Shane Reti rises to front bench, Michael Woodhouse 'crushed'

By Bronson Perich

New National leader Judith Collins has moved Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti to the front bench.

“Dr Reti is going to be the health spokesperson for the National Party,” Judith Collins says.

She elected to remove Michael Woodhouse from the portfolio because of his failure to report leaked personal information about Covid-19 patients to the Ministry of Health.

“When he received the information from Michelle Boag, it was people’s personal, private information,” Collins says.

“I feel the right thing for him to have done would have been to advise her not to send him anything.”

National Party leader Judith Collins - Photo / File

It is Collins' opinion that Michael Woodhouse should have informed the health ministry straight away.

Collins made it clear that Woodhouse did not leak any Covid patient information but his lack of action meant that demotion was needed.

“The public was rightly appalled that people’s personal medical records were being sent around to different MPs,” she says.

“They are rightly appalled that any of those found their way into the media.”

Reti was associate health spokesperson under Todd Muller’s leadership.

Before entering politics, Michael Woodhouse was chief executive of Mercy Hospital in Dunedin. While he was qualified in health administration, he is not a qualified medical practitioner.

Reti is the only MP who is a qualified doctor and practised in Whangarei for many years. He was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to Harvard University and completed his second masters degree there.

"I hope that the Reti promotion is going to start the discussions about the fabulous talent that we've got in the National Party," Collins says.

She has assigned regional development and the Pike River mine recovery portfolios to Woodhouse.

Collins will confirm the party list rankings tomorrow.