Vernon Small comments at Stuff:
Behind them, keeping them honest, will be former leader Phil Goff and the demoted but not forgotten Trevor Mallard. They will team up as the nucleus of a new “hit-squad”, with extra research and media resources to dig and dish the dirt.
David Farrar at Kiwiblog pointed this out, and responds:
Mind you, they could be quite effective. They successfully destroyed David Cunliffe’s career through background briefings to media, so if they can manage that with one of their own colleagues they might be able to do it with other MPs!
But it’s a lot easier to influence the actions of their own puppet than it is of an opposing party leader.
Key didn’t exactly demote Judith Collins after Mallard’s big attempted hit last year – and arguably by drawing Andrew Little in to his game playing Mallard may have hindered Little’s climb up the ranks.
Little was 15 on Labour’s 2011 list and is now ranked 19.
Mallard was 9 in 2011, he is now unranked in the under 20 group.
It’s easier to succeed in shooting oneself in the foot than taking potshots at opponents.