National leader Judith Collins is defending the dramatic promotion of loyal MP Andrew Bayly, who is taking on the new role of shadow Treasurer.
The relatively unknown MP has shot up 14 spots in the party rankings to number three, as part of Collins’ caucus shake-up.
Bayly, who was first elected in 2014, will also take on the Infrastructure and Statistics portfolios.
He will work in conjunction with Michael Woodhouse who takes over responsibility for the Finance portfolio and has been bumped to number four on the list.
Splitting Finance and Treasurer is very close to the Australian “experience”, Collins said.
RNZ understands former leader Simon Bridges was offered the Finance job, but turned it down because of the split in responsibilities.
Collins refused to confirm this was the case, saying “I don’t discuss anything that my colleagues and I have discussed”.
“Every MP has had a meeting with me – an interview about what their expectations are, what they’d like to do. I’ve given them my expectations of what I expect from them.
“Everyone has got something they particularly asked for and some have got some others … I’ve given them to stretch themselves,” Collins said.
Bayly will be responsible for revenue, budget preparation, revenue, monetary policy, KiwiSaver, the Super Fund and will also have an oversight of other portfolios including infrastructure, transport and trade.
While Woodhouse will monitor government expenditure, fiscal settings, debt and interest rates, and will have oversight of the Overseas Investment Office, commerce, competition, workplace relations, energy, iwi development, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and water.
“They are quite, I must say, joined at the hip. They get on really well, work really well together and they will be a powerhouse in my opinion,” Collins said.
“They spend all day long talking about finance and economics,” she said.
“Wonderful stuff!” Bayly added.
Collins said she expected the pair to perform “brilliantly” and said she had no doubt they will work well together.
Bayly will go up against Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grant Robertson in the house and was asked by reporters if that was daunting.
“Grant’s a very good operator … it’s part of the job though, isn’t it,” he said.
Bayly referred to his accounting background and said he could speak to Robertson at a “very specific level”.
The pair take the portfolio from Paul Goldsmith, who was stripped of the role after making several major errors in the party’s fiscal plan in the lead-up to the election.
Goldsmith has also been bumped down the list from number three to 12 and is responsible for one portfolio – education.
“He is really keen to get into all of education, in terms of the weeds of it … he wants it exactly as it has been delivered,” Collins said.