Goldsmith replaces Adams as Nat's shadow finance minister
By Pattrick Smellie
June 25 (BusinessDesk) - National Party list MP Paul Goldsmith has replaced Amy Adams as the Opposition's shadow finance minister in a swiftly executed reshuffle of portfolio responsibilities announced by party leader Simon Bridges.
A former press secretary to both National and Labour party ministers, former Auckland city councillor, published biographer and historian and one-time PR man for The University of Auckland, 48 year-old Goldsmith takes the plum economic policy role some eight years after entering Parliament. He served in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister John Key and held the commerce, consumer affairs, tertiary education and employment, and science and innovation portfolios.
Adams announced her retirement from politics this morning, citing a desire to return to normal life. She was swiftly followed by the far lower profile National MP Alistair Scott, who will also retire at the 2020 election.
Asked to nominate economists he admired, Goldsmith said instead that he hoped to do as good a job as Bill English, National's Finance Minister through most of the 2008-2017 Key administration.
Others to gain in the reshuffle are Chris Bishop, who sheds the police portfolio where he had significant impact and takes up the regional development and transport portfolios, effectively pitting him against Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and incumbent Transport Minister Phil Twyford. Both have exhibited political vulnerability this year, with speculation that Twyford could lose one or other of his transport or housing and urban development portfolios in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's reshuffle on Thursday.
Brett Hudson picks up police and Todd McClay, a close adviser to Bridges, gives up foreign affairs to Gerry Brownlee, one of the National caucus's most experienced former ministers. McClay picks up the economic development portfolio that Goldsmith previously held.
One of the caucus's few Maori MPs, Jo Hayes, picks up the Maori Development and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations portfolios. They were held by recently departed Nuk Korako.
However, sometime Bridges critic and the party's climate change spokesman, Todd Muller, remains as lowly ranked as ever, at number 31 in the line-up, despite gaining the forestry portfolio in today's shake-up. High-impact associate health spokesman Shane Reti also remains in the lower half of the 55-member caucus at 32nd, as does relatively high-profile first-term Wellington MP Nicola Willis, at 52nd.
Goldsmith's rise follows a parliamentary career marked by the mild embarrassment of routinely standing for election in the blue-ribbon Auckland seat of Epsom, where National has long encouraged its supporters to support the Act Party candidate to ensure the lightly supported libertarian movement remains in Parliament as a political ally. As a result, he has lost the seat to former National minister and Act leader John Banks, whose biography Goldsmith wrote, and its current leader, David Seymour.
An Auckland Grammar School alumnus, Goldsmith has also written biographies of former National and Act MP and Reserve Bank governor Don Brash and Auckland millionaire Alan Gibbs, as well as a history of the tax system.