Stacey Kirk writes:
Housing Minister Phil Twyford brings a different set of headaches to the Cabinet table. Kiwibuild is failing on every measure, and it’s extremely problematic for the Government.
While there’s an argument no-one else could make gold out of that dog of a policy, there is also the counter that a new face in that portfolio would be far less tainted to have a mandate to simply wipe the slate clean.
If Twyford does lose it, pity the bugger who picks it up.
On the up, Kris Faafoi is a shoo-in to be brought inside Cabinet and be given the meatier portfolio he’s earned through diligent work, careful comment and proving himself to be a safe pair of hands.
It may end up being too much of a leap up the ladder in a single bound, but it’s not unreasonable to think he’s competent enough to hold the spy portfolios. Michael Wood, a parliamentary under-secretary, is widely tipped to take one step forward as minister outside Cabinet.
Faafoi and Wood are the obvious promotions.
And through the reshuffle, Ardern has to try to acknowledge a gender imbalance in her ministerial lineup as best she can. With the loss of Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, due to blunders and alleged bullying respectively, it’s a heavily male affair.
Whaitiri has the backing of Labour’s Māori caucus for a return. But it’s understood she can mount a media campaign complaining of unfair treatment all she wants – there’s no place in Ardern’s “kinder” Government, for a minister who, as an inquiry suggested was likely, laid hands on her staff.
Returning Whaitiri to the Ministry would be a very bad look.
Louisa Wall is no option, although Poto Williams could be.
Kieran McAnulty, Kiri Allan, Ginny Andersen and Priyanca Radhakrishnan are the freshman young guns who will all likely be destined for higher office at some point, if they keep their powder dry.
I’m surprised Deborah Russell isn’t mentioned. She is clearly capable of being a Minister.