Ironically, the Mallard punch may turn into an opportunity for Labour to regain some political momentum. All of Clark’s previous reshuffles have been very timid – almost non events. Now, by necessity if not choice, she may end up with a very new and fresh front bench.
Maharey is retiring, and the consensus seems to be Mallard has to be at leats demoted off the front bench. There is also talk of Anderton being asked to give up his spot, and there may be three vacancies. Horomnia should be demoted on performance, but it would be unacceptable for Labout to not have a Maori MP on the front bench, and while Jones will probably make Cabinet, I doubt he will go straight to the front bench.
The three logical promotions are Parker, Cunliffe and Cosgrove – all relatively new and all performing relatively well. But Lianne Dalziel is also a solid performer. Now what may count against her is that she has been around for so long and is not quite a fresh face. On the other hand having one third of the front bench female may go down well with traditional support groups.
I’ll make some firmer predictions on Tuesday for Wednesday’s reshuffle.