Labour is plainly sensitive to charges that Phil Goff is double dipping as an MP and now confirmed Auckland Mayoral candidate.

Leader Andrew Little has said Mr Goff will now no longer be spokesman on Auckland issues.

Any other changes to his spokesmanships will come soon when Mr Little announces his reshuffle of Labour’s Caucus spokespeople.

Meanwhile the National-party backed Future Auckland will this week step up its bid to control the Council by advertising for candidates in two wards.

It has yet to settle on a Mayoral candidate and it is unclear how it will go about selecting one.

The only confirmed standard bearer for the right – and therefore Mr Goff’s main opponent at the moment — is Orakei board member and former National parliamentary candidate, Mark Thomas.

Other names mentioned as possible candidates include Xero managing director, Victoria Crone and former Telecom CEO, Theresa Gattung.

But Mr Goff will be a tough candidate to knock over.

As someone who first entered Parliament in 1981 and who was a high profile Minister in the Lange and Clark Governments and then Leader of the Labour from 2009 – 11 he has high name recognition in Auckland.

He will be making a big play on his ability to negotiate with the Beehive.

Advertisment

At his invitation-only launch yesterday he emphasised the need for funding for transport infrastructure in the city.

“Funding for this infrastructure can’t just come out of rates,” he said.

“Auckland pays its fair share and will continue to do so. “

But he argued that the Government needed to bring its infrastructure spending in Auckland forward.

Government funding for the central rail loop is not expected to begin till 2020 but the project is expected to take five and a half years to build which means it would be ready for another 10 years at least.

“The Government must also provide funding to meet the needs of growth,” he said.

“After all, a large portion of the Government’s revenue comes from taxes paid by Aucklanders.

“It’ll be my job as Mayor to make sure that message gets through.”

Mr Goff will also have a powerful campaigning weapon up his sleeve.

As Labour’s ethnic affairs spokesperson he has built a city wide network of ethnic contacts which could prove very useful in getting out the vote in west and south Auckland.

Back in Wellington his Auckland issues role is likely to go to Jacinda Ardern or Phil Twyford in the reshuffle.

But the reshuffle will be an important milestone in the Little leadership.

This will be Mr Little putting his own stamp on the Caucus as far as the front bench is concerned and is likely to include promotion for Jacinda Ardern and Kelvin Davis.

Ms Ardern is likely to move to four in the caucus line-up and though there are strong tips that she is going to shed Justice for a bigger portfolio it’s unclear what that might be.

Carmel Sepuloni who was Andrew Little’s preference for deputy holds social development so taking it off her would be a big call for him..

Ms Ardern has held social development before and didn’t make a major impact with it.

Whether she will get another go will be one of the big questions tomorrow.

But her elevation will mean Manaia Mahuta has to drop at least one slot but she may fall further.

The possible elevation of Mr Davis the MP for Te Tai Tokerau  over Manaia Mahuta is a risky move given Ms Mahuta’s deep connections with Tainui in particular.

But Mr Davis has been one of the standout performers over the past year whereas Ms Mahuta  has been more low profile.

There have been suggestions for some time now that she may leave Parliament for some senior position within Tainui but nothing ever seems to eventuate.

Another problem will be what to do with Mr Cunliffe.

Mr Little will hardly want to promote him. In an ideal world, Labour’s leadership would probably prefer that he consider  not standing again.

But there are risks in being too brutal and thus creating a martyr for the left wing in the party to coalesce around.

There are two standout performers from the intake at the last election — Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare.

Both can expect promotions tomorrow.

Of the old guard, David Parker has consolidated his role as the caucus “ideas” man and David Shearer seems to be taking a closer interest in his foreign affairs role.

Regardless of how his campaign turns out Mr Goff is on the way out.

He would be unlikely to stand again even if he doesn’t become Auckland Mayor.

Even the fact that as POLITIK has previously reported he will stand as an independent is an indication of how he is distancing himself from his long time Parliamentary role.