Rodney Hide on Little’s reshuffle

Rodney writes at NBR:

I don?t know what Labour leader Andrew Little was trying to signal with his reshuffle, if anything. And there you have his problem: he?s an insider?s man given over to political machinations rather than clear, blunt political statement that enables the voting public to think, ?Oh yes, I get it.?

I am sure there?s much politics and machination behind the shuffle but it doesn?t win a vote because it doesn?t say anything to voters. I have followed it most closely and I don?t get what Mr Little is trying to say and can only conclude he is trying to say nothing.

I think the machinations were all about nobbling threats, like a resurgent David Cunliffe, who it must be said was onto some good headlines with his exposing of education rorts.

The message certainly is not of a new generation. Not as long as that wonderfully majestic, politically old war horse, Annette King is No 2. She is the undisputed House mum. She?s tough, she?s smart, she?s loveable but she?s been there forever. She?s not new.

Neither is Trevor Mallard or Damien O’Connor or Ruth Dyson.

It can?t be about Auckland, where the votes are. Or the provinces where there?s votes to be had. Not as long as the top three come from Wellington.

And Little can’t even win a seat, provincial or otherwise.

Mr Little could have chosen to say such a lot. He could have set things alight. Instead he chose to say nothing at all. It?s another ? in a long list ? of Labour?s wasted opportunities.

But there?s sport to be had nonetheless.

Mr Little announced 12 MPs as his front bench. But Labour?s front bench has only eight seats. Four MPs are sitting in the second bench. His shadow cabinet is 22 MPs. The actual cabinet has 20 ministers. Half his shadow cabinet would have to be dumped on election to make way for New Zealand First and Green ministers.

That is just inept.

Then there?s poor Nanaia Mahuta. She was first elected in 1996 with me. Since then she has been biding her time. She has drifted and floated up, sight unseen, put herself up as a candidate for leader and was considered as deputy, and now she?s been not so much floated down but dunked from four to 12. She must be thinking how unfair that is. She has done nothing wrong. In fact, she has done nothing.

I feel for David Cunliffe. What the hell? At the last election the Labour Party was telling us how wonderful he is and that he should be prime minister. One-quarter of voters voted for this.

Now the party says he?s not good enough to be front row and 27 MPs are now ranked ahead of him. Only four are below him and one of those is campaigning to be Auckland mayor.

Team Cunliffe got rinsed.

I don?t recall Mr Cunliffe disgracing himself and yet down he goes as if we are to forget the party once thought him the best person to lead the country.

Contrast the treatment of Bill English vs the treatment of David Cunliffe. Says much about the people inside Labour.

What on earth is Mr Little trying to tell us with that? That Labour is a party of inside machinations, incapable of looking out to see what?s needed and what voters are looking for.

I’m not sure either.? I think the message is “We’re not ready yet…and not likely to be either…for the foreseeable future”.