The PM has given a big hint that Dr Cullen may retire at the election, saying she only expects him to deliver the 2006 and 2007 budgets. If he is retiring in 2008, then it is probable they will want his replacement in office before the 2008 election.
What is interesting is who might replace Cullen. The leading contender is Trevor Mallard but I am not sure he has the gravitas for the role.
Clayton Cosgrove is another associate minister but that won’t happen under Clark. Cunliffe is a possibility as a former associate minister. Or one could give it to a senior minister such as Goff.
I think we can rule out it going to David Benson-Pope, even though he would be very good talking about the need for fiscal discipline 🙂