New minister to focus on economic development

Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014
Peter Dunne
MINISTER AGAIN: Peter Dunne.

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Pesata 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.

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 made yesterday were 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 Mr Dunne and Mr 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, but 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 from 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 report into Government spying.

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

Dunne said yesterday 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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- © Fairfax NZ News

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