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Little reshuffles his shadow cabinet

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016

Labour leader Andrew Little has reshuffled his shadow cabinet and given the foreign affairs portfolio to long-serving MP David Parker.

Chris Hipkins has taken over all the portfolios linked to education, Iain Lees-Galloway is defence spokesman and Stuart Nash is taking on state-owned enterprises, innovation and science and research and development.

Michael Wood, who won the Mt Roskill by-election, takes over Mr Nash's revenue portfolio.

Clare Curran will handle ICT and moves into the shadow cabinet, while Megan Woods adds state services to her portfolios.

The reshuffle, which Mr Little describes as more of a reorganisation, has taken place because Phil Goff and David Shearer have left and David Cunliffe isn't standing for re-election.

"These changes will help sharpen Labour's focus on some core areas," Mr Little said when he announced the rejig on Friday.

"The team I lead into next year's election will be working as hard as ever to show New Zealanders the Labour Party has a plan for the future."

Mr Parker's appointment is the most significant.

The former cabinet minister hasn't been prominent since challenging for the leadership in 2014 and losing to Mr Little.

"David Parker is a very senior member of caucus and he's widely respected," Mr Little said.

Mr Hipkins has been given responsibility for education and tertiary education.

Mr Little says it's a crucial area for Labour because of the funding freeze on schools and declining performance.

"Chris will be focusing all his energies on this important area," he said.

Mr Little has created a portfolio called new economy.

It will be operated by a team, including himself.

"The real challenge the country faces is wealth creation, so we can maintain our standard of living, make sure the jobs are there and that there's investment in training," he said.

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