New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appointed a very diverse 20-member cabinet recently, which includes the first indigenous female Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and the first openly gay Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson.
Women and the indigenous Maori community were represented very strongly in the cabinet, with women accounting for close to half of the cabinet. This figure is far higher than the global average of 25 per cent. Also, 10 per cent of the cabinet comprises of the LGBTQ community.
“It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, which also happens to be incredibly diverse,” the 40-year-old Ardern, who won her second term recently, 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.”
Nanaia Mahuta, a lawmaker from Hauraki-Waikato constituency, is Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and was first elected to the parliament in 1996. Since then, she has held various portfolios that include the minister of local government and Māori development. A few years back, she became the first woman to member of the parliament to wear a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her chin.
“I’m privileged to be able to lead the conversation in the foreign space,” Mahuta said, according to national broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
“Nanaia [Mahuta] has in her last term has got experience… She is someone who builds fantastic relationships very, very quickly and that is one of the key jobs in foreign relations,” Ardern said during a news conference in Wellington streamed live on the social media.
Meanwhile, Grant Robertson has been announced as the Deputy Prime Minister, making him the first openly gay person to hold the post in the island nation. Robertson had served as the chief strategist during the election campaign of Ardern and will also hold the posts of the finance minister and the infrastructure minister.
Ardern confirmed that her priority will be to bring the economy of New Zealand back on track. “The next three years will be very challenging for New Zealand. With the global outlook worsening we won’t be immune to the ongoing impact COVID is having around the world,” she told reporters in Wellington.