3 Feb 2011

First-term trio fare well in Goff reshuffle

4:09 pm on 3 February 2011

Labour Party leader Phil Goff has opted for three first-term MPs in the reshuffle of his shadow cabinet, with Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson the big winner as new health spokesperson.

He moves up the ranks from 18 to 12.

The other up-and-comers are Phil Twyford, who picks up the local government role, and Jacinda Adern, who has employment.

Both make Labour's top 20.

Mr Goff says the new line-up will make a formidable team.

In other notable changes, David Parker moves to number four in Labour's ranks, and Shane Jones takes up the transport and infrastructure role.

Mr Robertson says he will push for more government spending on health, a critical policy area that needs proper funding. He says Health Minister Tony Ryall needs to explain what services it will cut to meet its plans to put a lid on spending.

Mr Robertson replaces Ruth Dyson in health, and while she retains a high caucus ranking at number five, her new roles in conservation, immigration and state services are lower profile.

Darren Huges is the new education spokesperson, taking over from Trevor Mallard , who takes over Mr Hughes' former role as shadow Leader of the House.

Mr Parker moves to number four position and adds energy to his responsibilities.

Mr Jones is in effect rehabilitated after last year's embarrassing revelations about charging adult movies to his ministerial credit card. He moves to number 13 in Labour's caucus, and gets the transport, infrastructure and Maori economic development areas.