National Party reshuffle: Māori MP Shane Reti promoted, Simon Bridges gets foreign affairs portfolio

National leader Todd Muller has announced that Māori MP Shane Reti has been promoted to number 13 in the party's rankings, while former leader Simon Bridges has been given the foreign affairs portfolio.

The number 13 spot was previously held by former deputy leader Paula Bennett, but she announced her resignation earlier this week, leaving the position available.

Bennett's drug reform and women portfolios will be taken by senior MP Amy Adams and current deputy leader Nikki Kaye, respectively. Adams will work with Dr Reti who has been given the associate drug reform role.

The foreign affairs role was given to senior MP Gerry Brownlee in Muller's first reshuffle back in May. Muller told reporters on Thursday he consulted with Brownlee and ultimately decided to give the portfolio to Bridges.

But Bridges will not feature high on National's list. He is ranked number 17 - Dr Reti's previous placement. Brownlee is ranked number six, and holds the spy portfolios, the disarmament portfolio, and is Shadow Leader of the House.

Why the need for change?

Just days into his leadership, Muller came under fire for the lack of diversity in his shadow Cabinet line-up because there were no Māori MPs on the front bench or of any other ethnicity.

It came after the former leadership team of Bridges and Bennett - both Māori - were rolled by Muller and his deputy Nikki Kaye, who are both Pākehā.

Bennett was dropped from second place on National's list to 13, making her the most senior Māori MP in the party's ranks. Bridges did not appear on the list at the time. 

Bennett announced her resignation from politics earlier this week, so if National's list had stayed the way it was, Whangārei MP Dr Reti would have been National's most senior Māori MP - way down the list at number 17.

Back in May, Nikki Kaye wrongly suggested frontbench National MP Paul Goldsmith is "of Ngāti Porou descent" but he corrected her to say, "No, I'm not Māori myself".

Goldsmith later clarified: "My great-grandfather had European wives and Māori wives and so I've got lots of relatives across the Ngāti Porou - I don't claim to be Māori myself."

National's new list:

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

Retiring at 2020 election

  • Hon Paula Bennett
  • Hon David Carter
  • Hon Nicky Wagner
  • Hon Nathan Guy
  • Hon Maggie Barry
  • Sarah Dowie
  • Alastair Scott