Ginny Andersen named new Minister of Police

By Contributor

Ginny Andersen Photo / VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Ginny Andersen will be the new minister of police, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Andersen was only sworn in as a cabinet minister in January, but Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says she is a safe pair of hands.

Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Hipkins said Andersen had been appointed today and would get started on it immediately.

"She has worked for the police in the past for over a decade and more recently has been the chair of Parliament's justice committee.

"She will have had quite a lot of exposure to the police and to the issues that police are dealing with at the moment."

The police portfolio was vacated by Stuart Nash last week, after he spoke on the radio about speaking to the Police Commissioner about appealing a case he disagreed with the judge on.

He had not been police minister at the time of that conversation but ministers are expected to avoid any perception of trying to influence police prosecution decisions, and avoid criticising judges.

Holds Hutt South electorate

Further errors of judgement from Nash subsequently came to light, and he was demoted to 20th in the cabinet rankings, but avoided further punishment, with Hipkins saying it was proportional and the errors were "in the past".

After Hipkins took over as prime minister, he named Andersen as a new cabinet minister with responsibility for the digital economy and communications, seniors, small business, associate immigration and associate Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations roles.

She joined Labour in 2004, and served as Labour's vice-president from 2015 to 2017, when she entered Parliament as a list MP. She won the Hutt South electorate in the 2020 election.

Despite her short history as a cabinet minister, Hipkins said he had confidence in her to take on the responsibilities of the police portfolio, which has changed hands several times in recent years.

He said he considered her a safe pair of hands.

"I think Ginny Andersen will hold her own ... it is a big portfolio and I have confidence in Ginny and her ability to tackle it," he said.

Fourth minister of police

"When I've looked at what I want to see from the minister of police, I think she's very well suited to take up that role."

Hipkins said Barbara Edmonds would pick up Andersen's associate Immigration portfolio.

Andersen is the fourth police minister since Labour took office in 2017, but it's the fifth time the role has changed hands.

Stuart Nash held the role from 2017 until 2020. He was succeeded by Poto Williams, but Hipkins himself was brought in after Williams - who is now exiting politics after this year's election - came under pressure over increased ram raids and retail offending.

Nash was named as the new minister in Hipkins' cabinet, and Megan Woods took over the role in an interim capacity after Nash resigned last week.