A continuation of the series thinking ahead until after the Election.
The current polls mean anything other than a massive National victory is about as believable as the fairies at the bottom of Phil Goff’s garden. This opens up at least three places for new ministers after the election, and perhaps more in the event that ACT fail to get enough MPs to have influence or chose to have a big sook and sit on the cross benchers.
Three current Ministers, Mapp, Te Heu Heu and Power retire at the election. This theoretically opens up three gaps, and perhaps more if John Key decides to demote any under performing ministers, or those caught up in ethics or sex scandals.
John Key chooses the National Cabinet, and from what this blog can gather there are going to be a large number of very disappointed people who entered parliament before or at the 2005 election.
Chief Whip Chris Tremain appears likely to take the step up after a solid tenure in the Whips office. Chris’ actual business ownership background helps when considering how few of caucus actually have put their own money on the line and employed people at their own risk. He has built strong links across the house through the parliamentary rugby team, and could well be the go to guy if negotiations with other parties are required later in the term.
Chris’ fantastic ability to turn a red seat very blue was noted by David Farrar and points to him potentially having a role selling tough National policies, as he is one of the few that actually understands strategy and front foots difficult issues rather than hiding.
The liberal media have been talking up Chester Borrows, who is very much on the wet/pinko/blue liberal faction of caucus, because he will replace media darling and pinko standard bearer Simon Power, although Tony Ryall seems to have the front running as the leader of this faction and it is my bet that the media will start talking about him as the next best hope for national after John Key. This blog remains unconvinced that National needs more pinkos or wets in cabinet when they are borrowing $380m a week and being tough on crime has been shown to be popular and to work.
Chester came up with a sensible compromise on the anti smacking issue, but around the house his stature is probably greater in the eyes of the media than in the eyes of his colleagues. Wanganui is a seat Labour need to win back if they are to win power, and Chester could lose his seat in 2014.
The Prime Minister will have to look to bring in more women so he doesn’t get criticised in the same way National will be hammered for having only 16 women out of 58 MPs, and so few new women entering parliament. This gives both Jo Goodhew and Amy Adams a potential head start on their competitors.
Jo is similar to Chris Tremain in that she can win votes and get swing voters backing her. She had the single biggest swing in the 2005 election, ousting Jim Sutton by close to 7000 votes, after Jim won it in 2002 by 6500 votes. Unfortunately for Jo she may be asked to run the Whips office so someone with experience remains there if Chris Tremain is elevated.
Amy Adams has managed to impress many, especially in the media where she has apparently masked her right wing tendencies to come across as very much part of the wet/pinko/blue liberal wing. She is known to be close to Simon Power, which is part of Amy’s real problem. Given her high positive ratings it is likely she will be promoted, but how far she goes is a unsure. Her indiscretion is legendary. At the beginning of her first term she was telling caucus colleagues what role they would play in her administration in her first term as Prime Minister, and openly talking of backing Power over Collins in a leadership battle. Unlike many successful women politicians Amy also seems more in touch with the modern ladette culture, and can drink and curse with the best of them and often remaining the last one standing.
As highlighted earlier, this term is likely to become unruly for National as there will be many who see themselves as perfect for Cabinet who are passed over for peers. Almost all of those in parliament before 2005 fit in this category, and it is easy to see objections to most of the rest of the 2005 in take. None of these people have really seized the day and made an indelible impression in politics.
Unfortunately the same can probably be said about most of the rest of the 2005 intake. Almost all came in with good credentials and high hopes but have probably not done enough to inspire promotions. Many are simply too old, and others faces don’t fit. David Bennett may be an outside chance but his womanising when colleagues are working is apparently a huge point against him in the eyes of the PM.
Some of the 2008 intake may make the step up straight after the election, but may be told to wait their turn. Some will likely never get a turn as they have blotted their copy book badly, including Nikki Kaye for getting off side with the party line and giving Nick Smith a hard time in the house, and Melissa Lee for the shambolic Mt Albert by election.
Men like Simon Bridges and Todd McClay have been talked of as potential candidates to step up, and may well do so but not immediately post election.
This all assumes that the Prime Minister decides not to demote anyone else from cabinet to bring new blood through for the good of the people.