Shane Reti National's new deputy leader after Gerry Brownlee steps down

Source: 1News

Shane Reti is National's new deputy leader, replacing Gerry Brownlee, who stepped down from the role last week.

Reti said he was "very proud" to have the support of caucus and National leader Judith Collins. 

"Hopefully I am complementary to what Gerry brought to the table and the caucus sees me as a safe pair of hands, a trusted pair of hands and a hardworking pair of hands – all attributes Gerry has, as well.

As a leader, he likened himself to Sir Bill English – saying he was an "engine room behind the leader".

"It’s an absolute privilege to have the mandate of caucus and to work with Judith and to advance us towards 2023."

Dr Shane Reti.

Collins said Reti would take the health portfolio.

National's slimmed down caucus supported Reti's nomination for the position at their weekly meeting in Wellington today.

Judith Collins has also today been reconfirmed as leader of National.

"I’m delighted by Dr Shane Reti’s appointment," Collins said. "He is a hard-working, intelligent MP with all the skills needed to be an effective leader. His detailed examination and prosecution of the Government’s handling of Covid-19 helped improve the response for New Zealanders."

"His experience will be invaluable to me as deputy leader and I’m looking forward to working closer with him."

Matt Doocey has been made senior whip and Maureen Pugh is junior whip. 

"The Whips have an important role to play in helping ensure all our MPs are focused on holding the Government to account. I’m sure Matt and Maureen will do a wonderful job," Collins said. 

"National’s MPs are energised about the term of Government ahead. We owe it to the people of New Zealand to provide a strong and effective Opposition as we navigate the difficult economic and health issues ahead of us – and this is exactly what National will do."

Reti's appointment as deputy leader comes after the party's disastrous election result, which got worse last week after it lost three further electorate seats after the counting of special votes.

Reti was one of them to be unseated, losing out to Labour's Emily Henderson in Whangārei after special votes were counted.

The 57-year-old is the party's health spokesperson.

He was educated at Harvard University in Massachusetts and is a former GP.