Morning reads

Cunliffe not so supportive after all (

An embittered David Cunliffe is refusing to rule out quitting Parliament altogether as leader David Shearer moves to finalise his front bench.

It is understood Mr Cunliffe has been offered a front bench seat and a senior portfolio but has balked at his proposed ranking.

This is not good. After Cunliffe pledged his support to Shearer, we would have expected better. To be honest, maybe it would be best if he either left parliament, or spent some time on the back benches (a la David Miliband). The last thing the new Labour caucus needs is their own Kevin Rudd.

Key rejects Shearer’s call for cross party poverty group (Amelia Romanos, NZ Herald)

Not at all surprising, but still disappointing…

Labour leader David Shearer’s wish to be included in a ministerial poverty committee is unlikely to come true.

In the formal announcement about Labour’s leadership yesterday, Mr Shearer said he did not want to see the gap between the rich and poor grow further, and wanted to be part of the Government’s proposed poverty committee.

“John Key has indicated he is finally prepared to address the issue of poverty and will set up a ministerial committee. I call on him to be brave and open that committee up to all political parties,” Mr Shearer said.

“I want to be on it and to have the chance to offer my expertise to help us deal with the problem.”

One of David Shearer’s strengths is that he does have expertise in dealing with exactly these issues. If Key were to take the issue seriously he would not only be looking to include Shearer, but also all the other parties in Parliament, to work together to find lasting solutions for the massive poverty issue this country faces.

There are too many Ministers (Trevor Mallard, Red Alert)

Good to hear this from Trevor…

New Zealand has a ridiculous number of Ministers for a country our size.

It had got slightly worse under MMP but this government has taken it beyond absurd with 80% of the non National confidence and supply partner members bought off with a Ministerial post, and the final one on a promise of getting one during the term.

I spent three years as a whip which included cabinet committee experience in the 1980s and the nine years as a Minister in the Clark government.

I saw lots of weak, and some frankly useless Ministers. Most, but not all, were in the second half of the rankings. They often caused more work than they added value. There was an enormous amount of time wasted explaining what was either obvious or buried in papers that if they had been read hadn’t been understood.

We do need to look at the size of the ministry, but in the context of a bigger review of our public service. I’m totally opposed to the sort of across the board cuts that Tony Ryall seems so keen on, but a measured look at how we can make our public service more effective has got to be worth while.


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