Bullying allegations don't stop Ginny Andersen from climbing Labour ladder

With Labour's caucus size nearly cut in half and the party still reeling from last month's election loss, it's reshuffled its ranks.    

Three senior former ministers have been relegated to the back of the front bench, while alleged bully Ginny Andersen has been promoted eight places and given the violence prevention portfolio.  

The Christmas tree's up in Labour's caucus hallway and Chris Hipkins is leading the parade of MPs heading into Opposition.  

But he has fewer MPs than last term to give out portfolio presents to.  

"You'll notice there are no numbers on this page and that's deliberate for a reason. Everyone here has a contribution to make," he said.   

The page he's talking about shows his refreshed lineup, and their portfolios.   

"I'm looking forward to every one of our MPs getting stuck in," he said.  

Sticking out is Labour's golden boy Kieran McAnulty. He's jumped nine places in the rankings to number seven, while Andersen has climbed up eight places. Barabara Edmonds is up seven and Willie Jackson is up three, sitting fifth in the ranks.   

"I've had a number of Māori leaders come to me and ask me to hang around," Jackson said.    

Bullying allegations still hanging around Andersen - but they haven't stopped her climbing the ladder.   

Earlier this month, former volunteers and staffers made allegations of bullying and of toxic workplace behaviour against Andersen.

The MP has said she doesn't believe her workplace is toxic and she is not a bully. She has apologised to one teenage volunteer after a complaint about her behaviour on election night. 

Asked if it was appropriate for her to hold the portfolios of police, the prevention of family and sexual violence and social investment when there are allegations, Hipkins said he had "full confidence" in Andersen and expected her to do an "excellent job".  

In a statement about the complaint against Andersen Labour President Jill Day said: "Labour’s New Zealand Council had a confidential discussion about this complaint on 4 November."

"The Council asked our team to explore informal dispute resolution options with the complainant as a first step. Those discussions were constructive and led to Ginny writing a written apology, as the complainant requested. The complainant then told us that, from their perspective, the complaint had been resolved."

It's not a good reshuffle for senior Māori MPs. Kelvin Davis dropped 18 places down the ranks, Adrian Rurawhe also down 18, and Rino Tirikatene down eight.   

"Kelvin Davis indicated after the election that he didn't want to be in the front line up, that he wanted to take a step back," said Hipkins.    

There are also big drops for former senior ministers Damien O'Connor, down eight, David Parker, down six, and Jan Tinetti, down four.   

Then there's Phil Twyford, the phoenix rising from the ashes of his banishment to political Siberia. He's moved up 25 places to number 24.   

"Phil's got experience in Opposition," said Hipkins.    

But more than half of Hipkins' shadow Cabinet doesn't.   

That includes McAnulty, who's been given a lot.   

"Housing, local government, regional development, and shadow leader of the house. It's a pretty massive package," he said.   

Dr Ayesha Verrall's never been in Opposition before. She's already putting the boot in on health. 

"I am deeply concerned that I see that sort of rubbish about the WHO and international health regulations on the internet then all of a sudden it's in a coalition document," she said of the Government's National-New Zealand First agreement.   

Hipkins himself is looking forward to his first clash with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon:   

"I hope in time he gets better at answering questions," said Hipkins.   

A chipper Chippy laying the first block in rebuilding a party overwhelmingly rejected by voters last month.