Mallard, Faafoi departs; Williams replaced as Police Minister

John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Jun 2022, 2:39pm

Mallard, Faafoi departs; Williams replaced as Police Minister

John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 13 Jun 2022, 2:39pm

A Cabinet reshuffle has been sparked by the departures of Kris Faafoi and Trevor Mallard.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Faafoi had decided to leave Parliament to spend time with his family as his son starts school.

He had said he wanted to leave at the last election but Ardern had asked him to stay on. He would be greatly missed she said,

Mallard would also stand down in August. He will be taking a diplomatic post in Europe.

He had been a MP for 35 years and Speaker for five years. Mallard had told Ardern he wanted to transition out of the role over this term.

Adrian Rurawhe would be put forward as Mallard's replacement. Kiri Allan would take on the Justice role from Faafoi and associate role in Finance.

Michael Wood would take on Immigration. Willie Jackson would take over Broadcasting.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan would now move into Cabinet retaining her current roles.

Labour whip Kieran McAnulty would become a minister outside of Cabinet.

Duncan Webb would replace McAnulty as Chief Whip.

Poto Williams to leave Police portfolio

Poto Williams is also being changed out of her Police portfolio. Ardern said they had agreed the focus had been lost.

Williams was "capable" minister but change was required. She would take on Conservation and disability issues, Ardern said.

Chris Hipkins will be the new Police Minister. He will co-lead a youth justice team to inquire about recent spikes in offending.

To free him up a significant part of his Education portfolio will go to Associate Minister Jan Tinetti.

Dr Ayesha Verrall would take on Covid-19 and Research and Innovation,.

Public Housing, Building and Construction would now come under Megan Woods.

These changes acknowlegded the two departing colleagues along with a nod to the future, Ardern said.

A more comprehensive review would take place at the beginning of next year, Ardern said.

On how big next year's reshuffle could be, Ardern said she would not put a number on it, but she wanted to flag there would be changes before election time.

PM - Cabinet reshuffle is 'minor'

On Mallard's recent controversy at the Wellington protest, Ardern said at the last election he said over this term he wanted someone else to move into his role.

On Mallard, Ardern said the role of Speaker was a "difficult one".

It was not brought forward due to pressure he was under, she said. He had a hard job "exacerbated" by other issues but those were not the reasons, she said.

Ardern said she did not believe it was misleading to say the reshuffle was "minor". There was one person leaving and one joining, she said.

Asked about implications for the TVNZ-RNZ merger, Ardern said Faafoi had done a huge amount of work in this area. That agenda would continue.

Ardern said she believed although Faafoi intended to leave, his heart was in the job.

The Immigration reset was significant, made even more so by the border closure. Now that and broadcasting were largely delivered there was some closure allowing him to stand down.

Asked about Hipkins being overloaded with work, Ardern said much of the Education portfolio would now be with Tinetti.

Asked about Nanaia Mahuta, Ardern said it was very important she continued the Three Waters work.

But she would now have someone working with her in an associate role, freeing her up for more travel in Foreign Affairs.

On Faafoi trying to leave at the last election, Ardern said she felt he still had something to offer. Ardern said she was grateful he stayed on.

The conversation was before the last election, when he was considering moving from the Mana seat to the list.

Mallard role 'deeply satisfying'

"On Friday I advised the Governor General of my intention to resign from the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives in August," Trevor Mallard said in a statement.

"I have had the honour of being unanimously elected three times by the House as a presiding officer. It has always been interesting and mainly deeply satisfying.

"I informed the Prime Minister in 2020 that I would prefer to move on during this term of Parliament. I asked Adrian Rurawhe to shadow me and to deputise for me extensively both in and outside the House. He has done a superb job.

"I won't be commenting further on my future role at this stage, but announcements will be made when appropriate."

Faafoi - 'an honour to serve New Zealanders

Faafoi thanked the Prime Minister for the privilege of serving as a minister.

"I am the father of George, Fred and Theo who say they want to see more of their Dad, which is something I think is a reasonable ask," he said in a statement.

On Ardern, he said: "I thank her for being supportive and allowing me to call time on my political career. I remain in awe of her strength and leadership."

He was previously a Press Gallery reporter, staffer, MP and party whip.

Earlier today

Faafoi faced questions over how TVNZ handled the hiring of Breakfast host Kamahl Santamaria, who quit amid allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Faafoi also had the justice and immigration portfolios, and faced criticism in both areas.

He repeatedly refused to be interviewed about problems in the justice sector, and Act party leader David Seymour claimed immigration was a fiasco.

Opposition parties have voiced strong disapproval for Mallard, especially for his handling of the first few days of the anti-mandate convoy protest at Parliament.

Along with Act, National has also attacked the Government for what it sees as a lack of clarity around co-governance.

Co-governance very broadly described arrangements for governments to share decision-making with iwi or other groups.

Luxon on Saturday said National opposed co-governance of public services and Act has called for a referendum on the issue.

National attacked the Government on the cost of living, with its rebukes intensifying since the consumers price index in the March quarter rose 6.9 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Such high levels of inflation have not been since 1990.

The Cabinet has 20 ministers and there are four ministers outside Cabinet.

In addition to those 24 people, Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw are co-operation agreement ministers, with roles enshrined in a 2020 post-election deal.

Davidson is Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing, focusing on homelessness.

Shaw is Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment, focusing on biodiversity.

Under the agreement, the Greens support Labour on confidence and supply, and on procedural motions in the House and at select committees.