MP loses portfolio over Ebola petition
Green Party MP Steffan Browning has been stripped of his natural health products portfolio following this morning's party caucus meeting.
It follows Browning signing a petition last week encouraging the World Health Organisation to consider the use of homeopathic remedies to combat the Ebola pandemic.
Green co-leader Metiria Turei said the natural health products portfolio had been rolled into the health portfolio.
This meant Kevin Hague would become the party's spokesman on all issues relating to health.
"It is a clear signal to the country that the Green Party treats health matters based on evidence," Turei said.
She insisted the move wasn't a slight against party supporters who may use homeopathy.
"Some people do believe in homeopathy and will choose to use it.
"But we do not believe that it is an evidence-based public health measure."
Turei said the portfolio change was about restoring public confidence in the Green Party and it's health policies.
"The Green Party takes health issues very seriously."
Turei said Browning understood he had made a mistake in signing the petition.
"Steffan Browning understands that he made a mistake.
"There are consequences when you make mistakes like this."
Browning said he was happy to live with the decision made by his caucus colleagues.
"I'm really happy to get on with my other portfolios and you'll see me perform on those," Browning said.
"I've got some other real gutsy portfolios and I've worked well on them in the past."
Browning's own views on the efficacy of homeopathy didn't appear to have changed, though.
"On a personal level I don't oppose homeopathy."