Thu, 30 Mar 2023

WELLINGTON, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's new Cabinet will be focused on "core bread and butter issues" like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday while announcing his new Cabinet lineup.

"We need a greater focus on what's in front of New Zealanders right now," Hipkins said, adding the top team will provide stability, experience, and proven leadership.

The growth of New Zealand's consumer price index remained 7.2 percent in the 12 months to December 2022, one of the highest in decades, according to the statistics department Stats NZ.

Grant Robertson will remain Minister of Finance who will focus on fighting inflation and helping New Zealand families and businesses overcome the economic downturn, Hipkins announced.

Michael Wood moves to number seven in the Cabinet ranking and becomes Minister for Auckland and an Associate Finance Minister. More attention will be given to the country's largest city, especially following the recent extreme rains and flooding catastrophe, Hipkins said.

Former school principal and education expert Jan Tinetti is the new Education Minister to address the post-COVID challenges the education system has faced.

Ayesha Verrall, an infectious diseases expert, is the Minister of Health, said the prime minister.

Hipkins was sworn in as New Zealand Prime Minister last Wednesday.

New Zealand's 2023 general election will be held on Oct. 14, 2023.

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