MP's move to new role
Palmerston North's MP has been left defenceless in the Labour Party reshuffle and will have to get a move on in his new role.
Iain Lees-Galloway has lost the defence spokesman's role in the new Labour lineup announced yesterday but has been given transport. He has also retained his veterans' affairs and associate health spokesman roles and remains outside the list of the top 20-ranked Labour MPs.
"I've enjoyed the defence portfolio immensely and it's sad to let it go but you have to make trade-offs at times," Mr Lees-Galloway said.
"I'm proud of the job I've done of holding the Government to account for some grievous errors they made."
Mr Lees-Galloway said defence would remain an area of interest for him as an MP given the importance of the armed services to Palmerston North. Also important to Palmerston North were many of the issues he would be tackling as Labour's transport spokesman.
"One of our strengths is as a regional distribution hub. To be able to do that we need good transport infrastructure."
The Government's focus on investing in roading infrastructure in cities, and especially the roads of national significance (Rons), was to the detriment of provincial New Zealand, he said.
"The Rons trump every other priority regardless of the economic, environmental or social value of these projects," Mr Lees-Galloway said.
"It's an area where National and Labour differ quite strongly."
Mr Lees-Galloway has previously held an associate transport role.