Green Party co-leader James Shaw has taken on the lofty finance portfolio in a caucus reshuffle announced today.

The reshuffle comes ahead of the departure of Green MP Kevin Hague, who is leaving Parliament this week to become chief executive at conservation organisation Forest and Bird.

Hague's health portfolio has been given to Julie Anne Genter, who previously held the finance role. Genter will also take on the Auckland Issues portfolio.

Shaw said Genter, a former transport consultant, is an expert on "two of the biggest issues that affect Aucklanders" - transport and urban planning.


Shaw, who has a business background, had been expected to take on the finance role when he became co-leader last year, but made the surprising decision to take on the economic development and climate roles instead.

The decision to hand over finance to him shows that the Greens could place greater emphasis on economic issues ahead of the general election. Economic credibility remains one of the party's major obstacles to attracting new voters.

Hague will be replaced by Barry Coates, an Auckland-based candidate who was previously the executive director of Oxfam New Zealand.

Coates has been given the trade, commerce, senior citizens and internal affairs portfolios.

Shaw said Coates brought years of "real-world experience" to Parliament, especially in the areas of trade and overseas aid and development.

Mojo Mathers has been given the conservation portfolio, which was also held by Hague.