OPINION: When political parties reshuffle their lineup, a lot of my mates ask why it’s such a big deal, and why they should care.
So here’s why you should.
Political reshuffles are a great window into the dynamics of a political party.
You’d be surprised how much can be gleaned from looking at a list of names, that have been moved around a little bit.
You can see factions.
You can see loyalties.
You can see dead rats that have been swallowed.
You can tell who knows where the bodies are buried.
There are poor performers who are demoted. And even good performers who are demoted.
On the flip side, poor performers who are promoted too.
Trying to make sense of a reshuffle allows you to make sense of the new leadership.
Who do they rate? Who do they want to keep an eye on? Whose political career is over?
Today’s reshuffle from Luxon can tell us most of these things.
While Simon Bridges is at number 3, his number-crunchers Todd McLay and Michael Woodhouse have been sent packing, dropping 16 and 14 places respectively.
McLay’s also been given the Tourism portfolio, which given Luxon’s experience at Air NZ, Virgin Australia and the Tourism Industry Board, means he must perform and can’t slack off.
Similarly, Woodhouse has been given the state-owned-eneterprises portfolio, which means the former Air-NZ boss will be keeping an eye on him too.
Collins should have been banished to the bottom of the ranks given her dirty politics two weeks ago, but Luxon’s kept her in the top 20, with a I’m-not-trying-to-be-too-obvious ranking of 19.
Her loyalist Andrew Bayly got sent a clear message too, being demoted 12 places and having his Treasury role disestablished.
Luxon’s also been very generous with promotions too, with the biggest jump given to Erica Stanford.
She’s young, fresh, and the cameras like her - and Luxon obviously sees her as integral to the party’s future, especially because she’s been given the education portfolio.
Chris Bishop has been given back the Shadow Leader of the House role which Collins stripped from him, and promoted 4 spots.
Luxon fan boys Matt Doocey and Simeon Brown have been very well rewarded, jumping 12 and 10 places respectively. Doocey’s done well in the mental health space, Brown’s done well beating the gang drum.
Given the agitation of farmers right now, Luxon’s promoted Barbara Kuriger 4 places, and kept her on agriculture. He wants to send a message to rural NZ that he’s a leader that cares about them, even though Kuriger is plainer than an arrowroot biscuit.
Overall, it’s a smart reshuffle for a party that’s at rock bottom.
Given the circumstances, and given the talent pool available, Luxon’s made some good changes. He’s promoted on merit. He’s promoted his mates. And he’s kept the trouble makers close enough to ensure they don’t cause trouble.
Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk.