Woodhouse takes medicine

Michael Woodhouse with Judith Collins after Ms Collins was elected leader of the National Party...
Michael Woodhouse with Judith Collins after Ms Collins was elected leader of the National Party on Tuesday night. PHOTO: POOL
Dunedin list MP Michael Woodhouse says he is disappointed at being stripped of his health spokesman’s role but enthusiastic about the responsibilities he has been given by new National leader Judith Collins.

Portfolios and shadow cabinet rankings will be revealed by Ms Collins today, although she has already confirmed Paul Goldsmith will remain in finance.

However, her first order of business yesterday was to sort out the future of Mr Woodhouse.

As expected, he lost the role to Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti.

She said Mr Woodhouse was an excellent performer, but made a mistake handling the leak of details of Covid-19 patients to him by former party president Michelle Boag.

"I am disappointed because I really enjoyed the health role," Mr Woodhouse, a former hospital administrator, said.

"I worked hard in it and I think we made good gains against the Government, but that’s the way it is. I can’t dwell on it, I have to look forward."

Ms Collins said: "the public was rightly appalled that people’s personal medical records were being sent around".

"I thought it [not telling the Minister of Health] was an error.

"I’ve told Michael my views and he accepts those views.

"I have no doubt at all that Michael will never make that mistake again and I have no doubt at all that in our caucus none of them will."

Mr Woodhouse, who entertained no thoughts of standing down, will retain his associate finance and assistant shadow leader of the house roles.

Ms Collins also allocated him two new roles, as spokesman for Pike River recovery and regional development.

"Michael Woodhouse is a stand-out person and I have full confidence in him," she said.

Mr Woodhouse said there was a risk the election campaign debate could have been about his fitness for the health role, rather than National’s policies.

"I support that [decision of Ms Collins], because I really want to be talking about the things that matter to New Zealanders and how we get through this [Covid-19]," he said.

"Regional economic development is going to be a big part of that, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into it."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

 

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