National reshuffle: Brown grateful for new portfolio responsibilities

Hunua MP Andrew Bayly and new National Party leader Judith Collins.

The new leader of the National Party Judith Collins has today announced that Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown will take on responsibility for the Tertiary Education portfolio and serve as associate spokesperson for Drug Reform in addition to his existing spokesperson roles in Corrections, Youth and associate spokesperson for Education.

“I am delighted to be picking up these new roles for the Opposition as we make our case for Government at the election on September 19,” Brown told the Times.

Brown has served as National’s associate spokesperson for both Education and Tertiary Education for some time.

“Taking on the lead responsibility for Tertiary Education is exciting and is also incredibly important as we recover from Covid-19,” said Brown.

“The Government has a lot to answer for in this area, with their radical proposal to centralise polytechnics to the failure of their Fees Free scheme which has led to fewer students studying in tertiary education than before.

“I am also excited about working with Nick Smith on the issue of Drug Reform. I am 100 per cent opposed to legalising marijuana and have seen the harm that drugs do in our community.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown at Farm Cove Intermediate in May. Times photo Wayne Martin

“I can’t wait to get stuck into these new roles. National will continue to hold the Government to account and has the team, the experience, and a track record of delivering what it says it will, to get New Zealand back on course.”

Meanwhile, reacting to MPs Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams’ sudden decision to retire from politics, Andrew Bayly, MP for Hunua – which includes Beachlands, Maraetai, Whitford and Clevedon – admits that while he was not surprised by Adams’ announcement to resign, he was surprised by Kaye’s.

“No one wants to see a good colleague go but if they have made up their mind, we have to respect that decision.

But people may have different views. Also, a lot of people seem to underestimate the kind of stress that Members of Parliament go through. There is a lot more involved than people realise,” he says.

About his good friend Todd Muller resigning from National Party leadership he says it came as a surprise.  “Toddy is a personal friend, I didn’t see it coming. We only found out at 7.30am on Tuesday morning. I hope he’s ok. In the next 12 hours we were all there (in Parliameent)…but what was great was that the group of 55 put it behind them with a genuine desire to get the team right. We took some time to do it but we wanted to get it right.

“The National Party is a juggernaut, we are all feeling energised with the new leadership.”

On his way to Hamilton to meet small businesses after finishing a morning meeting in the CBD, Bayly told the Times that he is excited about his new portfolio which includes Small Businesses and Manufacturing, as well as Revenue, Commerce, State-Owned Enterprise and Associate Finance.

“With a huge background in business, I specifically asked Judith for the Manufacturing portfolio. Manufacturing makes up 12 per cent of the GDP – and she agreed. It’s clearly an important industry and no other party has a manufacturing portfolio so far. This is a first.”

Meanwhile Collins said in a statement announcing today’s reshuffle to the National Party caucus line-up that she is proud to be leading the strongest team in New Zealand politics “one that is dedicated to delivering a better way of life for New Zealanders than the current Government can”.

“I’m particularly pleased that Simon Bridges and Todd Muller, as former leaders of the National Party, have accepted my invitation to take up senior roles on my front bench,” Collins said.

“The education portfolio will be in safe hands with Nicola Willis who has shown a tremendous work ethic and aptitude in other challenging portfolios. I’m confident she will continue to contribute to the high standard that we all expect.

“Chris Bishop will be taking on the extra role of Shadow Leader of the House on the front bench. He has been a standout performer in Parliament and as the MP for Hutt South. I have full confidence that he is up to this demanding role.

“Dr Shane Reti has proven himself already as Associate Health spokesperson. As a senior medical practitioner, he is the right choice at this time to hold the Government to account in the demanding health portfolio. Dr Reti takes the position of number five on the front bench of the National Party.

“This refreshed line-up showcases the diverse range of talent and wealth of experience among the National Party ranks.

“National has the experience and vision needed to get our economy back on track.”

See the National Party team.