Melissa Lee gone from cabinet, Paul Goldsmith new media minister

Melissa Lee has been moved outside of cabinet and stripped of the Media and Communications portfolio, as hundreds of jobs are set to go in the news media industry at TVNZ and Newshub.

Similarly, “major financial issues” at Whaikaha/Ministry of Disabled People have also seen Penny Simmonds lose her Disability Issues portfolio, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced.

“It has become clear in recent months that there are significant challenges in the media sector. Similarly, we have discovered major financial issues with programmes run by the Ministry of Disabled People.”

In a statement to media, Luxon said he came to the view that the porfolios in question needed to be managed by more senior cabinet ministers.

Paul Goldsmith will pick up the Media and Communications portfolio, with Luxon pointing to “synergies” between that portfolio and Arts, Culture and Heritage, which Goldsmith already has.

“The challenges facing our media are being seen all over the world. While there are limited levers for Government here, I look forward to Paul progressing work to ensure regulatory settings are appropriate to enable the media to modernise and adapt to a changing media environment.”

In place of Penny Simmonds, the PM has asked Louise Upston to take over the Disability Issues portfolio.

“This will free Penny Simmonds up to focus on the Environment portfolio and the major changes she is progressing to improve tertiary education.”

“Given the changes, Melissa Lee will move outside of Cabinet. Climate Change and Revenue Minister Simon Watts will move into Cabinet.”

According to the statement, Christopher Luxon has asked the Governor-General to give effect to the changes today.

More to come.