National MP Michael Woodhouse the new opposition spokesman on housing and social housing portfolios, Nick Smith gets forestry and aquaculture

National MP Michael Woodhouse the new opposition spokesman on housing and social housing portfolios, Nick Smith gets forestry and aquaculture

Former Minister for Building & Construction (and Housing - before it was disestablished), Nick Smith, did a great job, but it's now time for him to move on in Opposition, according to National Party leader Bill English.

The new leader of the Opposition announced his party’s spokespeople for the various portfolios Thursday, saying National was unveiling a strong team that would hold the Labour-led government to account.

In government, National didn’t have a Minister of Housing for the final part of its nine-years, with Nick Smith holding Building & Construction, and Amy Adams holding responsibility for Housing NZ and Social Housing.

Michael Woodhouse – the former Immigration Minister – has now been handed the shadow Housing and Social Housing Portfolios, while Scott Simpson has been handed “Planning” and Andrew Bayly “Building Regulation”.

Nick Smith has ended up with Forestry and Aquaculture – Forestry actually being a big plank of the Labour-led government’s policy agenda, with New Zealand First’s backing. Amy Adams now has responsibility for Justice, and Workplace Relations and Safety, including Pike River.

Steven Joyce has kept the Finance and Infrastructure responsibilities. Paula Bennett remains Deputy Leader. Another position of note to Interest.co.nz readers should be that Commerce has been taken off former Minister for that portfolio, Jacqui Dean, and handed to former Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson. Judith Collins has Transport.

Click here for the full list of who has each portfolio for National.

'Time for Smith to move on'

Speaking to media after making the announcement, English said that in putting together the spokesperson roles, National had focussed in the first instance on continuity. This had been blended with a number of new MPs from last term coming through with more responsibility.

“We want to use the knowledge we have from what was an energised and focussed government and carry over quite a number of our spokespeople into similar roles simply on the belief that they know more and they certainly have much better policy than the new government does.”

However, the 'quite a number' of former Ministers carrying on with the shadow portfolios didn't apply to Smith when it came to Building & Construction.

English was asked about his thinking around taking Building & Construction and the Housing NZ and Social Housing portfolios off Smith and Adams, respectively, and giving them to Michael Woodhouse and Andrew Bayly.

He said he had wanted to move Amy Adams into Workplace Relations due to Labour’s policy in the area. “It’s probably one of the most concerning of the government’s economic policies, is a reversion to pre-1990 industrial relations policy for New Zealand.” Adams had the intuitive understanding of how the workplace worked and businesses, as well as a “crystal clear legal mind.”

On whether taking Building & Construction off Smith was essentially a demotion, English defended the former Minister. “He did a great job in that area. I know he was criticised a lot, but you just need to see, today and yesterday, the highest building consent figures ever, the market now dropping in Auckland – in those figures they use, those annual figures – [and] it will drop for the next 12 months," he said.

“The prices are flat-to-falling, as a measure of success in dealing with a vast amount of complexity. He did a great job. He and I would both be of the view it’s time to move to something else," English said.

English said he thought Smith would stay around for at least the rest of the Parliamentary term. “And he can track the government on their plan to plant a billion trees, which don’t exist and no one knows where they’re going to plant them.”

He then had a go at new Housing Minister Phil Twyford. “He’s already trying to count all the work that was in the pipeline as part of his 100,000 extra houses.”

The policy area was wide open, he said: “The incoming Minister of Housing does not have a plan; the only way he can even partially succeed is to use the plan that National had in place.”

Read English’s press release announcing Opposition portfolios below.

National Party Leader Bill English has unveiled a strong Opposition team which will hold the Government to account and ensure it does not squander the opportunities New Zealanders have created for our country in recent years.

“New Zealand is doing well, with low unemployment, thousands of jobs being created every month, strong public services and New Zealanders getting ahead,” Mr English says.

“That’s a direct result of the hard work and dedication of New Zealanders who have operated confidently with the support of a clear and consistent economic plan and a government focused on achieving measurable results.

“We will be pushing the new Government to maintain that success and that focus.

“Today I am announcing our Opposition lineup which makes the most use of our dedicated and talented caucus. We are the largest Opposition Party New Zealand has ever seen, and the largest party in Parliament. We will ensure we make those numbers count.

“I have ensured we make the most of the experience and knowledge of our former ministers, while also utilising the talents of our large caucus who are passionate about New Zealand’s future.

“All but the latest intake of MPs have been allocated portfolios. Those MPs will be given time to understand Parliamentary processes and work alongside our spokespeople, and be allocated portfolios in due course.

“We will be a strong and loyal Opposition. We are ambitious for New Zealand – and we remain committed to building a stronger, more confident and more prosperous nation.

“We will work tirelessly to ensure New Zealand continues to succeed and New Zealanders continue to get ahead, while holding the current Government to account on any decisions that place that progress at risk.”

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

32 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).
10
up

Interesting. Reverse Midas Nick Smith still around.

No sign of Jian Yang? Might've made a great Shadow Foreign Affairs portfolio match.

Jian Yang is National's statistics spokesman and associate ethnic affairs spokesman. (Click through to the full list).

10
up

I'm waiting to read his statements about ethnic affairs in Tibet.

...and who's Bill's Deputy? Surely not Simon "I thought it was my turn next" Bridges?

It's still Paula Bennett.

Thank you, sir.... Oh and ...
"The number of Australian families facing mortgage distress has soared by nearly 20 per cent in the past six months to more than 900,000 and is on track to top 1 million by next year...Stagnant incomes, rising costs, unemployment, the likelihood that rates are more likely to rise than fall mean the number of families struggling to make ends meet is expected to continue increasing." (AFR)

Looks like Phil Twyford may have job cut ou heret!

National would be well served by focusing on helping sort out their massive housing mess.

That's a formidable line up for an Opposition!

Let's toast Bill English - one of the best Minister's of Finance the western world has ever known. And a highly competent Deputy Prime Minister.

Would you trust the current mob to get New Zealand through an event like the 2009 Global Financial Crash? Not likely!

Look forward to seeing Bill and his team back in office in 2020 - if not sooner.

17
up

"That's a formidable line up for an Opposition!"
More like a bunch of has beens. Wait for the resignations to flow
The new Government seem busy governing rather than worried about the smile and wave crowd.

22
up

I took his post as satire, don't tell me he was being serious!?

I thought the same as well.. then checked his/her other posts...deadly serious including his/her real estate predictions

Aren’t all his posts satire?

In the same way as I'm a poet and I didn't know it

Their posts are so inane and so obviously counter productive to what they seemingly wish to promote (National and property speculation) that perhaps they are paid stooges?

Really? REALLY?

Bill English - Two failed election campaigns as leader, dodgy allowance claims, evasive & weak on Todd Barclay - he should have fired him immediately
Paula Bennett - "Haven't read that report", ambiguous answers to questions on previous benefit claims
Stephen Joyce - $11B hole in labour accounts blatant lie, finance minister who failed economics
Yang Jian - Unanswered questions over past and visa application
Judith Collins - Oravida scandal
Gerry Brownlee - Catastrophic handling of EQC recovery
Simon Bridges - Refusal to release documents pertaining to the East/West link decision making
Jami-Lee Ross - Endorsement of IANZ despite fraud and fake test results
Louise Upston - Silence over the Chiefs stripper scandal despite being minister for womens affairs
Jonathan Coleman - Woeful handling of DBH funding crisis
David Carter - Allegations of corruption over the kosher meat saga
Nick Smith - Ahhh Nick Smith, where to start, the most ineffective, lying, useless embarrassment of a politician for some time. ACC claim scandal, guilty of contempt of court, loss of defamation cases, swimmable rivers fiasco, Auckland housing disaster of non-delivery.
Ann Tolley - Involvement in the leaking of Winston Peter's super payments.

And that's just the ones that spring to mind. If that's what you call a "formidable line up" then political talent and integrity in New Zealand is an absolute laughing stock.
I do think there are some potentially good MP's in National but until the rotten wood gets cleaned out they have no place running the country. New Zealanders deserve better from people in public office. And its our damn fault for re-electing them and meekly allowing the likes of Collins and Smith to slink back into the corridors of power after standing down in media stunts.

And lets not forget some of the ones VERY recently departed;
John Key - Ponytails and short memories (good title for the autobiography I reckon), panama papers, behaviour on quashing ANZ investigation [now subsequently ANZ chairman], flag referendum idiocy
Todd Barclay - Refused to speak to police (twice) and fled to London
Murray mcully - Saudi sheep deal

And that is why I will blame Bill English for any Labour stuff ups. Because if Bill English had a spine he would have done something about that long list of National Party losers. He was too gutless to do so. And that is why we are saddled with Jacinda and Winston; nobody else's fault. It is all on Bill English's head. A little bit of courage from him and National would have romped home with 64 or more seats.

'And that is why we are saddled with Jacinda and Winston'

What's wrong with Jacinda?
I, like many (including Nat supporters) have been very impressed with her to date.
Time will tell, but she's made a strong start.

"And that is why I will blame Bill English for any Labour stuff ups."
I suspect that due to the balancing created by the coalition there will be far fewer stuffups from our present government. Indeed, they would be hard pressed to do worse than the legacy National and its property spruikers have left us with. However, if errors are made I do support your intention to blame Bill English if not the entire National party..

hopefully Michael woodhouse hasn't picked up all the bad habits of NIck smith!!!

"says a Senior Lecturer of Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington."

Yeah, says someone who has been observing the political and public landscape for a long time.

from inside the trough.

Are they a farmer?

Well it would probably take a few farmers to fund her. $3,200 a household fund tert. ed. these days isn't it?

Well at least Bill stayed on & has taken his second election defeat on the chin. That’s a whole lot more credibility and responsibility that either Clark or Cullen produced, and dropped poor old Goff into a hopeless thankless position.

Clark initially said she'd be hanging around to be MP for Mt Albert...but was later lured away. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bill stick around initially only to head off into the sunset either, to be honest.

Whether it will be by his own will or through a night of long knives is another matter.

As we used to say in the seventies. DId he jump or was he pushed?

When the Nats recover from their concussion they need to really do a cleanout. First recommendation to go should be Stephen Joyce. They have yet to realise what a millstone he is.

good to see nick smith has a role to match his abilities, minister of counting trees, all he needs now is a clipboard and off to the middle of the forest

It would seem Nick Smith is being slowly moved toward the exit.

The policy area was wide open, he said: “The incoming Minister of Housing does not have a plan; the only way he can even partially succeed is to use the plan that National had in place.”

National were backing plans that even they now admit would at best cause near total failure. No one should be surprised they lost power.