Chris Hipkins to announce Cabinet reshuffle next week

Welcome to 1News’ live updates as new Prime Minister Chris Hipkins speaks in his first post-Cabinet address.

What you need to know:

  • Chris Hipkins took over as New Zealand’s Prime Minister today after becoming leader of the Labor Party over the weekend.
  • Hipkins will be holding his first post-Cabinet briefing this afternoon around 3.30pm.
  • Carmel Sepuloni became the new Deputy Prime Minister, taking over from Grant Robertson.

4.09pm: The Prime Minister has finished answering questions.

4.04pm: Speaking to criticism of co-governance in government policies, he said “we’ve still got work to do to make sure New Zealanders understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

“I will never seek to use race relations in New Zealand to divide New Zealanders,” he said.

4.02pm: On whether Ardern has gotten Hipkins in touch with other world leaders, he said “I’ll make my own relationships on the international stage, as you would expect.”

“But I’m sure Jacinda will put in a good word.”

3.59pm: Answering a question on what the government has done to lower grocery prices, Hipkins said they were working to make sure there is competition, fair regulation in the grocery sectors.

On the timeline he said “we’re not going to get a whole lot of competition in the grocery sector overnight – that is going to take a little bit longer.”

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the influence of weather on the prices of fruit and vegetables both in New Zealand and across the Tasman.

3.55pm: Encouraging people to follow 7 day isolation rules, Hipkins has called this policy “pro-business” because it keeps workers from getting unnecessarily sick.

3.53pm: Hipkins has kept tight-lipped on future tax policy, “I’m not going to get into what is on the table, what is off the table or what might be a good idea or not when it comes to taxes.”

He has stated that he will honor previously made commitments on tax policy, including not introducing a capital gains tax.

3.44pm: New Zealanders will hear details of a new tax policy from the Government “well in advance” of the election.

3.39pm: On Friday, the Prime Minister will meet with ministers “to go over the reshuffle I intend to announce next week.”

3.37pm: On inflation figures, he said “the government is doing its bit to bring spending down to normal levels so we don’t add to those inflationary pressures.”

3.36pm: “At Cabinet I reiterated my expectation that the reprioritization work that I have signaled will be the absolute priority over the coming weeks. Today that work started,” he said.

3.34pm: Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has begun his first post-Cabinet briefing.

3.03pm: Read former ‘first bloke’ Clarke Gayford’s heartfelt tribute to his fiancée Jacinda Ardern.

2.55pm: ACT party leader David Seymour said Hipkins is facing a “baptism of inflation” as prime minister.

Figures announced today showed inflation is steady at 7.2%.

David Seymour.

2.50pm: Cabinet has been meeting since the end of today’s ceremony, Chris Hipkins’ first post-Cabinet briefing is expected at 3.30pm today.

11.46am: Hipkins said the role of prime minister “feels pretty real now” after being photographed alongside Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

11.34am: Chris Hipkins is officially New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister, as of 11.23am today – read all the details of the ceremony here.

11.28am: The ceremony is now complete, to a round of applause, for the appointment of Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

11.27am: “Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, my congratulations to you both… I wish you both the best with your new roles,” Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro said.

11.25am: Two appointments have been made on the recommendation of the new Prime Minister: Chris Hipkins as Minister for National Security and Intelligence and Carmel Sepuloni as Deputy Prime Minister.

11.23am: Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro has appointed Chris Hipkins as New Zealand’s 41st Prime Minister.

11.21am: Soon-to-be Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni have arrived and the ceremony has begun.

11.15am: Guests have begun to arrive as the stage is set for the ceremony.

Both Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni will be sworn in by Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro at 11.20am.

11.03am: Watch the live stream of Hipkins’ swearing in ceremony here.

11am: Once sworn in, Chris Hipkins will officially be the 41st Prime Minister of New Zealand.

10.57am: Ardern received a guard of honor as she left parliament, with fiance Clarke Gayford and Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson by her side.

Members of the public came to thank the outgoing Prime Minister and tearful supporters cheered as she emerged from the building.

10.50am: Chris Hipkins will be sworn in at 11.20am today. 1News will live stream coverage of the ceremony.

Background:

On January 19, Jacinda Ardern announced her shock resignation, stating that her term as Prime Minister will conclude no later than February 7.

“Having reflected over summer I know I no longer have that bit extra in the tank to do the job justice. It’s that simple,” she said.

Ardern’s resignation triggered an outpouring of comments from across the country and overseas, many of which were sympathetic to her reasoning, as well as speculation about who would take her role.

Immediately after, the frontrunner for the new Labor leader, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, said he would not be putting his name forward.

Another candidate emerged in a caucus meeting over the weekend as the sole nominee for Labor leader, and by extension Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins.

Hipkins, 44 is known as ‘the boy from the Hutt’, someone known to take over Labour’s more challenging portfolios – including the Covid-19 response.

A seasoned politician and a member of Ardern’s inner circle, Hipkins is also education and police minister.

Ardern’s final public speech as Prime Minister was at Rātana yesterday, where she said a few words about “my friend Chippy” – her successor Chris Hipkins, and spoke to the love, empathy and kindness of New Zealanders.

Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni were sworn in today by Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

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