Analysis: Promotions, demotions and big changes in Government's line-up

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern today announced the line-up of the new Government team, with seven Ministers new to Cabinet and six MPs to hold a Ministerial position for the first time.


Grant Robertson

Robertson is now the country's first openly gay Deputy Prime Minister, bypassing the "status quo" dual-role as Labour's deputy (which he actually held under David Shearer almost 10 years ago). Kelvin Davis described Ardern and Robertson as the "dream team", after revealing he turned down being Deputy PM. 

"Grant has been given the seniority and portfolio mix required to drive our economic recovery," Jacinda Ardern said at the announcement, also handing him the infrastructure portfolio, while retaining his role as Finance Minister. 

Tabby Besley of InsideOut said the appointment "sends a really strong message for young people, regardless of your sexuality, you can be successful, you can be a Deputy Prime Minister". 

Nanaia Mahuta

Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Māori Development has expressed her condolences at the passing of Piri Sciascia

In another first, Nanaia Mahuta is the first woman to be New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister - saying today, "I follow in the line of a long legacy of first for women, and I hope many other women of Māori decent, of mixed decent across New Zealand will see this as lifting the ceiling once again on areas that have been very much closed to us in terms of professional opportunities."

She takes the role from Winston Peters. 

Ayesha Verrall 

It includes a new name you may be familiar with, Dr Ayesha Verrall.

Despite never having experience as an MP, Dr Verrall has entered Cabinet, with Ardern saying "if you're a country in the middle of a global pandemic and you have a doctor in infectious diseases, it would be wrong not to use that talent".

Michael Wood, Kiri Allan, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Jan Tinetti

The MPs that have never held a Ministerial position - Michael Wood gets transport and workplace relations, Allan is the new Minister of Conservation and also Emergency Management and Radhakrishnan sits outside Cabinet as Minister for Youth, the voluntary sector and for diversity. Tinetti picks up Minister of Internal Affairs and Women. Tinetti was diagnosed with breast cancer late 2019. 

Kris Faafoi 

Not surprisingly, Faafoi picked up a large role, this time justice from Andrew Little. Faafoi continually was handed down roles in the last Government when they were taken off or given up by other MPs - including broadcasting from Clare Curran, Immigration from Iain Lees-Galloway and he briefly held Customs from Meka Whaitiri. 

David Clark 

After resigning as Health Minister and losing his spot in Cabinet mid-pandemic amid a string of rule-breaking scandals, Clark is back with a long list of roles. He's Minister for Commerce, Digital Economy and Communications, Statistics and State Owned Enterprises. 

Labour's Māori Caucus

The caucus is celebrating their six Māori Ministers, including Meka Whaitiri sitting outside Cabinet. Rino Tirikatene was given the role of Parliamentary undersecretary and Adrian Rurawhe is to be nominated as deputy Speaker. 


Phil Twyford

Phil Twyford explains to Jack Tame how his new Urban Development Authority will speed up the house-building process.

Previously holding the 5th spot in Cabinet, Twyford took a long tumble past his Cabinet colleagues, losing the transport and urban development portfolios he managed to cling on to when he was stripped of housing in 2019, falling outside Cabinet. 

Jenny Salesa 

Salesa fell even further than Twyford, to be completely snubbed from any Ministerial positions whatsoever, after previously being at number 13. Ardern said Salesa would be going in a "different direction" - and would be nominated as Assistant Speaker. 

Kelvin Davis 

He holds on as Labour's deputy leader, drops tourism and picks up the Children's Minister role - but revealed to media this morning he did not put himself in the running as the Deputy Prime Minister. The Māori Party's Rawiri Waititi said it was "deeply regretful to see Kelvin Davis demoted by his own hand and forced to fall on his sword". 



The Justice Minister says for the euthanasia referendum especially that overturning it is “pretty much unassailable”.

Andrew Little swaps justice for health, bringing an associate team that includes new MP Ayesha Verrall, Peeni Henare for Māori health, Aupito William Sio for Pacific Peoples.

Covid-19 response 

Chris Hipkins receives a new role as Minister for Covid-19 Response.

"This is a new role that will give the Minister responsibility for all aspects of our ongoing response," Ardern said today. "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. He remains as Education Minister. 

Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence

Announced over the weekend, Marama Davidson was given the role, with Women's Refuge welcoming a designated Minister, calling it "a source of real optimism and a huge step forward".

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 11: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson speak to reporters at a Labour Party Election rally at the Michael Fowler Centre on October 11, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. The 2020 New Zealand General Election was originally due to be held on Saturday 19 September but was delayed due to the re-emergence of COVID-19 in the community.  (Photo by Lynn Grieveson - Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images)