Collins drops Woodhouse as health spokesman

New National leader Judith Collins has dropped Michael Woodhouse as health spokesman.

Collins said Shane Reti has been promoted to the front bench and the health spokesman role.

Collins said Woodhouse should have told former party president Michelle Boag that she should not have sent him confidential patient data on Covid-19 and should have told the Minister of Health straight away.

She still rated Woodhouse's abilities and he had been given new portfolios, including Pike River spokesman.

He will also get regional development. He also keeps associate finance and will remain deputy leader of the House.

She said Reti is a doctor, a specialist and "has even worked at Harvard".

Woodhouse is a "top performer" and is an important part of National.

Collins said the matter has "now been resolved" and Woodhouse was "utterly delighted" with his portfolios.

"The public was rightly appalled," that Covid-19 data was leaked, she said.

As to other portfolio shake-ups, Collins said there were still conversations to be had.

She will be making calls today.

"Sometimes people can't always have what they want."

"We have a fabulous team."

New leader of the National Party Judith Collins with deputy leader Gerry Brownlee and other...
New leader of the National Party Judith Collins with deputy leader Gerry Brownlee and other National MPs. Photo: Getty Images

Collins said there is "no suggestion" that Muller got any information from Boag.

She said it was time to "move on" and win the election.

She said Reti has shown himself to be an excellent performer in the House.

Collins said that Woodhouse not telling the Minister of Health was an error.

She said it is her belief that no other National MPs have any leaked information.

Collins said a more full reshuffle will be announced tomorrow.

She said it was more difficult divvying up portfolios than receiving them.

She said Woodhouse is "utterly delighted" with the outcome.

"We need to move on," she said, adding that it wasn't acceptable to have received the leaked data and not pass it on to the Minister of Health.

"I have no doubt that Michael will not make that mistake again."

Collins supported the Prime Minister's planning, which would implement regional lockdowns rather than a country-wide lockdown.

She said she can't remember the last time she spoke to Cameron Slater.

But she said who she speaks to is her private business.

Asked who was the National base, she said: "All right-thinking people - love them".

Earlier she said this morning that any changes would be "mild" and that there would only be a few shifts when it came to portfolios.

Speaking to media this morning, Collins downplayed the significance of any of these changes, saying it would only affect herself, her new deputy leader Gerry Brownlee and "a few other people".

After she was announced as leader last night, Collins marched down to waiting media with almost every single National MP.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern does not appear to be too worried about her new political foe.

She said this morning that she accepts that there is an election this year and that there will be politicking, but her focus is on the pandemic.

"My time, my energy is focused on Covid-19."

Ardern said politicking will not mean much to New Zealanders, who will be expecting the Government to focus on the Covid-19 response, and she hasn't spent much time thinking about squaring off with Collins.

Comments

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A token response to criticism of lack of Maori representation and needing a new health spokesman. Voila! Are we appeased?

@Dr Jekyll - I'd rather have the best person for the job than a "diversity hire" to appease a mob that are unable to look past skin colour.
I don't care what races Collins' - or Ardern's - frontbenches contain. I just want the best Kiwis that can be found for both - and may the best party win.

No! The Heron inquiry will reveal all.

Goodness, 'right thinking people' are a distinct minority.

Wonder if that was considered a hard decision by Collins? Six days back, Woodhouse was acting like he didn't know where the leak came from.

"Woodhouse was utterly delighted with the outcome." Hardly a punishment then, is it? Nothing from Woodhouse saying his actions were a mistake or any hint of contrition. The public have had enough of this negativity coming from National. If you're going to play dirty politics, you have to be good at it. This lot is just a bunch of numpties.

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