Andrew Little’s own reshuffle displayed no less confidence than English in the security of his leadership.
In fact, Little is proving himself astoundingly effective at reshaping the caucus in his image. Which other leader of recent times can claim to have dispatched three former predecessors
True. Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe all gone. Little will be pleased with that.
meanwhile lumbering his only credible future rivals (Grant Robertson and David Parker) with portfolios to which they are glaringly unsuited?
It is clear to anyone paying attention that Robertson and Parker have each other’s job – but, for Little, there are obvious advantages in keeping such talented frontbenchers out of their comfort zone.
This is so true. Robertson would be a natural at foreign affairs and Parker is far more credible in Finance. But by having them both in jobs they are unsuited for, they pose no threat.
Unlike Michael Cullen, who schooled himself assiduously on fiscal matters, Robertson appears to spend most of his spare time in university common rooms, where he is beloved by student politicians.
This has not gone unnoticed among Wellington businesspeople with whom I’ve spoken.
In many cases, they cast their electorate vote for Robertson, but do not believe he is a credible finance spokesperson.
Both Julie-Anne Genter and James Shaw have come across as more credible economic spokespersons than Robertson.
Unlike English, Little’s supreme confidence in his position stems not from robust polling, but from a party constitution that makes changing leaders midstream next to impossible.
This is especially the case given Little controls 20 percent of the party — in the form of affiliated unions – that give him an unbeatable head start ahead of any potential challenger.
Leader for life!