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National Party leader Christopher Luxon, right, stops to talk to passers-by in Pollen St, alongside Coromandel MP Scott Simpson. File photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Simpson down in caucus rank

Coromandel’s MP Scott Simpson is “more than happy” to be down eight places on the National Party’s caucus rankings, in order for his fellow colleagues to “shine”.
National leader Christopher Luxon last week announced a reshuffle of his MPs’ portfolios and rankings, with former leader Todd Muller promoted up the list and picking up the Climate Change portfolio, held by Mr Simpson since 2021.
Mr Simpson dropped from number 11 to 19 in the party’s rankings, but will continue his role as spokesperson for the Environment, which he’s held since 2017. He’s now also the Party’s spokesperson for Oceans and Fisheries, and Water.
“When people go up, it’s absolutely always the case that someone goes down,” he told The Profile, “and I’m more than happy to stand a little bit down in terms of allowing some of my other colleagues to shine in the spotlight, and I wish them all very well.”
Mr Simpson said there was “logic” behind the portfolio changes, but that he was not going to lose his interest in climate issues “one little bit”.
“Climate change affects every portfolio, and I’m going to continue to keep a very close watch on climate change issues, and climate policy,” he said.
“To be in a National party caucus led by Christopher Luxon is a great privilege, a great honour, and I’m looking forward with excitement for the year ahead and the roles I have now to get my teeth into.”
Meanwhile, Jacinda Ardern announced she would be resigning from her role as the country’s Prime Minister, stepping down from the position no later than February 7.
Chris Hipkins will become New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister in her place, and while Mr Simpson thanked Jacinda Ardern for her service, he was sceptical of Chris Hipkins’ “track record”.
“He was an adroit manager of the processes during the Covid crisis, but his performance in the Education portfolio and Police have been really inadequate,” he said. “Just because there’s been a change of face at the top of the Labour Party, doesn’t mean that the underlying issues with the current Government have suddenly disappeared.”