officials tell them to. They do not apply external political judgement to issues, and hence as Trevor alludes to they need rescuing from time to time.

If there were just 12 Ministers in total, I think the paperwork would be too much. It is not that Ministers are not busy. Hence I’d have all full portfolios held by one of 12 Cabinet Ministers but maybe still have say eight Associate Ministers outside Cabinet who get delegated specific areas. This makes them a good training ground for becoming a full Minister, but still reduces the Ministry by eight or so.

I think we don’t need more than ten or a dozen Ministers. They should all be in Cabinet. And to trial talent we should use three or four Under Secretaries who report directly to the relevant Minister.

We broadly agree, but I’d call the Under-Secretaries Associate Ministers. Maybe could do it like the UK – Secretaries of State are full Ministers in Cabinet and Ministers of State are Ministers outside Cabinet.

It will be interesting if any of Trevor’s former Ministerial colleagues agree with his description of them as useless.  To spare the competent ones, he should name those he meant!

More importantly, he should lobby David Shearer to announce a policy to reduce the Ministry from 28 to 12 Ministers. That would be hugely popular.

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Will it be the Hon Hekia Parata?

November 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes at the Herald:

The strong performance of National candidate Hekia Parata in the Mana byelection has boosted her chances of being promoted this week.

It certainly has not harmed it. And the fact the PM did not announced last week the new Minister night suggest he was waiting to see how Mana went.

Ms Parata, a former public policy and Treaty of Waitangi consultant, not only slashed Labour’s majority, but performed well under pressure and ran a strong team.

Counting against her is that she is a first-term MP. Her promotion ahead of the class of 2005 could put some noses out of joint.

The leading contenders in that pack are Craig Foss, the MP for Tukituki and chairman of the finance and expenditure select committee, and Chris Tremain, MP for Napier and the chief Government whip.

I think both Craig and Chris know that their ascension is a matter of when, not if, which would help molify them if Hekia jumps ahead of then. But having said that, 2010 is far preferable to 2012 in terms of ascension.

What may count against them this time is that if they are promoted, then there has to be a minor reshuffle. While Hekia can slip in and take over Pansy’s portfolios directly.

Selwyn MP Amy Adams, in the same cohort as Ms Parata, is also tipped for future promotion in a commerce or economic role.

Or Agriculture. Or Justice. Amy is multi-talented :-)

Mr Key could save a little money by appointing no one to the Cabinet and appointing another minister outside the Cabinet. He could make an even bigger saving by appointing no one at all and upsetting no one.

This is the only error in Audrey’s article. If the PM makes no appointment at all, this will in fact upset every single Backbencher. Reducing the size of the Ministry means more people competing for fewer places. A smaller Ministry is regarded by backbenchers with the same loathing as teacher unions performance pay.

Personally an Executive of 28 is larger than we need. However the time for change would have been when first forming the Government, rather than doing it by attrition.

But that would suggest Mrs Wong’s role was surplus to requirements in the first place.

Well …..

Mr Key is not seen as a slave to “political correctness”; he is not oblivious to gender and identity issues in National’s line-up either.

It is a factor, but not the sole or even the dominant factor.

The importance of the Mana byelection is that a promotion would be seen on the basis of talent, not tokenism

Yes, a promotion would be seen as gained on the basis of performance.

Making one appointment outside of the Cabinet to take over Mrs Wong’s two portfolios makes most sense, and of the contenders, Ms Parata’s sphere of interest is best suited to the vacancies.

We may find out later today who it is.

Talking of Mana, kudos must go to Phil Quinn who predicted a Faafoi win by just 1,000 votes.

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Ministry Demographics

November 19th, 2008 at 3:49 pm by David Farrar

(Image stolen from NZPA Images)

Have been crunching some numbers on the new Key Ministry. I’m going to profile the entire Ministry of 28, the Cabinet of 20, and the Front Bench of nine.

Gender

The Ministry has eight female Minister, and 20 male Ministers, so just one female Minister less than the last Government. That’s 29% female. The Cabinet is similiar with 30% female and the front bench is 22% female.

Age

The average age of the Ministry is 51.6 years. The youngest Minister is 39 and the oldest is 67. Two Ministers are in their 30s, nine in their 40s, 13 in their 50s and four in their 60s.

For the Cabinet the average age is younger at 49.5. Only one Minister in Cabinet is in their 60s.

The front bench is younger still with an average age of 47.6, and an age range of 39 to 55.

Ethnicity

There are four Maori Ministers and one Asian Minister. Maori Ministers make up 14% of the Ministry – around the same as their share of the adult population.

Terms in Parliament

This is how many previous terms of Parliament there have been since they became an MP (2008 entrant = 0, 2005 = 1, 2002 =2 … 1987 = 7).

The average number of previous terms for the Ministry is 3.6. Steven Joyce has the least at zero previous terms and Peter Dunne the most at eight previous terms.

For the Cabinet, the average previous terms are 3.2 and for the front bench the average is 3.7. One three of the nine front benchers have been Ministers before.

Island

23 of the 28 Ministers reside in the North Island and the South Island has just five Ministers. However their 18% share gets better within the Cabinet only where they make up 25% of the Cabinet. And on the front bench the South Island has one third representation – greater than their population share.

Area

Auckland supplies a whopping 13 Ministers, so no more complaints about Wellington lecturing to Auckland when Auckland makes up 46% of the Ministry. They are also 45% of the Cabinet but 22% of the front bench.

Wellington and Christchurch get three Ministers each. Within Cabinet though Wellington drops to just one Minister – Chris Finlayson.

Provincial MPs make up five Ministers and Rural MPs four Ministers. That’ 32% of the Ministry from outside the big three cities. Within the Cabinet they make up 35% and on the front bench comprise 55%.

I’ll also do a profile of former occupations also at some stage, but may cheat and see if I can steal that from Saunders Unsworth who do an excellent summary of MPs former occupations as part of their book of profiles.

When Phil Goff announces his new line up, I’ll also profile them.

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Lots of praise for Key Ministry

November 18th, 2008 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

There’s so many positive stories I don’t know where to start. Alphabetically maybe with Audrey Young yesterday:

Popular Westie Paula Bennett is the big winner as Minister of Social Development and Employment – one of the biggest jobs overseeing the biggest ministry with the biggest budget.

It has gone to someone with just three years as an MP who has drawn on the DPB herself in the past as a solo mother .

Key said it was not it risk. It is but it one worth taking. She proved herself an able politician quickly in opposition embarrassing plenty more seasoned MPs in Government in early childhood education.

Most people are celebrating Paula’s story of having been a young Maori solo mother, working all sorts of low paid jobs to earn some extra money, educating herself, becoming an MP, winning Waitakere and then becoming Minister of Social Development. It’s a great aspirational story. Alas, the bitterness has not ended with the election campaign, with Clinton Smith labelling her “thick as two short planks”.

Luckily for Labour, Phil Goff is showing his smarts. Goff has resisted the urge to criticise the Cabinet – knowing that doing so may just make him look churlish. He has said he’ll hold them to account, but will give them a fair go in the job.  I am starting to get quite positive about Labour under Goff’s leadership – the mea culpa over the EFA and now this.

Colin Espiner blogged:

John Key’s announced his new Cabinet lineup. It’s not a bad one, either. I think he’s picked through the talent available very well.

Colin also updates us:

On another matter, thanks to everyone who has posted suggestions on helping me eat my words. After much deliberation, I have settled on the suggestion provided by Lizbeth of making a “coalition smoothie” from my blog. I’ll be doing this on video in the press gallery kitchen on Tuesday lunchtime. We hope to have it posted on the Stuff website early afternoon.

Like John Key, I’m keen to try out my kitchen cabinet whiz.

I think Colin should invite the Maori Party MPs to witness it :-)

On the Greens G-blog, Stevedore blogs:

And Key seems to be giving it his best shot. The arrangement he has put together seems to reflect what people voted for. The cabinet he has announced looks a lot more diverse, fresh and representative than it threatened to be a few months ago.  The whole thing looks stable and consultative.  Which is exactly what MMP should provide.

Tim Selwyn at Tumeke provides lots of provocative commentary.

Barnsley Bill invents a new term – a SDMILF. Oh dear. Paula may need to warn the Diplomatic Protection Squad!

John Armstrong writes this morning:

The message is loud and clear: to survive as a minister in John Key’s Cabinet, you’re going to have to perform.

That will make a nice change.

Key has taken a less sentimental approach to Cabinet construction than previous Prime Ministers, with somewhat more emphasis on talent and ability and slightly less stress on loyalty and length of service.

Indeed. Although some appointments could still be seen as sentimental – but overall many fresh new faces.

The Herald has a summary of business and industry reaction, and lobby groups here.

The Herald editorial calls the Ministry solid and safe:

The line-up looks to be a good mixture of fresh faces and experience. …

As Associate Minister of Maori Affairs, Georgina te Heuheu will have a seat at the Cabinet table while the minister, the Maori Party’s Pita Sharples, will not. They will have to be in tune. So will Paula Bennett and Tariana Turia, minister and associate minister respectively of social development and employment. Ms Bennett, who has known life on a benefit, is the most unexpected of Mr Key’s appointment and perhaps the most inspired.

The Dom Post editorial calls it the bold and the new.

John Key has shown wisdom beyond his political years by tempering boldness with caution in naming his new ministers, The Dominion Post writes.

In opting for the promise of a Steven Joyce over the experience of a John Carter, Mr Key is reflecting his own rise to the top after only six years in Parliament. Time served is not an indication of talent.

However, neither has he left out in the cold any of those who would have reasonably expected to make it. There would have been dangers in doing that. Mr Carter, along with Maurice Williamson and Richard Worth, his fellow ministers outside Cabinet, have all been given a clear signal that this is as good as it will get.

But they have not been humiliated. Left to languish on the back benches, they could have devoted their time to sowing discord and undermining the leader who failed to give them anything else to do.

Being a Minister outside Cabinet is still a hell of a lot better than not being a Minister at all.

Mr Key’s decisions in allocating ministerial positions underline that he is seeking to advance his agenda through consensus rather than by bulldozing it through. The naming of his ministers is a good start to his administration.

Yep.

The only quibble is that he convinced himself he was unable to trim his ministry from a bloated 28. Maintaining an executive of that size means that his plans to reduce the Wellington bureaucracy will be greeted with a measure of justified cynicism.

I also wanted it less than 28. But as one can see, there were enough upset MPs anyway. Technically his promise is to keep the Wellington bureaucracy from growing further, so keeping the Executive the same size is consistent.

Martin Kay in the Dom Post provides useful commentary on each Minister.

An odd report in the ODT, with Dene Mackenzie bizarrely labelling the Cabinet a move to the right. Dropping Lockwood Smith and Maurice Williamson from Cabinet is as far from a move to the right as you can get. Replacing Judith Collins with Paula Bennett is Welfare is not a move to the right. Giving Bill English infrastructure is not a move to the right.

So when Dene says:

His new Cabinet, which will be sworn in tomorrow, shows a bias to the Right despite moves during the election campaign to position National as a centrist party.

could someone ask him for an example?

The ODT editorial is better:

The immediate response is that Mr Key has continued in his briskly positive mode and got the balance about right.

Now comes the difficult part: moulding this executive into an effective and harmonious team able to put longstanding differences aside and address the many issues facing the country – not least the recession and the international financial crisis.

If anyone inspires confidence with his experience and economic competence it is Mr English, on whom much of the burden will fall.

Overall, very positive responses.

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Comments on the Key Ministry

November 17th, 2008 at 4:04 pm by David Farrar

Key taking Tourism was pre-announced, and smart as it is key to economic growth and also a feel-good portfolio.

English is the logical choice for Infrastructure, as the money for the capital works goes with Finance. It was either him or Key to do it.

Brownlee is as expected. Power picks up a heavy workload with SOEs and Commerce on top of Justice. Probably had to arm wrestle Chris Finlayson for the Law Commission.

Ryall picks up State Services , and Nick Smith ACC on top of their current portfolios. Both will cope easily.

Collins trade in Social Welfare for Police and Corrections, plus Veterans Affairs where she will be very popular with her Agent Orange work. National Governments die if they are seen as soft on law & order, so her movement these is astute.

Tolley and Finlayson are as expected, but Finlayson moves onto the front bench as the only 2005 intake on it.

Carter and McCully as expected. Groser is no surprise for Trade but usefully is also given international negotiations for climate change and Conservation.

Mapp as expected, and Steven Joyce picks up a very weightly workload at No 14 – Transport, Comms/IT, Associate Finance and Associate Infrastructure. He will be carrying some big expectations.

Georgina te Heuheu picks up a variety of roles from Courts, to Disarmament and will work with Pta Sharples as Associate Maori Affairs.

The big mover up is Paula Bennett. She may only be No 16, but she has the Welfare portfolios under their new names. This is a huge portfolio for an MP who has been in just three years. Having been a “Maori solo mother” herself, Paula will make it very hard for Labour to characterise National as heartless.

Heatley is as expected, and Pansy Wong becomes the first Asian Cabinet Minister and is an Associate Minister in two of her former portfolios of ACC and Energy.

Jonathan Coleman and Kate Wilkinson finish the Cabinet. The years each entered are:

1987 – 1
1990 – 3
1994 – 1
1996 – 4
1999 – 3
2002 – 2
2005 – 5
2008 – 1

So 11 of them entered Parliament after the last National Government. And of the nine who entered previously, only six have been Ministers before.

Outside Cabinet, you have Maurice WIlliamson, Richard Worth, and John Carter. Key has obviously used the spots outside Cabinet to place people he did not have room for in Cabinet. They are all highly likely, I suspect, to be replaced before the full three years is up with some new Ministers from the 2005 or even 2008 intakes.

Logically one would also expect most of the Ministers from the 1990s (except English) to consider retirement in 2011. If some do not retire, then there will be real pressure from the 2005 and 2008 intakes.

So who missed out?

Tau Henare is probably the most upset – he is a former Minister, and was keen to serve again. Lindsay Tisch and Paul Hutchison also missed out, but I expect will chair Select Committees.

And who might move up as vacancies occur? Watch out for Nathan Guy, Chris Tremain, Craig Foss, Jo Goodhew, Chester Borrows, Jackie Blue, John Hayes, Jacqui Dean and others to compete for spots in a couple of years time. Also Hekia Parata and others from the 2008 intake will be chasing those spots also.

Overall it looks a pretty good Cabinet, with some real talent.  28 Ministers is too large though, with some Ministers looking like they have a pretty light workload. And Labour will be a tough Opposition that will target new or vulnerable Ministers, plus try and highlight those Ministers they think are “doing a Tizard”.

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John Key’s Ministry

November 17th, 2008 at 3:24 pm by David Farrar

John Key has announced his Ministry. There are 28 Ministers:

  1. Hon John Key, PM, Tourism
  2. Hon Bill English, Deputy PM, Finance, Infrastructure
  3. Hon Gerry Brownlee, Leader of the House, Economic Development, Energy & Resources,
  4. Hon Simon Power, Justice, SOEs, Commerce, Law Commission, Associate Finance, Deputy Leader of the House
  5. Hon Tony Ryall, Health, State Services
  6. Hon Dr Nick Smith, Environment, Climate Change, ACC
  7. Hon Judith Collins, Police, Corrections, Veterans’ Affairs
  8. Hon Anne Tolley, Education, Tertiary Education, ERO
  9. Hon Christopher Finlayson, Attorney-General, Treaty Negotiations, Arts & Culture
  10. Hon David Carter, Agriculture, Biosecurity, Forestry
  11. Hon Murray McCully, Foreign Affairs, Sport & Rec, Rugby World Cup
  12. Hon Tim Groser, Trade Negotiations, Conservation, Associate Foreign, Associate Climate Change
  13. Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Defence, Research, Science & Tech, Associate Econ Dev, Associate Tertiary Ed
  14. Hon Steven Joyce, Transport, Comms/IT, Associate Finance, Associate Infrastructure
  15. Hon Georgina te Heuheu, Courts, Pacific Island Affairs, Disarmament & Arms Control, Associate Maori
  16. Hon Paula Bennett, Social Development & Employment, Disability Issues, Youth Affairs
  17. Hon Phil Heatley, Fisheries, Housing
  18. Hon Pansy Wong, Ethnic Affairs, Women’s Affairs, Associate ACC, Associate Energy
  19. Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Immigration, Broadcasting, Associate Tourism, Associate Health
  20. Hon Kate Wilkinson, Labour, Food Safety, Associate Immigration
  21. Hon Maurice Williamson, Building & Construction, Customs, Statistics, Small Business
  22. Hon Dr Richard Worth, Internal Affairs, Land Information, Archives NZ, National Library, Associate Justice
  23. Hon John Carter, Civil Defence, Senior Citizens, Racing, Associate Local Government
  24. Hon Rodney Hide, Local Government, Regulatory Reform, Associate Commerce
  25. Hon Heather Roy, Consumer Affairs, Associate Defence, Associate Educations
  26. Hon Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Affairs, Associate Education, Associate Correction
  27. Hon Tariana Turia, Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Health, Associate Social Development and Employment
  28. Hon Peter Dunne, Revenue, Associate Health

I’ll comment on the choices in another post. Key has also confirmed that Lockwood Smith will be nominated as Speaker.

For those into demographics, they are:

  • Eight female Ministers
  • Four Maori Ministers
  • One Asian Minister
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A speedy deal

November 17th, 2008 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

As the Herald shows, John didn’t get Sunday off. And later today the full Ministry will be unveiled.

I am disappointed to read that we will be keeping the Ministry at 28 Ministers. That is far too much. I guess I should be grateful that it isn’t increasing from the record high Helen took it to.

In my ideal Government you would have around 12 Ministers in Cabinet and 10 – 12 outside Cabinet. The Ministers in Cabinet would each look after a cluster (such as Law & Order or Education) and Ministers outside would look after specific portfolios delegated to them.

Anyway that is 23 Ministers from National. Who will they be? I may be wrong, but I would say there are 17 definites or near definites.

  1. John Key
  2. Bill English
  3. Gerry Brownlee
  4. Simon Power
  5. Nick Smith
  6. Tony Ryall
  7. Judith Collins
  8. David Carter
  9. Anne Tolley
  10. Murray McCully
  11. Maurice Williamso
  12. Wayne Mapp
  13. Chris Finlayson
  14. Tim Groser
  15. Pansy Wong
  16. Steven Joyce
  17. Georgina te Heuheu

That leaves another six places for the 2005 intake and others to fight over.

There will also be three National MPs in Speakerships, two Whips and half a dozen Select Committee Chairs so all up 35 or so baubles to allocate :-)

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