There’s talk Shearer might hand Cunliffe the poisoned chalice of foreign affairs. As Clark did her main rival, Goff. That’s no job for a man with a young family. Anyway, Goff’ll want it back ahead of taking the Chinese ambassadorship. Instead, let Cunliffe swap with Parker, who was invisible in economic development and energy, and take on Joyce.
Cunliffe did an excellent job in finance. His policies are Labour’s big ones – tax-free zone, capital gains, compulsory Kiwisaver, lifting the super age. But Labour’s lacking any real vision on using the government as an economic actor, rather than just a rule setter. Parker didn’t deliver any – maybe he was planning on keeping his powder dry.
But Parker will clearly get finance to reward him. So, Cunliffe should take his economic development and energy portfolios.
Vernon Small’s thinking the same way: “Cunliffe could be given an economic development role, perhaps marking Steven Joyce.” That suggests giving Cunliffe Shearer’s old science portfolio as well (can’t see Labour rolling tertiary ed and employment into a single portfolio like the Nats have).
That might leave Jones out in the cold a bit. Let him keep transport and give him housing – a big issue for Maori and one that needs to be looked at from an economic point of view more than a welfare one in these days when the public’s all a fiscal Scrooges and looking after people in need is so unpopular.
The worst thing that could happen would be to waste Cunliffe’s talent or punish him for being part of a highly successful and invigorating leadership selection.