Prime Minister John Key today announced a reshuffle of his Cabinet, as well as a number of changes in the organisation of some government ministries.
The changes will come into effect on 31 January.
The biggest winner is Dr Nick Smith. He returns to Cabinet after his fall from grace last year, and is appointed as Minister for Creating a Perception of Crisis in Order to Justify Savage Cutbacks in Entitlements.
Dr Smith’s interest in resource issues has also resulted in his appointment as Minister for Exploiting High Political Office for the Benefit of Friends.
Steven Joyce remains Minister for Economic Development, Minister of Science and Innovation, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Associate Minister of Finance. A new super-ministry is to be created to encompass these various portfolios, and will be called the Ministry of Squashing Ambition and Innovation at their Conception (MOSAIC).
The biggest losers are Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley, who have been dropped from Cabinet altogether. Both have failed to perform, and their inability to communicate with the smoothness of someone like Hekia Parata will have counted against them.
Parata retains the Education portfolio, but her ministry is to be renamed the Ministry for Focusing on Outlining the Context of the Wider Processes Representative of the Fact that Raising Student Achievement Requires the Development of Methodologies that Add to Learning Outcomes.
Gerry Brownlee is to lead a new Insulting Everyone He Meets Ministry, which will tie in with his existing role as Minister for Ruining Christchurch.
Simon Bridges gets a promotion after being a Minister outside Cabinet. He takes on the Ministry for High Self Regard. Chris Finlayson will be his Associate Minister, taking over from Tim Groser.
Bill English retains Financial Ruin, but loses the Some Hope for a Moderate Recovery Ministry. That Ministry is to be disestablished.
Paula Bennett was tipped to take Conservation, but her enthusiasm for leopard-skin would have made her a controversial choice. She instead retains the Pulling Up the Ladder Behind Her portfolio.
Murray McCully retains Foreign Affairs and Dark Arts, while Tim Groser keeps Being Clever and Knowing It.
John Key said his new Cabinet line-up was a strong one, and would bring a renewed energy to the task of doing very little to address the nation’s biggest problems.
He acknowledged that a number of MPs had been unlucky to miss out on Cabinet positions.
“I feel for the likes of Tau Henare, Melissa Lee, Maggie Barry, Katrina Shanks, John Hayes, and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.
“Any one of them would have made a superb Minister of Foot in Mouth. But Gerry’s doing such a fine job I just had to leave him there.”