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Cunliffe, Parker swap roles

Written By: - Date published: 2:44 pm, December 19th, 2011 - 111 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david parker, labour - Tags:

David Shearer has released his new caucus line-up, David Parker, Jacinda Ardern, David Cunliffe, Clayton Cosgrove, Shane Jones and Nanaia Mahuta making up the rest of his and Grant Robertson’s front bench.  A lot of talent, and a definite fresh look from the Goff or Clark era.

Nanaia takes over Education, Jacinda Social Development and Maryan Street (9) gets Health.

But inevitably the discussion is over the Davids’ portfolios.  Not so much Shearer keeping Science and Innovation (and showing his priorities are on jobs that will make this country richer, unlike Key’s tourism).  Rather Parker and Cunliffe’s swapping of roles, somewhat as Zet suggested.  Keeping Cunliffe as Associate Finance, so he can pass on his immense knowledge there, but letting him take on Joyce at Economic Development.  Parker is a keen mind too, and keeping the two Davids as Labour’s economic team makes sense.

Clayton Cosgrove will also have an important role to play on SOEs, as some get sold off this term.  Jones returns to the front bench to make full use of his outstanding oratory skills to attack National.

Having the Deputy on Environment shows Labour cares about its green side too – combined with his Tertiary Ed and  Shearer’s Science it’s a good look for a team aimed at making Aotearoa “clean, green and clever”.

Su’a William Sio and Phil Twyford are 2 more young stars, rewarded for their talent with spots just outside the front bench.

Goff goes back to foreign, and King & Mallard are kept on the mid-benches, with Dyson and Horomia moved into the unranked backbenchers.

Interesting portfolios on the backbenches have Moana Mackey with Energy & Climate Change and Andrew Little on ACC – both will be busy areas for the government this term.

In a team of 34 everybody gets portfolios to attack the government on, and overall it looks a good use of fresh talent, without entirely throwing out the old heads’ wisdom.

rank. name. (major portfolios, rank change from before election)

1. Shearer (Science & Innovation, +22)

2. Robertson, G (Environment, Tertiary Ed, + 8 )

3. Parker (Finance, +1)

4. Ardern (Social Development, +14)

5. Cunliffe (Economic Development, -1)

6. Cosgrove (SOEs, Commerce, Trade, -)

7. Jones (Regional Development, Maori Econ Development, +5)

8. Mahuta (Education, +11)

9. Street (Health, -2)

10. Sio (Employment, PI Affairs, +5)

11. Twyford (Transport, Auckland, +5)

12. Mallard (Shadow Leader of House, -4)

13. Chauvel (Justice, AG, Arts, -2)

14. Dalziel (Cantab, CD, Commerce, -)

15. Hipkins (Sen Whip, State Services, +10)

16. Goff (Foreign, -15)

17. King (Housing, Local Govt, -16)

18. Fenton (Jun Whip, Labour, Immigration, +4)

19. O’Connor (Primary Industries, Food, +1)

20. Curran (IT, broadcasting, prev. unranked)

(rest unordered)

Dyson: Conservation, Seniors; Horomia: Maori Affairs; Moroney: Women, ECE; Mackey: Energy, Climate Change; Lees-Galloway: Defence; Huo: Building, Stats; Prasad: Ethnic; Faafoi: Police, Customs; Wall: Recreation, Community; Clark: Revenue; Little: ACC; Tirikatene: Tourism; Woods: Youth; Robertson, R: Nominee for Ass Speaker.


111 comments on “Cunliffe, Parker swap roles”

  1. interesting 1

    Interesting that Andrew Little is almost at the end of the list.

    bit of a slap in the face for the former union leader and party president. Sue Moroney chucked down the list….

    Nanaia Mahuta given education???

    • lprent 1.1

      …Andrew Little is almost at the end of the list.

      Why? He is a new MP and there is a steep learning curve for anyone joining the house.

      • interesting 1.1.1

        because he was lorded as the great up and coming leader…saviour of new plymouth….

        I agree that he is needing to settle in etc…. my point being that the media hype around him (that Labour allowed to continue on) makes this look like a slapdown from the new guy….no doubt some will say that it is Shearer “getting rid of union influence” regardless of that being a silly statement.

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.2

        Yes. For example, you must have at least 2 years experience before you can take over the leadership. 😉

    • Lew 1.2

      Pop quiz: what was David Shearer’s ranking this time last week?


      • Bunji 1.2.1

        Oop, sorry, minor adjustment. Comparing rankings from before election (ie last time house sat). But I missed Darren Hughes minor reshuffle, so people below 8 were generally out by 1 etc as well (Grant Robertson by 2 as he jumped Charles Chauvel to front bench).
        Actually election would only have made one difference to last time’s ranking: David Shearer was the only ranked MP below an MP that wasn’t returned (Steve Chadwick). So he was ranked 22 on that proviso.

        [lprent: I also fixed the “+8)” smiley face on Robertson to “+8 )” ]

        • Lew

          Yeah. Point being, for the benefit of everyone going “OMG Andrew Little is snubbed!”: shit changes, and list rankings ain’t everything.


        • Bunji

          [lprent: I also fixed the “+8)” smiley face on Robertson to “+8 )” ]
          You make it too easy for them!

    • Carol 1.3

      Mahuta is a great choice to go up against Hekia Parata. I imagine Parata will be pushing charter schools as being of great benefit to Maori and lower income families.

      • insider 1.3.1

        Plenty in the maori community seem to be saying the same. I’m not sure arguing for the education status quo is a real winner for Maori, given their failure rates.

        • Colonial Viper

          Plenty in the maori community seem to be saying the same.

          Don’t tell me – Maori corporates looking at a shot at Government money?

        • Draco T Bastard

          But it’s not the schooling that’s the problem but the poverty.

        • Ari

          Labour should certainly be arguing for change to something better than the status quo as part of their argument against charter schools. Resourcing for building a culture where everyone values education in low-decile communities would be excellent, for instance.

      • seeker 1.3.2

        Yes Carol, very happy about this.

    • David H 1.4

      Will be a good match up with Hekia Parata, lets hope that Parata is better than Tolley, but i will not hold my breath.

  2. gingercrush 2

    I cannot understand the appeal of either Cosgrove or Jones. The front bench looks like a sausage factory with a Maori and a princess to represent the women. Five of the Nine ranked MPs did not win electorate seats. One actually lost his. And I thought Jones was actually looking to leave politics if Maori did not give him the vote. Instead for some reason despite openly going against Shearer (at the least he’s been telling media he went with Cunliffe) and then saying Iwi should be allowed to own assets is rewarded with a return to the front bench.

    And it gets even worse. For some reason Little gets Acc and well just Acc. Mallard is ranked number 12 and both King and Goff are still ranked MPs.

    • Bored 2.1

      Well considered assessment: what is scary is that you apply the same to the Nact front bench you look at such a depressing low level of competence that it makes the Labour side look good.

      • gingercrush 2.1.1

        Really…. If you say so. Please tell me what Robertson actually achieved in parliament last term? What did Shane Jones contribute. Exactly what did Mahuta do at all last term? Street can’t win Nelson. Ardern can’t win Auckland Central. Robertson can’t even convince more voters to vote Labour than the Greens in his electorate. Cosgrove was consistently smacked down last term.

        But heh wiuth Trevor as Leader of the House. We can look forward to more filibusting over insignificant legislation. And I can’t wait for the tongue twisted questions that are asked to ministers.

        And frankly I believe National’s front bench is actually far more representative of New Zealanders than Labour’s and undoubtedly better.

        • Uturn

          Well if you enjoy a cynical approach to politics and suggest that Labour are going the presidential pop star route to candidates, it stands to reason that if a person is already on the front bench, the electorate is more likely to vote them in. Of course, that would mean that electorate seats are completely whimsical constructs and that voters have confused politics for celebrity worship.

        • Colonial Viper

          And frankly I believe National’s front bench is actually far more representative of New Zealanders than Labour’s and undoubtedly better.

          Labour’s front bench represents all NZers.

          National’s the wealthiest 5%. Small difference there.

        • Ari

          Robertson did fine for the Labour Party vote, and put together Labour and the Greens crushed National in Wellington Central, so it’s kinda misleading to bag on Grant Robertson for coming in third on the party vote, especially seeing Wellington has always been one of the strongest areas for the Green party vote.

    • Pete 2.2

      You have to let go of the thinking that a local electorate is somehow worth more than a list MP. We live in a proportional representation political world. Indeed, you could argue that this frees up the local MPs to take time to do their clinics and serve their constituencies.

      As for the retention of some of the old guard, there is a difference between a renewal and a purge. In fact, relegating the whole of the old guard to the back benches would be a waste of a good resource – like David Lange after 1990.

      • gingercrush 2.2.1

        Electorates still matter. And Clayton Cosgrove was voted out of his electorate and only gets into parliament thanks to a high list placing. Yet despite getting in via that, he still essentially debranded himself from Labour. In other words he really wasn’t trying to get Labour party votes.

        • Tom Gould

          Brownlee got 578 fewer votes in 2011 than in 2008, so does that make him the biggest loser, or politician of the year? Incidently, Cosgrove got 215 fewer votes in 2011 than in 2008.

        • felix

          A portfolio is a nationwide responsibility, electorates are essentially irrelevant in this context (except perhaps in special circumstances such as Chch rebuild).

          Agree about Cosgrove though, that was weird.

        • fmacskasy

          Does the same apply to National ministers? Eg; Chris Finlayson? Or Hekia Parata? Or Tim Groser? Or Paula Bennett, with only eleven votes majority?

          Just asking.

          • Tom Gould

            I know they can be pesky things, facts, but one overlooked by the craven MSM is that Key himself got fewer votes in Helensville, down 760 on last time. Unbelieveable, really, for the most popular political celebrity in recorded history to get less votes this time than last, but it’s true.

            • Pete George

              Not really unbelievable when the number of votes were down – he got the same 73% both elections. Just another pesky fact that also means very little.

    • Carol 2.3

      I hope Little really applies himelf to critiquing, challenging and publicising whatever nasties National has planned for ACC, and also presents a clear case for maintaining ACC as a state run service.

      • Bunji 2.3.1

        Yes, ACC will be busy – here’s hoping Little does a good job in its defence, it’s going to need all the help it can get.

  3. It seems to have the required amount of differentness and inclusiveness. The top ten ticks enough boxes for me.

    Time will tell if they can perform, if they can work together and be seen to work together, if the party will get in behind them, and in time if polls show a move in the right direction.

    There’s certainly opportunity for renewal as a party.

    Interesting (but correct) that Andrew Little has to prove himself.

    • fender 3.1

      I’m sure you will have the answers for Labour should they need them. With the amazing progress UF has made you can no doubt show them the way to success Pete.

  4. Time now for Labour to heal as a team and take it to the tories.  NZ depends on it.

    • Lew 4.1

      I take it you’re satisfied with Cunliffe and Mahuta’s new jobs, then. Good.

      Me too. I think it’s a strong team, one that uses the skills of its best people pretty well (with one exception – Māori Affairs – but you can’t please all the people all the time.)


      • Pete George 4.1.1

        Yep, if anyone wanted to nit pick they would regardless, but it’s a basis for something quite different. A reasonable mix of change and experience.

        Looking at what they did or didn’t do last term is pointless – it’s a judgement on what they might be capable of doing given the right sort of leadership and opportunities – and effort. Based more on their personality than their past.

      • insider 4.1.2

        Cunliffe looks underused with just ED, particularly with Jones having regional and Maori development and Dalziell Chch. ED is always secondary to the main economic role which is Finance. I mean who really blames the Min of ED for the economy? It’s always going to fall on the PM and Finance.

        I think he should have got a meaty ministry to attack like education, MSD or health. If he is that good he should make mincemeat out of Bennett or Parata.

        • mickysavage

          The good point about the appointment is that Cunliffe will shadow Joyce.  I cannot think of anyone who could do a better job than DC.

          • lprent

            That was my thought as well.

            It will be interesting to see what the dry Parker / English facing will be like as well.

          • SMSD

            Yes, before the line-up was announced I hoped Cunliffe would get economic development. A chance for him to work on innovative policy, and take on Joyce.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.3

        Those are decent positions for Cunliffe and Mahuta. It demonstrates that the new leadership team has been serious about bringing caucus back together to form a new look with which to hammer Key and English.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Yep, that’ll be gutting for all the supposed insiders that have been waffling here for the last few days about the Shearer supporters and Camp Cunliffe being at each other’s throats and the party splitting asunder due to the inherent inability to unite around the new leader. Not to mention the caucus’s failure to do what the rank and file wanted, which was going to see Party cards burned en masse in the main streets of New Zealand and pensioners dashing their portraits of MJ Savage and slitting their wrinkled wrists with the shards.

          Thankfully, you weren’t one of them CV 😉

          • David

            I would have burned my party card en masse and slit my wrinkled wrists with the shards. Now, I feel sufficiently happy to really want to work hard to make this good, without a period of nuclear winter bone chewing and sullen, swollen resentment. So do lots of others, it seems. And I dont think, in the end, it was that hard.

        • Anne

          It nearly didn’t happen CV. Glad sanity prevailed in the end and the ‘white-anters’ lost. As mickeysavage has said there’s a chance for unity to return to the rank and file now.

          Sooner or later the story will come out TVoR, and we’ll see if you’re big enough to apologise – perhaps even say thanks to those of us who, each in our own way, tried to ensure the right result.

          • The Voice of Reason

            Nothing to apologise for, Anne. And feel free to let it all out now, rather than later. I’m sure we’re all keen to know the facts. If you really know what went on, that is.

            • Colonial Viper

              TVOR – Perhaps you would like to train your sarcasm on the NActs once you’re finished honouring yourself?

              • The Voice of Reason

                I train my sarcasm on many deserving targets, CV, as you well know. How about you and Anne just do a mea culpa for all the crap you wrote last week and we’ll call it even?

                • Anne

                  You know TvoR, I usually agree with your comments on this site. But try to stop being so arrogant and accept there are some things you don’t know. No, I am not going to tell you or anyone else the facts because it is not my place to do so. There was a serious problem, it’s been sorted, and ultimately both Shearer and Cunliffe can take the credit for that. I salute them both.

                  • RedLogix

                    Thanks for this Anne. Somewhat encouraging to hear.

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    Not sure what I can say in reply, Anne. You seem to be suggesting that your argument is so powerful that it’s not necessary to justify it but the fact is you spent the best part of a week building up a split which turns out not to exist and today you are claiming to be a part of the team that healed the rift that didn’t exist. Isn’t that sort of thing the very definition of a straw man argument?
                    And it’s not a question of what I know, it’s about what you repeatedly claimed to know. I think you were gossiping, not shining a torch on the truth. And, if you really do agree with most of my comments here, perhaps you might want to reconsider whether I’ve got this right as well?
                    Anyhoo, the new, united front bench look more than capable of sticking it to Team Key and that’s the really important thing to have come out of the leadership change, IMHO. Onwards and upwards.

                    • RedLogix


                      A lot of people couldn’t get why Shearer was selected and not Cunliffe. In the absence of an obvious good reason it’s only natural that the suspicion of a somewhat lessor explanation should sneak into the vacuum.

                      For instance I did a quick search and found that I had commented more than 30 times in the last 18 months on Cunliffe, usually approvingly. Not once on Shearer … simply because he had such a low profile. We have a pretty strong idea of what Cunliffe stands for, what the man is like, his strengths and weaknesses…first hand. Cunliffe and Mahuta both gave excellent guest posts here at The Standard; Shearer did not.

                      The story about Shearer is all second-hand, it’s what other people keep telling us about him … and unless and until he fronts up and makes his case and peforms as Leader of the Labour party first-hand, then legitimate questions remain unanswered.

                      I’m willing to give Shearer a fair chance; this allocation of portfolio’s looks like a good start…. but I’m not going to give him a blank cheque just because.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      but the fact is you spent the best part of a week building up a split which turns out not to exist

                      Uh, how on earth did you reach the conclusion that various factions’ united in outcome today meant that things were just as united two weeks ago?

                      How about you and Anne just do a mea culpa for all the crap you wrote last week and we’ll call it even?

                      Nothing personal, but who the fuck are you to me again? That’s right, nobody. You sound like just another nugget who’s in over his head and doesn’t yet realise it. In my assessment people like Anne and lprent have observed the wars, been in the wars, seen the casualties and the survivors and that, as a relative noob myself, I have the utmost respect for.

                      Having said that, I’ll happily take responsibility for being wrong in my judgements of the last 2 weeks if Shearer smashes 2012 out of the park. I’m going to support him and Grant Robertson in all their efforts.

                      However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Leader of the Labour Party is not a ‘learn on the job’ position. And this pudding isn’t even out of the oven yet. IMO your self congratulations over others’ judgement is – too put it mildly – truly premature.

                    • lprent []

                      I think TVoR has seen the wars as well. But his setting is different. My guess is that rather than the urban centers it is provincial towns and small cities with the interspersed countryside. Different environment and different responses.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Note to CV: Fuck off, you piffling fool. The only thing you got right is that you know nothing about me. Ask around, I go back further than most and I’ve been walking the walk my entire adult life. I’ve seen poseurs like yourself come and go so many times without contributing anything more than hot air and half arsed theories, it usually doesn’t bother me. The labour movement has always had its share of limpets and wannabees hanging around the fringes. Until I hear otherwise, that’s where you seem to fit, pal.
                      But this time I asked for some facts behind the speculation and you go off like I’d goosed your granny. Grow up. You know nothing about the situation, obviously, but it suits your mindset to be a repeater of other people’s speculation. The empty bell rings loudest.
                      I don’t know who Anne is, but I’m sure she at least has some connections and I note from Cunliffe’s comments this morning that there was some substance to what she was saying. So, fair enough, then. I still don’t think it was anywhere near the crisis that was suggested in the series of comments, though, but I’m happy to acknowledge that in rejecting the hyperbole, I might have missed a kernel of truth.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      TVOR, I’ve already said that I’m backing Shearer and Robertson for maximum success, and I’m more than happy to do my “mea culpa” (as you call it) in a years time if they make 2012 a smasher against the NATs.

                      I’ve seen poseurs like yourself come and go so many times without contributing anything more than hot air and half arsed theories, it usually doesn’t bother me. The labour movement has always had its share of limpets and wannabees hanging around the fringes. Until I hear otherwise, that’s where you seem to fit, pal.

                      I think you’ve mistaken me for someone who gives a damn.

                      By the way, if this leadership team falls apart before elections 2014 I’ll be expecting the mea culpa to come from you. Much good that will do. So I really sincerely hope that in the final analysis you are right and I am wrong.

                    • the sprout

                      tvor if you’re actually sincere about your mary poppins heal and move on routine, perhaps you should act like the old sage you like to think you are and just stfu now

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      [sprout: wrong on both counts]

                    • I agree entirely, RedLogix.

                      I have been one of the people who has found it impossible to locate Shearer’s social, economic or political position (i.e., his analysis of those spheres).

                      I still see no evidence of what it is.

                      ‘Clean, green and clever’, by the way, is a slogan, not evidence of an analysis – unless it is the shallow analysis that suggests that the only problem is a management problem and a ‘vision’ thing.

                      I’ve never found that kind of ‘analysis’ insightful and I see no reason to begin to believe it is now. The analytic question (or the question that reveals the analysis) is how such a New Zealand would be created.

                      Perhaps TVoR can fill me in on Shearer’s understanding of the economic, social and political worlds? I presume that VToR has managed to uncover these analyses – or at least evidence of what they might be – given his support for Shearer.

                      Or, perhaps Shearer has no such analysis. Perhaps he is something of a Ronald Reagan figure – possessed of some grab-bag of disconnected ‘good’ ideas but no analysis. A titular head, whose thoughts are not to be taken too seriously as his whole ‘political’ point is not what he thinks but who he appeals to in the electorate.

                      In that case, I suppose I need to ask what analyses his advisors or supporters have, since it is their analyses that are likely to carry the policy day if Shearer lacks understanding at that level.

                      On that assumption, the front bench line up looks like they (Shearer’s advisors and supporters) have done an ok job. It looks like Shearer supporters have been handsomely rewarded and, in addition, Cunliffe and Mahuta have been given something more than a backhanded compliment, to symbolise, and perhaps facilitate, a ‘healing’. 

                      As an outsider and observer, there also looks to be a lot of talent, ‘aggression’ and firepower in the line-up, which will be needed.

                      What I will have to wait and see is whether that firepower develops into a systematic critique of the National led government’s direction and the simultaneous presentation of a clearly articulated, coherent alternative or simply becomes an ad hoc opposition with one and a half eyes on public opinion. 

                      Unpredictable and inconsistent positions will suggest the latter.

                      I can see that I may get boring about this question of Labour’s (and Shearer’s) analysis.

                      But it has to be remembered that, for all I might disagree with the right, they have a pretty clear analysis that they communicate effectively: governments hamper the economy when they are directly involved; individuals make the ‘best’ choices for themselves and, ultimately, for society; the financial success of ‘aspirational’ individuals is good for everyone; ‘handing out’ taxpayer money solves nothing and encourages dependence; etc..

                      Those statements ‘hang together’ and provide some semblance of a coherent analysis (though one that I think is woefully incorrect).

                      What are the equivalent (hopefully different) statements that Shearer would offer by way of an analysis? (you see, I’m not after policy details).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The apparent cohesiveness of the Right’s ideology has been honed by excellent understanding of group psychology, societal memes and the destruction of alternative and competing hypotheses/ideologies. And of course the advantages of marketing tools backed by massive resourcing.

                      Too many of the representatives of the Left don’t understand critical truths and have therefore struggled with the impossible task of trying to formulate a kinder, gentler implementation of Right wing capitalism.

                      I would like to hear Shearer’s detailed opinions on the issues raised by the OWS protests and the ways forward that he sees to address those issues. In other words – lets understand what his analysis of the context and the situation is.

                    • Yes, CV. Shearer’s opinions on the issues highlighted by OWS would be a good place to start.

                      As for the right’s ideology, there’s plenty of room for the left to tap the same pool of group psychology and ‘societal memes’, as you put it.

                      One angle that I’d like to see taken up is that the development, maintenance and encouragement of individuals only occurs within stable, cohesive groups and that our modern world systematically undermines just such groups.

                      That is, the left can ‘capture’ the value of the individual (currently colonised by the right) by emphasising the crucial social conditions that typically give rise to autonomous individuals who understand their connection to otbers. This pre-empts the right by going back prior to the emergence of the individual.

                      Relatedly, the left has been frightened, I think, of notions of social ‘stability’ because of its echoes of bigotry and social conservatism and stifling conformity.

                      But the ‘stability’ the left should refer to is that required to raise full persons – stable provision of material needs; communities that are less transient; a social interdependence that is on multiple dimensions rather than single ones (i.e., people who are, at the same time, your neighbour,  plumber, parent of your child’s friends, local Red Cross collector, etc.).

                      The analysis, in short, should hold within it both a critique of what is and a prescription of what can be.

                      It’s always been there, of course, and most on the left understand it – but it no longer gets clearly articulated, or only sporadically. The electorate is not given a sense that this kind of thoroughly human world is what the left are on about.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Puddleglum: I supported Cunliffe, not Shearer.
                      Sprout: Why have you edited out my comment above? All I did was point out your homophobic insult. Are you beyond criticism? Can you at least make it clear that you are censoring me by bolding your edit, thanks.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Puddleglum – well I hope Shearer can express it.

                    • seeker

                      @Puddleglum at 11.02pm
                      “That is, the left can ‘capture’ the value of the individual (currently colonised by the right) by emphasising the crucial social conditions that typically give rise to autonomous individuals who understand their connection to others. This pre-empts the right by going back prior to the emergence of the individual.

                      It’s always been there, of course, and most on the left understand it – but it no longer gets clearly articulated, or only sporadically. The electorate is not given a sense that this kind of thoroughly human world is what the left are on about.”

                      Have just suggested an idea based on this realisation to some people on the left with regard to advertising a petition against the sales of our electricity assets. I suggested that instead of couching the adverts in terms of business/economy as to how many units or shares ‘you’ can buy, it could be couched in terms of ‘social cost’ or value. ie.how much heat mrs p.will lose so Colnel Blimp of Remuera can gain a profit.

                      Neo liberalism under Thatcher said there was no such thing as society only the individual. From there we became ‘economically quantified’ and ended up as units to be processed as business deemed fit .

                      This time round the canny nat lot have tried to be less ‘iron fisted’ and wrapped their ‘poison for any emergence of society under the last Labour government.’ in soft, charming smiles, pink jackets for crusher collins, pearl necklaces for neglectful wilkinson and incompetent tolley, perfume and designer clothes for Hekia.
                      Gentle, paternal, patronising chiding tells us not to be jealous after swingeing tax cuts, followed by lots of jokes, followed by GST and ETS rise, followed by slapstick and more jokes..investment houses fail but never fear your friendly government is here to sell you assets which are yours anyway joke joke, Mad Butcher, Moonbeam, joke, RWC joke,smile……the banality of ripping units off…..

                      All this succeeds because our people and our communities have lost sight of
                      their social standing and their human worth and have been successfully mesmerised by money and the business world they have been swallowed up in. They have almost been turned into mindlees monetary units that obey ‘the market’ in the form of John Key and mates.

                      They have almost been successfully turned into the haves and the have nots, where the have nots perpetually serve the haves and their rapacious demands.So many, trying so hard to stay or climb into the ‘have’ camp do not really understand the social human cost in thier mindless stampede to follow the leader, buy assets and plunge New Zealand into a real darkness from which she may never recover.

                      Communication to Kiwis must be presented in human terms , the social context must be brought back into our economic rhetoric before it is too late.

                      I think this could become known as the politics of integrity, a political landscape to envy by those people who think they have ,but will find they have not.

                    • tvor if you’re actually sincere about your mary poppins heal and move on routine, perhaps you should act like the old sage you like to think you are and just stfu now

                      what about that comment exactly could you possibly construe as homophobic? or are you just trying to distract from the many other valid criticisms above that you fail to address?

          • dancerwaitakere

            I completely agree Anne.

          • David

            SINCERE thanks to all of you who, each in your own little way, tried to ensure the right result.

            • LynW

              +10 Thank you from me also. I really appreciated the debate. I was sincerely trying to make sense of it all. Now for the future….

        • Rob

          They need to hammer Joyce
          He controls The Nats and he is evil

          • Colonial Viper

            Joyce is going to be DPM continuing to work his Sith Lord shit in the background; Parata will be PM, front footing it against Shearer who will be the distinctly middle aged white guy against the charming, well spoken, younger Maori woman with liberally progressive centrist politics.

            • Skeptic to the max

              Parata and Shearer are only a couple of years in age apart and both already past middle age unless they are both going to live to 100+

    • tc 4.2

      Yup MS, what’s done is done, there’s more than enough talent to wipe the floor with the nats however I would’ve liked to have seen king and mallard shown the pasture.

      Unlikely as trev’s a nasty piece of work so best keep him sweet and king just didn’t deliver for my money opposite Bennett last term and as a deputy leader and isn’t it about time the helenguard was regenerated with fresh growth.

      • David 4.2.1

        King delivered a great deal last term. She was brave and full of energy and passion around the child policy (the fire in the eyes!) and she built bridges with all sorts of people: CPAG and the child poverty lobby not least. She went out after Paula, but really, the press were sold on nasty welfare reform, and you couldnt get a word in.

    • fmacskasy 4.3


      The Tories will be unleashing some fairly unpleasant shite in the next couple of years and we’d better be focused to meet them head on. Or they’ll roll right over us.

  5. David 5

    I think this is pretty good, given some predictions and fears: using talent where it’s strong, some important continuity, people playing to real abilities and knowledge. Grant in tertiary education, where he’s very strong. I want to see the economic team coming up with a coherent platform early on that we can build on, and that can start the turn to a serious new direction post GFC. Jacinda and Maryan have big roles they can thrive in. Sad to see Moana Mackey loses housing: she was fantastic in that, full of energy and grounded knowledge over much of the country.

    • tc 5.1

      “can start the turn to a serious new direction post GFC”

      The GFC is still with us and lurching from one episode to the next until the system is fundamentally overhauled so it aint going anywhere.

    • David 5.2

      But then I see Annette has housing, and she is no shrinking violet either :). Phil in Foreign Affairs: we should all be basking in the experience! Put them person to person against the nats, and tell me these guys cant win???

      • gingercrush 5.2.1

        Personally I don’t think King has adjusted well to being in opposition. I still consider her to be of obvious talent and at a minister did her job impeccably. But she was disappointing last term.

  6. Claire 6

    I think that it is a pity that more women haven’t been given places on the front bench. Also, while I don’t necessarily think that holding an electorate seat equals amazing ministerial material, I think that Damien O’Connor probably should have been further up the list. Other than that, I guess we now get to see how it plays with the public….

  7. fatty 7

    I fail to see the point of Grunt Robertson…always have and always will. The only reason for putting Robertson up there is if Gerry Brownlee calls a sumo fight and Labour decide they need a useless fatty to combat National’s useless fatty.

    I would also put Hipkins in the top 8 cause he’s way better than any of those other Labour MPs…

    [lprent: Ummm you’re rising in my troll test for high stupidity / low substance ratio. It’d pay to exert a bit more effort to avoid being regarded as being a waste of bandwidth. ]

  8. prism 8

    If I was advising Ardern I would get a new photo of her. The one we have at the top of the page has a greeny tinge, makes her look a bit unhealthy.

  9. jaymam 9

    I like the new line-up.

  10. dancerwaitakere 10

    Law and Order as well as Maori Affairs and ACC not being held by members of the front bench?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      To leave ACC off the front bench is a mistake IMO; we know that ACC has a National target painted on its very valuable capital rich forehead, and giving it to a rookie MP is not what it requires.

      • dancerwaitakere 10.1.1

        Not to mention a rookie MP who was parachuted in ahead of many other proven performers, and is not seemingly sitting in the back with a highly important portfolio,but will not have a great platform to be on message.

  11. Ant 11

    I don’t really give a fig about who sits where until I see policy direction. There’s been lots of vague talk not a lot of specifics, hopefully there might be something substantial in the new year.

  12. Redbaron77 12

    I am reasonably happy with this line up. David Cunliffe is in No.5 spot in with Economic Development. I would have prefered him in No.3 leading the Finance team however I will hold my peace. Good comments raised on ACC and Maori Affairs. I can possibly understand why Maori Economic Development is given more priority over the broader portfolio of Maori Affairs particularly when so many Maori families and people are struggling financially… However I would like David Shearer and members of the Maori Shadow Cabinet to explain the reasoning behind this decision given Maori are a core constituency of Labour.

  13. Reality Bytes 13

    I think this is a very well thought out and strong lineup. It’s a shame Cunliffe didn’t get Finance, but he got the next best role suited to his capabilities imo. As good as he is, they do have to think of winning the next election, and part of that is essentially branding themselves as a new generation to appeal to a wider audience and win over people that voted for the Nat’s this time round. It’s a shame but that’s the game.

    From what I know of them, all of the people on the front benches really suit their roles imo, and it’s good to see that Cunliffe and Mahuta have not been punished really, and given the respect they deserve. Good to see Goff is doing an important role that he is very experienced at too. Ardern definitely is a rising star given a very important role that suits her talent. I was very impressed with her passion for social issues and I think she is perfect for the role, although shearer would be good at this role too, I’m sure he’ll be providing the benefit of his knowledge and experience to Ardern.

    Very clever that Shearer has picked science and innovation for himself, that really is a vital portfolio to move us all forward imo.

    Best of luck to the team in 2014, I think they definitely have what it takes to help us ALL move to a better future, not just to the top 5-10%. It’s good to have some quality to vote for next election.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Agreed entirely RB. Equally the onus is now on Parker to perform; because like Goff he may well have been a competent and reliable Minister, but at present Parker is short on winning confidence and empathy with the public.

    • Ari 13.2

      Yep, have to agree this lineup generally bodes well. We’ll have to see how it performs and whether everyone is up to their new roles, and if not I hope Shearer will reshuffle again as necessary.

  14. ad 14

    The current Labour leader now has just one day to prove he has what it takes against the Prime Minister, with the Address in Reply. Something like the first packdown against the All Blacks. Your either gain their respect in the test environment, or you never will for the duration of the game.

    Included in this first address must be dazzling policy coherence, charm, and televisual bon mots sufficient to make the commentators take notice. The Aid Worker bonhomie will go up in smoke the moment Shearer enters the Chamber.

    He knows now after being outed on television lying about his Bench offer to Cunliffe, that he is on notice from all sides of Parliament including his own.

    The next test upon him will be whether he can forge an active cooperation with the Greens as to how this government is tackled in the House, and then also active cooperation with the Greens in the Select Committees.

    The further test will be whether he can convince his team to work harder over the Summer break to come up with more penetrating policy and a more sophisticated comms programme than the Government – to outpace, to outplay, and to best this Government particularly during the media downtime, so that the full echochamber effect of the blogs have much stronger sway.

    Some will be tempted to say that it is Dunne who should be targeted. Unless Shearer can prove that he is actually better than Key – who is is superior even to Clark other than in her first term – then there is no defeating them. No other target matters.

    Shearer’s success or otherwise as the current leader will be measured with the first poll that comes out. And we know from the Leadership vote that poll failure will not be tolerated as it was with Goff.

    We have not witnessed a New Zealand government with this strong a Parliamentary presence in several decades. He has his main opposition party as divided and weak as they have ever been, and in Joyce he has a Minister of Everything with the kind of cold commercial precision that has not been seen since the first term of Roger Douglas within the Lange administration.

    This is the moment we see what the neophytes are made of. Let it begin.

    • fmacskasy 14.1

      Interesting points. I particularly agree with this comment,

      “Some will be tempted to say that it is Dunne who should be targeted. Unless Shearer can prove that he is actually better than Key – who is is superior even to Clark other than in her first term – then there is no defeating them. No other target matters.”

      The Greens and Peters can take on Dunne. Shearer has to go head to head with Key – and if Key is out of the House when awkward questions are being asked – this should be trumpetted to the entire country.

      • Reality Bytes 14.1.1

        Yeah imo it’s massively beneficial to Labour that Winnie got back in.

        Why? Because Winnie can do what he does best: Colorfully call people out on their BS.
        Man I am SO looking forward to the guy ripping into Key and calling them out on his shenanigans! I bet Key’s biggest regret of the election outcome is that Winnie got back in hahaha 🙂

        The best part for Labour is they can sit back somewhat and let Peters do what he does best which is attack. NZF can absorb the ‘oh he’s being nasty/mean/negative’ flak.

        Even if you disagree with Peters solutions and politics, the guy is frank and raises important issues to the publics attention, a bit like Rodney Hide, except Peters has more of an axe to grind! Gonna be entertaining for sure.

        Winnie can raise the issues and take the negativity hits, meanwhile Labour can move forward on offering solutions without patronizingly being labeled as the negative/nasty party by our lame-stream media.

        One thing I am very interested in is whether Peters will take many potshots at Labour, it would seem hard for him to convincingly criticize Labs based past performance since they have re-modeled themselves.

        I have a gut feeling that Lab+NZF could actually be grow to be quite amicable to each other this term, and a Lab-Greens-NZF coalition could represent a very real possibility for our next government.

        • fender

          I can see the Greens gaining strength in future as more and more people become concerned for the environment and see climate change weather events hit home. Younger voters are attracted to the green brand. I’d like to see Labour work closer and more constructivly with the Greens. Thats where the future needs to be once this bunch are done doing their damage.

    • fender 14.2

      How come we get such bottom of the barrel stuff when it comes to “Minister of Everything”?
      He needs attacking too especialy when the Tourism Minister is off living the tourist lifestyle.(Does he not understand it’s not him thats meant to do the touring)

  15. Bunji…

    Not so much Shearer keeping Science and Innovation (and showing his priorities are on jobs that will make this country richer, unlike Key’s tourism).

    Key is vulnerable here. Considering that he spends his holidays overseas, in Hawaii, he is hardly leading-by-example, and failing to promote our own country.

  16. Blue 16

    Front bench line up pretty much as given to the newspapers last week. No surprises there.

    Looks like Ardern (+14) and Hipkins (+10) did very well out of their votes for Shearer.

    Personally I think Jacinda is too inexperienced to be given that portfolio just yet, but then what the hell am I thinking – inexperience is the flavour of the day right now.

    Nice touch with ranking only the top 20 so the rest can’t tell exactly how far they’ve been demoted.

    All of the known Shearer supporters did very well, aside from the expected shuffling off of Phil, Annette and Mallard.

    I hope that Ruth Dyson and Sue Moroney didn’t vote for Shearer given their catastrophic falls from number 5 and number 10 to being unranked.

    On the other hand it seems likely that Shane Jones, Clare Curran and Su’a William Sio ended up on Team Shearer.

    I’m happy that David Cunliffe retains an economic portfolio and a high ranking. And it’s good to see Phil and Annette putting their experience to good use in substantial portfolios. Good on Nanaia for getting Education too.

    • Reality Bytes 16.1

      Well it’s either getting faulted for lacking experience or it’s getting faulted for being in the role too long and offering nothing new/representing the old-guard.

      There are no absolutes. Time will tell whether the appointments were wise and the concerns over inexperience were well founded or not. For all we know these people could offer excellent fresh ways forward.

      Let’s watch and see.

    • Ari 16.2

      Jacinda can certainly handle SD, and she’ll run rings around Paula Bennet for sure.

      There’s inept inexperience and talented inexperience, and Jacinda is most definitely of the latter variety and will hold her own just fine on the front bench.

  17. Annette King will be more than a match for Phil Heatley on Housing.

    Considering that this country’s housing problems are woeful, this is another area of vulnerability for this government.

  18. hush minx 18

    So how do we judge how this new team do? Perform in the House with blood letting on the floor and appropriate writhing of Ministers? Gallery full of praise for sharp insightful attacks backed by solid policy proposals? Regular front page coverage of Labour stories and leading items on the news? Stimulating debate in the social media? Increase in polling? Or activists feeling like they are investing their time in something worthwhile? If we want to see improvement we better figure out what we are measuring and how to know whether we’re achieving it.

    For example, tomorrow David Shearer will present himself in to Parliament. As many have mentioned he’s not a strong speaker. Yet if he does ok, with no stumbles that will be viewed as a win. But is it really? What would a strong speaker look like?

    I know it’s not fashionable, but whoever is in those leadership shoes need to match Clark and Cullen (96-99) in their performance. Anything else is second best and make do. And will not bring Labour to the Government benches in 2014.

    • Ari 18.1

      I think reality needs to be acknowledged that standards have drastically lowered since Clark was Prime Minister. Sure, some in the commentariat will say that Labour will be failing if they don’t have a leader that can give a speech like she could right off the bat, but Shearer is going up against John Key, not Jim Bolger, and frankly, I know pre-teens who can compete favourably with Key. Of course, people will expect more of Labour than National- they always do- so Shearer will need to beat Key by a significant margin. I think the question is not whether he can speak eloquently, but rather of whether the content of what he says resonates with the public.

      • hush minx 18.1.1

        Sure by the time Clark was in the 99 campaign she was well seasoned and knew what she was doing, and was well practiced. But I’m finding it difficult to chart how Labour (as a whole but also individuals) will be rated if we don’t establish what their performance expectations are. For me, aiming for a team that was an effective, clear and smart as Cullen and Clark is the goal. I want to see results which step them along the way to that outcome.

        • Ari

          Oh, as a team, we should absolutely aim for those standards. I thought you meant Shearer needs to instantly live up to Clark, which is an incredible set of shoes to fill.

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