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Prime Minister Announces Cabinet Changes

The renewal of the Cabinet begun in January is about to be completed as Bill English takes over from Sir William Birch as Treasurer.

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley today announced several changes to the Cabinet including the appointment of Mr English as Treasurer.

The changes will take effect on Tuesday 22 June after the signing of Ministerial Warrants by the Governor General Sir Michael Hardie Boys.

Mr English is promoted to No. 3 in the Cabinet to succeed Sir William Birch as Treasurer.

Sir William moves to No. 5 and becomes Minister of Finance and Minister of Revenue. He will retain his responsibilities for Ministerial Services and the Government Legislation Programme.

"The change in the Treasury and Finance portfolios completes the Cabinet changes I announced in January this year," Mrs Shipley said.

"New Zealanders can be confident of a smooth transition and ongoing sound management of the economy as we look towards stronger growth and budget surpluses over the next three years."

The other Cabinet changes announced by the Prime Minister include:

· Tau Henare to become Associate Minister for Tertiary Education (Maori Education);
· Don McKinnon to become Minister of Veterans' Affairs and Associate Minister of Defence;
· Lockwood Smith to become Associate Minister of Immigration (International Access and Processing);
· David Carter to become Associate Minister of Education; and
· Marie Hasler to become Minister for Culture and Heritage, which replaces the Cultural Affairs portfolio.

"Georgina te Heuheu - the Minister for Courts and Minister for Womens' Affairs - maintains her role as Associate Minister of Health with a particular focus on the important area of disability support services.

"Although the Minister of Education will determine the specific responsibilities of his associate ministers, I expect Mr Henare will shift his focus from early childhood education to the compulsory sector and the tertiary sector with particular emphasis on Maori.

"With the establishment of the Office of Veterans' Affairs, I have appointed Mr McKinnon responsible for this portfolio as well as the closely linked role of Associate Minister of Defence. Mr McKinnon has a wealth of experience that will be used to better address the concerns and affairs of war veterans.

"Mr McKinnon will also lead a new External Relations Ministerial Team to improve New Zealand's performance in the international arena. (see separate press statement)

"Lockwood Smith takes over from Murray McCully as the Associate Minister of Immigration (International Access and Processing). This responsibility is closely linked to the Tourism portfolio that Dr Smith picked up last month.

"Mr Carter's appointment as Associate Minister of Education will provide additional help to the Minister in the areas of rural education and property resources in the education sector.

"The portfolio of Cultural Affairs held by Ms Hasler, has been expanded to incorporate matters of New Zealand identity and heritage and will be called Culture and Heritage. I will be asking Ms Hasler to develop a coherent and constructive policy to manage issues of New Zealand culture, identity and heritage.

"These changes complete the transition of Cabinet I began in January. We have a strong, future-focused team in place. Our Cabinet is particularly strong, and will stand New Zealand in good stead for the future," Mrs Shipley said.


ENDS

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