Cabinet reshuffle relegates ineptitude and rewards talent

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Venkat Raman
Auckland, June 13, 2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the cabinet reshuffle today was ‘minor,’ but looking at the raft of changes, it is fair to believe that her decision of some promotions, shifts and demotions are based on public mood: frustration and anger.

The decision of Kris Faafoi to resign from not only from his Ministerial responsibilities (Justice, Immigration, Digital, Media and Communications) citing personal reasons (to be with his family as his youngest son begins school) is reported to have sparked the reshuffle but some changes have been significant and warranted.

Michael Wood, who has been successful as the Minister of Transport and Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, gets the additional, prickly portfolio of Immigration.

The biggest change, as far as ethnic communities are concerned is the elevation of the Ministry of Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities to Cabinet rank and with it Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan. She becomes the first person of South Asian origin to become a Cabinet Minister. She has been placed in additional charge as Associate Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, a colleague of Mr Wood from the neighbouring Maungakiekie electorate.

Poto Williams, whose ineptitude as Police Minister cost her that portfolio although she remains in the Cabinet as up Conservation Minister  and Disability Issues Minister.

Chris Hopkins will give up his portfolio as Covid-19 Response Minister to Dr Ayesha Verrall and become the Police Minister.

Kris Faafoi (Back to the family)

Trevor Mallard quits

Another major change is the departure of Trevor Mallard, not merely from the post of Speaker but Parliament altogether, to pursue a diplomatic career. He is set to his 35 years of Parliamentary life in August and move to Europe.

He is to be replaced by Adrian Rurawhe, whose election is certain given the Labour majority in Parliament.

Kieran McAnulty becomes a Minister outside of Cabinet with a focus on regional issues – picking up Emergency Management and Racing. Duncan Webb to take over as Chief Whip.

All the ministers will be sworn in at a ceremony to be held at the Government House in Wellington tomorrow, June 14, 2022.

“These changes are triggered by two departures. It is also an opportunity to give newer Ministers greater responsibility and to bring new members onto the team.  Kris made the move onto the list at the last election and I am grateful for the significant work he undertook this term in resetting our immigration and public broadcasting settings. He goes with the love and thanks of his colleagues for his contribution over many years,” Ms Ardern told the media.

Elevated to Cabinet: Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan (INL Photo)

She said that Mr Mallard has been an MP for 35 years and has held thirteen different Ministerial portfolios across his career including Education, Labour and Rugby World Cup. He has been Speaker for five years and is currently the Father of the House.

“After the 2020 election, Trevor told me that he wanted to transition out of the role of Speaker over the course of this term to allow someone else the opportunity and to take on new challenges himself. He has worked closely with Adrian for that purpose. He will leave the chair in mid-August and take up a post in Europe from early 2023. He will be the third of our five most recent Speakers to represent New Zealand abroad in a diplomatic posting,” she said and added that Dan Rosewarne and Soraya Peke-Mason will replace Mr Faafoi and Mr Mallard from the Labour List.

“Priyanca Radhakrishnan moves into Cabinet, retaining all her current portfolios and adds Associate Workplace Relations and Safety with a focus on migrant exploitation. Since becoming a Minister outside of Cabinet in 2020 she has overseen the establishment of a new Ministry for Ethnic Communities, and worked on complex issues like foreign interference and social cohesion. Kieran McAnulty becomes a Minister outside of Cabinet with a specific focus on regional issues. He will be Minister for Emergency Management, and will have an Associate Transport delegation on regional transport, and an Associate Local Government delegation. He will also take on the Racing portfolio and use his past whip skills as Deputy Leader of the House. Duncan Webb replaces Kieran as Chief Whip,” Ms Ardern said.

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