Shearer shuffle – views from the left

Some views on the Shearer shuffle of his Labour pack from a left perspective – from  Labour Reshuffle and Random notes on the reshuffle (The Standard is a blog of  Labour activists, party members and supporters as well as Green and Mana supporters, and independents).

Not too bad really.

There are no Cunliffe people on the front bench. It’s not a very unifying move.

I’d have picked Cunliffe and Little for the Jobs and Economic Development roles respectively but that was never going to happen.

This is a reshuffle that has put Grant Robertson and his people in poll position.

I assumed Goff and King stepped down after 2011 because they … were stepping down. But they’re not, so we contnue with the worst of both worlds – the same team, with a worse front man. Labour wouldn’t have been any worse off if Goff/King were still there. I’d rather be uninspired by blandness than depressed by hopelessness.

I assume the thinking must have been that David Shearer wasn’t ‘tarred’ with the ‘old guard’ (i.e., Goff and King) brush – at least in the mind of the general public. But, if that was the thinking, then the strategy gets undermined by retaining (and promoting) the ‘old guard’. I guess that’s why Trevor Mallard’s ‘demotion’ was included, so that it looked like Shearer was, indeed, moving some of the ‘old guard’ along.

Dumb dumb dumb – This is neither merit-based nor putting our best foot forward. Need our best and our brightest on the front bench. Leaving people like Cunliffe and Louisa Wall languishing on the back bench is only proof that people are scared of him – not that they are keen for the LP to win in 2014. Doesn’t do anything to unify the party either…

What is most important right now is solidarity.

I cannot believe however that if they were decided on merit any of Arden, Street, Mahuta or Fenton would be in the top twenty. Indeed if MPs were chosen on merit I don’t think that they would even be in the House.

I’m just happy to see an attempt at renewal.

It is incredulous that the Shearer leadership is continuing on a path of the divide and rule
style of politics, if ever there was a need for the labour leaderhsip to be inclusive and
concillatory was now, however what labourites have got is a fingerlicking hope that the
winds blow fair and the masses follow.

Was it on National Radio or whatever, Christchurch is NOT well presented in the new line-up, and that is a REAL worry, given it is still the second largest city, and the major centre down south. Now is David Shearer Mt Albert and Auckland centric, perhaps?

Not too bad? I say it’s actually bloody shit.

It looks to me like all those who supported Cunliffe 15 months ago have been shunted down to/or remain at… the bottom of the heap. And you call that political nous? No, it’s idiocy and indicates that David Shearer is an integral part of the vendetta that continues to be waged against a handful of colleagues by a bunch of Labour Finks.

Yep Nothing to make me even think of reconsidering leaving Labour for the Greens and this vendetta against Cunliffe and his supporters has to stop.

Four of the top ten are bloody ex parliamentary staffers. When is the Labour Party going to look like one?

Yep. It appears that factional loyalty means more than ability in the modern day Labour caucus?

This is NOT Renewal.
This is NOT prmoting on the basis of talent!
This is NOT putting a line under the Leadership doubts!

Another year wasted, as far as I can see.

Exactly – agree – this is a half way to nowhere reshuffle.

In that top 10, Cosgrove, King, Hipkins and Twyford have the power the make decent hits on the government. But pound for pound, they need fresh blood at the 2014 election to really best the newly refreshed National bench.

Really odd that Maori is outside the main portfolios, and can be “handled outside of the front bench”. With the decline fo the Maori party in the polls there is a great opportunity to reclaim mana with Maori right across the country; the whole privatisation of further national assets is going to require major engagement. Wrong move.

Same with Christchurch rebuild. It’s where the majority of non- social welfare expenditure is going to go in the next decade from Government: it needed better oversight that this. Wrong move.

And rOB how can it be “not bad ” for Cunliffe to be made junior to Parker ?

Nope – this is not a good line-up. Mr Shearer’s so-called mediation and negotiating powers are nowhere to be seen. He’s kept all the rightwingers on the front bench, he’s thrown a nod to Pacific Islanders and Women with Su’a and Sue, and he’s left many Labour activists without much to cling on to.

Any shift in any Maori placement is going to put Maori noses out of joint, every time. It’s the most nuanced territorial role in the country.

However here’s another metric: which of the front bench could initaite and write bold policy?
– King can, and has already with Housing
– Parker can, and with Cunliffe’s assistance was good with CGT
– Twyford can, particularly in Transport
– Robertson is certainly a good policy facilitator

Labour, like Nats have done all the time, are “re-marginalising” Maori voters, that is clear.

National’s number 5 minister is CERA. the labour spokesperson is an unranked backbencher.

Major reshuffles like this must be run on the ability of capability and merit. The only relevant metric in choosing who goes where on the field is the winning strength of the team going into 2014. The shame is, I don’t think that this is what has happened here.

The old guard is expectedly featured, loose cannons (jones) and non performers (Curran etc) not demoted and obvious matches not made (Twyford keeping transport to go with housing, Little getting employment or similar) and DC being thrown a bone attached to some minders.

It is almost as if ABC are setting Shearer up by making him make the divisions in Caucus even more stark. Cunliffe supporters are almost all demoted and Shearer supporters or those whose support he bought off are promoted.

Precisely the post of bullshit you can reliably expect from the ABCers ruling the Labour caucus.
Talentless, divisive, myopic.
A triumph of self-interest over duty – Roger Douglas would be proud.

Tomorrow I send in my LP membership renewal form . . . shredded.

( Shaking head shaking head) We Labour are screwed, National could easily get a third term. Being a Labour member is like being a Liverpool support, aint won shit for a long time and isnt likely to win in the foreseeable future.

Maybe some people wanted a ineffective Labour leader…or at least one who would not break the neo-liberal grip on this country if she/he won.

The best chance of beating National as a Labour team is to have your best performers ranked in the highest place. Not this.

No game changer.

Shit team. Sorry but there it is. It’s the reserves and the golden oldies. It’s like if the Nats put Collins and Ryall on the back bench and gave the top jobs to Aaron Gilmore and Tau.

A pretty comprehensive list of portfolios and responsibilities. But no shadow cabinet MP is named as responsible for Climate Change Issues. Even the National Party makes a front row MP responsible for Climate Change.

This “reshuffle” is going make all those non voters turn out and vote for the LP at the next general election? I do not think so.

The LP is bankrupt. The membership is revolting (what is new?) but are a shadow of what once was.

Overall it seems to me a compromise all around, which is really what I would have expected. It has some moves that may well be a signal for either an improved performance or further reduced responsibilities.

I can hear the chigga-chugging of the Labour trainwreck all the way to E Day, where
others will pick up the pieces to help them get over the line to form a government, but,
the question is ‘do they deserve it’?

A race to the bottom of mediocrity with unelectable blandness and old guard members who are proven failures at the polls.

I resigned from Labour today as I thought this was a final slap in the face. I have no confidence in Labour.

Can’t help thinking that when Labour most needs a Big Norm they seem instead to have chosen Big Bird :) . There wasn’t this endless “have we picked the right leader?” debate with National. They picked the right front man and everyone knows it. There were no other contenders. The fact Labour supporters are still asking themselves “did we?” means they didn’t.

Labour is making an attempt, but it is under the WRON G leader, I am afraid.

1. David Shearer – Science & Innovation

David Shearer became the leader of the party after two and a half years in Parliament. Why let inexperience stand in your way?

All in all, not a bad job from Shearer.

I was a strong suppporter of Shearer once. Now its gone.

Shearer will have to do a lot better in his re-shuffle next February. A Lot Lot better.

Sheesh Shearer, wake up and smell the puppeteers! You are better that that, surely?!

Actually demoting Parekura IS an insult to Maori. Shearer doesn’t know what he’s doing .

The only shuffle I want to see from Shearer is “off”….Call this leadership? It’s pathetic.

“Mr Shearer said his decisions were based on choosing the best person for each job.”
Except Shearer is not the best person to be leader.

Congratulations to DS on making his first significant moves toward making labour an even smaller party in 2014.

I’ve been a LP member in the past, but there’s no way I’d consider getting involved again while Shearer’s at the helm.

The biggest idiot and worst leader that Labour have ever had is Shearer. The most arrogant EVER!! What kind of man would stand for the leadership, lose 9 out of 10 debates and STILL put himself forward??

The ABC crowd are very used to the big fat salaries (some have been there since the 1980′s) and don’t want a leader who will shake things up – it’s all about keeping big salaries, and safeguarding personal advancement, much more important than the Labour Party membership and the general public who are suffering!!

So if merit had been the sole criteria, which of the new Top Ten would be there?
– Shearer? Wouldn’t make the top 20.

He is a media disaster. If Labour are stuck with him, maybe he needs to rebrand himself completely as someone with a different style of political management, someone who will put together policy and manage that process, and then just direct and back his shadow cabinet.

He’s not a “quick on his feet” thinker and that’s painfully obvious. The less he says, the wiser he sounds.

Shearer has the singular misfortune of being the right person in the right place at the right time to oversee the LP demise.

2. Grant Robertson – Employment, Arts

And also, doesn’t Grant Robertson’s workload seem a bit too light?

– Robertson? Practically silent outside the beltway.

“Grant Robertson (Environment and SOE’s)
– He’s got more connections in the public sector than any other labour MP and has his hand on the pulse when it comes to SOE’s. The environment is something that could be a strength of his.”
The lad only knows planet government. He has not had a breath of air outside on the beltway.

I’ll be interested to see how Robertson goes with the jobs role – he’s lined up for the leadership after Shearer so he better show some chops.

3. David Parker – Finance, Shadow Attorney-General

I just listen to the press conference, Shearer said re: Parker that he has “led the debate on the transformation of our economy” and that “there is no-one in the parliament with the depth of understanding of the challenges we are facing [other than Parker].” What complete and utter bullshit.

I think Clark and Parker will work well together (they have before) but a shame Cunliffe remains outside.

– Parker? Hasn’t landed so much as a jab on Joyce.

4. Jacinda Ardern – Welfare, Children

Prefacing her mild opposition to the most draconian of NAct’s welfare bashing with the honorific “Comrades” is all that I can see that makes Ardern even remotely left wing.

So the top 10 is blindingly ABC, making Jacinda Ardern perhaps the most left wing out of the top 10.

Ardern’s promotion could be seen as realization that welfare matters to Labour’s base but, OTOH, was probably for packaging reasons.

– Ardern. Has sustained good profile, without major damage onto Bennett.

5. Clayton Cosgrove – SOEs, Commerce, Trade

Cosgrove has the main dish for this year: whether can can really re-heat the anti-asset sale campaign at all. It’s completely out of the public mind now. And it’s yet to be seen whether he can land clean hits on anything. But he has good rhetorical sparkle, which does count on tv and radio.

– Cosgrove? Hasn’t focused the anti- asset sale petition project, and should have made far stronger SOE hits. Maybe top 20.

6. Annette King – Health

– King. Labour’s only standout policy in 5 years.

Trevett was right about King. I don’t think now, that she’ll be standing for Wellington Mayor and I don’t think we’ll see her retire until at least 2020.

If Annette King isn’t retiring then why isn’t she leader? No, she wouldn’t be my first choice, but why isn’t she the ABC’s first choice? Does anybody seriously believe that Shearer is better equipped for the job?

I’ve thought this for a while, Annette King is the logical choice to lead Labour into the next election. She’s given up her aspirations to be Mayor of Welly in order to be promoted back to the front bench. I think she might have her eye on the top job…

I’d certainly take her as leader over Shearer.

Oooh, I almighty know Annette is one of the better ones and knows a lot, but for heaven’s sake, what was her bloody performance in housing?? It was DISMAL!

7. Shane Jones – Regional Development, Foresty, Associate Finance

Jones – much as he is greasy – can do that. I have heard him called lazy and incoherent in Parliament. Clearly he has supporters.

And don’t get me started on Shane Jones. I bet he touted himself to both sides to get himself the biggest advantage.

Relying on Jones to be an effective member of the team sums it up for me. The man’s never been anything but a loud mouthed, rude, self serving lazy ineffective member of both gov’t and opposition. In a word untrustworthy.

– Jones? Should have had a slow public rehabilitation, nor pre-emptied public release of A-G report. Also wouldn’t make the top 20.

8. Phil Twyford – Housing, Auckland

Pretty surprised that Transport is taken off Twyford and given to Ian Lees-Galloway. Twyford has done a good job on it, and it’s totally interrelated with the Housing portfolio. Does this signal they are readying Juie-Ann Genter for Transport- I think so. Odd move.

– Twyford. Strong performer. One to unquestionably deserves the place, on merit.

9. Maryan Street – Environment

I’m not convinced by Street at 9; I’m sure she’s a senior figure but her portfolios don’t warrant the position, and she has been utterly ineffective. Wrong move.

– Street? So risibly weak that should no longer be in Parliament.

Maryan loses Health because she didn’t scored hits against Ryall. Lets look back a few years. Straight after the 2008 election, Ruth Dyson is the Health Spokesperson. She loses the portfolio because she wasn’t deemed effective in the role (Ruth demoted). The porfolio is given to Grant Robertson. He doesn’t score any hits either but he continues on a trajectory of being promoted and now Maryan is demoted for under performing (how convenient that underperformance is ignored in some instances)

10. Chris Hipkins – Education, Chief Whip

– Hipkins Great hits, but so’s a Piniata. Maybe top 10 as a growth prospect.

Chris Hipkins is promoted in to the education spokesperson role because according to his caucus mates (the same ones who would have been put the resources behind him to get the publicity that he did get) he performed well while Mahuta was on maternity leave. In the ‘real’ world, if someone was seconded in to a role because a woman went on maternity leave, you couldn’t just dispense of her because you felt that her replacement had done a better job. But hey – who are we to hold the Labour Party to good employment law. It’s important to keep in mind here that the leadership never truly backed Mahuta as the education spokesperson – in fact I think it is fair to say that she was pretty much set up to fail (well done labour).

11. Nanaia Mahuta – Youth, Maori Development

Mahuta did well to hang on at 11; with a new baby and not really firing all of 2012, can’t see her being ranked solely on merit. I guess still better bet than a retiring Horomia.

Mahuta is there because she’s Ratana – and anyhow when you demote your top Maori player, you have to have someone else up close (No 11) to cover that spot otherwise it looks like an insult to Maori.

12. David Clark – Economic Development, Small Business

Good to see advancement for David Clark. He has made a mark in his first year.

David Clark’s mark – as far as I can tell – is that he’s a numbers man. All his Red Alert blogs are about numbers. Where is the “people” instinct in that ? And putting him into economic development when he’s barely been in Parliament two years – that’s a laugh …… farcical …. if it wasn’t so sad.

David Clark’s numbers posts were because he was Revenue spokesperson. He’s a Presbyterian minister – there’s a fair amount of “people” instinct in that…

And just personally, congratulations to my MP David Clark – watch that man!

I always felt that David Clark has promise,so, he deserves his spot.

Can’t understand the gift of Economic Development to David Clark. I can’t see him staring down any boardroom in any part of the top end of town.

I think Clark and Parker will work well together (they have before) but a shame Cunliffe remains outside.

Interesting to see David Clark get economic development, I know he has some time in treasury under his belt but he’s not got a lot of business experience. He’ll need to perform to score points off Joyce.

13. Sue Moroney – ACC, ECE, Women’s Affairs

ACC taken from a heavyweight (albeit down towards the bottom of the ranking) who knew something about the portfolio and given to a lightweight who knows little and probably cares even less

14. Su’a William Sio – Local Government, Pacific

15. Phil Goff – Foreign Affairs, State Services, Defence

Labour needs to have someone understudying Goff in Foreign Affairs and Defence; he won’t be there forever.

16. Darien Fenton – Labour, Immigration, Junior Whip

17. Damien O’Connor – Primary Industries, Food Safety

18. Clare Curran – Comms/ICT, Open Govt

Curran. Open Government. Snigger. How do Standard commenters and posters feel about that one?

I should probably mention that she’s still trying to get the National council to put rules in place for members who blog and censures for those who are deemed to have blogged inappropriately.


Aren’t right-wing, neo-fascist viewpoints in the Labour Party looked upon with horror or has that now changed?

Clearly it’s different when it’s Curran doing it, because, you know, she believes in Open Government! So it can’t be authoritarian bullshit!

Does she fecking realise that she owes a duty to her members to represent the best interests of the Labour Party and that they do not owe her an obligation of preserving her privilege.

Time for someone to put their hand up for Dunedin South.

I’d settle for cliché. The way she does open government it’s bloody newspeak.

That said, she does the admirable job of not completely sucking in the IT portfolio. It’s so easy to do so incredibly badly that I think that actually does deserve praise, even though she doesn’t really *get* IT entirely.

Clare Curran has not delivered in her Telco role: she failed to analyse and challenge the Telecom Chorus split.
Clare Curran has not delivered to the Labour organisation: she failed to deliver a basic blog site; coals to Eskimos.
Clare Curran has not delivered to the people of Dunedin. see her poor performance here
(that puts her in the same league as King, Robertson, Hipkins and Mallard- a de-facto wellinton clique member)
clare curran HAS delivered loyalty to Shearer.
she is a winner….

Curran should have been sent to the backbenches for her lack of understanding facets
of the internet and how it works for people behind the key-boards, she is hopeless

19. Andrew Little – Justice, Tourism

20. Megan Woods – Tertiary Education

David Cunliffe

Cunliffe would have breathed life into the Labour party,he would have taken the people
with him, now he sits on the backbenches with token portfolios,what a waste.

Cunliffe’s talents are under-utilised, though.

With Revenue & Assoc Finance he’ll be right back into the tight 4 of finance (with Parker, Clark on Econ Dev & Cosgrove on SOEs/Commerce), even without a position.

More likely they (2 of them anyway) will undermine or misconstrue just about every contribution he tries to make.

Its a real insult to Cunliffe for him to be made underling to the likes of Parker.

It’s a shame, because he has shown real talent and conviction, but Cunliffe’s position is of his making. He’ll be back. The party will bring him back into the fold.

Having interviewed David Cunliffe, it’s apparent he’s an intelligent man and a talented politician, but he is where he is because of his actions.

It’s a damn shame caucus is not mending fences and making use of Cunliffe’s talents.

I’m disappointed not to see Cunliffe back on the front bench (but I know that’s not how politics works in the “real world” – alas!)

Imagine what would happen if Graham Henry/Richie McCaw left one of their star players on the bench during a key game – we would think they were idiots. I cannot think of any clearer sign of fearful and weak leadership than what Shearer has just done re: Cunliffe.

They’ve given Cunliffe some portfolios to use his great intelligence and innovative thinking, yet have made sure he’s in the background so he can’t get any publicity or credit!!

What a slap in the face to the most talented of all the Labour Caucas, i.e. David Cunliffe. Not only is his cv impressive, but his performance when in Government was too.

Hope Cunliffe just sits quietly off to one side for a while. To me he is a dog who’s day is yet to come, and when it does he will be the sort of game changer politician that you see only one every second or third generation – Savage?. Some of the major issues bubbling out the back will need a big changes of policy and direction and he has the ability to do that.

Lousia Wall

I think Louisa Wall should have had a nod for all her work on marriage equality.

Louisa Wall gets her marriage equality members bill up and does a stellar job of fronting the issue (the greens could have so easily run this issue) and yet, she doesn’t feature in the list of MPs promoted….?

Lianne Dalziel

I am absolutely astonished that Lianne Delziel has been thrown out of the top 20,she has
been a strong fighter for those in Christchurch and has been very good in parliament arguing
for the people of Christchurch.

Lianne said recently she wasn’t interested in the Ch’ch mayoralty. Maybe this is a not-so-subtle tip to get her to change her mind. I hope she doesn’t.

Lianne, on the other hand, has been sent a clear signal.

Mallard and Dalziel have allowed themselves to be shuffled down in the interests of renewal – bravo to them.

Trevor Mallard

Meanwhile Trevor Mallard is making a song and dance on his facebook page (in case anyone cared) and is at pains to highlight that his demotion was all about his plans to be Speaker after the next election… *shudder*…

Trevor has the speaker’s job sewn up if they win so I don’t take his “demotion” very seriously at all. If anything it’ll give him more time to scheme.

The duck as speaker ? ….. surely you jest.

I fully support Mallard becoming speaker of somewhere like Mongolia, but not here.

If there is any shred of respect left for politicians in NZ that would be its death notice, amongst over a 100 pretty useless humans he is the biggest turd of the lot.

Ruth Dyson

Conservation, *who*? I am totally unable to find a single connection between Ruth Dyson and conservation. Instead I found a drink driving thing. Is that all that Labour has? Really? Even Kate Wilkinson was more of a conservationist.

Nick Smith a very strong Conservation Minister. Unfortunately I do not believe that Dyson will be able to touch him.

And you think putting Dyson in that portfolio is a serious alternative for winning Green votes?


If they wanted some real renewal, lets see Moana instead of Maryan. Louisa instead of, well, anyone of the other 19 on the list above. In fact hasn’t Louisa been an MP now long enough to qualify her for leader. But no, a hard working MP sits in the ‘unranked’ backbenches.

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