Media Minister Melissa Lee demoted from Cabinet

By and is republished with permission.

Melissa Lee has been booted from Cabinet and stripped of the Media portfolio, and Penny Simmonds has lost the Disability Issues portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle.

Melissa Lee. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will take Lee’s spot in Cabinet.

Simmonds was a minister outside of Cabinet.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced the changes in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.

He said Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith – currently overseas – would take over the Media and Broadcasting role, while Social Development Minister Louise Upston would pick up Disability Issues.

Lee was under pressure after Warner Brothers Discovery announced it would stop producing local news through Newshub, and shutter the majority of its operations in New Zealand.

Simmonds had also been in headlines over the handling of changes to disability-related funding.

Luxon said it had “become clear in recent months that there are significant challenges in the media sector. Similarly, we have discovered major financial issues with programmes run by the Ministry of Disabled People”.

“I have come to the view it is important to have senior Cabinet Ministers considering these issues.”

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