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Andrew Dickens: Cabinet reshuffle shows a lack of talent in Labour pool

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 7:09am
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Andrew Dickens: Cabinet reshuffle shows a lack of talent in Labour pool

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Tue, 14 Jun 2022, 7:09am

Yesterday's minor cabinet shuffle became a major one after two resignations.

Trevor Mallard steps down as speaker, much to everyone’s relief. Laughingly one of the least diplomatic members of Parliament is moving into a diplomatic position in Europe.  Cynics, like ACT, have suggested that it’s so he can get a knighthood before the Government changes at the next election.

Meanwhile, Kris Faa’foi steps down to spend more time with his family. Cynics would say he checked out a while back and I think that’s true. Immigration in particular has been bogged down and needs a strong hand to whip it back into action and Kris wasn’t that man.

I wish he’d admitted his priorities earlier but he goes with my support and good wishes.

So those two big moves gave the Prime Minister the chance to attack some glaring weaknesses.

Most notably, Poto Williams, who loses Police to Chris Hipkins.

Poto Williams was immensely unsuited to the Police role. She lacked confidence and the ability to speak straight.  

Like many in Labour’s caucus she speaks in what I call ‘universitese’. “I reject the premise of that question” is a classic. Academic speak that has too much “on the one hand and yet on the other” in it.

Once you spend the time to translate the gobbledygook you find she wasn’t wrong.  Serous violent crime is down but there is a particular gang war and a trend of teenage ramraids that need dealing to.

Poto couldn’t deal to anyone. She’s far better off waxing lyrical about conservation.

So the job goes to Chris Hipkins. Clearly the party’s star and clear number three. And one of the few who can fight in the trenches and speak plainly

And here’s my real problem.

After the big election win last time, this was the largest caucus that any party has ever had.  And yet here is a party who seems to have few choices when it comes to frontline staff. It’s Chris or Chris and maybe Michael and Megan.

If the All Blacks had a similar lack of depth we’d all give up the game.

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