Brash announces National portfolios
Don Brash National Leader
2 November 2003
Brash announces National portfolios
In presenting the new portfolio allocations for National, I would like to emphasise the obvious: this is a lineup of responsibilities which is directly related to skills and to merit, and which is aimed to win the election in 18 months time.
There is only one party in New Zealand that can oust Labour and halt its policies of creeping socialism, and that is National.
This allocation of responsibilities gives an indication of how the next National Government will look, and the people who will turn back the tide of separatism, the ever-increasing taxes and levies, and the continuing political correctness.
Some major changes of approach have been adopted, but overall these are not radical changes. Some of the key points to note are the following:
* First, I am obviously delighted that Bill English has accepted my offer of the Education portfolio, on the front bench, where we can use his very considerable talents. Those who know him are aware of his interest in this area, which is not surprising considering he has six young children all involved in the school system. Like many others, he is only too aware of how the system is failing our youngsters. It is crucial that we get the system to produce the outcomes that we need in a modern society.
* Agriculture returns to the front bench in the hands of David Carter, one of our most experienced MPs. Frankly I think it is disgraceful how Labour has treated this sector, which is still, and will remain, the backbone of the economy. If ever we needed an example of the dismissive arrogance with which Labour treats farmers it was over the so-called flatulence tax, which held us up to international ridicule. Shane Ardern and his exploits on Myrtle the tractor were instrumental in getting this reversed and Shane will take an Associate Agriculture role, along with Katherine Rich.
* Finance is key to any Government and as you can see I will be retaining an oversight role at present. But as I have indicated previously, I will not retain that responsibility when we become the Government. John Key will be Deputy Finance spokesman, and I have used that designation deliberately, rather than Associate Finance spokesman, to emphasise the role he will take. John's background and skills you will be aware of, and he will be a natural in this position.
* Revenue is a time-consuming and exacting job. Pansy Wong, who is an accountant by background, will take this responsibility, assisted by Lockwood Smith, who has been taking a close look at the personal tax system, and wants to see that important project through to fruition. * Lockwood will also take the combined Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. The two areas are inextricably linked and we need to recognise this and devise policies which are in our national interest.
* Wayne Mapp relinquishes Foreign Affairs to take over a new and extremely important portfolio of Constitutional and Treaty of Waitangi issues. National is hugely concerned at the divisive nature of many of this Government's policies and is totally opposed to separatist development. We need a legal authority of Dr Mapp's standing to find the correct path through these divisive issues. National believes in One Standard of Citizenship. We are all New Zealanders. This will be a key election issue for us. * Health will be in the hands of two doctors, Lynda Scott and Paul Hutchison.
* As you will have noticed, I have created a new role, Parliamentary Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition, which I have allocated to Murray McCully. He will work with other key MPs on strategy and direction, and report directly to me.
* I draw your attention to the fact that the third bench has been ranked by intake and alphabetical order, so there is no ranking of people on the third bench.
* The splitting of the senior and junior whip, with one in the second row and one in the third, is for convenience to obtain an extra second bench position. I am told it will not affect how we work together.
* Finally, I should perhaps note that I am not appointing a person to have primary concern for Women's Affairs, any more than we have somebody responsible for Men's Affairs. All of my colleagues are concerned to advance the well-being of all New Zealand women, all New Zealand men, and all New Zealand children.
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