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First meeting for reshuffled Cabinet

Published: 2:16PM Monday February 04, 2013 Source: Fairfax

National's new Cabinet have convened for the first time, with two new faces at the table.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye was promoted in last month's reshuffle, and takes on the food safety, civil defence and youth affairs portfolios. Simon Bridges was also promoted from outside cabinet. He is the new labour minister.

Nick Smith also returned to Cabinet as housing minister. He resigned last year in the midst of the ACC scandal.

Prime Minister John Key, at the head of the table, joked with his finance minister Bill English, telling him: "William, you have to turn around so they can see your smiling face." He chose a nectarine to snack on - English went for a chocolate chip cookie.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson was worried he was the only one not wearing a jacket. "Didn't you get the memo," Key scolded.

On the agenda is likely to be progress in the ongoing Novopay debacle, a briefing on the water rights Supreme Court battle, and whether to freeze David Bain's compensation bid in the wake of court action.

Key is also likely to discuss Australian PM Julia Gillard's upcoming visit this weekend.

Missing from the table were Phil Heatley and Kate Wilkinson - axed in the reshuffle.

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