Shearer shores up Labour's core areas

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
David Shearer
Labour leader David Shearer

Relevant offers

Politics

Stacey Kirk: Moko's killers deserve life in jail - they've already gotten away with murder Does Brexit wreck it for New Zealand? National MP and former cop Mark Mitchell confesses to accidentally leaving police dog behind Guy Williams: How to take down the National Party Moko: Hit, kicked, thrown, bitten, stomped and smothered – but prosecutors can't prove couple murdered the boy Powerful NZ dame: UK ties to become deeper, stronger and more significant Jonathan Milne: Sorry Boris, you can't come crawling back to the Commonwealth, the days of Empire are gone Winston Peters hails 'stunning 24 hours in world politics' Government reaches out to pokies sector over community funding decline Marama Fox isn't the first MP to tell tobacco companies to 'butt out' of New Zealand's affairs

Labour leader David Shearer could not have given a clearer signal that the party needs to lift its game in its traditional happy hunting grounds - jobs, health and education.

OPINION: While health spokeswoman Maryan Street and education spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta have not been booted out of the top 20, they have been shifted sideways into less critical areas in his long-awaited reshuffle.

In comes Chris Hipkins, who has been acting education spokesman for some time, and feisty veteran Annette King in health.

Insiders say Mr Shearer started with the key areas - jobs, education, health, skills and housing - and then picked his best pinch hitters.

That is a big boost for Phil Twyford who steps up to No 8 in the rankings and takes on the party's crucial housing policy from 2012.

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.

Not surprisingly, Shane Jones is on ice, contingent on a clean slate from the auditor-general's report into the Bill Liu saga. He is a strong debater in a relatively weak field and his appointment marks a step-up in the push for regional development, where there are inevitable clashes with environment policy that Ms Street will have to manage.

David Clark deserves his promotion to No 12 as does Andrew Little to No 19 - though he might have hoped for better. Yet he seems an odd choice for justice where Labour may need someone "tough on crims" to counter National's characterisation of it as soft on crime.

Two who may feel aggrieved are Mana MP Kris Faafoi and Palmerston North's Iain Lees-Galloway, but Mr Shearer singled them out so they are likely next cabs off the rank.

It is a thoughtful reshuffle by Mr Shearer, which matches Mr Key's own move to dump two senior ministers, but hardly exceeds it.

And as good as she may be, Mrs King's promotion is a strange signal from a party bent on rejuvenation and supposedly keen to "move on" from the Clark and Goff years.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content