Little’s options

Andrew Little now have a the tough job of nominating a Deputy Leader and allocating portfolios. The deputy role is especially challenging as the three best candidates for the job all don’t want it, and the candidate that does want it is not supported by caucus. Let’s go through the options.

Deputy Leader

Little’s best bet would be Jacinda Ardern. The last four leaders have been from Auckland, and as Little is a Wellingtonian, then a Aucklander as deputy is desirable. Ardern is their most high profile Auckland MP and very popular with the activists. The problem is she really doesn’t want it and was basically Grant Robertson’s campaign manager. On the downside a Little/Ardern ticket means List MPs hold both leadership roles.

Grant Robertson is another option. He has probably the best skill set of the caucus to be deputy, as a good deputy helps manage the caucus and the leader’s office. But again he has done it before and is not that keen on it.

David Parker has ruled it out.

Nanaia Mahuta desperately wants it. But her nomination would go down very badly in caucus.

So Little has to convince either Jacinda or Grant to take it, go with Mahuta or go for a less likely option such as Phil Twyford.

His best bet is to convince Jacinda to step up.

Finance

David Parker has ruled it out.

Appointing David Cunliffe would antagonise caucus massively.

He could go to a next generation MP such as David Clark or Stuart Nash. They would both get eaten alive by Bill English initially but by 2017 could be experienced and credible. This should be about projecting a vibrant future Government in 2017.

Another option being canvassed is Grant Robertson. I think this would be a mistake. Grant is a skilled politician but he has never worked a day in his life (well post study) in the private sector. I don’t think he has credibility in the finance portfolio, and I think would struggle to reconnect with business if he has the job. That’s not doubting his intelligence and ability to articulate the key issues.

Education

Little should be bold and appoint Kelvin Davis as Education spokesperson and the next Minister. Hipkins has done a fine job for Labour in the area, but Davis is a star after beating Harawira, and has greater experience in the sector.

Health

Annette King is easily the best performing Labour MP. However she will not be Health Minister in the next Labour Government, so she should mentor someone new into the role. I’d move Hipkins into health, as he has a good ability to work an issue, and find pressure points. Lees-Galloway is keen on this, but has less caucus support.

I expect King to retire in 2017, and Little to become the MP for Rongotai (where he lives). She has resisted him taking the seat for some time, but now he is leader, he won’t be challenged for it.

Shadow Leader of the House

Robertson is the obvious choice to continue. May need a Deputy if he does take Foreign.

Attorney-General

Keep Parker on here.

Foreign Affairs

While Shearer is very credible here, I’d be tempted to put Robertson in here. He has a love for foreign policy and is a former diplomat.

Economic Development

Cunliffe an obvious choice. Clark and/or Nash could also play a role.

Maori Affairs

Mahuta by default

Social Development

Moroney has this currently. Not spectacular but solid so probably remain.

Front Bench

Robertson and Ardern are automatic as well as Little.

As he won with their support needs to have Mahuta and Cunliffe there, even though upset some.

Parker is looking to exit I’d say, so could keep him off, but for now probably need to retain him. So that is six.

For the other two or three I’d look at Hipkins, Twyford and Clark.

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