Big year for Tauranga MP

By Michele McPherson

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He has proven himself an able member of the National Party Caucus.John KeyTauranga MP Simon Bridges has been promoted to a minister outside Cabinet, making him the youngest member of the parliamentary executive.

Mr Bridges, who became a father for the first time last month, will be the new Consumer Affairs Minister, Associate Minister of Transport and Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues.

"It's been a massive two or three weeks actually, becoming a father for the first time and a minister," he told the Bay of Plenty Times after his promotion was announced.

Mr Bridges got the call from Prime Minister John Key while at home in Mount Maunganui.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"He just told me that he wanted to promote me and told me a bit about each of the portfolios.

"I was incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity ... and I told him that I intended to do everything that I could to repay his faith in me and show that it was well deserved.

It's certainly not to be taken for granted becoming a minister. A lot of MPs never make it so I'm very honoured to have this opportunity to take things further in politics," he said.

Mr Bridges will run the Department of Consumer Affairs and have delegations in the other two portfolios.

He understood he would oversee road safety as Associate Minister of Transport and was looking forward to regularly filling in for newly appointed Climate Change Minister Tim Groser.

"He's overseas a lot so that means I'll have quite a lot to do in that area while he's away," he said.

Mr Bridges intended to contact former Cabinet minister Nick Smith, saying he had more knowledge than anyone in Parliament on climate change.

Mr Key said he looked forward to Mr Bridges becoming a minister.

"He has proven himself an able member of the National Party Caucus," he said.

Mr Bridges was sworn in at 11am today by Mr Key and Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Mr Bridges, a former crown prosecutor, was elected Tauranga MP at the 2008 elections and was re-elected last November.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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