Monday, December 19, 2011


David Shearer has announced Labour's new lineup, and it looks like a total rejuvenation for the party. The tired old faces of the Clark era (and their baggage) are gone, relegated to the backbenches. Instead, prominence is given to Labour's class of 2008, people like Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern, Su'a William Sio and Phil Twyford. Yes, the front bench has some former junior Clark Ministers on it - Parker, Cunliffe, Cosgrove, Mahuta - but the overall tone is of generation shift.

Despite their drop in rankings, the old guard get to keep significant responsibilities - for the moment. Parekura Horomia still gets to run Maori Affairs from the backbenches, and Phil Goff takes up Foreign Affairs again (which is what he's good at). But with these people expected to retire in the next term, they'll need to relinquish their responsibilities sometime before the next election to allow time for their replacements to settle in and get up to speed.

Overall, it looks like a good lineup. It sends the message Labour needs to send: change! Now we've just got to hope that they're up to it.