Cabinet reshuffle by the end of the month, says Ardern
By Pattrick Smellie
June 4 (BusinessDesk) - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will reshuffle her Cabinet later this month, but is signalling there won't be "substantive changes" in a group of ministers whose continued service is based not only on performance but, in some cases, whether they are representing one of the two parties supplying the government's parliamentary majority.
"It's not going to be substantial reshuffle," Ardern said. She will announce the changes after Parliament rises on June 27 after three weeks' sitting.
She declined to be drawn on where those changes might occur, or to discuss the prospects for NZ First and Green Party ministers and whether their possible replacement required negotiation.
The one clear favourite for promotion is Labour's Kris Faafoi, who is a minister outside Cabinet with responsibility for the crucial-to-business commerce portfolio. He also holds the telecommunications and broadcasting portfolios that he picked up when the previous minister, Claire Curran, resigned over her dealings with RNZ senior executive Carol Hirschfeld. He also inherited customs from Meka Whaitiri when she resigned over an alleged staff bullying incident.
Faafoi, a Porirua-based former journalist, has impressed the sectors he's been operating in while some other ministers inside Cabinet have been seen to struggle. They include Immigration and Employment Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford, whose KiwiBuild affordable homes policy threatens to become a political millstone.