Key to tell cabinet ministers what he expects of them

  • 17/11/2008

John Key's newly appointed ministers are getting ready to be sworn in tomorrow and the cabinet will meet straight after that to hear what their prime minister expects from them.

The first cabinet meeting, scheduled for 2.30pm on Wednesday, is going to be more than the usual photo opportunity, Mr Key said yesterday when he announced his executive.

"I intend using the next hour to explain my expectations," he said.

"I expect high standards from my ministers and I hope they maintain those standards ... if they don't, then obviously I will take action if necessary."

Mr Key has appointed a cabinet of 20, with three ministers holding portfolios outside it.

On Sunday five other ministers were named, members of the minor parties he has negotiated support deals with.

The cabinet is made up of National Party MPs, 14 men and six women, and 14 of the ministers are new to cabinet.

When Mr Key announced his cabinet he emphasised the importance he was putting on the economy.

"I'm conscious of the backdrop of very challenging economic times, a weak global outlook with a need to protect jobs and to create opportunities through greater economic growth," he said.

"That is witnessed by the fact that the top four places have an economic focus."

Mr Key said he had taken the tourism portfolio because the sector employed one in every 10 people in the workforce and he wanted it to be stronger.

The next three positions in cabinet are held by his deputy Bill English, Gerry Brownlee and Simon Power.

Between them, those three will handle finance, infrastructure, economic development, energy and resources, state-owned enterprises and commerce.

Another important player is Steven Joyce, who has just been elected and came in as a hand-picked list MP. The successful businessman and National's campaign manager has been given transport, communications and information technology.

He will be responsible for the $1.5 billion ultra-fast broadband rollout which Mr Key considers an essential element of his government's economic growth programme.

Most of the cabinet positions followed the portfolios held by senior MPs in the last Parliament, but Mr Key revealed an unexpected appointment when he named Paula Bennett as social development minister.

The 39-year-old second term MP's life has gone full circle, from being a solo mum on the DPB to controlling a ministry with a $20 billion a year budget.

Last night she was thrilled by the appointment.

"There's no way John Key was going to give me this job - and it's a big job - unless he thought I could cut it and do a damn good job," she said.

"It's going to be a challenge and I'm going to rise to it. I've got a lot to learn and I'm going to be out there doing my bit."

Mr Key said he was putting a lot of trust and faith in her.

"I think Paula has the communication skills, she's demonstrated a work ethic, she has the ability to be a good minister and she has empathy, which we think will be very important," he said.

When Mr Key announced his cabinet he gave a glimpse of the business-like style he is expected to bring to the Beehive.

He said he had chosen his ministers because of their skills rather than their political experience.

"I am the sort of person who is going to reward people if I think they've got the skills and I am not afraid to back and support some people," he said.

"I don't see them as risks."

And he has no plans to reshuffle the cabinet before the next election.

"This is the cabinet for the next three years," he said.

NZPA

source: newshub archive


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