6 Oct 2014

New cabinet lineup to be revealed

11:21 am on 6 October 2014

The Prime Minister will reveal his new post-election cabinet today which will include some new faces and rebranding of a number of ministerial portfolios.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

John Key has said some of the portfolios are outdated and like some of his ministers, need a make-over.

Four substantial portfolios are vacant following the retirement of Tony Ryall from Health and State-owned Enterprises, and the resignation of Judith Collins from Justice and ACC.

Mr Key is not giving much away ahead of today's announcement, but described his new cabinet as bristling with enthusiasm.

"There's 60 people dying to become a minister and 25 spots so in so much as there is quite a number of excited people that I have rung, there's also obviously some disappointed people. But I think you will see a very strong executive, you'll see a bit of a flavour of what I am trying to do."

Mr Key has already made clear Paula Bennett, who has been Minister of Social Development for the past six years, will move into a new role.

"There's no great surprise that Paula will be our top-ranked female and as I've indicated in the past she's keen to move into an area which broadens her out so I think you'd be in pretty safe territory if you thought that was likely," Mr Key said this morning.

John Key.

John Key. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Portfolio name changes

Mr Key said the portfolio titles themselves are not immune to change.

"Like if you take Women's Affairs for instance, I just think that's a very outdated term - it's probably 50 or 60 years old as a name for that portfolio. There is a role for a ministry there, but it will be called the Ministry for Women, I just think that's a better reflective title."

Included in the rebranding is the change from Maori Affairs to Maori Development after the Maori Party on Sunday signed up to support the National-led Government for another three years.

Under the deal, Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will be Minister for Maori Development and for Whanau Ora and Associate Minister for Economic Development.

"We can see clearly the link between the economic development and dealing with issues of poverty and lifting people into a Whanau Ora space. Therefore it was a no brainer to look at the whole notion around economic development as being an important portfolio," he said.

Mr Flavell said after copping some flak for the party's relationship with National, the Maori Party is excited about supporting National in Government for another three years.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

"In a sense it's the best of both worlds. We have an opportunity in a sense to not necessarily follow the line of the government, we have the opportunity to vote against it - as we have done in the last six years.

"But over and above that we have the opportunity to be to able to develop policies that we have in common and indeed to be able to take resource from the budget allocations that might come our way through negotiation," he said.

And John Key's Government needs the support of the Maori Party and its other partners, United Future and ACT, more than ever.

The final election result after the counting of special votes means National won't be able to govern alone - dropping from 61 seats to 60.

Mr Key said all legislative measures will be worked through with support partners on a case-by-case basis.

"We're a little disappointed that we lost. It doesn't matter really from a governing perspective but purely from a history perspective, it would have been nice to hold on to 61.

Labour shakedown

While the Government is having to work out how to accommodate the new numbers, so too is the Labour Party.

Andrew Little says Dr Smith's letter was a clear attempt to influence the claim.

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ

Labour MP Andrew Little was at risk of losing his seat after the final vote count, but has now been confirmed as safe following the counting of special votes.

He's now considering joining the contest to be the party's next leader.

"I've been waiting to see whether I'm confirmed in parliament, it's something that I may well now consider but I will also be considering how realistic my prospects are."

Former leader, David Cunliffe and senior MP Grant Robertson are currently the only two contenders.

But Mr Little said he'd be surprised if someone else didn't throw their hat into the ring before nominations close on 14 October.

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