The Prime Minister has announced her Cabinet reshuffle: Phil Twyford's Housing portfolio has been split into three and Kris Faafoi has been promoted to Cabinet.
The Housing portfolio has been split between Twyford, Energy Minister Megan Woods who will now be responsible for KiwiBuild, and Faafoi who will take charge of public housing and tackling homelessness.
Megan Woods' new title will be Minister of Housing while Kris Faafoi will become Associate Minister of Housing, and Twyford will keep Urban Development in the Housing portfolio.
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Eyes were on Twyford, also Transport Minister, and whether he would hold on to his full Housing and Urban Development portfolio, after the flagship KiwiBuild programme failed to meet targets.
"Minister Twyford will remain in the housing team and share his extensive knowledge with the other Ministers," Ardern said in an announcement on Thursday.
"But there is much work to be delivered in transport where this Government is making the largest ever investment in our roads and public transport infrastructure."
Pointing to KiwiBuild, she said: "After nine years of neglect there is a lot to fix in housing. KiwiBuild has not progressed as well or as quickly as we'd hoped or expected."
Nanaia Mahuta will continue to focus on Māori housing while Twyford will "continue to take the lead on urban development and the legislative changes needed to ensure more affordable housing".
Twyford will also take on David Parker's Economic Development portfolio. Ardern said Parker will focus on the Government's "priorities of improving water quality and advancing our trade agenda".
New Cabinet Minister Faafoi will now also take on the portfolio of Government Digital Services to complement his existing responsibilities in Commerce, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media.
"Kris Faafoi has done an outstanding job as a Minister outside of Cabinet and now joins the Cabinet based on his performance this term," Ardern said.
"I am putting in place a team of senior ministers to deliver the full breadth of our housing plan, from KiwiBuild right through to tackling homelessness."
All ministers will retain their existing Cabinet ranking, and Faafoi will become the 17th ranked Cabinet Minister.
The Prime Minister was asked by Newshub on Thursday morning what she made of commentary that Faafoi – who was standing beside her – would make a good Cabinet Minister.
"That's not awkward at all," she said, turning to Faafoi to share a laugh.
But the Prime Minister wouldn't give anything away, including assurance to Twyford that he would be safe in her reshuffle, or whether she would rule out a ministerial position for Meka Whaitiri.
Other reshuffle changes
- Christchurch East MP Poto Williams has been made a Minister outside of Cabinet
- Finance Minister Grant Robertson becomes Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission
- Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa becomes Minister of Customs - Faafoi's former portfolio
- Youth Minister Peeni Henare becomes Minister of Civil Defence
- Ruth Dyson - who will not seek re-election in 2020 - will be nominated for the role of Assistant Speaker
- Michael Wood becomes the Senior Government Whip