I’m not sure what Vernon Small was on when he started on this opinion piece, but it had to be pretty good.
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.
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.
Feisty veteran Annette King?
But wait, he’s got more lipstick to go around.
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.
“Feisty” veterans and a “Hit-squad”.
I guess Vernon was on something, but it didn’t last for the whole time he was writing. Because in the end, he loses the will to live and faces up to the whole thing being as uninspired and boring as it really is.
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.
Shearer really did the best he could. If you’re dealt a shit hand, no amount of moving the cards around is going to turn a 2 into an Ace.