As it happened: Grant Robertson retires from politics, Chris Hipkins announces Labour reshuffle

Prominent Labour MP Grant Robertson will step down from politics, it's been confirmed as the party reshuffles its caucus.

It comes after Newshub was leaked an email showing Robertson, the former Finance Minister and deputy PM, has a new job as the University of Otago's vice-chancellor.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins earlier refused to say whether or not Robertson would be staying on.  

Hipkins said he had a "balanced" reshuffle planned for this week - prompting questions about whether his finance spokesperson was preparing to announce his retirement from politics.  

An internal email from the University of Otago's council suggested Robertson had been appointed as the institution's vice-chancellor and would start the role on July 1.

Minutes after Newshub reported the email, this was confirmed by Robertson and the university.

Hipkins subsequently announced Barbara Edmonds would take over as Labour's finance spokesperson.

When earlier asked if Robertson - ranked number three in his caucus lineup - had approached him about leaving, Hipkins wouldn't answer the question.  

"I'm not making any announcements on behalf of anybody," he said.  

When challenged he should be able to state his 3IC and finance spokesperson was sticking around, Hipkins reiterated he wasn't going to be making announcements - this time adding "right now". 

When asked if Robertson would be here by the end of the week, he said: "I'm not making any announcements."

Labour has been facing an internal struggle about what its tax policy should be after suffering a crushing election defeat.  

Hipkins made a captain's call to kill off Robertson's tax proposal that would have seen an income-free tax threshold introduced - paid for by a wealth tax.  

Robertson served as Finance Minister from 2017-2023, a period which saw him navigating the massive economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Hipkins said Labour Revenue spokesperson Deborah Russell would be staying in her role but could not give the same assurance about Robertson.