Opinion: Andrew Little humiliates David Cunliffe
Andrew Little has dumped, patronised and humiliated David Cunliffe.
Little hasn't so much shown Cunliffe the door – but slammed it in his face.
Little's first major reshuffle as Labour's leader is notable for the way he has stomped all over Cunliffe – dropping him outside the shadow cabinet.
Cunliffe has gone from 14th place to what looks like 28 out of Labour's 32 MPs (he is one of the bottom 10 that are technically unranked position but Labour's layout of the list has him in the 28th).
Little has stripped Cunliffe of the tertiary education portfolio, and instead made him "undersecretary to the leader on superannuation issues".
Basically, Little has said to Cunliffe, 'You are my servant on superannuation.'
Little and his advisers must have found it hard to keep a straight face as he tried to make out this was good for Cunliffe at today's press conference.
Little has been deliberately demeaning to Cunliffe, hurting him to get the points with the punters.
It is a good move for Little because he knows it will get him headlines and draw a line under the 'madness of King Cunliffe' era of Cunliffe's leadership.
Cunliffe used to be the darling of Labour's left but the reality is just like the power went into him, it has been sucked out again.
Little knows Cunliffe has no real power with the base now so has gone for the political jugular.
The reality is Cunliffe would be a way better Minister than many of the people ahead of him.
To use a phrase well-known in Labour, Little has gone 'ABC' (Anyone But Cunliffe) in my shadow cabinet.
This is because Cunliffe symbolises Labour's dark times – disunity; an organisation broken on every level; a party that looked like it was rotten to the core.
Today, Little wants to be seen as exorcising the demon of Cunliffe. That's the headline Little wants – Cunliffe is just a means to an end. Politics is so ruthless.
Little has effectively told Cunliffe that he has no political future.
The question now is how Cunliffe takes being belittled and humiliated like this. He has two options – suck it up or quit.