New Zealand PM 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 has brought in her right hand man, Grant Robertson, as deputy leader as she unveiled a diverse new cabinet line up to focus on Covid-19 containment and economic recovery.
New Zealand’s new Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will be the country’s first openly gay man to hold the role and is among a team of top lawmakers announced Monday that is remarkable for its diversity.
Robertson, one of Ardern’s most capable ministers and a close ally, handled the government’s spending in response to Covid-19.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her new Cabinet lineup after her liberal Labour Party won reelection in a landslide victory last month. Ardern has assigned a number of indigenous Maori lawmakers to top positions, including Nanaia Mahuta, who will take on the role of foreign minister, and Kelvin Davis, who will be minister for children.
“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, who will also continue his previous job as finance minister, has long been a close friend and political ally of Ardern. He said he has tried to be a minister for all New Zealanders, but also thinks it’s important for younger members of the LGBT community to see people they identify with take on top roles.
The government created a NZ$50bn Covid response and recovery fund targeted at new initiatives meant to address both the immediate response to the pandemic and the longer term economic damage left in its wake.
Of the 20-strong cabinet, eight are women, five are Māori, three are Pasifika and three are LGBT. Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, has a “moko” -- a traditional Maori tattoo on the chin.
PM Ardern said all the positions were assigned on merit.
“I think one of the amazing things about New Zealand is that we are often in a space now where all of these questions (about diversity) often become secondary,” she said. “The representation is there. And that is not the first consideration.”
Last Updated 2, Nov 2020, 12:53 PM