New health minister line-up in cabinet reshuffle

6 October 2014

The new cabinet line-up brings in GP Jonathan Coleman as the new health minister, supported by two associate health ministers – one of them new and in cabinet.

JonathanColemanColeman has been a minister for two terms. He was also Associate Health Minister from 2008-2011 before taking up the post of Minister of Defence in 2011.

He trained as a doctor at the University of Auckland medical school and worked as a doctor in New Zealand, Australia's Royal Flying Doctor Service and in the United Kingdom.  After gaining an MBA from the London Business School in 2000, he returned to New Zealand and worked as a health sector consultant for Pricewaterhouse Cooper and as a part-time GP in Otara until becoming an MP in 2005. He is married with two children.

The one blot on his health copybook in 2006, which he later admitted was a mistake, was when as an opposition associate spokesperson for health he was noticed sitting in American Tobacco's corporate box and smoking at a U2 concert.

Key has also announced a new Associate Health Minister in cabinet, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, who also holds the portfolio of Minister for Pacific Peoples and Minister of Corrections and Minister for Ethnic Communities

Lotu-Liga was born in Samoa but grew up in South Auckland and studied law and commerce at the University of Auckland, working as both a solicitor and financial analyst. He holds a master's degree in commerce and an MBA from Cambridge University. His political career began at Auckland City Council, where he was aligned with then-mayor John Banks and was elected to the Maungakiekie seat for National in 2008. He was chair of the social services select committee during his second term in parliament, presiding over the government's welfare reform legislation.

Lotu-liga, who first joined cabinet in January this year in his Pacific Peoples portfolio will join returning Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne. (Jo Goodhew is no longer an associate health minister and is Minister for the Community and Voluntary sector and Minister for Food Safety.)

United Future MP Peter Dunne regained his Associate Minister of Health role also after signing a further confidence and supply agreement with the National government.

Dunne has said one of United Futures' key priorities to progress this tem is the next step of the National Medicines Strategy – Medicines New Zealand – which includes enhancing the role of pharmacists in patient medicine management and primary care.

The resignation of two-term former health Minister Tony Ryall and the retirement of associate health minister and Minister for Whānau Ora, Tariana Turia, had opened up new places in the health portfolio.

Turia has been replaced as Whānau Ora minister by fellow Māori Party co-leader Te Uroroa Flavell who also has been announced as Minister for Māori Development (formerly the Minister of Māori Affairs) and associate minister for economic development following the Māori Party finalising a Relationship Accord with the National Party on Sunday October 5.  Special votes also saw the Māori Party gain a second MP with Marama Fox coming in from the party's list.

The Māori Party has agreed to provide confidence and supply for the National government in return for support of policy priorities that include ongoing investment in Whānau Ora and a sustained focus on eliminating poverty through the Ministerial Committee on Poverty