Otago Daily Times
Dunedin MP climbs rankings
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.