12 Dec 2016

Political commentators: Bill's next move

From Nine To Noon, 11:11 am on 12 December 2016

New prime minister Bill English should waste no time making his mark and reshuffle the cabinet before Christmas, says political commentator Matthew Hooton.

Bill English and Paula Bennett

New PM Bill English with deputy Paula Bennett after the National caucus voted them in on Monday morning. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Hooton says it would be “absolutely foolish” to do a two-stage reshuffle of the cabinet – in which replacement ministers are announced, but don't take up their jobs until months later.

Voters may still remember English’s reputation for indecisiveness as National Party leader in 2002, he says.

“I think that he should move very very quickly.”

“You would just be telling Murray McCully to start undermining his deputy. The new Prime Minister will never be more powerful than he is this week and I think he needs to firmly stamp his mark on the government and make clear to Murray McCully, who has been there since '87, it’s all over."

Mills agrees that English should quickly make clear statements about the direction the government is heading.

Nick Smith “catastrophically failed” as Housing Minister and National needs a fresh face on that portfolio, he says.

English could earn a mandate from the public by calling an election as soon as April, Hooton says.

Mills does not think there is a case for an early election as New Zealanders are suspicious of them.