New Zealand Prime Minister John Key this week named Paula Bennett as his new minister for climate change, as Tim Groser, who has held the position since 2010, was appointed the country’s new ambassador to the United States.
Bennett will take over the role on Dec. 14, when the UN climate talks in Paris are over, Key said in a statement.
Groser was often criticised for putting more effort into his trade minister portfolio than climate change issues.
Todd McClay will be NZ’s new trade minister, but Bennett too will be responsible for several portfolios as she is also minister of social housing and of state services.
She has held several ministerial posts since the National party won the 2008 election, but has little or no experience with climate change, having primarily been involved in social issues.
Among her first tasks as climate change minister will be to carry out the review of the New Zealand emissions trading scheme, which is expected to lead to tighter market rules as the government wants the programme to contribute more in cutting GHG emissions.
Bennett, 46, hit the headlines in 2009 when she broke up a fight between a group of teenagers outside her local shopping mall.
By Stian Reklev – email@example.com