Agriculture, biosecurity and science keep their Ministers in new Cabinet line-up

Announcing his new Cabinet today, Prime Minister said it will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe.

But the reshuffled team does not require ag/hort scientists to brace for dealing with new ministers in agriculture, biosecurity or research, science and innovation.

The Ministerial List February 2023 shows Dr Ayesha Verrall retains the Research, Science and Innovation portfolio, although her workload has been significantly increased by her promotion to become Minister of Health.

Damien O’Connor retains the portfolios of Agriculture, Biosecurity, Land Information and Trade and Export Growth.

But neither Dr Verrall nor Mr O’Connor are in “the top team”, which comprises Mr Hipkins, Carmel Sepuloni, Kelvin Davis, Grant Robertson and Megan Woods (who “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. This reshuffle gives him the time and support to apply his full focus on fighting inflation and helping New Zealand families and businesses to get by,” Mr Hipkins said.

Michael Wood moves to number seven in the Cabinet ranking and becomes Minister for Auckland and an Associate Finance Minister.

“Having a senior Minister with a focus on the city ensures Auckland has the attention it needs. That’s going to be even more important following the events of recent days.” 

As a former school principal and education expert, Mr Hipkins said, new Education Minister Jan Tinetti was “uniquely placed to address the post-COVID challenges our education system has faced and get our kids back in the classroom and learning”.

Dr Verrall succeeds Andrew Little as Minister of Health and moves to the front bench. She is an infectious diseases expert who brings almost 20 years of knowledge of how our health system works and how it can be improved.

Kieran McAnulty moves into Cabinet and picks up the full Local Government portfolio, previously held by Nanaia Mahuta.

Joining him in the Cabinet are two other new Ministers:

  • Ginny Andersen will become the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Seniors, Associate Minister of Immigration and Associate Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.
  • Barbara Edmonds will become the Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Associate Health Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Housing.

There are four new Ministers outside of Cabinet –  Duncan Webb, Willow-Jean Prime, Rino Tirikatene, and Dr Deborah Russell.

Mr Hipkins acknowledged the departing Ministers for their incredible service.

“To Poto Williams, David Clark, Aupito William Sio, Phil Twyford and of course Jacinda Ardern, thank you.

“But this reshuffle is just the first step in our shift in focus. Over the coming days and weeks you will see us put words into action, with policies to support New Zealanders by reprioritising existing programmes to free up resources to help with the cost of living,” Chris Hipkins said.

He said that, in the reshuffle, he had balanced the need for stability with renewal.

New Zealanders wanted to see the Government getting on with the job but he also wanted to demonstrate the depth of Labour’s talent and bring some new energy and focus to the task ahead, he said.

Source:  Office of the Prime Minister 

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog