Comments on the Key Ministry

Key taking Tourism was pre-announced, and smart as it is key to economic growth and also a feel-good portfolio.

English is the logical choice for Infrastructure, as the money for the capital works goes with Finance. It was either him or Key to do it.

Brownlee is as expected. Power picks up a heavy workload with SOEs and Commerce on top of Justice. Probably had to arm wrestle Chris Finlayson for the Law Commission.

Ryall picks up State Services , and Nick Smith ACC on top of their current portfolios. Both will cope easily.

Collins trade in Social Welfare for Police and Corrections, plus Veterans Affairs where she will be very popular with her Agent Orange work. Governments die if they are seen as soft on law & order, so her movement these is astute.

Tolley and Finlayson are as expected, but Finlayson moves onto the front bench as the only 2005 intake on it.

Carter and McCully as expected. Groser is no surprise for Trade but usefully is also given international negotiations for climate change and Conservation.

Mapp as expected, and Steven Joyce picks up a very weightly workload at No 14 – Transport, Comms/IT, Associate Finance and Associate Infrastructure. He will be carrying some big expectations.

Georgina te Heuheu picks up a variety of roles from Courts, to Disarmament and will work with Pta Sharples as Associate Maori Affairs.

The big mover up is Paula Bennett. She may only be No 16, but she has the Welfare portfolios under their new names. This is a huge portfolio for an MP who has been in just three years. Having been a “Maori solo mother” herself, Paula will make it very hard for Labour to characterise National as heartless.

Heatley is as expected, and Pansy Wong becomes the first Asian Cabinet Minister and is an Associate Minister in two of her former portfolios of ACC and Energy.

Jonathan Coleman and Kate Wilkinson finish the Cabinet. The years each entered are:

1987 – 1
1990 – 3
1994 – 1
1996 – 4
1999 – 3
2002 – 2
2005 – 5
2008 – 1

So 11 of them entered Parliament after the last National Government. And of the nine who entered previously, only six have been Ministers before.

Outside Cabinet, you have Maurice WIlliamson, Richard Worth, and John Carter. Key has obviously used the spots outside Cabinet to place people he did not have room for in Cabinet. They are all highly likely, I suspect, to be replaced before the full three years is up with some new Ministers from the 2005 or even 2008 intakes.

Logically one would also expect most of the Ministers from the 1990s (except English) to consider retirement in 2011. If some do not retire, then there will be real pressure from the 2005 and 2008 intakes.

So who missed out?

Tau Henare is probably the most upset – he is a former Minister, and was keen to serve again. Lindsay Tisch and Paul Hutchison also missed out, but I expect will chair Select Committees.

And who might move up as vacancies occur? Watch out for Nathan Guy, Chris Tremain, Craig Foss, Jo Goodhew, Chester Borrows, Jackie Blue, John Hayes, Jacqui Dean and others to compete for spots in a couple of years time. Also Hekia Parata and others from the 2008 intake will be chasing those spots also.

Overall it looks a pretty good Cabinet, with some real talent.  28 Ministers is too large though, with some Ministers looking like they have a pretty light workload. And Labour will be a tough Opposition that will target new or vulnerable Ministers, plus try and highlight those Ministers they think are “doing a Tizard”.

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