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Cabinet reshuffle sees team of three ministers, headed by Megan Woods, made responsible for housing and Kris Faafoi promoted to Cabinet

Cabinet reshuffle sees team of three ministers, headed by Megan Woods, made responsible for housing and Kris Faafoi promoted to Cabinet
Phil Twyford

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is bringing in a couple of “fresh pairs of eyes” to lead the Government’s broader housing work programme.

A Cabinet reshuffle is seeing Phil Twyford pass on his public housing duties to Kris Faafoi and his house building responsibilities (including KiwiBuild) to Megan Woods, who will become the new Housing Minister.

Twyford will remain responsible for the legislative changes needed to build more affordable houses with the right infrastructure around them, as Urban Development Minister.

The new housing “team” will be headed by Woods.

Ardern inferred work on the housing reset underway would be delayed as Woods and Faafoi would need time to get up to speed with what is happening and provide their input.

She didn't believe "we’ll lose momentum", but wouldn't put a timeline on when details of the reset would be unveiled.

Asked what Woods would bring to the table, Ardern said that as Energy and Resources Minister she had experience working in an area that required “transition”.

Ardern said it had become clear to her that the "range of challenges in fixing the housing crisis" were "too great for one Minister".

“But our ambition to build more affordable houses for New Zealanders has not changed and neither has the public appetite for the Government to be building affordable homes with 60% of voters in a recent Colmar Brunton poll saying they wanted KiwiBuild to continue."

While Ardern said KiwiBuild needed a "sharper focus", she acknowledged the work Twyford had done. She recognised he hadn't met expectations, but said these included the expectations he put on himself. 

Twyford will retain his Transport portfolio and has been given a new role of Economic Development Minister.

Faafoi promoted to Cabinet

The reshuffle has seen all ministers retain their existing Cabinet rankings, however as widely expected, Faafoi will become a 17th ranked Cabinet Minister. 

In addition to becoming the new Associate Housing Minister, he will become responsible for Government Digital Services. Ardern said this would complement his role as Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister.

Faafoi will also hang on to Commerce and Consumer Affairs, but lose Civil Defence. 

Ardern said he was a "trusted pair of hands” who was “widely respected" by stakeholders and colleagues. 

In his capacity as Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Faafoi has given the Commerce Commission the power to do market studies.

He is progressing legislation through Parliament to strengthen responsible lending requirements, limit the accumulation of interest and fees on high-cost loans and modernise insurance contracts law.

He is also working on banning banking and insurance sales incentives, regulating banks' and insurers' conduct and culture, and keeping the pressure on banks to create more competition in the payments space through open banking. 

Elsewhere, Grant Robertson will become Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, Jenny Salesa Minister of Customs, and Peeni Henare Minister of Civil Defence.

Changes take effect on Friday, with the exception of portfolios allocated/reallocated to Poto Williams, which will take effect on July 3.

The full list of Cabinet Ministers is available here

Twyford's response

Coming back to Twyford, he said in a statement: "I'm as frustrated as anyone else that we have not been able to deliver as many KiwiBuild houses as we had hoped. I’ve put my all into it."

He also pointed out the things he was proud to have achieved: 

  • Stopped the sell-off of state houses
  • Ended flawed meth evictions
  • Banned letting fees
  • Introduced Health Homes standards
  • Begun to modernise outdated rental laws
  • Changed tax settings to discourage speculators
  • Banned offshore speculators from buying existing houses
  • Built 1400 new state houses and ramped up Housing NZ’s build programme nine fold
  • Put more than 2300 families into public housing
  • Built more than 202 KiwiBuild homes with around a further 430 under construction and more than 10,000 contracted and committed
  • Restored Housing NZ as a compassionate, world-class public housing landlord focused on the wellbeing of its tenants
  • Established a $1.5 billion investment in rejuvenating Porirua East, one of New Zealand’s most deprived areas
  • Negotiated the purchase of the Mt Albert Unitec campus for housing
  • Secured ongoing substantial investment in tackling homelessness through the internationally-acclaimed Housing First programme

Here is a media release from Ardern:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the details of a Cabinet reshuffle that sees Kris Faafoi being promoted into Cabinet, Poto Williams made a Minister outside of Cabinet and a team put in place to advance the Government’s housing plan.

“Kris Faafoi has done an outstanding job as a Minister outside of Cabinet and now joins the Cabinet based on his performance this term,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Minister Faafoi will take on the portfolio of Government Digital Services to complement his existing responsibilities in Commerce, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and joins a new team of housing Ministers who will oversee the implementation of the Government’s housing plan.

“After nine years of neglect there is a lot to fix in housing. KiwiBuild has not progressed as well or as quickly as we’d hoped or expected.

“But our ambition to build more affordable houses for New Zealanders has not changed and neither has the public appetite for the Government to be building affordable homes with 60 per cent of voters in a recent Colmar Brunton poll saying they wanted KiwiBuild to continue.

“But it has become clear to me that the range of challenges in fixing the housing crisis are too great for one Minister. Therefore I am putting in place a team of senior Ministers to deliver the full breadth of our housing plan, from KiwiBuild right through to tackling homelessness.

“Megan Woods will become the Minister of Housing and will be dedicated to delivering the Government’s house building programme.

“Minister Woods will be joined by Kris Faafoi who, as Associate Minister of Housing, will take responsibility for public housing, including state housing and tackling homelessness.

“Nanaia Mahuta will continue to focus on Māori housing and Phil Twyford will continue to take the lead on urban development and the legislative changes needed to ensure more affordable houses can be built with the right infrastructure around them.

“Phil Twyford has made good progress in delivering the Government’s housing policy. He has overseen the largest Government house build programme since the 1970s, including the state house building programme increasing ninefold. Over 2300 more families are being housed by the Government in public housing and first home buyers now make up nearly a quarter of all buyers in the market.    

“Minister Twyford will remain in the housing team and share his extensive knowledge with the other Ministers. But there is much work to be delivered in transport where this Government is making the largest ever investment in our roads and public transport infrastructure. To complement this work he will also pick up Economic Development.

“Minister Parker has passed on the Economic Development portfolio to focus on the Government’s priorities of improving water quality and advancing our trade agenda. With the EU FTA progressing and likely negotiations with the UK starting it is important the Minister has the time to focus on our export interests as well as the complex issue of water, where work will ramp up in the coming months. 

“Poto Williams joins the Executive as a Minister outside of Cabinet, becoming the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector as well as Associate Minister for Social Development, Immigration and Greater Christchurch Regeneration.

“Poto Williams has been an MP since 2013 and is currently the Assistant Speaker. As the MP for Christchurch East she knows all too well the ongoing issues facing the local community as they continue to recover post-earthquake.

“The Government is making good progress on the issues New Zealanders elected us on. The Wellbeing Budget has been well received and the three parties of government are working well. We are hitting our stride.

“This Cabinet refresh means we will have a sharper focus on solving the housing crisis and ensures we are well placed to continue to deliver the changes we were elected to make,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Poto Williams will be sworn in by the Governor General on 3 July 2019.

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Well, it had to happen.
Am I convinced the change will make a big difference? Not really, but hopefully Woods at least is better at listening to experts, rather than arrogantly brushing them aside.


We can all live in hope, but if the experience of the energy industry is anything to go by not-listening and brushing aside experts are her core skills

I don't think Woods was a great listener when it came to oil and gas exploration - in fact it was the exact opposite, blindsiding many of those in the industry and even her officials.
Clearly Twford knew the news yesterday - rather than his usual KiwiBuild cockiness and bluster in Question Time over the past 18 months, he stumbled and definitely lacked confidence and conviction.

Thx, don't know much about her. Doesn't sound too promising. Bit of a talent deficit

Well Woods is a hopeless case , she will just ban anything she does not like , without any consultation ,

Dont like Gas .. ban it
Dont like Banks .. she can ban them
Dont like property developers .... she can ban them too
Dont like Chinese investors .......... go ahead and ban them .

As for Twyford , what the hell was he thinking when he undertook to build 100,000 low cost houses for 4300k each when we did not even have enough builders , when an Auckland section costs $500k , and when painters "no speak Engrish " charge $60 an hour .


In fact, Twyford was the best Labour had to offer, despite his arrogance and ignorance.

I’ve no confidence at all in the latest offering........ going from bad to worse.


yes, the talent pool looks quite shallow.
Although I'd say the same about the Nats

@Fritz AGREED Nick Smith was a hopeless case , and we now have 3 jokers ......... WTF


What an utter fiasco

You've never made a secret of your hatred of the govt, but I did think you were against foreign buyers of houses.

Twyford is an academic. He is not the only one. All sides of the house are riddled with the blighters. Either they are parked pontificating and theorising in a University somewhere or Parliament. Who else would have them!?



For once I agree with the PM; they won't lose momentum with the housing reshuffle. Hard to lose momentum if they are at a standstill.

@ nofax , brilliant , I had to laugh out loud at your comment ............

But why do we have to cry all the time. There must be some capable people to sort out the housing mess

glad to see Kris Faafoi moving up the ranks

Totally agree, there really is something about that guy, been impressed from day one.

It's pretty clear to me, he just gets on with the business.

Pleased that Twyford has retained urban development - some chance that he follows through with his plan to "smash" the urban growth boundaries. For all those who yell "sprawl" - far more sprawl caused by lifestyle blocks outside the boundary (which have minimum size requirements) and people jumping the boundary and building in Pokeno and similar, than would have ever be caused by single family homes on sensible section sizes with sensible prices (once the monopoly on land has been smashed).

Agree with the reallocation and with this. He needs pressure on him to deliver on the RUB "smash".

It's gonna be another Twyford failure. Won't happen. He's got even less mana now to potentially make it happen.

@Avatar 99 dont hold your breath mate , this Government has not got the balls to smash anything .

The RMA needs a smash
The building- supply- chain- Fletchers- run- oligopoly needs a smash
The wage rate for builders is too high to build low -cost houses
The urban boundaries cannot be smashed because the Greens wont have a bar of it
The costs of servicing sections needs a smash

Immigration needs smashing. And as for urban boundaries, concreting over your food basket is just dumb, dumb, dumb

There is enough land available under the unitary plan to accommodate the next 50yrs of population growth, assuming we maintain one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world. Getting what you want by smashing the urban boundaries would simply lead to endless urban sprawl and third world infrastructure. Of course you could also get first world infrastructure, simply by multiplying current council rates x3...easy! Examples like Toronto come to mind, and maybe that’s where we’re headed...

And how much of that is currently zoned to allow people to build on it?

Very little. Havung a carefully choreographed program of 'future housing' zones is a wet dream for speculating landbankers, with a tiny portion actually buildable at any point in time a govt granted monopoly

Yeah, and spray concrete all over the food basket.

Double up

"experience working in an area that required “transition” ---- isn't that Politician 101 in a changing world?

@blowjoy .............Typical , politicians saying stuff that means absolutely f.... all , it just sounds intelligent , someone should ask exactly what that sentence means

I do like Ardern but she does talk a lot of fluffy nonsense

@Fritz I dont think Ardern is great at all , in fact she is just another hopeless case , lost in a cloud of wishful thinking

Worse than hopeless. [Part of comment removed by Editor].

Can we see more detail somewhere? In principle it sounds good.

It seems to have some promise. I still think it's kind of barking up the wrong tree though with a continued obsession with home ownership.
We've fluffed around with community housing providers for many years, and for whatever reason, it hasn't worked that well.
I would like to see the GOVERNMENT just get on with things and build much more housing.

Can I sign a partition against government supported shared ownership? (I'm ok with Progressive Home Ownership)
I cant think of anything worse for house prices than adding government credit with their almost unlimited credit availability to the market to compete against the currently increasing number of FHB looking to buy. On any significant scale this will flood the market with large numbers of people able to pay prices far above people with similar or greater income and deposits. The Auckland market looks like could be correcting, give it a chance to happen.

kate you get my vote for Prime Minister. Seriously

Next time I see Phil I will ask him what the underside of a Wellington Metlink bus looks like

Of the KiwiBuild grenade between cabinet ministers often enough will it confuse people into believe they've done anything but fail miserably?

Twyford would have too much useful knowledge to throw him away at this point – so good move.

Goodness knows what the two newbies will bring to the table – doesn’t feel particularly inspiring – new faces but what else – perhaps just “hope”.

Also seems like the players are looking for safety in numbers with this housing programme now – no one wants to go out there singing on their own any more.

Wood's is a fool taking this on, KB was nothing but a marketing exercise to get elected, and Jacinta you are looking old and wore out another 18 months to go !

Yeah she looks awful most of the time. Wonder if its a bit of naiveity at play again, being a PM with a newborn????

I agree with you Tired and totally disinterested. Roll on UN job application

The government is making good progress on the issues New Zealanders elected them on.............Yeah right.

CGT got them a lot of votes. Gone. Kiwibuild. Gone. Keep right wingers out of government. Gone. At least Bill English had enough principles to not sign a pact with the old devil.

Very pleased to see the FBB. But apart from that, they've been disappointing.

Principles? After the misleading the public over the Todd Barclay affair?

He suffered from having tried and failed to eliminate NZ First from parliament, more the problem. That left him in a compromised position to negotiate.


He's (Phil) done brilliantly. I liken him to Manu Vatuvei in his earliest years at the Warriors when he was often left to take on an entire opposition side by himself. Not withstanding its going to take more than one minister to reverse the local momentum of an entire global industry fuelled by the greed of self entitled babyboomers who got everything for free when they were coming up but don't quite seem fit to extend the same to the generations following...

Ahh.. so the true writer behind The4thEstate finally becomes clear... its either Twyford himself or his mum. I defy you to find anyone outside of Phil's immediate family rhat would suggest he has done "brilliantly".

Under some stiff competition he takes the prize for surely the most useless Minister of them all. Curran would be a candidate but she has thankfully had all roles taken off her.

BTW - has anyone found Kelvin Davis yet... in case you weren't sure, he is the deputy leader of the Labour Party.


Housing in this country is almost at an unsolvable situation and not thanks to this government, they have simply been left with the absolute tragedy of years of housing being used as a never losing casino, with the obvious subsequent fallout for people. The situation is appalling and is going to actually take much social housing and much effort to get some sort of equilibrium again.
One thing I would love to see is that the emphasis on housing is to achieve again the idea that houses are for people to live in, as homes, they are not playthings for investors. I really hope we have the guts to do something to achieve this.

A massive part of the increased cost of housing is due to regulations and laws passed in last 10 years that have magnified the cost of building houses but have gone way too far in terms of the costs they impose for the benefits they yield. Foundations sturdy enough to last 1000 years that cost $50k more to build than foundations of 30 years back that working just fine. $50k or more in high-spec insulation to save $200/year in electricity. Health and safety regs, traffic management plans, lots of box-checking clipboard wielding non-productive labour that multiplies build costs substantially, with appalling economic payback... And that is without getting into the pigs breakfast that is planning and consenting.

Sturdiest house I ever lived in was in South Westland, on concrete piles and with planks over the rafters under the iron roof. Fault line was a stone's throw away. Woke up to an around 6 earthquake one night, followed by a lesser but no less scary one about an hour later. The old house shook like hell and I was sure there was going to be damage. There was, a slight crack in a seam of a chimney to a chip heater. I fixed it with Selley's Knead It.

Quite simple you are right

A new slogan/logo/corporate culture statement is called for in the Gubmint Housing Arena.

Shrink Big!

'Homeless? Welcome to the brighter future!'

People always want to live in or near a city (sure not all but a vast number to create a problem needing intelligent management). They do not want to live in remote Timbaktu and work remotely in the city no matter how well (4G, 8G, 10000G) they are connected digitally. Lets not deny, housing is a problem in and around any big city and will always be. It just needs to be managed. Throwing in a promise to solve this issue, not just manage it well, by promising to build X number of houses within x no. of years, to solve this issue totally, was never going to work.

As long as we keep hauling in people at the rate we are, I believe we will be playing a desperate catch up game. We really do have to do something about it. It isn't serving any real purpose.

Well said

So Megan Woods is in the drivers seat of the Kiwibuild bus.. now lets see if they've found a mechanic and a can of diesel to get it started..

You win the prize for the best comment of the week. Cheers

its gonna need 4 wheels as well. Even this bunch of overpaid school teachers and academics surely remember "the wheels on the bus....."

Well said Pragmatist , the Kiwibuild Bus is not even real bus ............ its that cardbaord cut-out bus that my three children used in Grade 1 about 17 to 20 years ago in their school play , while singing the " wheels on the bus......"

No substance
No steering
No engine
No seats ..

Nothing really , just the illusion of a bus , and a bunch of excited kids in a singalong , .............. and we all clapped for the performance .