A minor cabinet reshuffle in the wake of the resignation of Mark Gosche has been announced, with Steve Maharey picking up the role of housing minister.

Mr Gosche stood down as a minister due to his wife's serious illness. Rick Barker, a minister outside of cabinet, was promoted to the inner circle to replace Mr Gosche and will now take on the role of courts as well as holding on to his customs and associate portfolios.

Following on from the promotion of Mr Barker, two parliamentary private secretaries have been appointed ministers outside of cabinet.

Taito Phillip Field becomes an associate minister of Pacific Island affairs, justice and social development.

David Cunliffe becomes an associate minister of finance, revenue, communications and information technology.

Other reshuffles (unless stated previously held by Mr Gosche) are:

* Phil Goff gaining Pacific Island affairs;

* Margaret Wilson drops courts but retains an associate role to complete certain projects;

* Paul Swain become corrections minister;

* Ruth Dyson takes responsibility for Children, Young Persons and their Families service, previously held by Mr Maharey;

* John Tamihere becomes minister for small business, once held by Mr Swain; and

* Damien O'Connor becomes racing minister.

Winnie Laban was also promoted to become a parliamentary private secretary covering the environment, foreign affairs and trade portfolios.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said Ms Wilson had dropped courts because the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process had "gathered considerable momentum" and more time was required for it.

The size of the executive remains at 28.

The two new ministers would be appointed next Monday.