So Nick Smith is to be returned to cabinet after spending nearly a year on the bench for his ethical flaws. Presumably 10 months on the back benches heals all those desires to abuse your powers to try to help your friends get money.
He may well get David Carter’s portfolios (Primary Industries and Local Government) as Carter moves to become speaker with Lockwood off appointed to his cushy London job. Amy Adams is to keep his old Environment portfolio (and get some sort of promotion).
I think Robert Winter has it summed up best – Dr Smith doesn’t deserve it and will be an easy opposition target, but with so much lack of performance in the cabinet John Key can’t help but see him as in improvement. I mean, if you’re seeing Hekia Parata as one of your best communicators… and keeping her in education (somehow making Anne Tolley look competent), anything starts to look justifiable.
And if you never saw the ethical flaws in your Finance Minister fiddling his expenses for personal gain, then misusing your powers for someone else’s gain (albeit a close personal friend) seems positively altruistic.
I give you the National Cabinet: Quality with a capital K. (please take them…)
Update: Smith get Conservation and Housing.