John Key has announced a couple of changes in Cabinet roles.
Steven Joyce becomes Tertiary Education Minister, allowing Anne Tolley to fully focus her efforts on the Education portfolio, and in particular the implementation of the Government’s national standards policy.
Kate Wilkinson becomes Conservation Minister, a portfolio in which she is currently Associate Minister. This change reflects the fact that Tim Groser is frequently out of the country representing New Zealand’s interests in the Trade and Climate Change fields.
The responsibility for Tertiary Education has often been separated from the rest of the Education portfolio and having the Associate Finance Minister in charge of Tertiary Education shows how important it is.
Kate has already been taking a lot of responsibility for Conservation because of Tim’s absence and will have no trouble taking on her new role.
There are some big issues ahead in this portfolio including tenure review and what action, if any is taken after the stock take of mineral reserves under conservation land. These need the attention of a Minister who is in the country most of the time.