National leader Simon Bridges' reshuffle will feature five new faces on the party's front bench of its top 10 MPs.
The big winners in the reshuffle include Judith Collins, who moves up to be fourth-ranked MP and will take on Labour's Phil Twyford in Housing and Urban Development – one of the areas Bridges has identified as fertile ground for attacks on the Labour – NZ First Government.
Other new faces on the front bench are Todd McClay, who takes Foreign Affairs, Trade and Tourism; Mark Mitchell, who gets Justice and Defence; and Jami-Lee Ross, who gets Infrastructure and Transport.
The relatively low-profile Paul Goldsmith will get a chance to change that – he is ranked at 9 and will take on the massive Economic Development and Regional Development areas, going head to head against NZ First's Shane Jones and Economic Development Minister David Parker.
Nikki Kaye is at 10 and will keep the education beat. The top 10 is completed by current front benchers Jonathan Coleman, who keeps health, Bridges, his deputy Paula Bennett and finance spokeswoman Amy Adams. Bennett has Social Investment, Tertiary Education and Women.
Despite Bridges' talk about introducing new talent, the highest ranked MP from the 2014 intake is Sarah Dowie, who squeaked in at 20 and will get Conservation. Dowie was one of those Bridges had mentioned as impressive.
The reshuffle results in demotions for Gerry Brownlee, who drops from four to 11 but takes over as Shadow Leader of the House and gets the intelligence agencies and the America's Cup. Michael Woodhouse drops from 10 to 13, losing Housing and picking up Immigration and Workplace Relations – another area of focus for National.
There are three women in the top five and eight in the top 20.
Bridges said it was experience mixed with new talent. The front bench included "decades of experience." He said the new talent was those he believed had proven what it took and had worked hard. He cited McClay's experience in the TPP negotiations after the United States withdrew.
He said Goldsmith had shown his mettle in Opposition, holding ministers to account with a "forensic" approach.
Bridges indicated Ross was the replacement for Steven Joyce in a strategic sense. He said Jami-Lee Ross had been an effective whip, with the strategic mind and skills needed for caucus. He said it was time for him to step up.
Bridges said he backed Dowie because he wanted to see fresh talent come through. He said she was not well known to New Zealand, but was well known to him and had strong experience prior to entering Parliament.
"This reshuffle is designed for 2020. It is designed with 2020 firmly in our sight."
Bridges said Collins had asked for Housing: "Phil Twyford is on notice, Judith is coming."
Bridges said it was a mix of those who could go on the attack to hold the Government to account and those who could develop fresh policy work, such as Scott Simpson in the Environment portfolio.
He said he wanted to learn from Labour, which he said had not done enough work on solid policy when it was in Opposition. He described National as a "56 MP policy factory."
Bridges said it had been tough to demote some MPs down the ranks, but that was inevitable when bringing new people forward. He said it meant some risks "but they are calculated risks" based on what he knew of those he had promoted.
Bridges said he expected "Phil Twyford will find it hard tonight to sleep."
Asked why he felt he needed a Housing spokesperson when National had split that up in Government, he said there had been "big rhetoric" from Labour on the issue.
He said it was "a top issue for New Zealanders."
Collins would also take on Resource Management Act reform, which Bridges said needed reforming.
Collins said she had specifically asked for the housing portfolio, as well as the creation of a specific Resource Management Act portfolio.
A lot of the new housing developments in Auckland were in her area around Papakura and she knew the portfolio well.
She said Labour had made "enormous promises" with little understanding of what was required to meet them.
"They have very little understanding around some of the big issues round capital, and the time delays."
Jami-Lee Ross is the only MP who has not yet served as a minister on the front bench.
An MP since 2011, Bridges said Ross had shown strong strategic abilities as the party's whip.
Ross had also served as the caucus representative on the National Party board and had enjoyed the strategic side of that.
His whip's work had also meant he was involved in how the House ran and how the party operated in Parliament.
Ross said it was the job of all MPs to prove themselves.
"I think the job for all of us, whether you're number one or number 10 or somewhere in between is to step up and prove yourself to the public, prove yourself to the party and prove yourself to the leader. It's our job to do well and if we don't politics goes in swings and roundabouts. Right now I'm appreciative of the opportunity and I'll make the most of it."
Ross, McClay, Bridges, Adams, Collins and Bennett are expected to work together on strategy, trying to fill the role left by Steven Joyce.