by Metiria Turei
How interesting is it for most people that Ministers who earn fat six figure pay-packets played musical chairs with their jobs today?
Commentators have labelled John Key’s Cabinet reshuffle “dramatic” and “bold” but really all he is doing is swapping a few roles around between his MPs who have failed, if they even really tried, to make life better for New Zealanders.
Today’s reshuffle means more of the same, delivered mostly by the same people and a couple of newbies in lesser roles.
Excuse me if I don’t get excited about Nick Smith being reinstated to Cabinet so quickly. He resigned because his behaviour as ACC Minister was wrong and unethical. John Key, by reinstating him so quickly, has set a very low bar for ministerial standards.
Needing to reinstate a disgraced minister to Cabinet shows there wasn’t exactly a wealth of talent to choose from.
Was it dramatic or bold for John Key to sack Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley from Cabinet? Really Kate Wilkinson should have gone back in November when she resigned her labour portfolio over the Pike River deaths. And Phil Heatley’s only claim to fame was to get into trouble for using taxpayer money to take his family on holiday.
Swapping jobs around between different National MPs is superficial change. What needs to change is the overall direction of this anti-regulation government that won’t act to help people.
This reshuffle will do nothing to help New Zealanders struggling in tough times. Bill English was in a newspaper this morning saying welfare reform and the public service will be priorities this year – really? Not jobs?
What does today’s reshuffle offer New Zealanders? More of the same, the same focus on letting the market solve problems while some families live in cold, damp houses and struggle to put food on the table.
One interesting thing about today’s announcement is that Nick Smith will handle housing market and social housing issues. Perhaps John Key, after four years in Government, has finally noticed that many people are finding it hard to get into a home.
You can look to the Green Party when it comes to dramatic and bold solutions on housing. Or on jobs. Or on just about any matter that effects real New Zealanders not those living on $206,000 plus a year.
Next year we get to have a real reshuffle – the General Election.