Cabinet reshuffle both stabilising and rejuvenating

EDITORIAL

Bill English has performed something of a double act with his Cabinet reshuffle announced yesterday, making changes to rejuvenate the government while keeping the image of stability that will be crucial as he faces next year’s election.

By the time two more ministers stand down in May, English will have six new ministers or one quarter of his Cabinet. It is the sort of steady reorganisation expected from a man considered a safe pair of hands during his eight years as finance minister. It also shows that English regards competence as the primary reason for promotion. He is not a man to look for flair or charisma.

Probably the only major movement in the Cabinet is the change of portfolios for Judith Collins. While English claims this is not a demotion, it is hard not to see it that way considering she has lost the Corrections and Police portfolios and moved two places down the rankings.

After publicly acknowledging he has some catching up to do on foreign affairs, English has kept the seasoned and experienced Murray McCully in the meantime. It will be interesting to see who gets this demanding role next year — Jonathan Coleman, Gerry Brownlee and new minister Mark Mitchell are the front-runners.

East Coaster Hekia Parata is also being kept on as education minister until Nikki Kaye has sufficiently recovered from treatment for breast cancer.

Simon Bridges and Amy Adams are winners in the reshuffle, flanking Steven Joyce as associate finance ministers, while Adams will take on the demanding social housing portfolio and Bridges gets economic development. It marks them as two for the longer-term future.

In many ways the Cabinet reshuffle is typical English. He knew that changes had to be made but was determined not to make widespread ones that would disrupt the caucus.

The old naval command ‘form line of battle’ has now been made for 2017. Admiral English takes his fleet into action against an Opposition armada heartened by the departure of John Key. No quarter will be asked or given.

Bill English has performed something of a double act with his Cabinet reshuffle announced yesterday, making changes to rejuvenate the government while keeping the image of stability that will be crucial as he faces next year’s election.

By the time two more ministers stand down in May, English will have six new ministers or one quarter of his Cabinet. It is the sort of steady reorganisation expected from a man considered a safe pair of hands during his eight years as finance minister. It also shows that English regards competence as the primary reason for promotion. He is not a man to look for flair or charisma.

Probably the only major movement in the Cabinet is the change of portfolios for Judith Collins. While English claims this is not a demotion, it is hard not to see it that way considering she has lost the Corrections and Police portfolios and moved two places down the rankings.

After publicly acknowledging he has some catching up to do on foreign affairs, English has kept the seasoned and experienced Murray McCully in the meantime. It will be interesting to see who gets this demanding role next year — Jonathan Coleman, Gerry Brownlee and new minister Mark Mitchell are the front-runners.

East Coaster Hekia Parata is also being kept on as education minister until Nikki Kaye has sufficiently recovered from treatment for breast cancer.

Simon Bridges and Amy Adams are winners in the reshuffle, flanking Steven Joyce as associate finance ministers, while Adams will take on the demanding social housing portfolio and Bridges gets economic development. It marks them as two for the longer-term future.

In many ways the Cabinet reshuffle is typical English. He knew that changes had to be made but was determined not to make widespread ones that would disrupt the caucus.

The old naval command ‘form line of battle’ has now been made for 2017. Admiral English takes his fleet into action against an Opposition armada heartened by the departure of John Key. No quarter will be asked or given.

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