Dunedin MP Michael Woodhouse has continued his rise up
the ranks, after Prime Minister John Key confirmed the list MP
would become a full member of Cabinet.
Mr Woodhouse, who was appointed as a Minister outside Cabinet
a year ago today, will remain Minister of Immigration,
Veterans' Affairs and Associate Transport Minister and will
replace in Cabinet Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain,
who will retire at the election later this year.
Since becoming an MP, Mr Woodhouse has steadily progressed up
the ranks of National and became chief whip before being
appointed a minister.
He is the first National Party MP to become a minister while
living in Dunedin.
Mr Woodhouse said in an interview it was a big year ahead for
him and he was ''delighted'' to keep his current roles as
there was some unfinished work for him, particularly in
''It's business as usual, but it's a huge privilege to be at
the top table.''
Mr Woodhouse emphasised that although he was a full Cabinet
minister, he and his family remained domiciled in Dunedin.
''I am committed to Dunedin and Otago and will be a strong
advocate for the region around the table. I now see all
Cabinet papers, rather than those just relating to my
portfolios,'' he said.
Replacing Mr Tremain as Internal Affairs Minister is Peter
Dunne, who was stood down last year after allegations he
leaked documents to a journalist.
Mr Dunne will also become Associate Health Minister and
Associate Conservation Minister. Social Development Minister
Paula Bennett will pick up the role of Local Government
Minister, along with her current roles.
The new Minister outside Cabinet is Peseta Sam Lotu-Liga, who
will become Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and Associate
Local Government Minister. Mr Key said he was pleased to
welcome Mr Dunne back as a minister.
''We have worked together well in the past and United Future
continues to be a valued partner in government.
''While 2013 brought its challenges, both Peter and I start
this election year looking forward, not back.''
In a separate announcement, Mr Key outlined the parties he
believed National could work with following this year's
They were Act New Zealand, the Maori Party and United Future.
''I believe there is also a scenario where it would be
possible to add the Conservative Party to this group,'' he
Act MP John Banks will not stand for re-election in Epsom,
because he is standing trial in Auckland later this year for
allegedly knowingly filing a false election return from his
failed mayoral campaign.
One of Act's major contributors and former MP John Boscawen
is standing as party leader and seeking the Epsom nomination,
against younger candidates. Mr Key said he could work with Mr
Boscawen as a ''totally predictable'' politician.
National has traditionally come to an agreement with Act in
Epsom and Mr Dunne in Ohariu.
On current polling, the Maori Party will have only one MP
following the election and the Conservatives, unless a deal
can be arranged in an Eastern Auckland electorate, may
struggle to get into Parliament.
In his announcement, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour,
the Greens and Mana on the basis there was insufficient
common ground to achieve a ''stable and successful working
A post-election working relationship with New Zealand First
was unlikely but a possibility, he said.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the party was
making its position clear from the outset: it would not be
part of any pre-election discussions or arrangements aimed at
subverting the democratic process.
''We thought MMP would stop the gerrymandering and `old boys'
arrangements of the past but some political parties keep
manipulating the political process for their own ends instead
of trusting the voters,'' he said.