11 Mar 2018

Bridges reveals new caucus line-up, Collins moves up

4:40 pm on 11 March 2018

New National Party leader Simon Bridges announced his new caucus line-up at Parliament this afternoon.

Mr Bridges has revealed that Judith Collins will take over the Housing and Urban Development portfolio.

Ms Collins has risen from ninth to fourth in the caucus, behind Mr Bridges, his deputy Paula Bennett and Finance spokeswoman Amy Adams.

"The team I have announced today also reflects the strength and talents of the women in our caucus, with three in the top five positions, and eight in the top 20 and they are there on merit," Mr Bridges said.

Mr Bridges said Ms Collins had specifically requested the housing role.

"I can say to you that (Housing Minister) Phil Twyford is on notice - Judith is coming."

"Who could be better up against Phil Twyford?"

Mr Twyford would find it hard to sleep tonight, Mr Bridges said, as he expected Ms Collins to expose the government's "shambolic" inaction in the sector.

Asked if the appointment was an acknowledgement by National that there was a housing crisis in New Zealand, Mr Bridges said: "You can use all manner of words, but for those involved it is a crisis".

Mark Mitchell, Todd McClay, Paul Goldsmith, and Jami-Lee Ross are also among those promoted.

Mr Mitchell - who unsuccessfully contested National's leadership contest last month, has rocketed to National's front bench and is now ranked seventh - up from 21.

He has been given the Justice portfolio and remains National's Defence spokesman.

Mr Bridges said he expected big things.

"Mark Mitchell has I think the ability to really hold the government to account, as they - as we perceive it - are soft on crime in this area.

"Given his background as a policeman in security... now is his time to step up and I know you will see him doing that."

Todd McClay is now ranked fifth and will be responsible for the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

Jami-Lee Ross will speak for the party on Transport and Infrastructure.

Paul Goldsmith will take on the Economic and Regional Development portfolio.

And Sarah Dowie will now be responsible for the Conservation portfolio.

However, long-serving MP Gerry Brownlee has been dropped from fourth to number 11 and will be Shadow Leader of the House, while former Housing Minister Nick Smith is now ranked 26 as State Services spokesman.

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