Okay, a final look at who may be going where in tomorrow’s reshuffle. This, is of course, speculation as Helen doesn’t tend to consult widely on what to do – so like the MSM it is based on general chit chat amongst MPs and journos.
Off the Front Bench
Steve Maharey – 100% likely, possibly time delayed
Trevor Mallard – 80% likely I would say. In theory he could be demoted three places and still stay on the front bench but to do so would invite considerable criticism. Will be hard to see how he can hold Sport after punching some, but maybe his passion for it will counter that. Ironically I think he generally (putting aside the stadium) does a bloody good job with Sport. He’s a pretty useful Associate Finance Minister also, but that may go elsewhere to start blooding up Cullen replacements.
Jim Anderton – 15% likely. Some media have said he has or will be asked to go to the second row to allow more fresh faces. But Jim isn’t generally big on standing aside fro others and the fact Maharey and Mallard are making room makes this less necessary. Will be a big win for Clark if she does persuade him.
Parekura Horomia – should be dropped on performance grounds but won’t be as no Maori MP on the front bench looks bad. 3% chance.
Onto the Front Bench
Mark Burton – 0.1% chance. More likely to get demoted down the ranks.
Ruth Dyson – 15% chance. Unlikely but not impossible.
Chris Carter – 50% chance. Carter is one of the more politically smart Ministers and has a reasonable chance of picking up one of the two major portfolios up for grabs – Education and Social Development. If I had to pick I’d say might get Education and that may require him to go onto the front bench. Is a useful debater also. The big negative may be the Court over turning his Whangamata marina decision, but if he loses Conservation less of an issue.
Rick Barker – 0.2% chance of front bench. Likely to have a few people leapfrog ahead of him.
Lianne Dalziel – 25% chance. Doing pretty well in her portfolios. The sacking for lying may still make back to the front bench too big a call.
Damien O’Connor – everyone knows will lose Corrections. So o.1% chance of making front bench. But might not change his ranking.
David Cunliffe – 50% chance. In policy terms Cunliffe has been highly successful. He has handled the minefield of Immigration well and seen a new law introduced which his predecessors never managed to get done, with widespread support. Also well regarded for achievements in Comms. Not seen as a hugely vigorous verbal brawler which is useful to have on front bench, so while he will be promoted, maybe not all the way to front bench.
David Parker – 45% chance. Not done as well in policy terms as Cunliffe, but is finally making some progress with climate change. Has a good brain on him and well liked. A pretty safe pair of hands for a larger portfolio.
Nanaia Mahuta – 10% chance. Has improved performance, but a fair way off handling a large portfolio or the front bench.
Clayton Cosgrove – 30% chance. Has been superbly effective at beating up on real estate agents and boy racers. Has advanced political skills and a reasonable verbal brawler which could help in debates. But probably seen to still need to prove himself in a hard area like Corrections before they let onto front bench.
With Maharey going Cabinet is down to 18 with two vacancies. If Clark is bold she would dump say Burton and Barker to allow four new Cabinet Ministers, but such boldness is uncharacteristic.
Only one of the six Ministers outside Cabinet might get promoted – Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, but I suspect only possible if there are more than two vacancies.
Dover Samuels is probably standing down as a Minister outside Cabinet so room for three to join the Ministry, but only two to Cabinet.
Tim Barnett – should have been a Minister ages ago, but assumption is he is retiring next election so will stay Senior Whip.
Darren Hughes – 15% chance. Fairly popular with his colleagues, but less so since he became Whip. Is likely to be a fairly safe politically astute pair of hands, but probably see as too early for him this time.
David Benson-Pope – 0.00000000% chance
Steve Chadwick – 30% chance. Has done her time and been a fairly good Select Committee Chair. Unlikely to even hold a major portfolio but hs potential to be a useful non front bench Minister. Fairly well respected.
Charles Chauvel – 25% chance. If Labour is looking long term, then they would go with Chauvel as he is definitely potential front bench material one day. A long history with Labour and politics, but also legal experience which is in short supply. Against him though is having only been in a year or so. Also making him a Minister might be seen to be interfering in the Wellington Central selection contest.
Mark Gosche – 10% chance. Was an okay Minister last time and only stepped down due to family issues. A dark horse should he want to step back up.
Shane Jones – 95% chance. Dover is specifically standing aside for him. He has commercial and governance experience in loads. Might pick up Comms if Cunliffe has to give it up for other portfolios. But will get more than just that. Also expect an Associate for Maori Affairs as he is eventual successor there.
Maryan Street – 90% chance. Maryan has excelled out of the media view as an effective MP, who can work with other parties, do deals, improve bills etc. A former party president who is well connected. Has the capability to take on a major portfolio, but probably not immediately.