Reinstated Cabinet minister Judith Collins says a year on the backbench has given her more confidence and she is looking forward to sorting out the Serco debacle as the new Corrections Minister.
"Having had all of those issues I have had to deal with, particularly the very difficult past year, and having survived them, it's amazing how much extra confidence it actually gives you. People were very supportive on the backbench."
Prime Minister John Key yesterday announced Ms Collins would again take responsibility for Corrections and Police, portfolios she held in National's first term.
She resigned from the Justice portfolio last year when emails stolen from blogger Cameron Slater implicated her in a campaign to undermine former Serious Fraud Office head Adam Feeley. She was subsequently cleared, but after Mr Key had picked his third-term cabinet.
She will take over Corrections from December 16 when Trade Minister and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser creates a domino effect from his resignation to become ambassador to the United States.
Anne Tolley had Corrections in the second term but the portfolio has plagued Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga this term with a series of controversies surrounding Serco's management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility.
Ms Collins told the Herald last night she believed Mr Key had asked her to take over Corrections and Police because he wanted "a firm hand and a good outcome".
"They are two very difficult portfolios. They need very close attention but I have got a great deal of confidence in the people who are employed there because I have dealt with them before."
She was minister when National restored the right for Corrections to contract out the management of prisons to the private sector, a policy that had been repealed by the previous Labour Government.
"I am very happy to sort this," she said, "because I've also heard that - and only from people working in the area - the Serco prison at Wiri is working well.
"I know, having been Minister of Corrections for three years, that things go wrong in prisons all the time - none of that is an excuse - and I want to get to the bottom of it.
"You are dealing with the worst-behaved people in the country and remand prisons are notoriously like that. Remand prisons are always harder than other prisons to run and I am going to get to the facts before I jump to conclusions and I can't get those facts until after I'm sworn in."
She said Mr Lotu-Iiga had handled the portfolio better than some previous Labour ministers.
"I'm a good friend of Sam and I think he is very pleased I have got this opportunity back in Cabinet. I'm sure we will work well together."
Mr Lotu-Iiga will pick up the Local Government portfolio from Paula Bennett; Ms Bennett will pick up Climate Change Issues from Mr Groser and Todd McClay will pick up Trade. Mr McClay will relinquish Revenue to Michael Woodhouse.