Two, maybe three, jobs are up for grabs in Labour. They are Chief Whip and Education Spokesperson, and also possibly the curent jobs held by whomever gets Chief Whip.
Let’s look at Education Spokesperson first. Who are the possibilities:
- Trevor Mallard. Knows portfolio backwards, but has just been moved out of it, and is needed even mroe as Shadow House Leader without Darren.
- Grant Robertson. Grant would love tertiary education especially, but has just been given health so is unlikely
- David Shearer. Is Acting Spokesperson, and generally regarded as a solid performer. Not an aggressive attack dog in the House, but could develop some good policy over time. However election only eight months away.
- Kelvin Davis. A former principal, and from all accounts a good one. Has been known to depart from ideological purity to put forward common sense solutions. The full portfolio may be too much for him at this stage but could be made Associate for the compulsory sector.
- Carmel Sepuloni. Is under-used with no major portfolios. Has a background in tertiary education, so could be made an associate in tertiary.
Looking at the above, I’d have to say the most likely option would seem to be Shearer keeps the portfolio, but perhaps get an associate. Kelvin Davis is a viable alternative.
So who will be Chief Whip. This is technically elected by Caucus, but unless the Leader is incompetent they will take soundings on who is a preferred candidate, and nominate someone they have trust in. If the junior whip becomes senior whip (which is normally what you would expect), then you will need a new junior whip also. So who might be in contention for either job:
- Steve Chadwick. Steve is junior whip and you would normally promote the junior. But not sure she is that close to Goff, and the Leader needs a Chief Whip who they can place total reliance on.
- Trevor Mallard. Trevor is Shadow Leader of the House and could do chief whip blindfolded. With his injury, he might welcome a role with less travel.
- Sue Moroney. Wouldn’t become chief whiip, but could become junior whip.
- Chris Hipkins. Chris is very strong on House procedure etc and would be a very good whip. May not have gravitas yet to be chief whip, but would be an excellent junior whip.
- Iain Lees-Galloway. Iain has no major portfolios, so could move into a whip sot fairly comfortably.
- Kris Faafoi. Probably too early for Faafoi, but is a popular member of caucus, and it helps to have whips who get on well with people. Would have Goff’s trust also.
Presumably we’ll find out on Tuesday who gets what.