Cunliffe names new line-up

ANDREA VANCE AND MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 16:06 23/09/2013

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The ABCs are now "All Behind Cunliffe", so said the new Labour leader David Cunliffe as he unveiled his new shadow cabinet this afternoon.

Cunliffe has revamped his team after his election to leader last week - and has included MPs from the Anyone But Cunliffe (ABC) faction, which opposed his bid.

Deputy leader David Parker was nameds finance spokesman, as expected. He would lead a "beefed up" economic policy team which includes failed leadership contenders Grant Robertson and Shane Jones.

Among the winners in his "merit-based" reshuffle were Rongotai MP Annette King, who retains the health portfolio and moves up two ranking spots. King supported rival Robertson in the bid to be leader.

A surprise winner was former whip Chris Hipkins who moves up two places, despite openly criticising Cunliffe last year.

Cunliffe backer Sue Moroney was promoted, and becomes the party's social development spokeswoman and Chief Whip.

Louisa Wall, Nanaia Mahuta, Moana Mackey and Andrew Little all move into the shadow cabinet.

Cunliffe insisted "there was no hatchet to bury" and there was no utu involved in his reshuffle.

The ABCs have been renamed, he said.

"I think it's something like All Behind Cunliffe."

He added: "I've said at the start of this process that any personal relationships, personal feelings that I might have had a couple of weeks ago have absolutely disappeared. I am here as the servant of the whole caucus."

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran, who launched a social media attack on Cunliffe's leadership campaign team, was stripped of her portfolio.

Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford was demoted as was Dunedin North David Clark, who descends eight places.

List MP Jacinda Ardern, also a prominent Robertson supporter, was also demoted two rankings.

Cunliffe said she had asked for the police round, because she was from a "police family."

Former leader Phil Goff lost his front-bench spot, and his foreign affairs role, which went to immediate past leader David Shearer.

"It's mathematically impossible that everyone goes up at the same time," Cunliffe said.

Last week Cunliffe sat down with each Labour MP to hear what roles they would like.

"I've tried, to the best that I've been able to, to get them into roles they are excited by."

Newest MP Meka Whaitiri has landed the newly created water portfolio.

Cunliffe said the new team would now concentrate on taking the fight to the Government. The economy was "stuck in first gear," he said. "That is feeding a widening gap of inequality which most New Zealanders find distasteful and wrong."

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The "themes" of the new shadow cabinet would be: making the economy work for New Zealander, closing down inequality gaps, protecting the environment and "strengthening our national identity".

"This place is on the slide, New Zealanders want a fresh start, and they are going to get it from this team," he said.

- Fairfax Media

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