Todd McClay reacts after dramatic drop in National Party caucus list from sixth to unranked

Rotorua MP Todd McClay says he isn’t bothered after he was announced as an unranked member of the National Party caucus.

McClay was one of the biggest losers in the reshuffle announced today, falling 15 rankings from sixth. He’s got the trade portfolio and tourism.

He was “very pleased” with his two portfolios, particularly having trade as he was a former Trade Minister, and also previously was the Associate Minister of Tourism for about three years.

He was also looking forward to working alongside Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller, another unranked party member, who was a “really experienced and capable MP”.

McClay said, in his view, the Government had let the tourism industry down especially in Rotorua and National Party leader Chris Luxon had given him free rein to focus on holding the Government to account.

McClay said the reshuffled caucus was a “great lineup” and Luxon had matched MP’s abilities with portfolios.

Muller, a former National Party leader,revealed he will run at the next election despite announcing in June he would retire following a confrontation with then-leader Judith Collins.

Muller said he was comfortable with not being given a ranking.

“I genuinely have no concerns at all, as there is so much work to do, not only to prosecuting this Government but continuing to build a clear vision of what the party would do differently.”

Muller also said ultimately he would do what was best for the National Party and his constituents.

“I’m excited and certainly feel reinvigorated and I have signalled to the Bay of Plenty electorate chairperson Mary Webster that I will put my name forward to stand again at the 2023 election.”

Muller holds the oceans and fisheries and internal affairs portfolio in the new caucus.

Collins was demoted to 19th but still stays in the Shadow Cabinet and has the research, science and innovation portfolio.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, who dropped his bid for the National Party leadership to make way for Luxon, is ranked third in the caucus and holds the finance and infrastructure portfolios.

Luxon decided to part with the tradition of giving the entire caucus – except new and departing MPs – a numbered ranking. Instead, he gave rankings to the first 20 MPs and left the rest unranked.

Speaking at a press conference after revealing the reshuffle this afternoon, Luxon described politics as the “ultimate team sport”.

He said his line-up was based on performance, as well as matching people to their experience and skills.

Luxon said every MP had a significant role to play, and he hadn’t ranked those below the Shadow Cabinet because it was irrelevant, and performance mattered more than ranking.

The new party leader said he had spoken to every MP himself but had not talked to previous leaders Sir John Key or Bill English or Steven Joyce to get their opinions on MPs’ strengths and weaknesses.

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