Labour unveils Opposition line-up

Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone
Labour leader Chris Hipkins. Photo: RNZ
Labour has unveiled its Opposition line-up, with issues such as child poverty and climate change given high rankings.

Leader Chris Hipkins said the line-up brought “experience and energy” and would hold the “coalition of chaos to account”.

The list includes six women and four men in the top 10. It has seen significant drops for some of Labour’s senior MPs including Kelvin Davis, who signalled he would retire at the next election, and David Parker.

Parker's former Environment role has gone to Rachel Brooking, who served as Associate Environment Minister for the final few months of the Labour government.

The departure of Andrew Little means Phil Twyford has been given the Immigration portfolio, while Dr Ayesha Verrall will be the Public Service spokesperson.

Ginny Andersen will keep the Police portfolio, but her Justice role has been given to Duncan Webb.

Willie Jackson, meanwhile, is now the highest-ranked Māori MP in Labour at number five. Jackson said “at the moment” he was committed to the whole term, after previously saying he was considering his future.

Jackson said they had a job to do to support Māori aspirations.

“We’ve seen all the attacks, from the smokefree, a referendum in disguise they are putting up... we have a job to do.”

In giving Parker the foreign affairs portfolio, Hipkins said part of that was to maintain a positive relationship with the coalition Government in that area, taking into account his good relations with Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

Hipkins said he intended to invite Gerry Brownlee, who National is nominating as Speaker, to speak to the Labour caucus to make his case to get their endorsement.

He said he thought it was an “interesting decision” that National had chosen Greens climate spokesman James Shaw over the official Opposition climate change spokeswoman in Megan Woods to go to COP.

Hipkins said the rankings in Opposition didn’t matter as much as when in Government, and that his line-up had three times as much ministerial experience as the coalition government.

He said the election didn’t go Labour’s way and they had work to do to get New Zealanders to support them again.

”With the start this coalition has had it’s clear New Zealanders will need an Opposition that stands for their values and what is right.”

Hipkins said they had seen a lack of moral compass from the new government.

Hipkins yesterday confirmed former Finance Minister Grant Robertson would continue as finance spokesman, while former Health Minister Ayesha Verrall would keep her health portfolio.

The full line-up:

Chris Hipkins - Leader of the Opposition, Ministerial Services, National Security and Intelligence

Carmel Sepuloni - Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Social Development, Pacific Peoples, Auckland Issues, Child Poverty Reduction

Grant Robertson - Finance, Racing

Megan Woods - Climate Change, Energy, Resources, Associate Finance

Willie Jackson - Māori Development, Broadcasting and Media, Employment, Associate Housing, Associate Workplace Relations and Safety

Dr Ayesha Verrall - Health, Public Service, Wellington Issues

Kieran McAnulty - Shadow Leader of the House, Housing, Local Government, Regional Development

Willow-Jean Prime - Children, Youth, Associate Education (Māori)

Ginny Andersen - Police, Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Social Investment, Associate Social Development

Jan Tinetti - Education, Women

Barbara Edmonds - Economic Development, Infrastructure, Associate Finance

Peeni Henare - Defence, Sport and Recreation, Associate Health

Priyanca Radhakrishnan - Conservation, Disability Issues, NZSIS, GCSB

Jo Luxton - Agriculture, Biosecurity, Rural Communities

Duncan Webb - Deputy Shadow Leader of the House, Justice, Regulation, Earthquake Commission, Christchurch Issues

Deborah Russell - Revenue, Science, Innovation and Technology, Associate Education (Tertiary)

Rachel Brooking - Environment, Food Safety, Space

Damien O'Connor - Trade, Associate Foreign Affairs, Associate Transport

David Parker - Foreign Affairs, Shadow Attorney General, Electoral Reform

Kelvin Davis - Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations

Tangi Utikere - Chief Whip, Transport, Oceans and Fisheries, Associate Education (Pacific)

Camilla Belich - Junior Whip, Workplace Relations and Safety, Emergency Management

Arena Williams - Assistant Whip, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Building and Construction, State Owned Enterprises

Phil Twyford - Immigration, Disarmement and Arms Control, Associate Foreign Affairs

Greg O'Connor - Assistant Speaker, Courts, Veterans

Jenny Salesa - Ethnic Communities, Customs

Rachel Boyack - ACC, Arts, Culture and Heritage, Animal Welfare

Adrian Rurawhe - Whānau Ora, Associate Māori Development

Rino Tirikatene - Corrections, Land Information

Helen White - Community and Voluntary Sector, Small Business and Manufacturing, Associate Justice

Ingrid Leary - Seniors, Mental Health

Lemauga Lydia Sosene - Internal Affairs, Associate Pacific Peoples, Associate Social Development and Employment

Reuben Davidson - Statistics, Digital Economy and Communications, Associate Broadcasting and Media

Cushla Tangaere-Manuel - Tourism and Hospitality, Forestry, Cyclone Recovery

 - additional reporting RNZ