Labour’s Deputy PM problem

Audrey Young writes:

If Jacinda Ardern leads Labour to a second term in Government, the question of who should be Deputy Prime Minister is problematic.

Part of the problem goes back to how she became leader. It is a uniquely Labour problem involving Labour deputy leader and the man many people assume is the deputy leader, Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Deputy Prime Minister is not just a titular role.

When Ardern took time off to have a baby in 2018, or had long trips overseas, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was required to take charge of the Government, run Cabinet, be prepared to answer any questions in Parliament and at press conferences on any Government matter.

Even without long trips overseas, the Deputy PM usually fills in for the PM on Thursday in the House.

The one advantage for Labour in having a Green or New Zealand First deputy would be it would avoid the conundrum over Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis.

The reality is Labour has a depuity leader who is not up to being Deputy Prime Minister. Robertson or Hipkins or Parker would be, but Davis is not.

It is usually arranged for Davis to be out of the House on a Thursday when Ardern is also not there, leaving it to Robertson, No 3 in Labour and No 4 in Government, to run the show.

Yep they actually have to hide him.

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