National unveils quiet select committee reshuffle

National has quietly reshuffled where its MPs sit on select committees.

Most of the changes reflect the caucus reshuffle unveiled by leader Judith Collins on Saturday, though other changes may raise eyebrows.

Housing spokeswoman Nicola Willis is being taken off the finance and expenditure committee and replaced with local government spokesman Chris Luxon.

Willis will be put on the environment committee.

Willis has led a strong attack on rising house prices in her current committee role, but the environment committee also has a housing application – it is currently preoccupied with examining legislation that will replace the Resource Management Act, a key issue in housing.

Willis also lost her associate economic development portfolio in the recent reshuffle.

She will take climate change spokesman Stuart Smith’s place on the environment committee. Smith will also go to finance and expenditure, replacing Michael Woodhouse.

Woodhouse will replace Chris Bishop on the privileges committee.

Bishop will sit on the health committee, replacing Matt Doocey. Bishop will also sit on the regulations review committee, replacing Penny Simmonds.

Bishop’s other select committee role, the standing orders committee, will now be taken by deputy shadow leader of the house Simeon Brown.

Mark Mitchell will replace Harete Hipango on the justice committee – Hipango will move to the Māori affairs committee, replacing Todd Muller.

Muller will sit on the petitions committee, replacing Tim van de Molen.

Van de Molen and new transport spokesman David Bennett will both join the transport and infrastructure committee.

Overall, the select committee reshuffle moves the caucus’ liberal MPs to less powerful and less high profile committees.

In the case of Muller, the move is to be expected. Retiring MPs are often shuffled into less high profile roles.

Moving Willis from finance and expenditure is a significant step, given the committee’s prominence, influence, and power.

Bishop’s relative demotions are to be expected. His previous select committee positions were commensurate with his role as shadow leader of the house.

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