New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern unveils a vibrant, 'incredibly diverse' cabinet

WION Web Team
Auckland, New Zealand Published: Nov 02, 2020, 09:00 AM(IST)

Jacinda Ardern Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The centre-left leader revamped her ministerial line-up in the wake of a landslide election victory, saying her second-term priorities were responding to Covid-19 and promoting economic recovery.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Monday unveiled what she called an "incredibly diverse" cabinet. The vibrant line of ministers includes the country's first openly gay deputy prime minister and a foreign minister with a Maori facial tattoo.

"It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, which also happens to be incredibly diverse," the 40-year-old said, while announcing the list.

The centre-left leader revamped her ministerial line-up in the wake of a landslide election victory, saying her second-term priorities were responding to Covid-19 and promoting economic recovery.

Ardern appointed Grant Robertson as deputy prime minister, making him the first openly gay person to hold the role. The 49-year old, who was chief strategist during Ardern's election campaign, retains the finance portfolio he held in the first term and also becomes infrastructure minister.

Ardern said her reasons for selecting him were his leadership qualities, not how he identified.

"One of the amazing things about New Zealand is that we are often in a space where these questions become secondary," she said.

Women and the Maori community are also strongly represented in the 20-member cabinet, including new Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who has a moko kauae -- a traditional Maori tattoo on the chin.

"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," she added.

Ardern won the October 17 election campaigning on New Zealand's success containing coronavirus and her cabinet includes a new role of minister for Covid-19 response, filled by former health minister Chris Hipkins.

While Ardern won the election with an absolute majority, meaning her Labour Party can govern alone, she also appointed two Greens lawmakers to ministries outside the cabinet.

The new government will be sworn in on Friday.

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