New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern has presented her new cabinet. The Maori Nanaia Mahuta is the first female Secretary of State to hold this position. That is not only a sign of progress.

About two weeks after her clear election victory, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented her new cabinet on Monday. The Maori Nanaia Mahuta, the first woman to hold this post, becomes Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“I’m proud of that”: diversity in the closet

The 50-year-old was previously the Minister of Maori Development and Local Government. She is the first woman in the New Zealand Parliament to wear a moko kauae – a traditional chin tattoo. Maori and mixed race women now have career options in New Zealand that have long been closed to them, Mahuta said. The office is a “tremendous privilege”.

Ardern’s cabinet of 20 people includes eight women, five Maori and three LGBT women (gay, bisexual and transgender). “This is a merit-based cabinet that is incredibly diverse. I’m proud of that,” said the 40-year-old. The country now also has a new portfolio: Chris Hipkins becomes minister for the fight against Covid-19. With strict measures, New Zealand had already managed to reduce the number of new infections to zero twice.

Cooperation with the Greens – despite the election victory

In the October 17 parliamentary elections, the Labor Party had obtained an absolute majority of 64 of the 120 seats in the South Pacific island nation, according to preliminary results. Although she could rule alone, Ardern announced over the weekend that she would continue her partnership with the Greens. Both parties have reached agreement on a cooperation agreement.

“We showed in the previous government that we can work well together. In terms of the environment and prosperity, we agree on many points that are good for New Zealand.” That is why she wants to continue to rely on the expertise of the Greens.

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