Polity: New Labour lineup: 8/10
Written By: - Date published: 12:53 pm, November 24th, 2014 - 21 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour - Tags: polity
Reposted from Polity
As readers will have seen, Andrew Little has announced Labour’s new lineup. Overall, I think this is a pretty shrewd list, seeking to build a united caucus team after the very close leadership election. It is not exactly what I might have done, although it is close. A couple of the talking points:
- Annette King as Deputy Leader: I think Annette is wonderfully well positioned to shepherd Labour through a period of (hopefully mainly private) reflection over the next wee while. She has done the job before, in difficult circumstances, and she knows the caucus and the party inside and out. She’s a bridge builder, and has universal respect both in the party and also in the press gallery. Of course age could be an issue when Andrew Little re-examines his lineup in a year, and Andrew has emphasised the one-year-for-now nature of her appointment, but you’re only as old as you feel and Annette still has the energy and drive of an up-and-comer.
- Grant Robertson for Finance: This is, of course, a bold move. Grant was always going to be a key player in Labour’s senior team, and this appointment allows him to broaden his experience still further. When Labour wins government, he’ll be a formidable Minister-of-Almost-Everything, running the legislative / regulatory show behind Andrew’s leadership. It will, of course, take Grant a while to come up to speed and establish credibility on finance issues, especially given the long teeth of his National counterpart Bill English. Some have said Grant can’t be credible on finance because of his public sector background. But many of those same people said that as a non-lawyer he couldn’t foot it with Judith Collins, either. Look what happened there.
- Whips (Hipkins and Sepuloni): Again, smart to have the “powers behind the throne” having strong links, between them, to almost the entire caucus.
- Megan Woods covering the environment. This was always going to be tricky, given the departure of Moana Mackey and the understandable desire to promote fresh faces, inevitably at the expense of more experienced people. Megan’s background in science and research will be tremendously valuable here. I imagine a significant part of her role will involve day-to-day interaction with some of the Greens’ key spokespeople, which is very important as the left strives to work as a government in waiting.
- Front bench (overall): I really like the mix of people here, who almost universally represent the idea at least behind “New Generation to Win.” That was Grant Robertson’s campaign slogan, but all through the leadership contest Andrew Little has supported the idea of generational change as well. I don’t see this as Little copying Robertson, it is more a case of two good minds thinking alike. Of course, a flip side of youth is that for a time we might properly expect National to do well in the House, given their relatively hefty dose of combined Cabinet experience. But House dominance in 2015 is not the key to the 2017 election; instead, a consistent display of clarity and unity and being on New Zealanders’ side is what is needed from Labour right now