15 Jun 2010

Jones, Carter's disgrace is Mahuta, Chauvel's gain

2:57 pm on 15 June 2010

Labour leader Phil Goff has reshuffled his parliamentary team following the demotion of three disgraced MPs.

Nanaia Mahuta and Charles Chauvel have been promoted to the front bench, and David Parker and Maryan Street get weightier responsibilities.

Chris Carter, Shane Jones and Mita Ririnui have been demoted for misusing credit cards when ministers in the last government.

Mr Carter retains a spot in the shadow cabinet and keeps the conservation portfolio, but Mr Jones has been stripped of all portfolios and is now on the backbenches.

Mr Chauvel picks up environment from Mr Jones; his energy portfolio will be taken over by Ms Mahuta.

Street to handle foreign affairs

David Parker, Darren Hughes, Maryan Street, Stuart Nash and Grant Robertson all pick up new responsibilities.

Mr Parker loses conservation and gets economic development, Mr Hughes takes on infrastructure, and Ms Street gives up tertiary education - which goes to Grant Robertson - for foreign affairs. Mr Nash picks up forestry from Mr Ririnui.

Mr Goff says the demoted MPs will have to work hard to regain the public's trust. They will all be bruised by the experience, he says, but he's leaving the door open to them for the future.

Though Mr Carter retains conservation he's still on notice, Mr Goff says.

Prime Minister John Key says he doubts that the reshuffle will improve Labour's fortunes and can't see it making much difference.

Jones will stay on as MP for now

Mr Jones acknowledges that it will take time to rebuild and earn the trust of his Labour colleagues.

He says he intends staying on as an MP for now. He says he won't make any decisions in the heat of the moment but will take counsel from people among his Northland constituents.

Mr Carter is understood to be unhappy about the demotion, but publicly will say only that, though grateful to have been given conservation, he regrets being moved off the front bench and losing foreign affairs.

Mr Ririnui says losing his portfolio is disappointing but he still maintains that he was acting under bad advice.

Details of credit card spending

Eight boxes of documents detailing ministerial credit card spending from April 2003 to February 2010 were released to journalists at Parliament on Thursday morning.

While a government minister, Mr Jones used his ministerial credit card to pay for CDs, lollies, magazines and pornographic movies at hotels. He repaid $4600 of personal spending.

Mr Carter, previously under fire for his high travel expenses, says he has identified inappropriate spending of $252.16 that he would repay.

Mr Ririnui also repaid more than $2000 of personal spending over the years - including on golf clubs and a bike.