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The Cabinet reshuffle

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, June 14th, 2022 - 64 comments
Categories: chris hipkins, jacinda ardern, labour, michael wood, national - Tags:

There was some drama yesterday in the Beehive.

Kris Faafoi and Trevor Mallard announced that they will be resigning from Parliament.

Faafoi’s resignation was transmitted pretty clearly when he gave up the Mana seat last election.  His is the best way to end your parliamentary career.  Structure things so that no by election is required and the functioning of Parliament can continue with no fuss.  If Simon Bridges had done the same thing the country would have been spared the millions that the Tauranga by election will cost.

Trevor Mallard also announced that he will be resigning.  He is apparently to be appointed as our next Diplomat to Ireland.

Mallard is controversial.  He has a habit of getting involved in incidents that attract controversy.  He is also hard working and dedicated to the job.  Audrey Young’s analysis that Mallard will make a fine diplomat and that he is competent, usually acts in the best interests of Parliament and New Zealand, and can work collegially is also accurate.

In particular she said:

Most of what he does as Speaker, and previously as a minister, has been uncontroversial and unseen. He is competent, usually acts in the best interests of Parliament and New Zealand, and can work collegially.

He has undertaken reforms that have allowed Opposition MPs to put the heat on ministers if they don’t know their stuff.

He has not been a great Speaker inside the House because of his intolerance of hubbub, which tends to come more from the Opposition.

Mallard is 80 per cent good, 20 per cent bad but it is the bad that is remembered, particularly two episodes as Speaker.

National has attacked his performance as Speaker.  My view is that this is hubris and a reflection of the fact they still do not understand how they are not in power.  Mallard is direct and often abrupt but if you watch him closely he has really tried to make Parliament work better.

The third major development was Poto Williams’s sideways shuffle out of Police and into Conservation and Disability issues.  Chris Hipkins will replace her as Police Minister.

I thought she was an interesting choice as Police Minister but her considerable experience dealing with domestic violence meant that her selection was a good one.  More recent pressures from gang inspired drive by shootings and National’s frankly misogynist attacks on her have caused Ardern to adjust.

The debate rankles.  National’s suite of policy proposals will have no practical effect.  The answer is to increase police resources and police numbers both of which Poto has achieved.

And this morning National kept up with the foghorn claiming that Hipkins will be nothing more than window dressing for the public.  National’s tactic of attacking and raising people’s level of grumpiness is pretty clear.

It will be interesting to see what Hipkins does about National’s campaign for warrantless searches of gang members.  The proposal is legally very difficult to get right and in my view cannot be justified.  At least National appears to now understand that there is a warrantless power of search for arms and is arguing that there should be no restrictions on when it can be exercised.  But don’t expect any reduction in National’s rhetoric.

She is an utterly decent person, a very good employer, unlike many in Parliament and a hard working, well networked and intelligent MP.  Politics as usual, as played by National, does not not credit these sorts of people.  It should.

Kiritapu Allen has been elevated into Cabinet and given the Justice portfolio.  Call me biased but I think that lawyers should always be preferred for this position.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan has also been awarded for completing some important projects and has also been elevated to Cabinet and will be associate Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety.

Michael Wood has shown his importance by being made Minister of Immigration.  This is one of those portfolios that can challenge but I am sure he will be up to the job.

There are other consequential changes.

Today Next Tuesday should be an interesting day in Parliament.

64 comments on “The Cabinet reshuffle ”

  1. john2 1


    I don't think parliament is sitting this week.


    [One detail I should have checked. Now corrected – MS]

  2. Jimmy 2

    Kris Faafoi should have left a year or so ago when he wanted to. Asking someone to stay in a job when they want to leave rarely works out, and it was clear to everyone that Kris did not have his heart in the job and now leaves a mess for someone else to clean up.

  3. Peter 3

    "But her (Williams') considerable experience dealing with domestic violence meant that her selection was a good one."

    The way things work, considerable experience, expertise and success are far from the forefront when you're a Minister and things work the way they do.

    Appearances, perceptions, acceptability. Williams does not look like Mark Mitchell or Matt King. She doesn't seem to have the 'dog' about her of Tolley, Bennett or Collins.

    Gangs and street crime are where it's at and the only way some will see those being sorted is some big boofhead white male or an attack hound woman in the job.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      The gangs weren't "sorted" in the past when there was "some big boofhead white male or an attack hound woman in the job.", were they?

      • Peter 3.1.1

        Of course not. Reality doesn't count though the way the game is played. It's the noise, attention and attacks that are important.

        I mean in terms of "sorting" and in the past, there was no housing crisis before October 2017 was there?

      • Anne 3.1.2

        … the only way some will see those being sorted is some big boofhead white male or an attack hound woman in the job.

        Good response RG, but its sad that so many people support this perception.

        It is interesting to note that – setting aside the PM – both Poto Williams and Kris Faafoi were specifically attacked by National and ACT. Misogyny and racism are still deeply embedded in their psyche. It amuses me that the very 'Christian-like' Christopher Luxon has embraced both prejudices without a smidgen of self awareness as to the hypocrisy of his stance. Indeed his lack of self awareness should imo preclude him from ever becoming prime minister.

        • PsyclingLeft.Always

          Yep….a combination of that and purblind/tone deafness. But hey thats what makes him National's Leader !

          Im good with Jacinda : )

        • alwyn

          I would think that National and ACT have been quite catholic in their campaigns. They have also had a go at Twyford and Clark, Mallard and Mahutu, Davis and Jackson, Wood and Woods, Little and Sepuloni, Ardern and Robertson etc, etc.

          The only thing they have in common is that they are all incompetent. That criteria gives them an enormous range of targets doesn't it?

          • Anne

            That's your view point. I beg to differ. Yes, they criticised all those ministers but it was based on the policies they had adopted – or not adopted as the case may be – not on ethnicity or gender. I single out the PM, Mahutu, Williams and Faafoi as having an extra personal layer of attack over and above political considerations.

            The PM because she is a woman and the great white folks out there can't abide a woman in charge. Mahuta because she is a woman and Maori. Williams for the same reason. Faafoi because he is a Pacific Islander.

            • alwyn

              I very much doubt that Williams is regarded as a Maori by the people of Ngai Tahu among whom she resides. She is the child of Cook Islanders who emigrated to New Zealand.

              Can anyone who actually is Maori care to comment on my supposition?

              • Anne

                Cook Islanders are of Maori descent.

                • alwyn

                  How do you work that out Anne? There is a phrase "Cook Island Maori" but that is the language, not the people.

                  People from the Cook Islands were precisely that. They were not people from New Zealand and therefore cannot have been Tangata Whenua can they?

            • Louis

              +1 Anne.

          • Patricia Bremner

            sad What a sad comentator you are. "All are incompetent" Wow what a sweeping generalisation. Alwyn that is silly and I'm sure you know it.

            I am on record as saying I did not agree with Mallard's petty sprinkler behaviour.

            But I think this group of people is hugely talented, working on policies not favoured by the right, and are attacked in personal cruel ways. National are known for these personal attacks.

            Kris Fafoi said of Jacinda Ardern "I am in awe of her capacity and Leadership." This was a planned retirement with no by-election, to avoid costs.

            The fact that Chris Luxon has pulled his motley crew together, apart from Simon Bridges, does not change their habits of working on campaigns attacking ministers, lying about the intent of legislation, keeping people on edge and angry by magnifying areas of difficulty, and ignoring or rubbishing successes.

            We recognise this pattern as disruptive dirty politics. Chris Luxon has spread his cloak over Woodhouse Bishop et al, but they are still there, nasty as ever. imo.

            • alwyn

              "this group of people is hugely talented"

              "his motley crew"

              Now that is whet I would call " sweeping generalisations". Still what else can we expect from a true believer in the dogma of the left?

              I do think the dozen I named are incompetent. That is why I said they are all incompetent. It doesn't mean that there aren't any in the Labour Caucus, and even in the Cabinet who are OK. They don't rise to the top however as that would show up the more highly ranked people as being far less competent than the ones below them in the pecking order.

              • Patricia Bremner

                "Motley crew" as in the band. You have to convince me that Woodhouse Bishop Brownlee would be better… not to mention the guy who can't count. Goldsmith. I have been quite polite in the face of some failures.

            • Louis

              +1 Patricia Bremner

          • Mike the Lefty

            "Catholic in their campaigns.."????

            God might know what you are talking about, but no-one else does.

            • alwyn

              If you are going to quote me please do so properly. You put a capital letter on the word catholic. I did not.

              The word Catholic is generally used to refer to the Catholic Church. Without the capital letter, ie catholic, it doesn't have any particular religious meaning.

              I was using it in the meaning of "universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all." It can also mean "broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded;" Any decent dictionary will show you this.

              It is a perfectly appropriate word and I am sure that most educated people would understand what I was saying.

              • In Vino

                Yes, you are technically correct alwyn, but maybe you should become aware that many educated people are likely to regard you as a pedantic weasel if you carry on in this manner.

                I saw you that way a long time ago, and decided not to feed the troll. But I am now making an exception, pour encourager les autres.

                • alwyn

                  When I use a perfectly normal word in a comment, and use it correctly, I feel completely entitled to defend myself when someone complains about my comment with something like "God might know what you are talking about, but no-one else does".

                  I think I am justified in correcting the slur thrown in my direction. I also do it to help others who may not understand the distinction between different uses of the one word in different circumstances. In this case I am merely trying to encourage other people to understand the full glory of the English language.

        • Chris

          "Good response RG, but its sad that so many people support this perception."

          Yes, and it's even sadder when you realise that those "so many people" are our average, hard-working New Zealanders, just doing their best to get ahead.

  4. James Simpson 4

    Simon Bridges had ambitions to win back the leadership when he won Tauranga in 2020. I don't think he had any plans to leave this term.

    The swing in the Polls under Luxon's leadership told him that those ambitions would not be fulfilled for the best part of a decade, which is why he has bailed.

    • Sacha 4.1

      The party bosses may have told him he could serve their interests better in the Ak Chamber of Commerce job, as a stepping stone to a Mayoral run in 2025.

  5. alwyn 5

    Micky suggests that the way to go is

    "Structure things so that no by election is required and the functioning of Parliament can continue with no fuss. If Simon Bridges had done the same thing the country would have been spared the millions that the Tauranga by election will cost."

    Perhaps Micky is right. That was certainly the way that other National leaders during this century, Brash, Key and English, took. Instead Simon seems to have followed the path of those leaders from the dark side. Clark, Goff and Shearer were all Labour Party leaders and they all departed in ways that forced by-elections. Selfish lot, weren't they?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Key didn't. He was still the MP for Hellensville but Parliament agreed to not run a by election.

      Brash was always list only.

      English was on the list from 2014 so that he could devote more time to finance.

      Clark stood with the intent of remaining PM. It would have been a sign of weakness for her to do otherwise.

      Goff had no long term plan but when the super city presented an opportunity he went with it.

      Shearer can speak for himself.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        No Key wasn't the MP for Helensville up until the next election. He, and Cunliffe for that matter, remained in Parliament until it was within 6 months of the next election date. Once that time had been reached they could resign without there having to be a by-election. Both of them did resign at that time, but not before the date which would have required an election If that is not arranging to "Structure things so that no by election is required" what is it?

        Whatever you may think of their reasons of course Clark, Shearer and Goff all put New Zealand to the cost of a by-election. If you are going to complain about Bridges you are a hypocrite not to say the same thing about them.

        Key, English, Brash and Cunliffe didn't put the country to the cost of a by-election so you should applaud them.

        • Puckish Rogue

        • mickysavage

          Chill out.

          I was referring to politicians deciding to retire soon going list only.

          Key didn't. The deal was done so that he and Cunliffe could bow out within 6 months of the election.

          English went list only for a different reason.

          I am suggesting to you that Clark and Goff did not intend to go early.

          • alwyn

            That's all right.

            I don't believe that Simon Bridges intended to quit early either. I think he considered he had an excellent chance of leading the party again after Collins was badly defeated in the election.

            On the other hand I am quite sure that Clark intended to quit if she did not make it back as Prime Minister. Unless she was totally delusional, and PMs often are if they get to a third term, she would have known that her chances of winning were probably 1 in 4 at best and that she was very likely to be leaving the New Zealand taxpayer to bear the cost of a by-election.

            It is all irrelevant of course. People can always kid themselves that their party are always honorable and their opposition aren't.

            Not having ever been a member of a party I am at an advantage over you. I believe, and everything I have observed makes me think I am right, that all politicians put themselves first in every situation. I don't have a party to which I have sacrificed my soul so I expect that. I am not saying the politicians are corrupt. They merely think that they know better than anyone else what is good for the people.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    There it is, the lefts great playbook:

    'misogynist attacks on her'

    Its never that the (left) female politician is not up to it, its misogyny.

    If thats the case (and I don't think it is) then isn't Ardern showing weakness in not standing up for her, keeping her in her position, showing confidence in her?

    Ardern made the correct call and I don't think its because of misogyny as much as it was competency:



    • And you link to newshub as evidence to support Natz and right whingers continuing and ingrained misogyny!

      Ho hum.

      • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1

        No you're right, its all to do with misogyny and nothing to do with the headlines

        • Patricia Bremner

          The Headlines reflect the misogyny, that coupled with a view the patriarchy is the "Right" model. Pun intended.

          This is based on the Christian model of "The husband shall rule over his wife" and an old custom that saw marriage as a property exchange. The wife and her chattles as part of the bargain. To say otherwise is to ignore history. So women leaders have to excel or go.

          • Puckish Rogue

            The headlines suggest to me that Williams was out of touch with what was happening in NZ as evidenced by White (was she being misogynist as well?) contradicting her a few days later

            But thats just me

  7. Herodotus 7

    How can someone who goes missing in their role as minister of police be then gifted the conservation role ?? To me this tokenism oin finding a safe ministry to place her as the minister. Instead there should be someone with a passion for then ministry, and I have not read anything regrading Poto gives me the impression of her having a passion here.
    I fear for DOC and that they will lose any visibility that they have in caucus, perhaps this is how low Labour view DOC in importance. I hope the Greens start to become more vocal and not leave it up to Nats and Act to be advocating for this dept.

    • Muttonbird 7.1

      Perhaps Poto Williams' history of good work in domestic abuse policy (apparently) stands her in good stead when tackling the same type domestic abuse the dairy industry (male) inflicts upon our environment (female).

      • Herodotus 7.1.1

        Where in any of her bios are references to DOC or the environment there in nothing I can find. If DOC was of a high priority why then has Kiritapu Allan had this taken away from her??? Should it not go to someone who has displayed they have the ability to be a minister of a major portfolio not someone who has and I quote the PM “said the Police ministerial portfolio's focus "has, currently, been lost" or is Conservation at a similar level as Min of racing or the arts ???

        • Muttonbird

          You are being very, very naive to the realities of politics, Hero.

          Fact is, JA has been much more cognisant of application than her predecessor (not Bill English) when choosing ministerial appointments.

          • Herodotus

            M'bird do you think DOC will is better served with having Poto instead of Kiritapu as their minister ? As I have more focus in DOC/environment in this area than most others, by being involved on a volunteer basis. So this appointment concerns me as I believe that the change in ministers has weakened the dept. and is an area that a strong minister should be appointed into the role and should be one that commands a front bench position. But that is my view.

            • Jimmy

              I think the unfortunate reality is, any portfolio would be better served having Kiritapu as their minister rather than Poto Williams.

              • Robert Guyton

                You mean some politicians are better than others?

                That's some perceptive thinking right there, Jimmy!

                • Jimmy

                  Yes that is exactly right. In fact some politicians are so much worse they shouldn't be there at all.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Oh, I see, you're attacking Poto Williams here, Jimmy. I thought you were making a reasonable comment about varying skill levels. I didn't recognise that you were going for character assassination.

                    • Jimmy

                      I reject the premise of your question…just kidding!

                      No character assassination from me. Simply she was not up to the job. And no, before you play the race card or the sexist card, it is not to do with her race or sex. Just that she was promoted beyond her means in to a position that she did not have the skill set for. Like Phil Twyford and David Clark were. And thus why they have been moved.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      I'm not playing cards, Jimmy, just clarifying with you your intent; bagging Poto Williams.

            • Anne

              So, you choose to damn her before she's even got her foot inside DOC's door. I have noticed over the years that is your modus operandi. Add an unhealthy dose of negativism over every action taken or word uttered by Labour ministers or pit them one against the other, and I think we have a typical troll.

              Why don't you own up to it once and for all.

  8. georgecom 8

    one of the solutions to the gang issue is stemming the import of australian trained criminals. the best time to stem that was about 3-4 years back but not possible with the previous aussie pm and some in his party. we might hope now that criminals trained in Aussie will stay in Aussie rather than them export their problems across the tasman.

    Will have far more effect than some vague rubbish law the likes of ACT and National promote about court orders to stop gang members gathering together. I am sure that most gang members would pay attention to a court order banning them from meeting other gang members, now wouldn’t they. Either that or valuable police time wasted trying to enforce rubbish law that has minimal effect rather than focus on catching criminals, taking guns off the street and busting drug syndicates.

    On ACT, David Seymour was quoted in the NZH about Hipkins as police minister as reflecting a thin talent pool in Labours caucus. Looked like a classic case of a black pot to me.

  9. Chess Player 9

    Deck chairs on the Titanic

    • In Vino 9.1

      With Luxon keen to play White, Queen's gambit, against an opponent who is highly advantaged in talent.

  10. Ed1 10

    The article by Audrey Young does seem reasonably fair regarding Mallard. I'm aware that she has been around as a journalist for quite a long time, but did she have personal or family connections to a political party at one time?

  11. " Next Tuesday should be an interesting day in Parliament "

    Ye the regular circus performers will give another outstanding performance except very few will actually watch or be remotely interested in the farce that is the New Zealand parliament.

    Except Mickey.

  12. Belladonna 12

    Mallard is direct and often abrupt but if you watch him closely he has really tried to make Parliament work better.


    I would say that Mallard is his own worst enemy. I certainly agree that he has the good of Parliament at heart, as Speaker. But, it's the 20% of the time that he shoots from the lip which is remembered.

    I can forgive a punch up in the parliamentary foyer – especially as it was getting on for 20 years ago, and he could be expected to have got older and wiser over time.

    What I find unforgivable is his (subsequently proven false) public claim that a parliamentary staffer had committed rape, followed by a settlement (where we, the NZ public, had to foot the bill), only for him to use parliamentary privilege last year to double down on the accusations. A blatant abuse of his power and privilege.

    The sprinkler affair was merely stupid. But, once again, his instinctive reaction was then doubled down on. Backing up and apologising doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

    If (and it's a big if) he can be persuaded or 'managed' so as to think before he speaks – he may well be a very effective diplomat. Certainly, no one can doubt that he has the good of NZ at heart. If not, then we may see NZ in the international headlines for the wrong reasons.

    • Anne 12.1

      What I find unforgivable is his (subsequently proven false) public claim that a parliamentary staffer had committed rape…

      From memory he said "… it sounds like rape." In truth, that is exactly what it did initially sound like and he was by no means the only person to think so. He should have kept his mouth shut of course and given the outcome I doubt he will commit such a misdemeanour again.

      The fellow at the centre of the drama was not guilty of rape, but he didn't appear to come out of it smelling of roses either.

      • Belladonna 12.1.1

        He knew the exact situation. As the person to whom the inquiry was reporting, he was kept fully informed (his subsequent defence that he didn't know what 'rape' was, hardly holds water)

        Regardless. He absolutely should not have commented at all. And to double down, repeating the accusation using parliamentary privilege, was the height of bullying. Using his power and prestige to attack someone who had no right of reply.

        It's that pattern of 'attack when cornered' behaviour that makes me doubt very much that he's actually learned a lesson.

        I don't agree with much of the use politicians put parliamentary privilege to – there have been many examples of very poor decision-making which have been protected – and I think that it's well past it's 'use-by' date. After all, if politicians are so heavily restricted in what they can say in the house about each other – why should the rest of NZ be an open target?

  13. "

    What I find unforgivable is his (subsequently proven false) public claim that a parliamentary staffer had committed rape, followed by a settlement (where we, the NZ public, had to foot the bill), only for him to use parliamentary privilege last year to double down on the accusations. A blatant abuse of his power and privilege.

    The sprinkler affair was merely stupid. But, once again, his instinctive reaction was then doubled down on. Backing up and apologising doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

    Yes I whole heartedly agree.

    you must never …shoot from the lip Bella Donna

  14. I find this "Williams was not competent to be Police Minister and she has no credentials for DOC" rather interesting.

    In my elderly mind it shows that writers don't want to understand that MPs are elected to become Ministers, rather they are elected to represent the electors. Should we go back to Pepys' day when only the entitled were elected – oh wait, that's Luxon's group isn't it.

    Perhaps parties could stand a serving police officer in one electorate (Minister of Police), a builder in another electorate (Housing) and so on and so on?

  15. Belladonna 15

    OK, for a bit of light-hearted relief — you'll all, I'm sure, be fascinated to know the *true* reason that Mallard has resigned.

    Straight from the horse's …. mouth — it's all about Winston!


    “On the 25th May the Speaker received a letter from my Solicitors concerning his decision to trespass me and hundreds of others during February’s parliamentary protest.”

    “In that letter, it was made clear that there would be court action taken against Mr Mallard if he did not provide specific explanations, documents, and referenced authority with which he, in a free and democratic society, trespassed hundreds of New Zealand citizens from the Nation’s Parliament.”

    “Both Mallard and the Prime Minister knew that he was facing potential prosecution for his actions and can be no coincidence that the announcement of his resignation comes just two weeks after my Solicitor’s letter was sent to his office.”

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