Dunne, Lotu-Iiga sworn in

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 13:53 28/01/2014

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Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has been sworn in as a minister, and Peter Dunne has had his ministerial warrant restored at a ceremony in the Beehive this afternoon.

Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae appointed both MPs to the executive council, as well as appointing Paula Bennett as Minister of Local Government.

The changes were made as part of a Cabinet reshuffle last week, with Napier MP Chris Tremain dropped ahead of his departure from Parliament at the end of the present term.

List MP Michael Woodhouse has been promoted from minister outside Cabinet into the Cabinet, while Dunne and Lotu-Iiga will be ministers outside Cabinet.

Lotu-Iiga, the MP for Maungakiekie, was joined by about 20 members of his family and supporters for the ceremony, also attended by Prime Minister John Key and senior colleagues.

Lotu-Iiga said he expected to focus on economic development issues in the portfolio, but that it was important Pacific communities strived to be independent of government support.

"The reason I'm in the National Party is I don't believe government has all the answers," he said.

"I think Pacific people and Pacific communities, we can do for ourselves, we can also promote our own welfare and become self-reliant, become independent and look after ourselves."

Dunne had served as a minister under both Labour and National-led governments until he resigned last year in the wake of the Henry Inquiry, into who leaked a sensitive report into Government spying.

While the report did not directly name Dunne, it pointedly said that he had refused to hand over documents requested by the inquiry, meaning he could not be ruled out. Dunne denies leaking the report.

Today Dunne said that in the period since he resigned as minister he had learned why being a minister was so important "because you're at the centre of things, you're in a position to influence the course of events, and also just to make some changes and do things".

"It's certainly been the thing I've missed the most," he said. 

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