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Ministerial portfolios unveiled: Grant Robertson Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Little Minister of Health, Chris Hipkins Minister for Covid-19 Response, Ayesha Verrall brought into Cabinet as Associate Health Minister, Phil Twyford out of Cabinet

Ministerial portfolios unveiled: Grant Robertson Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Little Minister of Health, Chris Hipkins Minister for Covid-19 Response, Ayesha Verrall brought into Cabinet as Associate Health Minister, Phil Twyford out of Cabinet
Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has unveiled her government's ministerial portfolios. 

Here's a quick summary of the key positions:

  • Deputy PM: Grant Robertson
  • Finance: Grant Robertson
  • Housing: Megan Woods
  • Transport: Michael Wood
  • Health: Andrew Little
  • Covid-19 Response: Chris Hipkins
  • Infrastructure: Grant Robertson
  • Education: Chris Hipkins
  • Social Development and Employment: Carmel Sepuloni
  • Foreign Affairs: Nanaia Mahuta
  • Environment: David Parker
  • Small Business: Stuart Nash
  • Economic and Regional Development: Stuart Nash
  • Tourism: Stuart Nash
  • Justice: Kris Faafoi
  • Immigration: Kris Faafoi
  • Police: Poto Williams
  • Revenue: David Parker
  • Commerce and Consumer Affairs: David Clark
  • Agriculture: Damien O’Connor
  • Energy: Megan Woods
  • Trade and Export Growth: Damien O’Connor
  • Local Government: Nanaia Mahuta
  • Conservation: Kiri Allan
  • Forestry: Stuart Nash
  • Māori Crown Relations: Kelvin Davis
  • Children: Kelvin Davis
  • Climate Change: James Shaw
  • Corrections: Kelvin Davis
  • State-owned Enterprises: David Clark
  • Statistics: David Clark
  • Māori Development: Willie Jackson
  • Defence: Peeni Henare

See the full list here

In an unusual move, Ardern has brought the new MP, Ayesha Verrall, into Cabinet and given her the Associate Health Minister portfolio. Verrall is an infectious diseases physician.

Phil Twyford, who was number four on the list, has been booted out of Cabinet. His Urban Development portfolio has also been disestablished. 

The associate housing portfolios are for homelessness, Maori housing and public housing.

Housing Minister Megan Woods will presumably oversee the new powers Kainga Ora has (but is yet to use), which enable it to fast-track large-scale housing developments. 

Environment Minister David Parker will also continue to oversee the Resource Management Act review. 

Here's a press release from Ardern:

Experienced Ministers will hold key economic recovery and ongoing COVID response portfolios in the new Cabinet line-up announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today.

“The next three years will be very challenging for New Zealand. With the global outlook worsening we won’t be immune to the ongoing impact Covid is having around the world,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“With this in mind the new Labour Government will have two overarching priorities: to drive our economic recovery from Covid-19, and to continue our health response to keep New Zealanders safe from the virus.

“In what will be a difficult environment it’s critical we have our most experienced Ministers leading the ongoing Covid response to keep New Zealanders safe from the virus and to accelerate our plan for economic recovery.

“Grant Robertson will become Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Infrastructure Minister; drawing together the key portfolios central to that economic recovery.

“Our recovery plan includes $42 billion of infrastructure investment that will create jobs and ensure our economic recovery also delivers much needed improvements to our roads and public transport, to schools, hospitals and housing, while also continuing to support our regions.

“Chris Hipkins becomes the Minister for COVID-19 Response. This is a new role that will give the Minister responsibility for all aspects of our ongoing response, including the running of managed isolation facilities, our border defences as well as our health response including our testing and contact tracing systems and managing any resurgence of the virus.

“Andrew Little will become the Minister of Health, driving overdue reforms of the system aimed at improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders. He will be supported by Peeni Henare and Dr Ayesha Verrall who will focus on Maori Health and Public Health respectively.

“Nanaia Mahuta will become the Minister of Foreign Affairs – the first woman in our nation’s history appointed to hold the portfolio. She will bring the experience she has already built with an Associate Trade and Export Growth portfolio in the last term,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I am excited by this team. They bring experience from the ground, and from within politics. But they also represent renewal and reflect the New Zealand we live in today.

“We know we have a big job ahead of us, but the skills, experience and commitment this team brings to the task is invaluable,” Jacinda Ardern said.

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Andrew Little at health must be looking a bit nervously over his shoulder at Ayesha Verrall being brought straight in!

Surprised Little has accepted Health which has been a troublesome unrewarding portfolio since as long as I can remember. Being a lawyer Justice was a natural fit and he had unfinished business there as well. There must be some compelling reason for this shuffle.

I for one am glad. Faafoi appears to be less ideologically driven and more pragmatic. That's good in a Justice Minister

My gut feel is he will just be standing in to mentor Ayesha Verrall and get her up to speed on the political side of things. Then they will hand over to her and he will move onto the next problem.

Yup, wish I'd read your comment before making mine, this seems perfectly logical to me

My guess is he is there to bring her through to role in the future. Little can have his pick of portfolios, but he is a team player and a bloody valuable one at that.

Finance and Infrastructure portfolios under a single, high-achieving minister - finally light at the end of the tunnel (second Terrace tunnel in the capital I hope).

Say whatever about a majority party-led government, for a change we can have policymakers who cater to the entire country and the average NZer (since the party votes came from all directions and voter bases) instead of those looking out for the interests of students, hipsters, boomers and Northlanders.

Hey - you leave Northlanders out of that list. Yeah we got some money this time, but only after National ignored us for thirty years. It wasn't only our railway that was put in 'managed decline'. They forgot about us for a generation. We have some crappy socio economic issues up here, so a reversal of the usual '3 blankets and 2 axes' was appreciated.

Yet didn't they vote the national candidate in?

Special votes still to count - it could change.

And Labour didn't ignore Northland??. It's been ignored for decades by both sides. Funny how the only time it got more than crumbs, it bit the hand that distributed the putea. Pretty dysfunctional - "give us some help" then the helper gets kicked in the nutz. Perhaps the place would be better with the Harawira's (and maybe deserves them)

Or we just don't take bribes?

So you lot moan when you get nothing and call it a bribe when you do? Can't please some people

Weirdly Phil Twyford is now out of cabinet, despite being ranked #4 on the list.

Aye, tis a bit. Maybe it’s a signal to all that might take notice, that non performance overrides rank and the tough call can be made.

Seems like the kind of message you could send before the election by not promoting him leading up to it tbh.

Kicking him out means admitting failure - which is a big no-no right before elections

Yes and he had her full support a week or three before the election. Not sure if full support was defined but maybe it meant I support you on the party list but nothing else.

As I understand it, look for Phil Twyford and Nick Smith to form a consultancy in the near future. Focused on those wellness "be still and do nothing" style retreats.

A surprise indeed, but a most welcome one.

So. Here we go! And there is no time to waste.
First meeting. 8.00 am tomorrow morning. Grant Robertson and Adrian Orr.

A poor pack hamstrung by a socialist left lense & dogma.
Good luck, they will need it.


As opposed to 8 lovely years of having an investment banker at the helm whose capitalist-right pragmatism included selling natural monopolies such as 49% stakes in highly-profitable SOEs and fully pawning off an electricity distribution company in the capital region to a Hong Kong-based conglomerate accused of dodging taxes in multiple jurisdictions across the globe.


As opposed to the nine years previous to that where we had exactly the same sort of runaway housing costs, higher taxation and generally decline in middle-class living standards? Yea, so so much better. Key hasn't been in Parliament for about four years now, but sure, keep flipping your lid over him so you can ignore how badly the current lot are doing like it's a valid defense for failing to deliver the sort of change they rubbished National for not delivering.


Labour has 3 years to prove their worth and achieve some positive change. This cycle they've got no excuses (NZF now gone so no Winnie dragging the chain). If things are as bad or worse in 3 years time then they're entirely fair game.

And for the record, the Key era was a terrible waste for NZ and the chickens have started coming home to roost.

So... Nine years of National neglect bad, three years of Labour neglect good? They were always going to have to govern with Winston so that doesn't wash.

For the record, stagnant incompetent government is bad for the country no matter what hat it is wearing.


Guess you missed the bit where they had a world-beating response to a global pandemic in their first term.

Guess you think that repeating it will make it true - I suggest you apply for a job at CNN.

Other Pacific islands have done just as well or better . Vietnam , Taiwan , Thailand have all done MUCH better given the scale of the challenge they face.

Guess you missed the memo that the last six months of their term doesn't excuse their 2.5 years of flubbing and walking back on their grandoise promises they spun to get elected.

Even "Blind Pew" could have isolated the country, destroyed small businesses and racked up 50% of GDP in debt. Some achievement I must say. The "world beating response you speak of is now matched by another world beating stat - the drop in GDP and the increase in house prices.

Surprising that people even put forward the notion that our covid response is not one of the best in the world. Have these people not heard what is happening in Europe and the USA right now?

You seem to miss the point that NZ has been playing the game on easy mode.
As a small, rural country with such a low population density compared to Europe or the parts of the Americas having issues, we were always very well placed to perform well against Covid-19 or any other virus.
In most other countries, the community outbreaks we have had from failures in border management would have led to widespread outbreaks due to population density and the ease of transmission that comes with that, such as more public transport.

Well, this term Labour has no excuse so if they miss it up it's all on them. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt for the last 3 years due to NZF. We'll see if that's justified or not in the near-future.

"And for the record, the Key era was a terrible waste for NZ " - could you clarify what you believe to have been wasted? And how it was worse than the preceding period under Clark? I know personally I was much better off under Key than Clark - lower taxes, lower interest rates, more employment opportunities, more confident manufacturers.


They sat on his hands and promoted a giant asset bubble, sold assets, promoted mass immigration (keep wages low and rents high), sold off public housing during a housing crisis, and neglected to invest in infrastructure at a level that kept pace with the population growth (leading to an infrastructure deficit we still have today). They also were willing to bend over backwards and sell out to China at the drop of a hat.

Whether you were better off during this time entirely depends on your demographic and where you lived.

Exactly. The individual v the nation. You could add suspending putting into the superfund and missing out on the returns too.

Too funny. Advisor
Don't you see that National could easily fit within the Democratic Party.

I suggest you wouldn't know a capitalist-right party if you fell over it.

Remembering the spectrum is (left to right)
Communist to socialist, liberal to Conservative.

What you seem to imply is cronyism, that is spectrum wide.
Remember James Shaw and the Taranaki Green School, Green Sleaze. All those types will be arranging their retirements basis the compliance lite $ funding programs we have been promised.

Remember James Shaw and the Taranaki Green School, Green Sleaze - I do Henry - looks like a great school and the 11 mil LOAN will go a long way in creating more work and classrooms for the Taranaki region. Shame schools like this were not around in your time....50 years ago

Classrooms for the few privileged, sure. Shame for everyone else who isn't wealthy and drunk the eco kool aid, which is the vast majority

It was as much they way he went about it by holding a bunch of other projects to ransom if he didn't get his was though. Not to mention the greens appose private education.

He lost a lot of respect from that episode.

Second time lucky......

Newshub can reveal the nearly $12 million of taxpayer money netted by the controversial Green School wasn't the first time they'd tried to dip into the public purse.

The difference is that their first attempt - for far less funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) - didn't pass muster and the school was refused.

NZ does love a good serving of pork barrel politics mind you

Loans you say frazzzz... 50 years

Members of the Fourth Labour Government were divided on the action to be taken, with Prime Minister David Lange, Lange's staff, and his deputy Geoffrey Palmer[4] wanting the resignation of Koro Wētere as Minister of Māori Affairs and from his seat in Parliament (Wētere would have had to face a by-election in an election year), though Cabinet decided against this on 9 February. Hence as Bassett later wrote, "Several ministers would agree in later years, however that it was about the time of the Māori loans affair that cabinet solidarity began to fall apart."[5] Finance Minister Roger Douglas later recounted that the "hostilities" within the Cabinet began with the Māori loans affair.[6]

At the beginning of 1987 a Television New Zealand report from Hawaii claimed a link with the CIA and suggested an American attempt to destabilise the Labour government because of its anti-nuclear policy, although Palmer thought the matter involved incompetence in the department.[7],money%20overseas%20for%20M%C4%81ori%20development.

The Māori loan affair (or Hawaiian loans affair[1]) of 1986 and 1987 in New Zealand was an unauthorised attempt by the Department of Māori Affairs (today called Te Puni Kōkiri) to raise money overseas for Māori development. The affair was first raised in Parliament on 16 December 1986 with a question from opposition National MP Winston Peters about loan negotiations; the revelations dumbfounded ministers;

Those SOE sales have made good money for many NZ retail investors - still are. They are more focused on returns to shareholders and way more profitable now than they were in full State ownership. Besides at the time NZ Govt needed the money badly.

Those SOE sales were theft of our public wealth.

So what are we betting house prices to be at after three more years of these clowns?

I'll go with another 30% increase.

Its the proxy for good jobs and wage growth.

Who knows.
Tony Alexander recently said that house price predictions are a mugs game, and although he's a dork I agree.
Tightening LVR restrictions might pull the market back.

Labour should do more communication on why Twyford was out of Cabinet.

This for sure will attract lots of voters from Chinese ethnicity in future.

Also, it would be great know more about Foreign Affairs: Nanaia Mahuta, as it won't be an easy job for the next years.

Nanaia Mahuta is the Mp for the Maori seat of Waikato Hauraki. While I don't doubt her ability to take on Foreign affairs , I do think the overseas travel will be at a cost to her Electorate, presumably been overseas alot.

She no doubt will have to travel the world to pick up from where Winston left off. She'll also enjoy the baubles of office as Winston did. Who cares about the electorate. There's a few staffers in her local office that will look after it for her in the pretense she is handling it.

Going by her track record in LG Ministry (which she keeps) Foreign Affairs staffers will be busy rescuing any own goals. She's only there (in Parliament) by virtue of her last name. The list of appointments has one glaringly obvious trend - bugger all talent other than a limited few.

The consultation on the Three Waters and the resultant Taumata Arowai—the Water Services Regulator Act 2020 was passed through Parliament. Long needed reform and plenty of scope for further regulatory improvements;

The way I read it, CG had had enough of LG's failure to properly administer this critical core infrastructure. All now depends on the calibre of those running the regulatory body, but I'm hopeful.

And on top of that, Nanaia managed to bring Māori on board - a big achievement where freshwater management/administration is concerned.

On Foreign Affairs, I think it's a great appointment - what better Ambassador for Aotearoa than an articulate indigenous woman with such a proud ancestry.

I do hope you are right. It is too easily overlooked just how important this role is for NZ. I think it was done a disservice with McCully and Brownlee in the last National government, where it was quite obvious that the trappings were coveted. And at least Winston knew how to dress and conduct himself whilst overseas it would seem. This though is a specialist area, requires in depth knowledge of the vagaries of global politics. Surely there is experience for this lady to avail, really hope she does, because in reality NZ is but a bit player on the world stage.

Gimme a freakin' break Kate!! FFS. Mahuta has done absolutely zip to help LG sort out their admittedly dysfunctional systems. As for Foreign Affairs if you think that the world is going to start singing "kumbyyaah" over Mahuta then you are about to be disappointed - seriously! Unless you think that NZs future lies in pandering further to the embedded attitude in world affairs where NZ is considered a loud annoying but irrelevant Pacific backwater. Macron, Mahlstrom,Putin, Xi Jinping, Johnson, Trump (or Biden) don't give a rats @rse about ancestry or articulate indigenousness. She's well out of her depth

You have to lay the foundations for asset management amalgamation/transformation of appropriately labeled dysfunctional systems. That's done.

And no, I do not expect anyone o/seas to sing anything. The Foreign Minister does the liaison with his/her counterparts, not directly with the leaders that you have mentioned. They set the groundwork for the leader's meetings. Nanaia's not a 'loud' person/communicator, so no idea what you are on about there. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I have heard she worked very hard for her local constituents, not always on things at national government level. She is very popular at electorate level .

Can't seem to locate it in article form but I heard Heather du Plessis on the radio quote a report that said electorates with a greater proportion of recent migrants party-voted Greens and those with more NZ-born residents party-voted ACT.

It makes sense that migrants in the low to mid range of wages on permanent residency are unlikely to vote centre-right. Looks like Nats-ACT may have dug themselves into a hole here with their migration stance.

No doubt Gharamahan had some influence on migrant's decisions

It was an analysis of votes v known demographics in different electorates by someone at Auckland University. Thought I had saved the link but can't find it just now.

Two things:

Wood for transport is great for Light Rail. Hopefully this can get back on track as we'll be drowning in buses at some point and there's much infill housing going in places like Mangere and West Auckland. RIP the hugely over-complicated Superfund proposal. You will not be missed.

Woods for housing - along with other responsibilities - with four other assist. and general housing related ministers is a mess. How exactly is this showing a focus on housing? Surely one dedicated minister would have been the logical starting point? House prices are now $125K more expensive in Auckland than when this lot took office. Now it seems to be a jobs scheme for senior Labour MPs.

True but the present government has carefully extricated itself from it's prior commitments on housing. I expect this will predominantly be a government of careful management and not revolutionary change.

Just keep building heaps and heaps of state houses, and revert to the way the housing market was supported before Richardson and Shipley screwed it up by replacing with corporate welfare for landlords.

I'll reserve judgement for what they can actually achieve, not what title they hold.

A good thing is that Kelvin Davis ruled himself out as deputy PM (well, he could sense the environment, so knew that he would not have gotten it anyway).
Frankly, he is a liability and an embarrassment. For example, his moronic post-election "speech" was utterly cringe worthy.

Then why has he been given two jobs?
And one being children, oh the role model...

I'm most interested in the Kelvin Davis portfolios: Crown-Maori relations, Children (Māori child uplifts by Oranga Tamariki anyone?) and Corrections. Definite link between those portfolios. Interesting to see if Davis can make any headway. He's the first Māori or male Minister for Children (third total) also.

he has been a non entity and disaster in corrections - slowed down a lot of progress that was being made-- without bringing anything new to the table -- talked a load of rubbish and threw the dep staff under the bus a few times though -- but brought in virtually zilch extra money and very few new programs taht were not already in teh pipeline

I suspect Kelvin was encouraged to turn down the deputy role.

Well Census 2023 should be fun...

I'm so glad that Parker is nowhere near Foreign Affairs after his last jaunt to China and him coming back singing from the Belt and Road songbook....

Skill set aside, the list does include several demonstrated bad character players.

Mind you there is light at the.....
Old Jeremy Corbyn has finally been rejected from the party.

Britain's opposition Labour Party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday (UK time) after he downplayed a report that detailed serious failings in the party's handling of anti-Semitism complaints under his leadership.

Imagine our Lady of the Lockdown will be trimming many of the Jeremy & me selfies on social media now. May also need patch things up with all things Isreal here too, albeit reluctantly.

statistics - david clark state owned enterprises david clark -- WOW -- i feel great about the data already

Yep, imagine he will be dishing it out looking for more Ashley's.

It's amazing he got anything at all. Should have made him Minister for Cycle Trails, with Twyford as his associate. Maybe made up a new ministry - NZ Underwater Defence and put them both in charge of it

P Twyford - good riddance.

POTO WILLIAMS - police minister -she cant even get back to her locals in Christchurch East -no card on my box over elections ?

And for contrast, this breathless idiot piece from RNZ.... (cool your jets the election is over)....

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered an almost pitch-perfect line-up with the post-election 2020 Cabinet.

Given Labour won the diversity race the PM had a good selection to pick and mix from. Almost someone for everyone.

# Shameless identity politics....

Richard Pamatatau is a journalism academic at AUT University. He teaches public affairs reporting, journalism law and ethics and writing.

An antidote

Dr. Gad Saad, the host of the enormously popular YouTube show THE SAAD TRUTH, exposes the bad ideas—what he calls “idea pathogens”—that are killing common sense and rational debate. Incubated in our universities and spread through the tyranny of political correctness, these ideas are endangering our most basic freedoms—including freedom of thought and speech.

Great link, thanks. And the other thing that you'll be delighted to know is that the Cabinet has more women in it than the entire National Caucus.

Lions and tiger and bears, oh my.

I cringe every time I read the term "common sense". Its basically the belief that a number of people who have done no research into a subject somehow know better than someone that has. And typically common sense tends to mean "how things were done 30 years ago", which may be fine for older generations, but perhaps younger generations want to do things differently.
I agree to an extent that freedom of speech is being endangered by political correctness, however with the internet and social media freedom of speech is becoming pretty out of hand, some of the comments you read online are just horrendous. Everything in life is about balance, and somewhere in the middle is an area where we can debate the issues without the hate.

Depends though - some conventions have fallen by the wayside - ideas like collective responsibility and ministerial accountability have basically died a death. Are we really better off with the current approach to managing non-performing Ministers? Auckland had three wasted years of no rapid transit planning, common sense says the person responsible should have been ditched long before now. Is that a bad thing?

Revenue to David Parker - does that mean design work on the environmental taxes and resource rentals recommended by the Tax Working Group? (with potential for this tax income to be used to help the necessary shift in how we do things to a zero net carbon economy)

This is just following Labour's election manifesto. “Our welfare system should ensure that all New Zealanders in need are able to have an adequate income, are treated with respect and dignity, and are able to participate meaningfully in their communities."

So how quickly will the Welfare Expert Advisory Group's recommendations on 12-47% increases in social security levels be implemented?

Funny how things change in 3 years isn't it. 3 years ago the Labour party was Ardern, Robertson, Little, and almost no one else. Now there seem to be quite a few good names in that list. And Robertson seems well liked to the point where if Ardern left he may be able to win the next election.
Meanwhile 3 years ago National had the likes of English, Joyce, Adams, Bennett, Kaye, etc - all very experienced, they almost had too many leadership options. Now instead they seem to have very little experience or options.

call out the ones you like & why.
Thanks in advance

Its not necessarily who I like, its who the public like / trust / know. For example I never thought much of Steven Joyce, but he was a well known name that helped make National appear experienced. Labour are starting to build up some of those with the likes of Hipkins, Woods, Faafoi, Nash, etc, most relatively unknown 3 years ago. I guess it just goes with being in power, which is probably why once one party is in they seem to get a few terms.