Woodhouse loses portfolio

National MP Michael Woodhouse. Photo: Getty
National MP Michael Woodhouse. Photo: Getty Images
New National Party leader Christopher Luxon rang Dunedin list MP Michael Woodhouse yesterday afternoon to break the bad news he was already expecting — that he was no longer his party’s finance spokesman.

Mr Luxon was in Tauranga yesterday to anoint Mr Bridges, his only rival for the leadership before the Tauranga MP withdrew on Tuesday afternoon.

However, Mr Bridges missed his big moment due to a child having an accident at school and needing hospital treatment, leaving Mr Luxon to front an awkward press conference alone.

Mr Woodhouse, a friend and ally of Mr Bridges, was philosophical about being one-upped by his close colleague.

"Congratulations to Simon, I think he’s going to do a great job and will support him through the transition to make sure that he is in good shape when we get back to the House," he said.

"A wise person told me when I started this that from a portfolio perspective you should play to your strengths but not be a one-trick pony; my strengths are health and finance but I also have good experience in other areas of public policy and I look forward to helping caucus in whatever way the new leadership wants me to."

He said Mr Luxon had called him as a courtesy yesterday to confirm Mr Bridges was being handed the prized finance role.

For now Mr Woodhouse remains shadow leader of the House, until Mr Luxon’s expected announcement of his new line-up on Monday.

As a senior front bench MP and a Bridges loyalist it would be a surprise if he were not to receive a senior role, but what that might be he professed not to know.

"I can tell you that I don’t know what he has in store for me ... I’ll stand by, I’m not getting too worried about it. I’ll just wait."


Luxon is a gamble for the Natz and is gonna need other things to make it work.

(1) He cannot hire or fire MPs like at AirNZ. We do that for him at election time.

(2) The Natz lineup has liabilities. You need to watch them on Parliament TV not just sound bites on the news.

(3) I know he had to offer Bridges something good to make him not stand against him, but Bridges will cost him votes and is no match to Robertson.

(4) Natz gonna have to select good moral candidates, people well known not just well dressed bozos. That Labour did well with many high profile and with doctorates.

(5) The Natz Party is going to have to be re trusted by the public with no dirty tricks and lies.

(6) Luxon is gonna have to come up with policies. Natz have none at the mo – just barking at Labour cars going down the road.

(7) Will Luxon close schools again, private health, cut back on cops again, get rid of Kiwirail, erode work conditions again, cut back the pension. Yes I think he will.

(8) The final question is how do you think Natz would have handled Covid?? Would they have allowed 10,000 deaths to keep businesses going?