Cunliffe reshuffle rewards Mallard; Robertson takes economic development
By Pattrick Smellie
May 6 (BusinessDesk) – Long-serving Labour Party MP Trevor Mallard is one of the big winners from a shadow Cabinet reshuffle announced by the party’s leader David Cunliffe, whose election he opposed in last year’s battle.
A prime mover in the so-called ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) faction of the Labour caucus, Mallard moves from an unranked position outside the shadow Cabinet announced last September to 15th ranking in the new line-up for the 33 member caucus, and moves to the second bench in Parliament.
Mallard, a bruising parliamentary performer, had been widely tipped for retirement at the 2014 election and had boundary changes move against him in his Hutt South electorate, but emerged last week as one of the architects of Labour’s politically well-received proposals to change monetary policy settings.
The reshuffle was required after previously fifth-ranked Shane Jones stunned the party a fortnight ago by announcing immediate retirement from politics to take up a roving Pacific ambassador role created by the government.
Deputy leader Grant Robertson steps into Jones’s economic development role, while previously 11th-ranked Phil Twyford moves to the Labour front bench at number six, with new responsibilities for transport as well as his current housing portfolio.
Justice and labour portfolio spokesman Andrew Little also moves up the ranks, from 17th to 11th, while former party president Maryan Street continued to slide, falling from 12th to 16th, while retaining the state services portfolio and picking up tertiary education.
Kelvin Davis, who replaces Jones, has entered the caucus at number 22, with associate responsibilities for regional development, education, police and corrections.