Judith Collins' reshuffle: Todd Muller, Simon Bridges given senior roles on National's frontbench

National Party leader Judith Collins has given former leaders Todd Muller and Simon Bridges senior roles on the frontbench in the her first reshuffle.

Bridges is now ranked number four in on the National Party's list holding the foreign affairs and justice portfolios, followed by Dr Shane Reti with the health portfolio - two Māori MPs in the top five.

Hutt South MP Chris Bishop has shot up the rankings to number seven holding the infrastructure and transport portfolios and he will also become Shadow Leader of the House, which had been held by Gerry Brownlee.

Wellington-based MP Nicola Willis has lost the housing portfolio, but will take on education, to fill the gap after Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye announced her resignation from politics.

Housing and urban development moves to Jacqui Dean, now ranked at number 14 - she will also hold on to her conservation portfolio.

Mark Mitchell has been stripped of his justice portfolio because Collins said it was better suited to Simon Bridges. Mitchell ran against Collins for the leadership - but she insisted there was no bad blood between them.

Both Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams announced their resignation from the National Party a few hours ahead of Collins' reshuffle - and Collins said it had nothing to do with them not wanting to work with her.

"I'm not so pleased that they're leaving but I understand it... It's right that they're making the right choices for themselves. They have my eternal gratitude for how they have behaved over the last week."

National Party leader Judith Collins.
National Party leader Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub

Collins became National leader on Tuesday night and the following day she stripped Michael Woodhouse of the health portfolio after he admitted to deleting emails containing confidential COVID-19 patient details.

Collins said she spoke to Woodhouse on Wednesday and told him that the "right thing" for him to have done when he received the confidential data from ex-National Party president Michelle Boag would be to advise the Government immediately.

Collins has given Woodhouse two other portfolios, one of which is Pike River recovery which she said is a "great thing" for him because he was once the Minister of Workplace Relations.

Woodhouse is also has the Associate Finance portfolio and is Deputy Leader of the House. He will also take the regional economic development portfolio.

"Michael did not release the information and I think that that's good that he didn't," Collins said. "He understands that and he is, I think, a top performer in the Parliament and in the National Party."

Woodhouse confessed on Friday to receiving confidential information from Boag, days after National MP Hamish Walker admitted to receiving similar information from her - except Walker leaked the data to the press.

But the fact that Woodhouse did not come forward sooner caused an embarrassment for former National leader Todd Muller who was asked on Thursday if he had sought assurances from Woodhouse that Boag was not an informant of his.

Muller did not directly answer the question, and when Woodhouse admitted on Friday that Boag had been an informant of his, it made Muller look like he hadn't been honest with the public.

A few days later, Muller stood down as leader.

"I think the matter has now been resolved and Michael supports that decision," Collins said. [Woodhouse] fully understands it and he is very pleased with his new portfolios.

"This is a matter that needed to be dealt with. I think the public was rightly appalled people's personal, medical records were being sent around or sent to MPs and they are rightly appalled that any of those fell into the hands of the media."

Nikki Kaye revealed to Newshub on Thursday that Woodhouse did have a press statement ready to go last Tuesday about receiving the information, and conceded, "It probably could have gone out earlier."

But Kaye couldn't say whether former leader Todd Muller had put the brakes on Woodhouse going public.

National's new list:

  1. Hon Judith Collins, leader - National Security
  2. Hon Gerry Brownlee, deputy leader - NZSIS, GCSB, COVID-19 Border Response
  3. Hon Paul Goldsmith Finance - Finance, Earthquake Commission
  4. Hon Simon Bridges - Foreign Affairs, Justice
  5. Dr Shane Reti Health - Health
  6. Hon Todd McClay Economic Development, Tourism
  7. Chris Bishop - Infrastructure, Transport, Shadow Leader of the House
  8. Todd Muller - Trade
  9. Hon Louise Upston - Social Development, Social Investment
  10. Hon Scott Simpson Environment - Climate Change, Planning (RMA reform)
  11. Hon David Bennett - Agriculture
  12. Hon Michael Woodhouse - Regional Economic Development, Pike River re-entry, Deputy Shadow Leader of the House
  13. Nicola Willis - Education, Early Childhood Education
  14. Hon Mark Mitchell - Defence & Disarmament, Sport & Recreation
  15. Melissa Lee - Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Data and Cyber-security
  16. Andrew Bayly - Revenue, Commerce, State-Owned Enterprises, Associate Finance, Small Business and Manufacturing
  17. Hon Jacqui Dean - Housing and Urban Development, Conservation
  18. Hon Dr Nick Smith - State Services, Electoral Law Reform, Drug Reform
  19. Hon Alfred Ngaro - Pacific Peoples, Community and Voluntary, Children and Disability Issues
  20. Barbara Kuriger - Senior Whip, Food Safety, Rural Communities, Women
  21. Harete Hipango - Shadow Attorney-General, Crown-Maori Relations and Treaty, Negotiations, Māori Tourism
  22. Jonathan Young - Energy & Resources, Arts Culture and Heritage
  23. Hon Tim MacIndoe - ACC, Skills and Employment, Seniors, Civil Defence
  24. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi - Ethnic Communities, Associate Justice
  25. Matt Doocey - Junior Whip, Mental Health
  26. Stuart Smith Immigration, Viticulture
  27. Simon O'Connor - Customs, Associate Social Development, Associate Housing and Urban Development (Social Housing)
  28. Lawrence Yule - Local Government
  29. Denise Lee - Local Government (Auckland)
  30. Parmjeet Parmar - Research, Science and Innovation, Statistics
  31. Brett Hudson - Police, Government Digital Services
  32. Simeon Brown - Corrections, Tertiary Education, Youth, Associate Education, Associate Drug Reform
  33. Ian McKelvie - Racing, Fisheries, Forestry
  34. Jo Hayes - Whānau Ora, Māori Development
  35. Andrew Falloon - Biosecurity, Associate Agriculture, Associate Economic Development, Associate Transport
  36. Matt King - Regional Development (North Island), Associate Transport
  37. Chris Penk - Courts, Veterans
  38. Erica Stanford - Internal Affairs, Associate Environment, Associate Conservation
  39. Tim van de Molen - Third Whip, Building and Construction
  40. Maureen Pugh - Consumer Affairs, Regional Development (South Island), West Coast Issues
  41. Dan Bidois - Workplace Relations and Safety
  42. Agnes Loheni - Associate Small Business, Associate Pacific Peoples
  43. Paulo Garcia - Associate Justice