MP sees ‘upside’ to missing out

If he’s miffed at missing out on a ministerial call-up, Queenstown-based National MP Joseph Mooney’s doing a good job of hiding it.

When new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced his 20 Cabinet ministers, eight ministers outside Cabinet and two under-secretaries last Friday, the second-term Southland MP — who’d been Opposition tourism spokesperson, among other roles — was left out in the cold.

The other four National MPs from the 2020 intake, who included Luxon, all got roles, and so did a National MP who only came on board last year.

Asked if he’s disappointed, Mooney responds: ‘‘I’m privileged to have the role as MP for Southland, to be a strong force for the region, and, look, I’m just happy to do whatever I can best do in this government to make sure we can deliver for our people.’’

As to whether he’d chatted to Luxon, ‘‘I won’t go into that’’, however he confirms ‘‘a lot of people’’ had voiced support for him since Friday, ‘‘and that’s nice’’.

‘‘The reality is there were only so many ministerial roles to go around and naturally there were lesser of them thanks to the coalition [partners].’’

Mooney says ‘‘the real upside of it is I’ll be … able to spend more time advocating for things in this region’’.

He’s also happy the new Minister of Tourism (and Hospitality), North Canterbury-based Matt Doocey, is also a South Islander.

‘‘I’ve already been in contact with him to come to Queenstown, soon, so he can connect with folk here and get things moving … ’’

‘His time will come’

Queenstown mayor Glyn Lewers is disappointed Mooney has missed out on a ministerial post, but says ‘‘his time will come’’.

With coalition partners Act and New Zealand First getting portfolios, ‘‘there’s always going to be some good MPs who missed out, unfortunately it was Joseph’’.

‘Coming soon’: New Tourism and Hospo minister Matt Doocey. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Lewers says he had a good chat with Doocey last Saturday — ‘‘he realised the importance of Queenstown and he definitely wants to make it a priority to get down here’’.

Former mayor Jim Boult says it would have been nice if Mooney had gained the tourism portfolio — ‘‘he understands the industry … I do hope he gets appropriate recognition in the future’’.

However, he rates Doocey — ‘‘apart from the fact he’s got a wonderful haircut, he’s a very capable bloke, he comes from the South Island and I’ve got a lot of faith he’ll do a good job’’.

New Act MP, Queenstown-based Todd Stephenson, also didn’t win a ministerial post despite being fourth on his party’s list.

However, he’s happy he’s been appointed the party’s whip, in Parliament, and has offered to help his leader David Seymour in his role of Associate Minister of Health (Pharmac).

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