Willie Jackson slams Christopher Luxon's demotion of Melissa Lee weeks after calling her 'useless', 'stupid' and 'incompetent'

After spending weeks calling former broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee "useless", "stupid" and "incompetent", Labour's Willie Jackson is criticising the Prime Minister for booting her out of Cabinet.

Lee was removed as Media and Communications Minister on Wednesday and booted from Cabinet. Her role was given to Paul Goldsmith in a reshuffle Christopher Luxon said was because the portfolio had become more complex.

Penny Simmonds was also taken out of the Minister for Disability Issues role in the reshuffle.

The changes come after both Simmonds and Lee faced intense criticism over their response to issues in their respective portfolios.

Lee came under particular scrutiny over her response to extreme turmoil in the media industry. In fact, Jackson has repeatedly attacked her, calling her "stupid" and suggesting she "doesn't know what she is doing".

But on AM on Friday Jackson hit out at Luxon for demoting her, questioning where his heart was and saying Lee was "absolutely qualified" for her portfolio.

"One thing I have learnt in politics is that you don't dance on someone's grave and so I might have done that [criticised Lee] but a lot of things happen in politics. You had [David] Seymour calling Winston [Peters] the most untrustworthy person in the world and two weeks later they were in Cabinet together" Jackson told AM co-host Lloyd Burr.

"It's a sad time for her and it's a sad time for Penny so yes I was always very clear, but it was never anything personal," he added.

He also hit out at National accusing them of not giving Lee adequate support in the role.

"What I will say is Melissa never got any support, she was thrown out there. I can recall the last day in the House and I really went for her and she got no support...I thought they would ask me to withdraw and apologise.

"So my sympathy goes out to her because she's been in the game a long time, she was absolutely qualified for the position but had no support and no policy. Winston and the lot absolutely overruled her," he said.

National's Simeon Brown, who was appearing on AM alongside Jackson, said the Ministers were facing a number of challenges in their portfolios.

"You were in Government for the last six years and actually these problems haven't been solved. So there are some challenges we need to fix and Paul Goldsmith is the right person to get on with it and he is a good man," Brown said.

"The Prime Minister has made a decision to shift that responsibility to Paul Goldsmith and that has given us the ability to have a fresh look at this. And Paul is going to make sure the synergies and opportunities between the broadcast media role and arts and culture work really well."

At a press conference on Wednesday, Luxon said Lee's demotion is about recognising big changes in the media and ensuring there is a "good Cabinet Minister" in charge of the portfolio.

He said both portfolios had become significantly more "complex" since the Government took power six months ago.

He denied Lee being booted out of Cabinet was humiliating and said it was about the increase in "complexity".