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Heatley, Wilkinson biggest losers in cabinet reshuffle

Cabinet has been reshuffled and Phil Heatley and Kate WIlkinson are the big losers in changes announced by Prime Minister John Key.

David Carter has been nominated as National's candidate to replace Lockwood Smith as parliament's speaker.

Conservation minister Kate WIlkinson has lost her portfolio. Last year she quit her labour ministerial role after the release of the Pike River royal commission report.

Energy and reources and housing minister Phil Heatley will also lose his cabinet portfolio.

"Phil and Kate have both made a real contribution to the government in their four years as ministers and I'd like to thank them for that," Mr Key said this afternoon.

Former ACC minister Nick Smith is back inside cabinet and has been given the housing and conservation roles.

Auckland central MP Nikki Kaye will become food safety, youth affairs and civil defence minister.

Michael Woodhouse will be the third new minister, serving outside cabinet as immigration and veterans affairs minister.

David Carter's local government portfolio will be taken up by Chris Tremain, and Nathan Guy will take on his primary industries role.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges will move within cabinet, taking on the labour and energy and resources portfolios.

More by Blair Cunningham

Comments and questions
9

I wonder what Phil H has done to deserve this? Certainly a better performer than Heikia.

Nothing will fix the economy as there is no vision in John Key's policies. Changing ministers is like playing musical chairs. Same old dum nd dud policies of John Key.

I'm past trying to understand John Key's strategy. I don't think he has a plan and never really had one, apart from appeasing the Maoris, that is.

How the hell Hekia wasn't dropped defies every conceivable performance metric as to what is deserving of a ministerial sacking.

Heatley and Wilkinson have no reason to feel aggrieved; they were both hopeless. How Heatley survived his slip-up with the use of his credit card - while Pansy Wong got cut adrift - will always be a puzzle.

Both Heatley and Wilkinson failed to fire as ministers. And their performance in the House during question time would, in my opinion, often fail to inspire confidence in them and their grasp for the bigger issues in their portfolios.

It's a harsh world, but it was time for them to go.

David Carter as Speaker! I wonder how many New Zealanders despairingly think that National is scraping the barrel?

Nothing changes. Finlayson can carry on impoverishing the country by his too-ready endorsing of utterly opportunistic iwi claims while vital areas are cash-strapped.

Is it really true that we have the government we deserve? If so, what has happened to us that we are being virtually ruled by the ignorant and the arguably stupid?

So will Nick Smith be prepared to take responsibility for conservation and take a stand by stopping the ridiculous proposal to build a tunnel in the middle of two of our most beautiful national parks? I hope so!

Hekia Parata should have been the first one to go.

My theory is that the education portfolio will get worse before it gets better, regardless of who is controlling it. Replace her now and the new person will have a rough time, at least initially (from which they may not recover). Better to steady the ship and then replace.