The tussle over the top spots in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Cabinet are coming to a close, but which MPs look likely to take out the sought after positions? 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay predicts the winners and losers of the upcoming reshuffle.
Right now, the Prime Minister is pondering the latest cabinet reshuffle due to be announced at the end of June/beginning of July. It’s under active consideration according to the Beehive, which means there will be a few phone calls and cups of tea on the ninth floor.
The Prime Minister promised she’d announce a Cabinet reset after the Budget. There are two spots left vacant. There’s a Ministerial Cabinet job going after Clare Curran stepped down after the RNZ saga, and don’t forget about Meka Whaitiri - who left after being accused of bruising a staff member. She was a Minister Outside of Cabinet. So a big deal but not in the inner circle.
Former 1 NEWS journalist Kris Faafoi seems to be a given for the Cabinet spot if there’s no major incident over the next few weeks – no pressure. He’s been a solid performer and has done his time.
The other spot is more hotly contested. The Prime Minister has deliberately left the door open for Meka Whaitiri to return. She has consistently refused to rule her out. What may have sealed her fate is an interview with TVNZ’s Marae programme where she relitigated the sorry saga with the staff member. It was clumsy. However, the Prime Minister has still left the door open for a return.
Then there’s the portfolios to consider. There’s no doubt Kiwibuild has been a nightmare for Housing Minister Phil Twyford. We’ll see the goalposts shifted when the Government announces the Kiwibuild reset soon.
It’s unclear if the Prime Minister will force him to carry on with the poison chalice, or whether they will reset the Minister as well as resetting the targets and let someone else deal with the mess. But there’s not many people waiting in the wings with experience to take on a big portfolio like this.
There’s also the issue of the gender make up of Cabinet. This has been a big thing for the Prime Minister, but it seems two women will not be replaced by two women - so there will be questions around that too.
The reshuffle is set to be cautious, rather than radical, labelled by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern not being a "substantial reshuffle". But it’s been promised and will be eagerly awaited by those inside the precinct.