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PM promotes Wagner to minister as Williamson steps down; Smith gets building

Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner has been promoted to minister outside of cabinet following Maurice Williamson's resignation.

Wagner will take on the customs, statistics, associate conservation and associate Canterbury earthquake recovery portfolios. Conservation minister Nick Smith will pick up building and construction while veterans' affairs and immigration minister Michael Woodhouse takes on land information.

Williamson quit his ministerial positions after it was revealed he had contacted Auckland police in connection with domestic violence charges against businessman Donghau Liu. The Pakuranga National MP had earlier lobbied colleagues to grant Liu's citizenship.

Wagner will be sworn in by the governor general on Wednesday.

Over the weekend, Mr Williamson would not rule out a return to cabinet.

On Breakfast TV this morning, Mr Key said that was not a realistic option at this point.

Comments and questions
3

Wow - everyone thought Paul Goldsmith was up for a promotion.

Nicky is a grafter who bit by bit surely slashed back the Christchurch Central majority to win the seat. She's a smart , highly competent woman and I am delighted her work has been acknowledged

Interesting

Looks like Williamson will be coming back sometime as Wagner is hardly a long term solution - she is very much a short term proposition and will need a high list selection to stay in after the election