Monday, September 23, 2013

A signal to the Greens?

David Cunliffe announced his new shadow cabinet lineup today. While everyone else is focusing on the trivia of court politics - who's up, who's down, what it means for the leadership etc - I think there's a more important question to be asked: what does it mean for Labour's future coalition prospects? In order to govern, Labour is going to need the support of the Greens - and on recent polling, they'd be making up somewhere between a quarter to a third of the Cabinet. And here I think there is something interesting: the health, conservation and transport portfolios have all been given to MPs who are low-ranked or likely to be retiring at the next election.

This is significant, because those portfolios (in addition to the obvious environment / climate change grouping) are ones the Greens are likely to be keenly interested in in any future coalition government. And Cunliffe has just effectively freed them up for them. I think that's a pretty clear signal about Cabinet expectations...