OPINION

The headline, as headlines are designed to do, drew my attention, "Jacinda Ardern's Cabinet reshuffle: what to expect."

Turns out we can expect, in the reshuffle, basically nothing.

Turns out, yet again, the Cabinet reshuffle is a classic example of the Labour Party - or in this specific case, yet again, the Prime Minister - saying something will happen, then it doesn't.

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Like the 1800 cops in three years, or the 1000 houses this year, or the gun buyback details by the end of May, the reshuffle was due at the start of the year, until it wasn't.

It was put off until after the budget, until it was put off till the end of this month, or possibly next month.

And then if it ever sees the light of day, if the summation is correct, little, if anything, will actually happen. Which is a great shame because Cabinet reshuffles are important in setting an agenda and sending a message.

The message is the best people have the most important jobs, and those who are flailing or failing get booted.

This is important for two reasons. A government credibility is based on delivery, and the leader of the party and government needs to be seen to be leading. One of the skills required in that particular trick is holding people to account.

It is argued the obvious candidates for reshuffle, Phil Twyford, David Clark, and Iain Lees-Galloway, aren't getting reshuffled at all because it might not solve the problems they face. If that's true, that means every idiot who ever held any job and cocked it up can rest easy under the Ardern way of conducting business.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. Photo / File
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. Photo / File

Or it says "yes they're useless, but our talent pool is so thin I literally can't find another person who is less useless".

Either way, if that's true, we are in trouble. This government has a pile of problems, and part of that dilemma is not just policy and ideology, but the delivery of it. And it's the delivery of that is the job of the Minister.

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Grant Robertson, for example, up until he lost it over Makhlouf and made a fool of himself attacking National, has been a very solid set of hands. Kris Faafoi is universally recognised as being a genuine talent. But Twyford, Clark and Lees-Galloway are weak links and damaging the government's reputation in major areas like housing and health.

Health Minister Dr David Clark. Photo / File
Health Minister Dr David Clark. Photo / File

They are ripe for demotion. In fact, in Twyford you've never seen a bloke that looks more sackable. And that will be Ardern's problem, because she seems to have no backbone when it comes to hard decisions around performance. That will only be highlighted if she does reshuffle, and by and large nothing happens.

Phil Twyford. Photo / File
Phil Twyford. Photo / File

What she doesn't do will be the story. And because it's the story, she's made herself the story, the same way she did with Lees-Galloway and Curran when she failed to act over their disasters.

Facing the media ... Clare Curran delivers a short statement at a stand-up over her resignation in September 2018. Photo / File
Facing the media ... Clare Curran delivers a short statement at a stand-up over her resignation in September 2018. Photo / File

So, given that, no wonder it's being put off. How do you reshuffle when your greatest fear is actually making a decision, and you can't send it off to a working party?