Polity: New Labour lineup: 8/10

Written By: - Date published: 12:53 pm, November 24th, 2014 - 21 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnReposted 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

21 comments on “Polity: New Labour lineup: 8/10”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Just looking back, it seems that Little is the first labour leader to have a union background since Peter Fraser and Michael Savage.

    • alwyn 1.1

      Mike Moore would qualify since that time.
      According to Wikipedia ” He became an active trade unionist and at the age of 17 was elected to the Auckland Trades Council”.
      How is that for precocious? He then became an MP at 23 I believe.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Apart from Kirk, Rowling, Moore, Clark, Goff and Shearer? All union members or union activists or paid union organisers at some stage in their careers.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1

        Thats a bit more than I thought, but union member is not really a major role as union leader. Its really been Littles career up till parliament, was more what I was thinking

        BTW, what union roles did Helen Clark have ?

        • Te Reo Putake

          Member only, as far as I know. She was a uni lecturer before becoming an MP. The vast majority of Labour MP’s have been or still are union members. The latter is usually as an associate member paying an annual fee to maintain membership of a union where they have a prior history.

          Your point is correct in that narrower sense of union leader. It’s been a while in Britain, too. And possibly in Oz as well. Hawke and Shorten are the only recent ones who spring to mind there.

          Edit: Simon Crean, too.

      • Lindsey 1.2.2

        Phill Goff worked for the Insurance Workers Union until he was first elected to Parliament. he was one of two organisers in the Auckland office of the Union. I was working for the Bank Officer’s Union at the time and we shared premises.

    • alwyn 1.3

      There has been an even more recent Labour Party leader who was a union delegate.

      David Cunliffe of course whose record included
      “His curriculum vitae said he was a union delegate for three years, between 1987 and 1990, and co-convener for a year. The PSA’s electronic records do not go back that far, and the union could not produce anyone who remembered his activities.”
      “”He remembers doing it and being involved in pay negotiations,” the spokesman insisted.
      “He has a clear memory of it, but not clear enough to say who his co-convener was.”

      This from near the bottom of

      How could we all have, like the people there at the time, forgotten this dyed-in-the-wool union man?

  2. Tracey 2

    today hooton referred to king as “appointed” deputy leader “by little”. is this correct. did caucus not vote on deputy.

    hoots must have unloaded his crazy here yesterday… he sounded reasonable today until he pretended to be a little vague about details about slater and the odgers email..

    he didnt use the word hypocrite to describe key… he chose ironic… but he meant hypocrite

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      One nomination, so no vote.

    • lprent 2.2

      Little can say who he’d like. Caucus votes on it tomorrow.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        Lynn – can you look at the moderation filter please? I’ve had to release about 3/4 of comments today that are getting stuck in it.

        I’m about to head out and can’t do it any longer.

        • lprent

          Will do. I have no idea what it is. It is too random to be obvious. However it started after I dashed home this morning to give the server a quick reboot. It’d stalled for no obvious reason and didn’t reboot.

          I will be heading home in the next hour

      • alwyn 2.2.2

        Can you imagine anyone else being nominated?
        I suspect that would see them, together with whoever nominated them, getting a ranking in three digits and a seat under one of the trees outside.

      • Tracey 2.2.3


  3. Bob 3

    Can someone please explain Little’s press release too me?
    He stated “I am pleased to announce Annette King will be my deputy for the coming year” Is a new one nominated each year? Or is he not expecting to stick around long?

    • Bob 3.1

      Don’t worry, just heard Andrew Little on Radio Live, she is only standing for 12 months then they will appoint a new deputy.

    • Zolan 3.2

      Little has said that all these positions will come under review after a year.
      It’s not a regular event, just how he has decided build and test the team under present circumstances.

  4. Clean_power 4

    If Mrs King is the face of change, I do not want to see the visage of stagnation.
    I believe Mr Little is only timing his next move.

  5. Pat O'Dea 5

    “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.”

    Oh dear. No mention that Megan Woods has also been made the shadow minister for climate change.

    Not worth mentioning?

    Just a slip up?

    It seems that Labour still have not got the message on climate change.

    In times of war, the War Minister trumps every other minister, including the Minister of Finance.

    Increasingly as the crisis deepens, the same will become true for the Minister of Climate Change.

    At every high level international forum. In the White House and the Kremlin, in the Pentagon and at NASA. Climate change is always high up on the agenda.

    Except in the New Zealand Labour Party.

    Making the Shadow Minister of Climate Change a lowly ranked, number 13 on the list, and then for some reason, one of Labour’s top advisers to not even mention it, indicates that the Labour Party along with the National Party stubbornly refuse to recognise the gravity of the situation.

    I think this deliberate obsucation and lack of clarity by one of Labour’s top communicators over the question of climate change signals that Megan Woods day-to-day interaction with the Greens will be problematic if not vexatious.

    Labour will need to get their act together on this issue if they want to show that the Left are a government in waiting.

    Disclaimer: Pat O’Dea is the Mana Spokesperson for climate change

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