Helen Clark has just announced that she has appointed David Benson-Pope as a Cabinet Minister!!!!
This must be a sad joke. The only rational explanation is it was done to get him away from Chief Whip. Remember this is the guy who was too stupid to apologise to Rodney Hide for alleging Rodney called out “Dopey Niggers” in Parliament.
I heard a rumour a while ago that Clark sees Benson-Pope as her sucessor as Labour Party Leader. My comment at the time was that she must be planning on staying in the job until she dies.
Considering that Labour’s Executive was already the largest in the history of New Zealand, and so many Ministers have almost nothing to do, one can’t really say the New Zealand Government would have been short done by, if it simply made no new appointment and say promoted a Minister outside Cabinet into cabinet.
The other major changes are Wilson loses Labour (after she has done all the damage with her law changes), and Mallard is appointed Co-ordinating Minister, Race Relations which i imagine means in charge of spin on treaty and race issues.
Darren Hughes is appointed what must be the youngest whip in history. He will be good in that role as an essential ingredient of being a sucessful Whip is a sense of humour and ability to work with people from other parties.
UPDATE: Rare to quote Winston Peters but he is pretty spot on with his comments on the reshuffle. He describes the Benson-Pope promotion as “truly astonishing”.