PM to unveil limited ministerial reshuffle after cabinet meeting; Groser expected to leave Trade to replace Moore as US ambassador; McClay may replace Groser; Speculation Judith Collins to return

By Bernard Hickey

Prime Minister John Key has signalled he will announce a minor ministerial reshuffle later today after a cabinet meeting.

John Key told Radio New Zealand this morning he would announce a ‘surgical’ change, but would not specify who was coming or going.

“I’d emphasise the minor,” he said, declining to detail the changes, saying he had yet to inform most of cabinet of the changes.

Tim Groser is expected to give up the trade portfolio to take up the position of ambassador to the United States, replacing Mike Moore who is retiring after a stroke. Revenue Minister Todd McClay has been touted as one candidate to replace Groser.

Audrey Young wrote in the New Zealand Herald the focus was on whether Judith Collins would return to a ministerial role, possibly to replace either McClay in Revenue or a poor-performing Sam Lotu-liga in Corrections, which she held in National’s first term.

“In the scheme of things it’s not a significant reshuffle,” Key said.

“It’s reasonably surgical,” he said, adding he would not speculate on the names when asked if Collins would return to a ministry.

Key said the cabinet was performing extremely well.

“I’m actually happy with the team, so I’m not looking to make tremendous changes, but sometimes the odd change occurs for a reason that’s a little different, so for that reason I’ll need to make some alterations,” he said.

We will update this article after the announcement, which is expected around 4 pm.