Dunedin MP a 'rising star'

David Clark
David Clark
Dunedin North MP David Clark has been identified as a "rising star" by Labour leader David Shearer who elevated the first-term MP to economic development spokesman in today's caucus reshuffle.

Mr Clark will work with David Parker who retains the finance role for Labour along with assuming the role of shadow attorney-general.

Mr Clark's former role as revenue spokesman has been given to David Cunliffe who still languishes on the backbenches.

In a surprising move, Mr Shearer has appointed Shane Jones to number 7 on the front bench, subject to a pending Attorney General's report.

Chris Hipkins, who has made life tough for Education Minister Hekia Parata becomes education spokesman at the expense of Nania Mahuta, a supporter of Mr Cunliffe.

Former deputy leader Annette King returns to the front bench with health and Phil Twford moves to the front bench with housing. 

Labour leader David Shearer will this afternoon reveal his new caucus line-up with much of the focus on how he treats David Cunliffe, who was demoted last year after failing to rule out a challenge for the leadership.

Mr Cunliffe, now a backbench MP, was the party's economic development spokesman and the MP most likely to cause grief for Government ministers because of his sharp questions.

Mr Cunliffe is identifiable with the left of the party despite living in one of Auckland's wealthiest suburbs.

If Mr Cunliffe is left to stew on the backbench, Mr Shearer might face some further pressure to step down if poll numbers continue to remain low for Labour and his own personal following.

The reshuffle has been made somewhat easier for Mr Shearer with the resignation of list MP Charles Chauvel but some long-serving non-performing MPs are expected to be removed from the front bench to make room for a fresher looking line-up.


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