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Pita Sharples gets Maori Affairs; Hide, Roy added to team

Sunday 16th November 2008

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Prime Minister-elect John Key named Pita Sharples as Minister of Maori Affairs and shelved a review of the Maori seats under agreements today that give National 70 votes in the parliament.

Key also rewarded Tariana Turia with several posts during a round of announcements today. ACT's Rodney Hide and Heather Roy, and United Future's Peter Dunne all become ministers outside of the Cabinet.

The agreement with the Maori Party also allows for a review of the way the foreshore and seabed law is being applied and potential for it to be repealed. With the coalition partners signed up, Key plans to announce his Cabinet tomorrow, with Bill English tipped to take the new role of Minister of Infrastructure along with finance.

"I welcome the conclusion of this agreement with the Maori Party, and look forward to working in a constructive way to build the relationship further," Key said of the deal with the Maori Party.

Maori Party co-leader Sharples was also named Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Corrections, while Tariana Turia got Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Associate Minister of Health, and Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment.

Dunne will retain the Revenue portfolio he held under the Labour-led government and become Associate Minister of Health.

ACT's Hide will be Minister of Local Government, Minister for Regulatory Reform and Associate Minister of Commerce. Heather Roy gets Minister of Consumer Affairs, Associate Minister of Defence and Associate Minister of Education.

The deal with ACT also includes setting up an advisory group look at ways to close the income gap with Australia by 2025 and the establishment of taskforces to review government spending.

Under Key's plan, he will be sworn in as prime minister this week and immediately leave for the APEC summit in Peru.

By Jonathan Underhill

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