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Ardern announces Cabinet reshuffle


June 13, 2022

Ardern announces Cabinet reshuffle


June 13, 2022

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her first reshuffle of ministerial portfolios in this term of Parliament.

The reshuffle has been triggered by Minister Kris Faafoi and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard’s decisions to resign from Parliament, and the need to address criticism of Police Minister Poto Williams by passing the portfolio to another Minister.

The Ministerial portfolio changes will be effective from 14 June, while Mallard will resign in mid-August for a diplomatic role.

It is useful to build new Ministers’ knowledge of your organisation and issues. Capital is able to help clients with drafting letters and briefings to Ministers who are taking on relevant portfolios.

 

Reassignment of Williams’ portfolios:

  • Poto Williams will lose the Police and Building and Construction portfolios. She will remain in Cabinet and pick up the Conservation and Disability Issues portfolios from Kiritapu Allan and Carmel Sepuloni, respectively
  • Chris Hipkins will pick up the Police portfolio, and pass more of his Education portfolio to Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti
  • Megan Woods, already Housing Minister, will pick up public housing and Building and Construction from Williams
  • Dr Ayesha Verrall will take the COVID-19 Response portfolio from Hipkins

 

Replacing Faafoi:

  • Kiritapu Allan will gain the Justice portfolio
  • Michael Wood will gain the Immigration portfolio
  • Willie Jackson will pick up the Broadcasting portfolio

 

Replacing Mallard:

  • Current Deputy Speaker Adrian Rurawhe will become Speaker of the House.

 

Consequential promotions:

  • Priyanca Radhakrishnan, currently a Minister outside of Cabinet, will move into Cabinet and gains Associate Workplace Relations and Safety
  • Kieran McAnulty, currently Labour Chief Whip, will become a Minister outside of Cabinet, with the Emergency Management and Racing Portfolios
  • Duncan Webb becomes Labour Chief Whip and will, in turn, be replaced as Chair of the Finance and Expenditure select committee by Barbara Edmonds, and by Tangi Utikere as Junior Whip

 

Background

Williams has been under heavy pressure as Police Minister, with the Opposition making hay out of recent gang violence and criticising her response. In her time in the portfolio, Police funding has been increased by 35% and Police Officer numbers have risen to a record level, but Ardern conceded that Labour has not been able to control the narrative on law and order. Ardern said she had discussed with Williams that she was not the right person to win back the issue for the Government. Hipkins holds a degree in criminology and has gained a reputation for being ‘Mr Fixit’ – one of the Minister’s deployed to difficult portfolios, as he was when he was handed the Health and COVID-19 portfolios in 2020.

Faafoi has served as a Labour MP since winning the seat of Mana in a by-election in 2010. He held the seat until 2020, when he chose to stand as a List-only candidate at the election. Ardern said that he had intended to retire at the 2020 election, but was persuaded to stay on by Labour leadership. Faafoi has served as Minister of Justice, Broadcasting and Communications, and Immigration this term, ushering through the conversion therapy ban and beginning the controversial amalgamation of state-owned broadcasters TVNZ and Radio NZ as well as the currently stalled hate speech reforms.

Mallard is the longest-serving current MP, having first entered Parliament in 1984. Like Faafoi, he went ‘list-only’ in 2017, having served as MP for Hutt South from 1996 to 2017. Mallard served as Minister of Education, Minister for the Environment, and a number of other portfolios in the 5th Labour Government from 1999 to 2008. Following the 2017 election, he was elected Speaker of the House. In this role, he has dispensed with some of the archaic formalities of Parliamentary procedure – including removing the requirement that men wear neckties – and introduced more family-friendly measures, but has often come into conflict with the Opposition, who lodged a motion of no confidence in him over his handling of the anti-vax occupation of Parliament grounds. Mallard will step down in mid-August.

The resignations of Faafoi and Mallard mean that two List MP seats will become vacant for the next MPs on Labour’s 2020 party list to fill. The next two on the list are Dan Rosewarne and Soraya Peke-Mason, and it is understood that they will accept the positions.

Ardern signaled a more comprehensive review of ministerial portfolio assignments will be conducted at the beginning of election year in 2023.

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