Covid response, recovery to fore in deciding Cabinet

Who will be up or down, in or out of Jacinda Ardern’s new Cabinet team?

Keeping communities free of Covid-19 and firing up the economic recovery have been front of Jacinda Ardern’s mind in deciding senior Cabinet roles.

The Prime Minister will today reveal those positions, and of particular interest will be the roles of deputy PM and health minister, Winston Peters’ successor in foreign affairs, the number of Maori ministers and how far Phil Twyford might fall.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is expected to be given infrastructure so he can oversee the roll-out of the $12billion New Zealand upgrade programme and the $3billion shovel-ready fund.

Yesterday, Ms Ardern gave nothing away over whether Chris Hipkins would keep health, education or both, or continue with parts of either.

Greens co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and deputy...
Greens co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and deputy leader Kelvin Davis are all smiles after signing their co-operation agreement at the Beehive in Wellington yesterday. PHOTO: THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
But she had been mindful of Covid-19 in deciding Cabinet positions, she said.

"Covid is having another devastating effect in Europe in particular at this time. That is a sign to us we cannot be complacent."

Yesterday, the UK announced it would be going into a strict four-week lockdown, following lockdowns in France, Belgium and, to a lesser extent, Germany.

"It is a tricky virus and it is only swelling once more. That’s all the more reason for us to continue a very concerted effort here," Ms Ardern said.

"I have been mindful of that when forming this Cabinet."

Next term health will include not only the Covid response, but implementing reforms set out in the Heather Simpson review.

Yesterday, Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis would not be drawn on whether he wanted to be deputy prime minister.

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