By Robyn Bristow
Waimakariri MP, Matt Doocey, has been promoted to the front bench in National’s new caucus line up.
Mr Doocey has been elevated by new party leader Chris Luxon to No 8 in the caucus and has the Mental Health, Youth, Associate Health, and Associate Transport portfolios.
He is now the highest ranked South Island and Canterbury MP in the line up.
“I am humbled going from the senior whip to the front bench, and am looking forward to it,” he told the North Canterbury News shortly after his appointment was announced.
Mr Luxon in announcing his line up said Mr Doocey had done an outstanding job around mental health, and he wanted mental health to play a big part in the National Party going forward.
Mr Doocey says he will continue to work hard in that area to ensure the role was established in the “next National Party cabinet”.
“Ultimately I want to be the first Minister of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.”
Mr Doocey says he is also excited about being the associate Transport and Health spokesperson in National’s caucus.
He says one of his first jobs will be to established a transport plan for the South Island that is drawn up by South Islanders and not bureaucrats in Wellington.
“It is safe to say I will be ensuring there is a Woodend bypass as associate Transport Minister in the next National Government.”
Mr Doocey says people appear to be excited about the new-look opposition.
“It is a fresh change and a new look. I will be fighting hard to make sure the mainland gets a good voice in Wellington.
“Under the current Government we have lost a lot of that voice, and I am pretty keen to lead the charge.
“I am pretty sure that mainlanders disagree with the Three Waters Reforms and dis-establishing District Health Boards in the middle of a pandemic,” says Mr Doocey.
He also aims to focus on the rising cost of houses with the South Island catching Auckland up in terms of house prices.
“House prices have increased 29.9 percent in the last 12 months in the South Island. It is not sustainable for the next generation – our children and our grandchildren.
Mr Doocey says the line up will show New Zealand there is an alternative amid the growing frustration to the present Government.