Labour Party leader David Cunliffe appears to have put
personal differences aside as he reshuffles his top caucus
line-up for the September 20 election.
Despite some minor tinkering at the top, following the
resignation of list MP Shane Jones, Mr Cunliffe has his
strongest possible team now available to take on a Government
beleaguered by ongoing scandals.
The most significant move is the appointment of veteran MP
Trevor Mallard as the spokesman for immigration and internal
affairs, ensuring Dunedin-based list MP and Immigration
Minister Michael Woodhouse will not have an easy ride in
Mr Mallard, one of Labour's hardest MPs had been languishing
on the backbenches following Mr Cunliffe's election as
However, the South Island has not been treated well, with its
highest-ranked MP, Maryan Street, demoted to 16th on the
Next highest are West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor at 19
and Dunedin North MP David Clark at 20.
Ms Street gets tertiary education, pushing one of the most
important portfolios for the Government down Labour's
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has ended her time in the
wilderness, regaining her prized role as ICT spokeswoman.
After supporting Grant Robertson in the leadership contest,
Ms Curran found herself as associate ICT spokeswoman with Mr
Cunliffe taking on the full responsibility.
Also elevated in the reshuffle was Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford,
who moves from 11 to six on the rankings.
He is responsible for housing, transport and Auckland issues.
Mr Cunliffe appears to be making a serious attempt to take on
the Government in economic and regional development.
He retains the role of regional development and has appointed
Mr Robertson as economic development spokesman with Mr
Mallard as his associate.
Returning MP Kelvin Davis is associate spokesman on regional
The top 10 Labour MPs are: Mr Cunliffe (leader, security and
intelligence, regional development) 1; David Parker (deputy
leader, finance, attorney-general) 2; Grant Robertson (shadow
leader of the House, economic development, employment skills
and training) 3; Annette King (health) 4; Jacinda Ardern
(children, police, corrections) 5; Phil Twyford (housing,
transport, Auckland issues) 6; Clayton Cosgrove (SOEs,
commerce, building and construction, Earthquake Commission)
7; Nanaia Mahuta (Maori affairs, Treaty negotiations) 8;
Chris Hipkins (education) 9; Sue Moroney (senior whip, social