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Brash fine-tunes National line-up

Don Brash
National Party Leader
1 February 2005

Brash fine-tunes National line-up

National Party Leader Don Brash today announces several changes to his shadow Cabinet line-up in what he describes as a fine-tuning for the parliamentary year, which starts today.

The changes are aimed at sharpening National's attack role in election year, he says.

Key elements are:

* Finance spokesman John Key joins the front bench of National's line-up in a major elevation.
* Katherine Rich relinquishes the Welfare portfolio and moves to the No 10 second-bench position previously held by Mr Key. While retaining her oversight of Crown businesses, Ms Rich also gains the responsibilities of Associate Finance, Associate Health and ACC.
* Judith Collins takes over Welfare, while retaining her Family Affairs role. Dr Brash says the two areas tie together neatly and it has been obvious for some time that they should be together.
* Paul Hutchison, Associate Health Spokesman, takes over the Health portfolio.

"Dr Hutchison has wide experience in the Health sector, which will assist him in bringing together a set of policies to address the increasingly serious failings in the current system," Dr Brash says.

"It makes sense to do the fine-tuning now, at the start of the parliamentary year.

"At the time of my last reshuffle, Katherine Rich expressed an interest in an economic role, to broaden her experience. I am now meeting that request.

"Though she had substantially completed the advance work on the Welfare policy, it is fair to say she did not agree with some details of the policy, as announced at Orewa.
"The differences are not big, but they preclude the possibility of Katherine continuing in the role of spokeswoman for Welfare.

"I remain firmly convinced that National must curb the gross excess and waste in the Welfare system, no matter how difficult this may be. We need to get the incentives right in Welfare to encourage people into work, just as we need to get the incentives right in the tax system to make working worthwhile," Dr Brash said.

ENDS

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