What do Māori National Party Ministers get in cabinet reshuffle?

By Heta Gardiner

Divided fortunes for Māori MPs in Prime Minister Bill English's cabinet reshuffle. Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges both got extra portfolios. However, Christmas didn't come early for some of the back bench Māori MPs.

It was a swift rise for Alfred Ngapo from the Cook Islands. From the back benches in 2011 straight to the cabinet in 2016.

PM Bill English told Te Kāea, “Alfred has a unique type of experience for a National MP. And a very persuasive way of articulating what this government is trying to achieve.”

Some of the parties rising stars also cashed in. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett from Tainui and Simon Bridges from Ngāti Maniapoto also received extra portfolios.

“Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett adding Police, Women and tourism portfolios to State Services and Climate Change. The appointment of Simon Bridges as the Minister for Economic Development and Associate Finance Minister.”

Bridges is following a similar path to his leader.

“The addition of Economic Development and Associate Finance Minister to Simon Bridges recognises his role as a key member of our finance team.”

Despite the good news for Māori already in the cabinet, those on the back benches, Nuk Korako and Shane Reti didn't get promotions. It was also announced that Hekia Parata will be stepping down as Minister of Education on the first of May. It is expected that Nikki Kaye will replace her.

“She's in the list there with a light workload, but if she comes back healthy, she'll certainly be given more work.”

Replacements for Hekia Parata and Murray McCully will be announced before May.