Otago Daily Times

Dunedin MP climbs rank­ings

- MIKE HOULA­HAN Po­lit­i­cal re­porter Politics · Dunedin · Judith Collins · Australia · New Zealand · New Zealand First · Winston Peters · Auckland Region · Michael Woodhouse · Port Waikato · Jacqui Dean

DUNEDIN Na­tional list MP Michael Wood­house has been re­stored to favour, be­ing named shadow fi­nance min­is­ter yes­ter­day by party leader Judith Collins.

Mr Wood­house, who lost the role of health spokesman and was de­moted when Ms Collins be­came leader shortly be­fore the elec­tion, is now ranked fourth in the Op­po­si­tion team and adds the port­fo­lio of trans­port to his fi­nance role.

‘‘I’m very pleased and re­ally ex­cited,’’ Mr Wood­house said.

‘‘One door closes but an­other opens, and this is a re­ally big op­por­tu­nity and chal­lenge, to be able to launch into a cou­ple of ar­eas I am re­ally in­ter­ested in.’’

Na­tional has taken the un­usual move of split­ting fi­nance into two roles, third­ranked Port Waikato MP An­drew Bayly be­com­ing shadow trea­surer.

The divi­sion of roles mir­rors what Aus­tralia does, and a sim­i­lar si­t­u­a­tion ex­isted in the 1990s when Bill Birch was Na­tional’s fi­nance min­is­ter and New Zealand First leader Win­ston Peters the trea­surer.

Mr Wood­house, a one­time rev­enue min­is­ter and as­so­ciate fi­nance spokesman, had been asked to fo­cus on gov­ern­ment debt lev­els and ex­pen­di­ture, and lead a team of MPs in re­lated port­fo­lios.

‘‘An­drew and I are very com­pat­i­ble and we won’t stand on strict bound­aries,’’ Mr Wood­house said.

‘‘The other area where we will work in­ter­change­ably is trans­port, be­cause he also has in­fra­struc­ture and there is a lot of in­ter­op­er­abil­ity be­tween the two.’’

Mr Wood­house said he felt com­fort­able de­bat­ing Auck­land trans­port is­sues from Dunedin, and noted that Auck­land MP Christo­pher Luxon and King Coun­try MP Bar­bara Kuriger had been named his as­so­ciates to pro­vide ur­ban and re­gional per­spec­tives.

All Na­tional MPs met Ms Collins to dis­cuss their pre­ferred roles be­fore she al­lo­cated port­fo­lios.

Waitaki MP Jac­qui Dean, ranked 18th, said she had told her leader she wanted to re­tain con­ser­va­tion and be nom­i­nated as as­sis­tant speaker.

She said yes­ter­day she was de­lighted to have re­ceived ex­actly what she had asked for.

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