Cabinet reshuffle: Jacinda Ardern reveals changes to minister line-up

The Prime Minister has announced changes to her Cabinet.

The main announcements were that Kris Faafoi and Trevor Mallard are leaving politics, while Poto Williams is being replaced as Police Minister. Chris Hipkins enters Police, while Dr Ayesha Verrall gets COVID-19 Response. 

These live updates have now finished.

4:15pm - Chair of the National Māori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, is welcoming the elevation of Kiri Allan to the Justice portfolio, Willie Jackson to Broadcasting as well as the intended nomination of Adrian Rurawhe as Speaker.

"To be honest the elevation of these Ministers and Adrian is again proof in the pudding that Maori policy making, skills and experience need to be front and center - these are positive changes.

"As someone who has also worked with Poto Williams and Kris Faafoi can I say there contribution has been immense and while the Police portfolio has been tough to manage given recent events, Poto Williams has always acted with integrity.

"I am particularly pleased to see she won't be lost from Cabinet and equally pleased to see her in a role with communities and our New Zealanders with a disability."

4:05pm - Faafoi is now speaking to media.

He says is "quite proud" of what he has achieved in his 12 years in politics. He is keen to be spending time with his family as his nearly-five-year-old starts school. He thanks the Prime Minister for the honour of being in Cabinet.

Faafoi doesn't regret staying on past the 2020 election. He loves Parliament, but he also loves his family, the minister says. He has put everything into his role.

He isn't sure when his final day in Parliament will be yet, but it will be sometime in the coming weeks. 

Faafoi isn't sure what is next for him yet. He will start to put out some feelers. 

He will watch the TVNZ-RNZ merger with great interest. He was responsible for it as Broadcasting Minister.

3:50pm - Priyanca Radhakrishnan says it's an honour to be elevated to Cabinet and looks forward to continue "elevating the voices I have engaged through my various communities".

Radhakrishnan says she has been working very hard and it's great to see that has been recognised.

Kieran McAnulty says he is stoked and it is a huge honour to become a minister outside of Cabinet. He isn't sure yet of his exact delegations in the associate Local Government role.

He is "particularly stoked" about being the new Racing Minister. He has a long history in the space.

Radhakrishnan won't go into detail about when she learnt she was moving into Cabinet, but it happened quite quickly. McAnulty only learnt the details of his new role on Monday.

They both wish Faafoi well. 

3:35pm - Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Kieran McAnulty, and Kris Faafoi will be speaking to media soon. We will bring you updates from that.

3:30pm - Ardern believes Mallard has the temperament to take a diplomatic role. She says being Speaker, having to referee MPs, is a very hard role.

She confirms hate speech work continues to be on the Government's agenda and wants to see cross-party support for the proposals. Faafoi was responsible for this as Justice Minister.

3:25pm - Here's a statement from Faafoi's office: 

Kris Faafoi has today announced that he will be leaving Politics in the coming weeks.

Kris Faafoi has thanked the Prime Minister for the privilege of serving as a Minister in her government.

"It's been an honour to serve New Zealander's as a Minister and as a Member of Parliament, but it is right for me to give more time to my family and for opportunities that allow that. 

"I am the father of George, Fred and Theo who say they want to see more of their Dad, which is something I think is a reasonable ask. 

"I spoke with the Prime Minister about my wishes at the last election, and we had a more recent conversation the end of the last school holidays. I thank her for being supportive and allowing me to call time on my political career. I remain in awe of her strength and leadership. 

"While I leave as a List MP, I did serve 10 years as the Labour Member of Parliament for Mana, I wish to thank and acknowledge the people of Mana for backing me for a decade. It was rewarding, challenging and a privilege that I never took for granted. 

"As a Minister I responded to states of emergency, introduced Market Studies, cracked down on loan sharks, managed border settings during COVID-19 and set up Public media to succeed in the future. 

"I first arrived at Parliament as a Press Gallery reporter, I've been a staffer, MP, whip, and a Minister. It is fair to say I've seen many aspects of Parliament first hand and I will truly miss the energy and the people. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I leave, but it is the right time. I look back at the last 12 years with pride and I look forward to the years ahead with new challenges, and most importantly more time with my family" Kris Faafoi said.

3:20pm - While Faafoi has wanted to leave politics since 2020, Ardern believes his heart was still in the role, pointing to his work in public broadcasting and the immigration reset.

She doesn't believe Hipkins will be burnt out with his new police role. Ardern says Dr Verrall is taking COVID-19 Response after having been an associate minister in the area. Tinetti will take a "significant" part of Hipkins' Education portfolio. 

Ardern says there been a change of focus in the policing portfolio. When the role was allocated to Williams, it was a very different time for the police with a focus on culture. At the time, she was the right fit, but that's now changed. Ardern says there's now a greater focus on legislative changes. 

3:15pm - Here's the full announcement:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made changes to her Cabinet line-up following the decision of senior Minister Kris Faafoi to resign from Parliament and Speaker Trevor Mallard's nomination to a European diplomatic posting. The changes will take effect following a ceremony at Government House on the afternoon of Tuesday 14 June. 

"These changes are triggered by two departures. It's also an opportunity to give newer Ministers greater responsibility and to bring new members onto the team," Jacinda Ardern said.  

"Minister Kris Faafoi has decided to leave Parliament to spend more time with his family as his son starts school. 

"Kris made the move onto the list at the last election and I'm grateful for the significant work he undertook this term in resetting our immigration and public broadcasting settings. He goes with the love and thanks of his colleagues for his contribution over many years. 

"Trevor Mallard has been an MP for 35 years and has held thirteen different Ministerial portfolios across his career including Education, Labour and Rugby World Cup. He has been Speaker for five years and is currently the Father of the House. 

"After the 2020 election Trevor told me he wanted to transition out of the role of Speaker over the course of this term to allow someone else the opportunity and to take on new challenges himself. He has worked closely with Adrian for that purpose. He will leave the chair in mid-August and take up a post in Europe from early 2023. 

"Trevor will be the third of our five most recent Speakers to represent New Zealand abroad in a diplomatic posting. 

"Dan Rosewarne and Soraya Peke-Mason will replace Kris and Trevor from the Labour List. 

"Priyanca Radhakrishnan moves into Cabinet, retaining all her current portfolios and adds Associate Workplace Relations and Safety with a focus on migrant exploitation. Since becoming a Minister outside of Cabinet in 2020 she has overseen the establishment of a new Ministry for Ethnic Communities, and worked on complex issues like foreign interference and social cohesion.

"Kieran McAnulty becomes a Minister outside of Cabinet with a specific focus on regional issues. He will be Minister for Emergency Management, and will have an Associate Transport delegation on regional transport, and an Associate Local Government delegation. He will also take on the Racing portfolio and use his past whip skills as Deputy Leader of the House. Duncan Webb replaces Kieran as Chief Whip. 

"I have also made the decision to change Poto Williams out of the Police portfolio. We both share the view that at this time it's critical that our focus is on supporting the Police, implementing our record investment in the frontline, passing our further gun law reforms and developing additional measures to deal with the current escalation in gang tensions and violence. 

"She picks up Conservation, and Disability Issues, where there is a significant work programme following the establishment of a new Ministry. Poto has a background in the community sector and was also was a member of the Parliamentary Disability Alliance and will be well suited to this new role. 

"I want to thank Carmel Sepuloni for her work to establish the Ministry for Disabled People. Having done a huge amount of mahi she will now take a lead role alongside Minister Robertson on developing the social insurance scheme – a significant piece of work.

"Chris Hipkins takes over as Minister of Police. He has a degree in criminology and a long interest in working in the youth justice space, which dovetails with his education work. Along with the Minister for Social Development and Employment he will co-lead a youth justice ministerial team to focus on the drivers of the spike we have seen in some parts of youth offending recently. 

"To free him up for this area of Government focus a significant part of his Education portfolio will move to Jan Tinetti who has played an excellent role as Associate Education where she brings decades of experience as a teacher and school principal. 

"Dr Ayesha Verrall has played a critical role in our ongoing COVID-19 management this term. Having moved from the emergency to the ongoing response now is the right time for her to pick up the COVID-19 Response portfolio. She also picks up Research, Science and Innovation. 

"I'm promoting Kiri Allan into the Justice portfolio and she also picks up an Associate Finance role. Kiri is a very capable Minister with a big future and this portfolio allocation is a sign of my confidence in her.

"Michael Wood takes on Immigration which fits with his workplace relations portfolio and our focus on skills. 

"Meka Whaitiri has been doing an excellent job in Customs. Her primary sector work means the food safety portfolio is a good fit, so she picks up this role. And Willie Jackson picks up broadcasting which he comes to with extensive sector knowledge," Jacinda Ardern said.

3:10pm - With Hipkins moving to police, a significant part of his Education portfolio will move to Jan Tinetti, Ardern announces.

Dr Ayesha Verrall moves into COVID-19 Response and Research, Science and Innovation. Meka Whaitiri gets Food Safety. Public housing and building and construction will move under Housing Minister Megan Woods.

A more comprehensive review of the ministerial lineup will happen early next year, she says.

3:05pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says changes to the lineup has been triggered by two departures.

Kris Faafoi is leaving Parliament to spend more time with his family, she says. He expressed this desire at the 2020 election and was intending to leave 18 months ago. But Ardern asked him to stay another year. She says his contribution as a minister has been "hugely valuable".

Trevor Mallard will stand down in August and will move into a diplomatic post in Europe. He told Ardern in 2020 that he wanted to transition out of the role over the course of this term. Adrian Rurawhe will be nominated as the next Speaker.

"On Friday I advised the Governor General of my intention to resign from the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives in August," Trevor Mallard said in a statement.

"I have had the honour of being unanimously elected three times by the House as a presiding officer. It has always been interesting and mainly deeply satisfying.

Kiri Allan will become the new Justice Minister and associate Finance Minister. She is described as a very capable minister and this is a sign of the Prime Minister's confidence in her.

Michael Wood will become the new Immigration Minister, while Willie Jackson is the new Broadcasting Minister.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan moves into Cabinet and takes an associate Workplace Relations role with a focus on migrant exploitation.

Kieran McAnulty will become a minister outside of Cabinet, with a focus on regional issues. He will be associate Local Government, take Emergency Management and the Racing portfolios.

Duncan Webb becomes Labour chief whip.

Poto Williams is no longer the Police Minister. That is going to Chris Hipkins.

Williams retains Ardern's confidence and stays in Cabinet. She picks up Conservation and Disability Issues.

3pm - We are now awaiting the Prime Minister.

2:50pm - We have added the livestream above. Refresh the page if you cannot see it. The press conference is expected to begin around 3pm.

2:40pm - Speaker Trevor Mallard may also be on the way out, according to RNZ

Last week, 1News revealed a poll that found just 17 percent of people approved of Mallard's handling of his job as Speaker, almost half disapproved, and the rest didn't know. 

He's been targeted by the Opposition for his handling of the protest at Parliament, as well comments he made about a parliamentary staffer.

Mallard isn't a member of Cabinet.

2:10pm - Newsroom is reporting that it understands the reshuffle may focus around Kris Faafoi's roles.

It's previously been reported that Faafoi, the Immigration, Justice and Broadcasting Minister, wanted to leave politics at the 2020 election, but was persuaded to stay on. He moved from representing the Mana electorate to being a List MP. 

He's been under fire in the Immigration portfolio recently.

One of his big recent announcements - about new pathways to residency - was criticised by female-dominated sectors. Newshub also reported on Sunday night that sector leaders were unsure where he got advice from on some of the new policy settings. 

2pm - Another minister there is some speculation swirling around is Nanaia Mahuta.

She holds the Local Government and Foreign Affairs roles. They're two very hefty portfolios, with Mahuta responsible for the massive Three Waters reforms programme and also trying to handle New Zealand's foreign policy after two years of border closures and as geopolitical tensions ramp up. 

The Opposition has been scathing of Mahuta over the last month for not travelling to the Pacific in the wake of China's renewed push for influence there. However, the minister's said she is consistently engaging with Pacific leaders, even if she's not there physically.

The Prime Minister came into bat for her last week, saying much of the criticism ignored the fact that the Pacific Island nations can make decisions themselves and don't need the minister travelling there to dictate how to manage their relationships.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo credit: Getty Images.

1:45pm - Williams has come under fire in recent weeks over her performance in the policing portfolio, with National's Christopher Luxon last week calling for her to be replaced

"I am sure she's a good person but she's been struggling in this job for some time and not getting the tools to the frontline police officers that we need her to do," he said.

"She isn't providing the leadership, she's not been getting the tools and the frontline police don't feel backed up. And as I say it's not personal, I am sure she's a good person, she can probably add some value to some other portfolios but we need a replacement Police Minister."

Ardern later said she had confidence in Williams, but wouldn't commit to keeping her as Police Minister. 

"I have every confidence in Minister Williams and, for me, it is based on what has occurred for the police, which is an increase in numbers, record numbers, a doubling of the organised crime unit, firearm prohibition orders, the work we're doing on criminal proceeds," Ardern said.

"This is all progress that is ultimately making our police force better prepared, albeit a very tough environment for them."

Williams said she deserved to be in the role. 

"I have to say to Mr Luxon it would be really great that he had a few ideas rather than just these throwaway lines," the minister said. 

"I have a really good record. Record investment in police, record numbers of police, the introductions of the Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs), which National actually tried twice and failed at. I think I have a much better record than Mr Luxon has."

Police Minister Poto Williams.
Police Minister Poto Williams. Photo credit: Newshub.

1:30pm - Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live updates of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's "minor" Cabinet reshuffle.

The Prime Minister will appear before media at 3pm to announce changes. We will livestream that above when the press conference begins.