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New minister appointed - changes to portfolios

Rt. Hon Helen Clark
24 February 2004

New minister appointed

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today the name of the new minister to fill the vacancy created by Lianne Dalziel’s resignation and a number of portfolio changes.

“The new minister is Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope. He will become the Minister of Fisheries. He will also be Associate Minister of Justice and will have responsibility for the Law Commission, and Associate Minister for the Environment with responsibilities relating to the Resource Management Act.

“Trevor Mallard has been given a new responsibility as Co-ordinating Minister, Race Relations.”

Helen Clark said that Mr Mallard, in his capacity as Minister of State Services and Associate Minister of Finance, would be taking responsibility for reviewing government policies to ensure that they are addressing need.

“The government is very focused on meeting the needs of low and modest income families across the board and providing equality of opportunity.

“The upcoming budget will be one for New Zealand’s battlers. This is a government which has brought a great deal of benefit to low and modest income people across the board.

“We will continue to ensure that in meeting our objectives, services are delivered by those likely to get the best results.

“Mr Mallard will also take responsibility for general issues concerning the Treaty of Waitangi, such as the place of references to the Treaty in legislation. There has been no clear ministerial responsibility in this area at all. The Minister of Treaty Negotiations task is a narrow one involving the settlement of historical claims, and that task remains with Margaret Wilson.

“The redistribution of Lianne Dalziel’s responsibilities has occasioned a number of other changes:

- Margaret Wilson will become the Minister of Commerce.
- Paul Swain will become Minister of Labour and Immigration, bringing the major functions of the Labour Department together under one minister.
- The transport portfolio will go to Pete Hodgson. Mr Hodgson’s current fisheries portfolio goes to the new minister, David Benson-Pope.
- Ruth Dyson will become Associate Minister of Labour, handling policy issues such as work-life balance and family friendly workplaces.
- Marian Hobbs will have an expanded Associate Education role, including responsibility for adult and community education.

“The Labour caucus also made two new appointments in the whips’ office. Whanganui MP Jill Pettis will become the new senior government whip, and Otaki MP Darren Hughes will be the new junior government whip.”

Mr Benson-Pope will be sworn in by the Governor-General at Government House on Thursday afternoon, and the portfolio changes will take effect from then.


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