New roles for MPs

National’s portfolio reshuffle has handed key tasks to MPs covering or near Waipā.

Barbara Kuriger takes on agriculture, Louise Upston, Taupo, is now spokesperson for regional economic development and Hamilton East MP David Bennett takes on transport – and an opportunity to push for the Cambridge to Piarere extension to the Waikato Expressway.

Waikato MP Tim van de Molen retains Fisheries, Building and Construction.

Kuriger says working from the grassroots up rather than the top down is how she will tackling her new responsibility.

She retains Energy and Natural Resources, as well as Food Safety.

She used her appointment to repeat complaints that the Government had not acted in the interests of rural New Zealand.

“Labour has drafted a raft of regulations, altered others, and enacted unintended uses of various bits of legislation, leading to the enormous pressure now on the agricultural sector,” she said. “And farmers have had a gutsful. It’s too much, too fast.

“Part of my new role is to hold the Government to account, and I have yet to see a workable and warranted proposal from them. Creating change with no concept of food production, is not helpful or useful.

The changes were been linked to retirement of Nick Smith and former leader Todd Muller’s announcement he won’t seek re-election.

Media reports though noted the changes came a day after it was alleged leader Judith Collins was angry with MPs Chris Bishop and Erica Stanford for publicly suggesting they didn’t support the party opposing the law banning conversion therapy.

In the reshuffle Bishop lost his role as Shadow Leader of the House.

Collins responded to media reports linked the issue saying, “I thought it was a shocking bit of journalism with some media saying that I had demoted MPs”.

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