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National leader Christopher Luxon at Parliament. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
National leader Christopher Luxon at Parliament. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The BulletinDecember 7, 2021

National’s new guard to face question time today

National leader Christopher Luxon at Parliament. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
National leader Christopher Luxon at Parliament. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

There are a number of younger faces on the opposition’s front bench as Christopher Luxon appoints National’s new shadow cabinet, Justin Giovannetti writes in The Bulletin.

What National’s new shadow cabinet says about the opposition. Christopher Luxon has put his stamp on National, appointing a new caucus team to face off against the government. The National MPs who showed the most skill over the past year have been promoted—namely Erica Stanford, Chris Bishop and Matt Doocey. Writing for The Spinoff, Toby Manhire has looked at the new match-ups in parliament. Luxon promised that his MPs can match any on the government benches and the new dynamic at parliament will be immediately visible later today. It remains to be seen how Simon Bridges, now holding finance—the most powerful portfolio the leader can hand out—will go about the difficult job of reestablishing National’s credentials as the party that can best manage the economy.

The new top five

  1. Christopher Luxon: Leader, national security and intelligence
  2. Nicola Willis: Deputy leader, housing, social investment
  3. Simon Bridges: Finance, infrastructure
  4. Chris Bishop: Covid-19 response, shadow leader of the house
  5. Shane Reti: Health, Māori-Crown relations, Pacific peoples

What happened to Judith Collins? The former leader slipped to 19th place. Luxon didn’t even bother ranking his caucus below the top 20. Collins has been tasked with being the critic for research, science, innovation and technology. While she made technology a significant part of her stump speech during the campaign last year, it’s not a high-profile position for the crusher. Stuff reports that a number of Collins’ allies have joined her by tumbling down the ladder. For Luxon, there’s a need to keep peace within the party. He’s promoted from both the liberal and conservative wings and has aligned himself with centrist ideas on the climate and economy in recent days, telling One News that he’s a “big fan” of further minimum wage increases.

One of the biggest promotions doesn’t have a number attached to it. Mere months ago, former leader Todd Muller was exiled from caucus by Collins and was on his way out of politics, having announced that he wouldn’t run again. He told One News yesterday that  he’s feeling “highly invigorated” and will be on the ballot again in 2023. While he’s unranked, he’s back in caucus and will hold the ocean and fisheries, as well as internal affairs portfolios. Muller had been punished by Collins for speaking critically about a colleague. It was an unsavoury episode that had an element of heavy tactics, so it’ll be nice to see him back and representing the Bay of Plenty in full at caucus meetings.

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