PM announces changes to ministerial portfolios

Prime Minister Bill English has announced changes to ministerial portfolios. The changes come as a result of Hekia Parata's and Murray McCully's Cabinet resignations.

Nikki Kaye will replace the outgoing Minister of Education, Hekia Parata.  

Gerry Brownlee will be the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking over from Murray McCully.

Nathan Guy comes in as Minister of Civil Defence, and Mark Mitchell as Minister of Defence.  Mark Mitchell has been promoted to Cabinet.

Simon Bridges has also been appointed as Leader of the House, and Nicky Wagner as Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration.

Prime Minister English paid tribute to the two departing ministers saying, "As education minister, Ms Parata has changed the conversation in our schools and driven sharp rises in achievement for all our students, particularly Māori and Pasifika."

He also said, “As foreign affairs minister, Mr McCully has improved existing relationships and developed new ones, all the while running a truly independent foreign policy for New Zealand."

“Neither will be easily replaced but in Nikki Kaye and Gerry Brownlee we have two very well qualified successors."

The new ministers will be sworn in on May 2 and the new cabinet will meet for the first time on May 8.