National Party Reshuffle positions three Māori in top ten

By Talisa Kupenga

National Party Leader Simon Bridges has revealed his revamped shadow cabinet, which debuted publicly as a group today. The party now has three Māori members in its top ten.

Simon says this is his new team.

"It's been great to have the front bench of the National Party together this afternoon to talk seriously in the first way. I think we're all incredibly excited and energised by what lies ahead for us."

A reshuffle which now sees three Māori in National's top ten compared with the Government's two; Labour's Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

Bridges says "So if [Māori] look at myself, Paula and Jami-Lee and see something they identify with I think that's great. We're excited to work with the opportunity to work with all New Zealander's but Māoridom in particular as well."

Ngāti Porou's Jami-lee Ross is the new Māori addition jumping 19 slots to number 8.

Ross says "It is a great opportunity to serve in Simon Bridges' front bench. I think it's also great that we have a Māori leader of the National Party and that we have several of us that are of Māori descent but the reality is we're here to serve all New Zealanders that includes Māori and non-Māori and I'm looking forward to doing the best I can in the portfolios that I've got."

Bridges says Ross is ready to make his mark. He's taken on Infrastructure and Transport.

"He's got big portfolios and we've just been talking about these issues right now we're talking infrastructure and transport and under that there are these complicated issues of PPPs and how we might configure things so he's got a lot of work to get on with."

Labour’s Kelvin Davis says it's good to see the opposition bringing more Māori into senior positions but that Labour has its largest ever Māori caucus with 13 members, and that overall the Labour-NZ First Government has a record of eight Māori ministers.