Oct 28, 2008

If We Were John Key What Would We Do?

A number of our readers have asked us to post our views on the next Cabinet. This is difficult without knowing the election result. But here goes.

We assume the following outcome from the election – in seats – in an 124 seat parliament:

National 60
Act 3
United Future 1
Maori 6
Labour 41
Green 12
Progressive 1

Maori will have a choice between joining, supporting or abstaining from confidence votes on the new Government. We do not think Maori will join Labour next time around. This analysis assumes that they decide to join or support.

So if we were John Key what would we do?

First we would restore the Westminster model. We would have a smaller Cabinet supported by more “junior Ministers”. The Junior Ministers would not be part of Cabinet but would be active in Cabinet Committees. The use of Junior Ministers would allow those without experience in the Executive to gain it fast, allow those who might be contemplating retirement to be put to good use, and serve as a proving ground for up and comers.

We would also beef up the advisory group in DPM&C so that the PM and senior Ministers can get all the help they need to get NZ through the next few years.

We would take on the Treasurer role ourselves to show strong leadership on the financial crisis.

We would make Bill English coordinating Minister of Infrastructure (we would call it Infrastructure and Commerce), Minister of Finance and give him a portfolio like Education – which he handled very well as spokesman. He would clearly need support from Ministers of Transport, Telecommunications and a couple of Deputy Ministers of Finance and maybe an Associate Education.

Brownlie would be a great Leader of the House and could work with Nick Smith in the Energy, Minerals, Climate Change, Conservation space

Simon Power would be a great coordinator of work around Police, Corrections, Internal Affairs etc.

Health is hugely important. Ryall is the obvious choice

Judith Collins, perhaps with help from Turiana Turia would be very busy with Social Development, and Pita Sharples would be a great Minister of Maori Affairs. Neither Pita nor Turiana would need to be in Cabinet if they didn't want to be.

McCully is clearly well prepared to be Foreign Minister but he would a be a great person to sort our problems in areas such as Broadcasting. Science and technology/ R&D are also in a mess an need someone like McCully to sort out.

We would offer Hide Defence.

Wayne Mapp could be asked to sort immigration out. This will be a huge job. Maybe it could be merged with the Documents of National Identity bit of Internal Affairs???

Finlayson is obvious for Justice, Treaty Negotiations and the Arts

Groser is obvious for Trade, including Trade Promotion. We would also make use of his negotiating skills in other areas - a new Bretton Woods is obvious. He might be helpful on Climate Change also - should anything be happening on this in the next three years.

Peter Dunne would stay on in Revenue.

Carter is an obvious for Agriculture supported by Ministers of Forestry and Fisheries.

Someone also need to be asked to reform Local Government. This can be done from outside Cabinet. Roger Douglas anyone?

What about Lockwood? We would recognise his years of experience in Parliament by making him Speaker.

And Richard Worth? He has a great legal mind. Focus it on regulation and give him a Ministerial responsibility for one of the parts of the new Ministry of Infrastructure and Commerce. He can start by writing new Overseas Investment Legislation