National Party new Shadow Cabinet with surprises and shocks

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There are some heavy hitters to challenge the government

Christopher Luxon and his Deputy Nicola Willis at the Media Conference in Wellington today (Screen Grab)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 6, 2021

There are several surprises, shifts, demotions and promotions in the Shadow Cabinet and portfolios unveiled by the National Party Leader Christopher Luxon a short while ago.

The line-up comprises the Top 20 who could make it to the Luxon Cabinet if National were to return to the Treasury Benches in 2023.

Mr Luxon said that he had deliberately chosen only 20 members to match the Labour government’s current tally.

Surprisingly, Simon O’Connor and Todd McClay did not make it the top 20.

And not surprisingly, Todd Muller, the man who unseated Simon Bridges last year to become the Leader, only to resign less than 60 days later, has been made Spokesperson for Ocean and Fisheries and Internal Affairs, indicating that he is close to the exit door.

Judith Collins down to Number 19 and Simon Bridges moved up to Number 3 (RNZ Picture)

Dean, Collins pushed down

Jacqui Dean, seen as the ‘trouble-maker’ who allegedly complained about Simon Bridges of a conversation with sexual overtones five years ago (and settled then), sits outside the Shadow Cabinet, with the task of being an Assistant Speaker and Conservation.

“I am confident that when you put any of National’s Shadow Ministers against their Labour counterparts, you will see that National MPs have the deep experience, the political skills, the work ethic and the intellectual grunt to come out on top every time,” Mr Luxon said.

The biggest casualty of the new line-up is the immediate past Leader Judith Collins, who has been demoted to the 19th place in the Caucus, made in charge of Science, Innovation and Technology. Chris Bishop, who lost his position as Shadow Leader of the House under Ms Collins, has been reinstated in addition to his portfolio as Covid-Response Spokesperson.

Erica Stanford, National Party Spokesperson for Immigration and Education
(RNZ Photo by Samuel Rillstone)

Erica, the rising Star

Erica Stanford is the rising Star of the Party, promoted to the Seventh place with Education and Immigration portfolios and as Associate Spokesperson for Ethnic Communities.

Melissa Lee has taken the 13th place and continues in her erstwhile portfolios of Broadcasting and Media, Digital Economy and Communications and Ethnic Communities.

As announced earlier, Simon Bridges, who was the victim of Ms Collins’ attempt to scuttle his coup attempt, is now third in the Caucus ranking with the coveted roles of Finance and Infrastructure. He will certainly bring credit to the roles, especially the latter, since he has the experience of having been the Transport Minister under the John Key and Bill English governments.

Simeon Brown has lost his Police Spokesperson job but has been entrusted with Transport and Public Service. Mark Mitchell has the 14th place taking over the roles of Police, Serious Fraud Office and Counter-Terrorism.

Todd Muller: Does not want to retire after all (Picture Supplied)

“Alternative government ready”

Announcing the Caucus ranking, Mr Luxon said that the National Party now has a fresh, energised alternative government ready to deliver for Kiwis in 2023.

“My Shadow Cabinet leverages the wealth of talent and depth of real-world experience across the National Caucus team. The line-up is based on merit and matches people to their strengths and skill sets. My Shadow Cabinet leverages the wealth of talent and depth of real-world experience across the National Caucus team,” he said.

Andrew Bayly, who was the Shadow Treasurer in charge of Infrastructure and Statistics under the previous leadership (of Collins), has now the roles in Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Manufacturing, Building and Construction and Revenue.

Michael Woodhouse has been moved down to the 18th position in charge of State-Owned Enterprises, ACC, Statistics, Sport and Recreation and the post of Deputy Shadow Leader of the House.

Mr Luxon said that New Zealanders deserve much more than they are currently getting from Labour and that they deserve more than a government of rhetoric.

The Top Ten of the National Party Shadow Cabinet on December 6, 2021

“We will be a Government-in-Waiting that will relentlessly hold this spin-heavy and PR-driven government to account and focus on proposing detailed, constructive and intellectually rigorous solutions,” he said.

Mr Luxon promised a National government of action.

“We are the ambitious, future-focused alternative that New Zealand needs. From bow, our singular priority every day will be working hard to earn Kiwis’ trust and confidence so that we can get to the Beehive in 2023 and deliver for them,” he said.

Following is the National Party Line-up under Christopher Luxon:

  1. Christopher Luxon: Leader, National Security and Intelligence
  2. Nicola Willis: Deputy Leader, Housing, Social Investment
  3. Simon Bridges: Finance, Infrastructure
  4. Chris Bishop: Covid-19 Response, Shadow Leader of the House
  5. Dr Shane Reti: Health, Maori-Crown Relations, Pacific Peoples
  6. Louise Upston: Social Development & Employment, Child Poverty Reduction
  7. Erica Stanford: Education, Immigration, Associate Ethnic Communities
  8. Matt Doocey: Mental Health, Youth, Associate Health, Associate Transport
  9. Simeon Brown: Transport, Public Service
  10. Barbara Kuriger: Agriculture, Biosecurity, Food Safety
  11. Scott Simpson: Climate Change, Environment, Associate Transport
  12. Paul Goldsmith: Justice, Workplace Relations & Safety
  13. Melissa Lee: Broadcasting and Media, Digital Economy & Communications, Ethnic Communities
  14. Mark Mitchell: Police, SFO, Counter-Terrorism
  15. Andrew Bayly: Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Manufacturing, Building and Construction, Revenue
  16. Gerry Brownlee: Foreign Affairs, GCSB & NZSIS
  17. Stuart Smith: Energy & Resources, EQC, Viticulture
  18. Michael Woodhouse: State-Owned Enterprises, ACC, Statistics, Sport & Recreation, Deputy Shadow Leader of the House
  19. Judith Collins: Research, Science, Innovation & Technology
  20. David Bennett: Economic & Regional Development
  21. Jacqui Dean: Assistant Speaker, Conservation
  22. Todd McClay: Trade & Export Growth, Tourism
  23. Simon O’Connor: Corrections, Customs, Arts, Culture & Heritage, Associate Foreign Affairs
  24. Ian Mckelvie: Seniors, Forestry, Racing
  25. Todd Muller: Oceans & Fisheries, Internal Affairs
  26. Maureen Pugh: Community & Voluntary Sector
  27. Harete Hipango: Maori Development, Whanau Ora, Children/Oranga Tamariki
  28. Chris Penk: Shadow Attorney General, Courts, Associate Justice
  29. Tim van De Molen: Defence, Veterans, Horticulture and Associate Agriculture
  30. Nicola Grigg: Rural Communities, Land Information, Animal Welfare, Associate Agriculture
  31. Joseph Mooney: Treaty Negotiations, Water, Space, Associate Tourism, Associate Agriculture
  32. Penny Simmonds: Tertiary Education, Early Childhood Education, Disability Issues, Associate Education, Association Social Development and Employment
  33. Simon Watts: Local Government, Associate Finance, Associate Infrastructure
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