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Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced Jan Tinetti, Ayesha Verrall, Willie Jackson and Kiri Allan are being shifted up the Labour rankings, with Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little dropping down.
Tinetti is taking on the Education portfolio that had been Hipkins’ and moves up from number 14 to six; Verrall becomes Health Minister and moves from 18 to 8; Jackson moves from number 13 to nine, and Allan shoots from number 16 to 10, taking on the Regional Development portfolio.
Mahuta drops from eighth to 16th, retaining Foreign Affairs but losing Local Government to Kieran McAnulty, who also rises from being an unranked minister outside Cabinet to 18th on the list.
Little drops from sixth to 13th on the list, losing Health but gaining Defence and Public Service.
Hipkins said as the recent flooding had highlighted, New Zealanders wanted the government focused on the key issues affecting them. He said while a Cabinet reshuffle was announced last year, the decisions announced today were his own. He wanted to demostrate the “depth of our talent” and balance stability with renewal.
“Our top team of myself, Carmel Sepuloni, Kelvin Davis, Grant Robertson and Megan Woods will provide stability, experience, and proven leadership.
“Grant Robertson will remain Minister of Finance. He has seen New Zealand households and businesses through the greatest economic shock since the Great Depression. His steady hand on the economy has ensured that we’ve got one of the lowest unemployment rates ever and that government debt levels are amongst the lowest in the developed world.
“New Zealand has growth stronger than most other economies that we compare ourselves to … there is so much to be optimistic about in terms of our economy.”
He says he’s giving Robertson the time and support to apply his full focus on fighting inflation.
Michael Wood would be moving from number 15 to seven and would round out the economic team along with Megan Woods and David Parker, Hipkins said.
Hipkins will have been buoyed by two polls out last night which had Labour overtaking National, and his personal popularity as prime minister shooting from nothing in the previous poll to overtake opposition leader Christopher Luxon’s.
More to come…
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz