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Soper on the ‘Reshuffle’ – ‘About as refreshing as fly spray’


Barry Soper on Ardern’s ‘Reshuffle’. I think the headline ‘The one thing that Jacinda Ardern and John Key have in common’ did the article a disservice, as that was not the substance of the article in reality. The article was more about how this was not really a reshuffle at all.

Jacinda Ardern and John Key have something in common, they like to be liked although the former National prime minister was known as the smiling assassin and was a much more ruthless political master.

Indeed, hardly a positive comparison for Ardern. This view by the way seems to be at odds with the opening to Audrey Young’s article late yesterday, paywalled and not in the print edition. However, the lead-in gives an idea.

Then he makes a further adverse comment with this:

Ardern on the other hand has done nothing to dent her popularity with her colleagues with her shuffle of the Cabinet deck which in reality was a sleight of hand.

The only one miffed will be Meka Whaitiri, although her boss says the door remains open

The inference is that Ardern did the least amount she could, either because she does not possess the necessary intestinal fortitude, the lack of talent in Labour, her own lack of experience or a combination of all three.

This is borne out by this:

Every minister keeps their ranking, and mostly their jobs, which means the new boss of getting housing back on track, Megan Woods, is junior to Phil Twyford – the man who’s been left wielding the hammer in urban New Zealand.

Still she’s tough as nails and Twyford will be in no doubt about who’s in charge.

I am not certain Megan Woods is as tough as Soper thinks.

Twyford probably broke down and wept with relief with the change – meaning that he’ll no longer have to do daily battle with Miss Whiplash from the other side of the House Judith Collins.

I have no doubt that Collins and National will keep up the pressure on Twyford, in Urban Development and in Transport where he is failing as well. Furthermore, Collins will no doubt relish attacking Megan Woods.

Kris Faafoi, described by his boss as outstanding, has been rewarded with the remaining contents of the poison housing chalice, by becoming the third plank in the building team.

Ardern says KiwiBuild was too much work for one man, but splitting it in three simply increases the targets for National and gives the six-month-old reset even more time to be reset.

Let us not forget that a similar split of roles by National was ridiculed by Labour. Now however we have 5 ministers, yes 5 ministers with Housing related responsibilities – Woods, Twyford, Faafoi,Salesa and Mahuta. Plus the never ending rest, will no doubt be recalibrated again.

Ardern failed to address the issue of Iain Lees-Galloway and David Clarke. All in all this was just a rearrangement of the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Then the final drop of acid

So a relaxed, smiling Jacinda Ardern, and she had good reason to be relaxed given she’s kept everyone on board, issued a press statement headed, Refreshed Cabinet line-up confirmed.

Followed by what seems like a very contemptuous summation

Yeah well, it’s about as refreshing as fly spray.


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  1. Wheels have come off the Ardern bus | The Inquiring Mind

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