New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared new government Monday, calling her ministers as an “incredibly diverse” group who are extremely qualified for their positions and reflective of “the New Zealand that elected them.” “I think as a country we should be proud of this,” Ardern said after winning a landslide victory.
They include Nanaia Mahuta, who will serve as foreign minister, becoming the first woman to do so in New Zealand’s history. She was first elected to Parliament in 1996 and has also served as minister for Maori development and local government. In her new role, she will replace Winston Peters, who lost his reelection bid this year.
“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 Monday. “You only need to look at the difficult work that she has had to conduct over, for instance, her local government portfolio, and that to me demonstrates those diplomacy skills that we need to represent New Zealand on the world stage.”
On Monday, Mahuta affirms she hopes “many other women of Maori descent, of mixed descent across New Zealand will see this as lifting the ceiling once again on areas that have been very much closed to us in terms of professional opportunities,” reported TVNZ1, a New Zealand television channel.
Three lawmakers with Pacific Island heritage and three members of the LGBTQ community will also now serve in Ardern’s cabinet, according to the Guardian. Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who will serve as deputy prime minister, will be the first openly gay person to hold that position.
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