Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed his Cabinet reshuffle, promoting the likes of Jan Tinetti, Michael Wood and Dr Ayesha Verrall.

National leader Christopher Luxon earlier spoke to media, criticising the Government's communication of school closures in Auckland.

Newshub's live updates have now finished.

3:50pm - Here's the announcement about more funding for the Auckland flooding recovery:

The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today.

"Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive and get ahead of any formal application from the Council.

"This is the most significant contribution to a Mayoral Relief Fund ever and ensures that funding is being provided to the affected communities as quickly as possible," Kieran McAnulty said.

Financial contributions to councils' MRFs are typically made in the immediate aftermath of an emergency with the expectation that the local authority distributes funding to the community as it sees fit. The previous highest was $300,000, given to Nelson last year.

"I anticipate this will be welcome support to the numerous community-run centres across the city, as this could assist them in their support of their communities. The fund will be administered by Auckland Council, however this funding could assist to provide support in dealing with things such as providing essential needs like food and clothing, as well as cleaning up damaged properties in areas where support is not otherwise available.

"Mayoral Relief Funds help communities bounce back after an emergency. Local communities and councils understand where the immediate needs are and how to help whānau, community organisations and marae.

"The local community knows the needs best and it's only appropriate they determine how best to apply these funds.

"I signalled on Saturday when I announced our initial $100,000 contribution, that more was expected to follow. After having seen first-hand the damage, I am pleased to be able to support the flood affected communities.

"This is in addition to other government financial support provided to the region, such as the Ministry of Social Development civil defence payments.

If you need urgent accommodation assistance, phone 0800 22 22 00

For welfare assistance, you can call the Ministry of Social Development on 0800 400 100

"The focus at the moment, for all those involved, is on continuing to respond to the emergency event. Central government continues to be available to support the local response teams as needed," Kieran McAnulty said.

3:45pm - Here are some of the highlights:

  • Jan Tinetti rockets up the list from 15 to number six and gets Education
  • Michael Wood also makes a big jump from 16 to seven and becomes the Minister for Auckland
  • Dr Ayesha Verrall moves from 19 to eight and becomes the Minister of Health
  • Willie Jackson moves from 14 to nine and keeps his Broadcasting and Media portfolio
  • Kiri Allan shifts from 17 to 10 and keeps Justice
  • Stuart Nash becomes the full-time Minister of Police
  • Andrew Little falls from seven to 13 and becomes the Minister of Defence
  • David Parker drops from 8 to 14 but retains his portfolios
  • Nanaia Mahuta loses Local Government to Kieran McAnulty and drops from 9 to 16. She keeps Foreign Affairs
  • McAnulty, Ginny Anderson and Barbara Edmonds join Cabinet
  • Phil Twyford is no longer a minister

3:40pm - Here's the full statement from Chris Hipkins and the list of ministers:

The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. 

"We need a greater focus on what's in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line up strengthens that focus," Chris Hipkins said

"In the reshuffle I have balanced the need for stability with renewal. New Zealanders want to see the Government getting on with the job but I also want to demonstrate the depth of our talent and bring some new energy and focus to the task ahead.

"Our top team of myself, Carmel Sepuloni, Kelvin Davis, Grant Robertson and Megan Woods will provide stability, experience, and proven leadership. 

"Grant Robertson will remain Minister of Finance. He has seen New Zealand households and businesses through the greatest economic shock since the Great Depression. This reshuffle gives him the time and support to apply his full focus on fighting inflation and helping New Zealand families and businesses to get by. 

"Michael Wood moves to number seven in the Cabinet ranking and becomes Minister for Auckland and an Associate Finance Minister. Having a senior Minister with a focus on the city ensures Auckland has the attention it needs. That's going to be even more important following the events of recent days.  

"As a former school principal and education expert new Education Minister Jan Tinetti is uniquely placed to address the post-COVID challenges our education system has faced and get our kids back in the classroom and learning. 

"Dr Ayesha Verrall will become the Minister of Health and moves to the front bench. An infectious diseases expert, she brings almost 20 years of knowledge of how our health system works and how it can be improved. 

"Kieran McAnulty moves into Cabinet and picks up the full Local Government portfolio.

"Joining Kieran in Cabinet are new Ministers Ginny Andersen and Barbara Edmonds. 

"Ginny will become the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Seniors, Associate Minister of Immigration and Associate Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. 

"Barbara Edmonds will become the Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Pacific Peoples, Associate Health Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Housing. 

"There are four new Ministers outside of Cabinet; Duncan Webb, Willow-Jean Prime, Rino Tirikatene, and Dr Deborah Russell. 

"I want to acknowledge the departing Ministers for their incredible service. To Poto Williams, David Clark, Aupito William Sio, Phil Twyford and of course Jacinda Ardern, thank you. 

"But this reshuffle is just the first step in our shift in focus. Over the coming days and weeks you will see us put words into action, with policies to support New Zealanders by reprioritising existing programmes to free up resources to help with the cost of living," Chris Hipkins said.

Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland
Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland
Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland
Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland
Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland
Chris Hipkins reveals Cabinet reshuffle, Christopher Luxon speaks in Auckland

3:35pm - Announcing his Cabinet reshuffle, Hipkins says Grant Robertson remains Finance Minister.

Michael Wood moves to number seven in the rankings and becomes the Minister for Auckland. 

The Education portfolio will move from Hipkins to Jan Tinetti, who moves to number six in the ministerial rankings.

Dr Ayesha Verrall becomes the Minister of Health and moves to number eight.

Willie Jackson and Kiri Allan also move onto the frontbench.

3:30pm - PM Hipkins is now speaking at his press conference. He notes that a state of emergency has been declared in Northland.

An additional $1m has been allocated to the Auckland Mayoral Relief Fund to help with the flooding recovery, he says. 

The PM will travel back to Auckland on Wednesday and will also be there on Thursday.

3pm - Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will address media at 3:30pm following Cabinet's meeting. Newshub will start a livestream above closer to the time.

2:35pm - Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has posted on Instagram advice for Aucklanders affected by the floods.

2:30pm - In case you missed it, Newshub released the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll on Monday night showing Labour has leapfrogged National to be the most popular political party.

Here are links to the relevant stories:

2pm - Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Australia next week to meet with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

His office just released this statement:

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. 

"The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand's closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia," Chris Hipkins said. 

"Prime Minister Albanese was the first international leader I spoke with after becoming Prime Minister, and I look forward to continuing our discussion in person on how we can further work together to secure our economies against the global economic challenges we all face. 

"The stronger our relationship, and the closer our people-to-people links, the more prosperous and resilient New Zealand and Australia will become.  

"As well as economic issues, I look forward to discussing our many shared security priorities within the bilateral relationship, and for our engagement in the Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific regions. 

"Our meeting will also mark the start of a significant year in our bilateral relationship which we will celebrate several milestones – including 40 years of our Closer Economic Relations Agreement, 50 years of the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, and 80 years since the establishment of our two High Commissions," Chris Hipkins said.

The Prime Minister will fly to Australia for a day trip on Tuesday 7 February via the NZDF.

1:40pm - Newshub's Patrick Gower has urged National Party leader Christopher Luxon to be careful with his rhetoric if he wants to attract more of the centrist vote.

It comes after the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showed a significant boost for Labour since Chris Hipkins became the party's leader and Prime Minister.

Read more here.

1:25pm - Newshub understands Auckland schools may reopen earlier than originally planned, should the forecasted severe weather not cause as much disruption as predicted.

It's understood the Ministry of Education will notify schools about this on Wednesday.

The ministry said on Monday afternoon it was directing all Auckland educational facilities to close until February 7.

But there was confusion after this directive was announced by Civil Defence at a press conference before the ministry had advised the schools directly, meaning many principals found out about it through the media.

An apology was subsequently issued by the ministry.

1:15pm - Luxon says National's climate change policy is that the party is committed to meeting net-carbon zero by 2050 and meeting the Nationally Determined Contribution for 2030. He says National supported the Government's Emissions Reductions Budget.

He says there will be more extreme weather events brought on by climate change. The country needs to get climate mitigation in place, Luxon says.

Luxon says he understands how "incredibly tough" it is for Aucklanders currently. But we have seen the "very, very best" of New Zealand in terms of the community supporting each other.

But there is a lot to learn if we are going to be "more professional and more responsive" to future "climate-driven extreme weather events".

1:10pm - Luxon is pushing the view that one size doesn't fit all in Auckland in the aftermath of the flood. He says schools could open in east Auckland and other suburbs which haven't been seriously affected by flooding.

He repeats that the state of emergency should have been declared much earlier on Friday and there was a "vacuum" of leadership and communication.

"There is a need for us to step up our game again."

He says community leaders have been instrumental in helping Aucklanders recover from the floods. He believes Aucklanders should know instantly where they can go if they need to evacuate.

"That's what happens in other countries around the world as they face extreme weather events as well."

There will be a time eventually to understand what could be improved in the emergency management, he says.

Luxon says Kiwis can trust him to get things done. A Newshub-Reid Research poll on Monday found more people don't trust him than trust him. 

Luxon speaking in Auckland.
Luxon speaking in Auckland. Photo credit: Newshub.

1pm - Luxon says he has been spending the day on Auckland's North Shore, meeting with a group that is helping with the flood recovery efforts.

He criticises the "shambolic" communication from the Ministry of Education of whether the schools are open or closed in Auckland. He says it makes sense for schools to be closed in parts of the city affected by the floods, but schools in other parts - such as east Auckland - should be open to students. 

He says the Government is "racing to lock down" and 2023 should be the year children are back in schools after being disrupted by COVID-19. Luxon says parents are incredibly frustrated and unable to plan due to "another piece of shambolic communication coming from the Government".

12:55pm - Luxon is expected to speak to media at 1pm. You should be able to watch that above shortly.

12:45pm - National is the party most trusted to guide New Zealand through a recession with the country's economy tipped to contract this year amid a cost of living crisis, according to a new poll.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows National was perceived by 42.8 percent of voters as the party most trusted for managing the predicted recession, compared with 37.8 percent who thought Labour was more trustworthy in that field.

Read more here.

12:35pm - Kia ora, good afternoon and welcome to Newshub's live updates.

We will be keeping an eye on Christopher Luxon's standup coming up shortly as well as Chris Hipkins' post-Cabinet press conference, which will take place a little later on Tuesday.