Andrew Little is expected to announce his reshuffle this afternoon. Claire Trevett says it is critical for his creidbility:
His team is small and he needs his performers to perform. There are precious few of those. Those who got opportunities and made the most of them will do the best, such as Kelvin Davis and Phil Twyford. Beyond those, few of the MPs have stood out in the public eye.
Both have been in the public eye a lot, and generally been performing well. However both have over-reached – Twyford with his Chinese surnames idiocy and Davis with his portrayal of the detainees on Christmas Island. But I agree both should be promoted.
Little has already indicated Jacinda Ardern will be moved up from her ninth position. That is likely to be a shift to fourth in the rankings. Although Labour’s top three are all from Wellington, they cannot be moved given one is the leader, the other the deputy and the third the finance spokesman.
Ardern’s job is to win over Auckland. She is also likely to take on a meaty portfolio in place of the justice portfolio, which is not a natural fit for her.
Jacinda remains opposed to the three strikes law despite the evidence that the reoffending rate for those convicted of strike offences has dropped around 60%..
Expect Kelvin Davis to leapfrog over Nanaia Mahuta to be the highest ranked Maori MP and for Mahuta to drop down.
Carmel Sepuloni was one of those Little promoted soon after he became leader – a show of faith which she is yet to repay.
Little had intended Sepuloni to take over as his deputy after his first year in the job but since then she has failed to fire, partly distracted by personal issues.
So King stayed on as no one was up to it!
The key target for that message is likely to be Cunliffe. Cunliffe has been relatively quiet since the election. Despite that, trust in him is low. He is currently ranked 14th. Little may well use this reshuffle to send a signal to him that there is no road for him into a Labour Cabinet. That in turn would be seen as a hint for Cunliffe to consider a life beyond Parliament.
Actually Cunliffe has been pretty active in his tertiary education portfolio.
Little’s focus will be instead on bringing forward talented newcomers from the 2011 and 2014 intakes, such as Jenny Salesa, Davis and Stuart Nash.
Labour is polling around 30%. If they manage to win Government with 30% of the vote, then they may only have 12 or so MPs in Cabinet. So only the top 12 are shoo-ins. A few more might get outside Cabinet.