As the political year kicks off, Jacinda Ardern has delayed an anticipated cabinet reshuffle, which now looks to have been postponed to after May.
One of the biggest problems for Ardern is the lack of gender diversity in her cabinet. In a cabinet of 20, just six are women, and that goes against Labour’s line that cabinets should generally have an equal amount of men and women.
Well, there used to be seven women in the cabinet. But Clare Curran was embroiled in scandal after scandal and add to that her failings in open government, she was never really cut out for the job and was given the axe.
Meka Whariti, another women minister outside of cabinet was forced to stand aside after allegations arose that she assaulted a staff member.
Another minister who’s had problems is Iain Lees-Galloway, who late last year was constantly under fire due to his handling of the Karel Sroubek deportation case.
Personally, I don’t think Lees-Galloway will be thrown under the bus, though I do think that he will shift portfolios.
And while there (should be) just one cabinet place up for grabs, there are always opportunities for MPs to be ministers outside of cabinet.
So, who could make the step up?
Probably the MP deserves a call up to cabinet most. Currently a minister outside of cabinet, he has proven himself again and again as a safe pair of hands. When Curran lost Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media portfolio, it was Faafoi who took it, and the same for Customs when Whariti had to stand down. Unfortunately, due to Ardern and Labour’s wish for more women in cabinet, Faafoi may be forced to wait.
Ruth Dyson has now been in parliament for 25 years, or since 1993. As a minster under Helen Clarke during the Fifth Labour Government, she’s one of the few in Labour who have had previous ministerial experience. She should be able to get her head down and get on with the job without attracting too much attention, which is what Labour needs right now. My pick for who will go to cabinet.
As an MP since 2008, and with big name recognition as it was her bill that led to the legalization of same sex marriage, I was somewhat surprised to see Wall get nothing when cabinet was formed. With name recognition and a massive achievement under her belt, Wall would generate some excitement. However, her list ranking of 26 last election, 14 places lower than what it was at 2014 implies that she may have trouble with the Labour higher ups, so I see Wall going into cabinet as unlikely.
If Labour really want to spring a surprise, Kiri Allan would be the way to go. Allan only arrived in parliament at last election, yet is highly regarded, and when I interviewed her after the last election, she was really impressive. Out of the MPs I interviewed, I would say that she’s the most likely to be a future PM. Should she be moved to cabinet, I can see her doing a very impressive job, but she is still the riskiest move for Labour at the moment, and risky isn’t what the party needs.
Still, it is important to recognize that as Ardern has said, any cabinet reshuffle is a long way away, and it also important to note that this is just my speculation.
Oh, and, yeah. I’m back writing at this blog after a long hiatus. Good to be back!