Parliament reconvenes this week and David Shearer announces his front bench today. Fran O’Sullivan’s must-read Front bench will set tone for Shearer leadership outlines the supposed back-story to how the ‘surprise’ Shearer leadership victory came about. She suggests the strategy was set in train many months ago, and involved briefing ‘Influential members of the "commentariat" - particularly those of the right-of-centre persuasion’. O’Sullivan also points out that the claim by Shearer’s camp that his leadership campaign owes no favours to anyone is not credible, especially when you have Trevor Mallard running the numbers. A leading Labour Party activist responds to the ‘disturbing’ column with the blog post, Is New Zealand Politics being taken over by the Commentariat?. Cameron Slater also highlights some debate on The Standard that indicates possible heavy-handed tactics by Trevor Mallard in the Labour leadership contest.
Phil Goff is now speaking publicly about his replacement, giving strong support to Shearer – see John Hartevelt and Andrea Vance’s article, Shearer is the 'right man' for top job. The same journalists profile him in The world according to David Shearer, as does Derek Cheng, who concentrates on his aid work career (David Shearer: Battle-hardened in the war zones). Cheng also reports on the personal political stances of the new leader in Shearer wants fern on flag. Tracy Watkins and John Hartevelt’s Shearer to chart new direction for Labour stresses just how much Shearer will reconfigure Labour, saying that ‘New Labour leader David Shearer will use his first major speech to Parliament this week to chart a new direction – including an acknowledgement of where Labour got it wrong’.
Adam Bennett discusses the options for Labour’s new front bench, identifying possible roles for David ‘Cunliffe, his running mate Nanaia Mahuta, Jacinda Ardern, Shane Jones, Maryan Street, Sue Moroney and Clayton Cosgrove’ – see: Labour readies new front bench.
The big interest, or course, is in Cunliffe’s role. There is no doubt that there is quite a bit of tension between Shearer and Cunliffe, and Gordon Campbell suggests that Cunliffe’s best use would be to go head-to-head with National heavyweight Steven Joyce. He also warns Labour against indulging in petty revenge against those on the wrong side of the leadership vote.
The big political news of the weekend was Paula Bennett winning Waitakere following a judicial recount (Paula Bennett hangs on in the West). Further questions are now being asked about irregular electoral practices in the electorate – see Kathryn Powley’s Questions over Waitakere vote.
Other must read-items today include John Armstrong’s Politician of the year has his work cut out, David Farrar’s Winning a third term for National – Part I, and Tracy Watkins’ two items The political breakdown of 2011 and Tax cuts no longer a National priority.
Postscript: Labour’s new front bench has now been announced (Labour reveals new front bench) – there will be full coverage of the analysis in tomorrow’s NZPD.
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On Cunliffe’s likely role…
Tracy Watkins and John Hartevelt (Stuff): Shearer to chart new direction for Labour
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Front bench will set tone for Shearer leadership
Adam Bennett (Herald): Labour readies new front bench
John Hartevelt and Andrea Vance (Stuff): Shearer is the 'right man' for top job
Vernon Small, Andrea Vance and John Hartevelt (Dom Post): The world according to David Shearer
Derek Cheng (Herald): David Shearer: Battle-hardened in the war zones
Derek Cheng (Herald): Shearer wants fern on flag
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): An interesting insight
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): What a great idea
Waitakere News: Is New Zealand Politics being taken over by the Commentariat?
Kathryn Powley (Herald): Questions over Waitakere vote
Andrea Young (Herald): Paula Bennett hangs on in the West
Andrea Vance, John Hartevelt, Kate Chapman and Michelle Robinson (Stuff): Bennett snatches seat back from Sepuloni
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Tell her she’s dreamin’
End of year roundups
John Armstrong (Herald): Politician of the year has his work cut out
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): The political breakdown of 2011
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Tax cuts no longer a National priority
James Weir (Dom Post): KiwiSaver 'may cut national savings'
Bernard Hickey (Herald): Fault lines to watch
Catherine Harris (Dom Post): Land prices build up housing problems
Catherine Harris (Dom Post): Housing affordability affects pensions
Murray Sherwin (Herald): Making housing more affordable
Milk in schools
Timaru Herald: Editorial - We'll drink to that
Waikato Times: Editorial - Milking a very good PR idea
Richard Meadows (Dom Post): Nutritionists praise free-milk initiative
Ian Llewellyn (electionresults): Parliament Sits And Elections Continue
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Winning a third term for National – Part I
Marta Steeman (Stuff): Government to take over quake claims
Simon Collins (Herald): Abuse crisis line saved after Key gets the message
Matt McCarten (Herald): Our most valuable asset is the right to protest
Charlie Gates (Press): Mayor would use force on Occupy protest
Tom Hunt (Dom Post): New figures reveal work kills 1000 a year
Jack Barlow (Dom Post): Former MP Georgina Beyer unemployed
Dom Post: Politics briefs: Monday, December 19
Dom Post: Today in politics: Saturday, December 17