New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, unveiled what she called an ”incredibly diverse” cabinet on Monday to focus on COVID-19 containment and economic recovery.
Today Jacinda Ardern announced Labour’s new Cabinet line up and Ministerial responsibilities. We’re proud of our team who bring a wealth of experience to Government, and will be focussed on leading NZ’s ongoing COVID-19 response and economic recovery. Now, let’s keep moving! pic.twitter.com/ydbLWnCTxX
— New Zealand Labour (@nzlabour) November 2, 2020
Former Finance Minister Grant Robertson was named deputy prime minister, the first openly gay person to hold the position. He also retains the finance portfolio.
Women and the Maori community were also strongly represented in the 20-member cabinet, including new Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who has a ”moko kauae” – a traditional Maori tattoo on her chin.
”I still get a lot of emails and messages from young gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who look towards us to provide that kind of role-modeling,” Robertson said. ”So, I’ll keep doing my job the way that I’ve been doing it, but I’m very proud to have the role,” Robertson told The Guardian. Robertson has been Ardern’s closest ally to help plan the government’s response to the pandemic.
Mahuta, becomes New Zealand’s first female foreign minister. ”She is someone who builds fantastic relationships very, very quickly and that is one of the key jobs in a foreign affairs role,” Ardern said.
While expressing pride at her cabinet’s diversity, Ardern also said appointments were made on merit.
”It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, which also happens to be incredibly diverse,” the 40-year-old said.
”I think it’s an important point to make – these are individuals who have been promoted for what they bring to the cabinet, they also reflect the New Zealand that elected them.”
”I think as a country we should be proud of this.”
Ardern’s cabinet also includes a new role of minister for COVID-19 response, filled by former Health Minister Chris Hipkins.
(With Agency Inputs)