The appointment of Labour MP Annette King to the party's front bench is to hold Health Minister Tony Ryall to account, leader David Shearer says.
Shearer announced a reshuffle of the party's key portfolios yesterday, including promoting veteran MP King to health and Chris Hipkins to education spokesperson.
"There's a lot of stuff going on under health that is not coming out, and Annette is dead keen on making sure those stories are getting out," Shearer told TV ONE's Breakfast this morning.
"It's putting the blow torch under Tony Ryall".
King said yesterday there needed to be an opening in the health sector.
"Ryall does and has intimidated the health sector, he's kept the lid on it and nailed it down."
Among the reshuffle was the demotion of Trevor Mallard, Nanaia Mahuta and Christchurch MPs Lianne Dalzeil and Ruth Dyson.
ONE News political editor Corin Dann said the move was a hard decision because of the potential to divide the party.
"[Labour has] a lot of egos, and trying to juggle that around is a very difficult task."
Shearer said the change was not about the performance of the MPs, but giving each person the right portfolio.
"I believe the team we've got now is pretty formidable in those areas critical to New Zealand."
New-look Labour caucus:
1. David Shearer - Leader; Security Intelligence Service; Science and Innovation
2. Grant Robertson - Deputy Leader; Employment, Skills and Training; Arts Culture and Heritage
3. David Parker - Finance; Attorney-General
4. Jacinda Ardern - Social Development; Children; Associate Arts Culture and Heritage
5. Clayton Cosgrove - SOEs; Commerce; Trade Negotiations; Associate Finance
6. Annette King - Health
7. Pending final AG Report, Shane Jones - Regional Development; Forestry; Associate Finance
8. Phil Twyford - Housing; Auckland Issues; Associate Environment
9. Maryan Street - Environment; Disarmament and Arms Control; Associate Foreign Affairs (ODA)
10. Chris Hipkins - Education; Senior Whip
11. Nanaia Mahuta - Youth Affairs; Maori Development; Associate Education (Maori)
12. David Clark - Economic Development; Small Business
13. Sue Moroney - ACC; Early Childhood Education; Women's Affairs
14. Su'a William Sio - Local Government; Pacific Island Affairs; Inter Faith Dialogue; Associate Foreign Affairs
15. Phil Goff - Foreign Affairs and Trade; State Services; Defence
16. Darien Fenton - Junior Whip; Labour (incl Health and Safety); Immigration; Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage
17. Damien O'Connor - Primary Industries; Food Safety
18. Clare Curran - Communications and Information Technology; Broadcasting; Open Government; Associate Economic Development
19. Andrew Little - Justice; Tourism
20. Megan Woods - Tertiary Education; Associate Science and Innovation; Associate Transport (Christchurch)