Napier MP Stuart Nash says he is disappointed with his ranking in the new Labour line-up revealed yesterday.

Mr Nash was not included in the list of 17 ranked MPs in Labour's new caucus, announced by the party's fresh leader Andrew Little.

He would take on the energy, forestry, land information and statistics portfolios as an unranked MP.

Mr Nash's absence from the line-up may come as a surprise to his supporters, as he was initially tipped as a potential candidate for Labour leader following the party's poor showing in this year's general election.

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He was even touted by former political rival Rodney Hyde as the only MP ripe for the job. Mr Nash said yesterday he had been expecting a higher ranking and "at least one of the economic or business portfolios". "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with my portfolios, but I've got a challenge now - that's to work hard and make sure I'm higher in any reshuffle."

But he added of his new portfolios: "They're not portfolios without challenges."

He had not expected David Cunliffe to receive the regional development portfolio.

"That's one that surprised me. David Cunliffe is a very good politician, but it's a portfolio you'd expect to go to someone in the regions."

Despite his disappointment, Mr Nash remained "100 per cent supportive of Andrew Little and of Labour".

His new statistics portfolio also happens to make him Labour's counterpart to National's Minister of Statistics and Tukituki MP Craig Foss.

In response, Mr Foss said: "I know Stuart's been doing the numbers lately, and I look forward to seeing what he contributes to statistics."

Hawke's Bay Today could not reach Mr Little for comment last night.

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