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Goff Announces Shadow Cabinet Changes

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Goff
Phil Goff

Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Labour leader Phil Goff has announced modest changes to his shadow cabinet line up today, saying it is too soon for a major reshuffle.

Today's changes, which feature the return of Trevor Mallard to the front bench, were prompted by the resignations of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen and the return on the list of Damien O'Connor.

Labour has undergone a major rejuvenation effort, but only two new MPs were given added responsibilities.

Kelvin Davis got tourism and associate Maori Affairs on top of associate education, while Chris Hipkins has had sport and recreation added to his internal affairs and associate energy responsibilities.

"They've been here not five minutes but five months," Mr Goff told reporters.

"I don't think anybody in the new intake was expecting to have a major change in their responsibilities."

A major reshuffle would be held in the second half of next year.

The major change today was Mr Mallard's restoration to the front bench. He was given Chris Carter's education portfolio, and had the Rugby World Cup and America's Cup added to his workload, which already included labour. Mr Carter takes on foreign affairs.

Labour sees Education Minister Anne Tolley as a weak link for the Government and Mr Mallard has a reputation as a strong attacker.

"I think you will find that particular characteristics that Trevor has will make him very effective in that area," Mr Goff said.

In November 2007 Mr Mallard was moved off the front bench and lost portfolios after a taking a swing at National MP Tau Henare.

Mr Goff said he had earned the front bench position for his work.

"I think Trevor has shown himself to be very effective in opposition, he's taken a mature approach to the responsibilities he's been given," Mr Goff said.

"I think he'll do a tremendously good job in education. He'll certainly know far more about education than the minister that he is shadowing."

As a former education minister Mr Mallard took "hard decisions" to close some schools, but he had earned respect in the sector, Mr Goff said.

Mr Carter was offered and accepted foreign affairs. Mr Goff said Mr Carter had a long-standing interest in the portfolio and was delighted to get it.

Nanaia Mahuta gave up her environment spokeswoman role and moved off the front bench for personal reasons. She is now Maori social development spokeswoman.

Shane Jones takes on economic development and environment, while Mr O'Connor has been given rural affairs, biosecurity and associate agriculture.

Mr Goff said Labour's line-up would keep the pressure on the Government and all eyes would be on this month's budget to see what plan National had to get New Zealand out of the recession.

David Shearer is standing for Labour in Mt Albert. If he wins, he might be given responsibilities, Mr Goff said.

Deputy leader Annette King told reporters she would be going into the 2011 election as deputy leader. Speculation that she would not was National's plan not hers, she said.

Mr Goff is not anticipating any further retirements. If that is the case former MP Judith Tizard is unlikely to get an opportunity to return to Parliament this term.

Other changes were Maryan Street, who has had Treaty of Waitangi negotiations added to her roles; Darren Hughes -- shadow leader of the house; David Parker -- conservation, Charles Chauvel -- associate justice, Winne Laban -- spokeswoman interfaith dialogue, Steve Chadwick -- arts, culture and heritage; George Hawkins -- local government, Ashraf Choudhary -- associate research and development.

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