Bill English preps new Cabinet

  • 18/12/2016
Bill English (Bill English/Twitter)
Bill English (Bill English/Twitter)

Prime Minister Bill English is about to announce his new Cabinet.

It's a major reshuffle with new ministers coming in and changes to the responsibilities of existing senior members.

Mr English will unveil it at a press conference in the Beehive on Sunday afternoon.

Steven Joyce has already been appointed Finance Minister, but that's been the only announcement.

Mr English has vacancies to fill because two junior ministers, Sam Lotu-Iiga and Craig Foss, have decided not to stand for re-election.

He's expected to give their portfolios to backbench MPs with Alfred Ngaro, Todd Muller and Chris Bishop tipped to be in the running.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has also announced he won't stand for re-election but hasn't said he'll give up his job right away.

Mr English could decide to keep him on, or ask him to stand down and make way for someone else.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is believed to be interested, and Associate Foreign Minister Todd McClay could be a candidate.

Former leader Don Brash thinks keeping Jonathan Coleman as the Health Minister would be the best decision for the Prime Minister, however.

"He's clearly on top of that issue. He's got both medical training and an MBA, so he understands the issues of the portfolio," he told Newshub.

Dr Brash says Mr Coleman - who briefly contested the leadership - should be bumped up the party's list "to reflect his seniority".

Mr Joyce has given up economic development, employment and tertiary education, and those portfolios will be re-allocated.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges is due for promotion and could take the key economic development role.

Education Minister Hekia Parata is quitting politics at the next election as well, but it's not yet clear whether she will continue in the role.

Her associate minister Nikki Kaye is the natural successor but she's still recovering from breast cancer.

Mr English has signalled his new government won't make any significant changes to economic and fiscal policies.

He has to present an experienced and reliable cabinet while at the same time giving it a fresh, fired-up look going into election year.

NZN / Newshub.