New Zealand appointed its first Indigenous female foreign minister Monday to represent what’s turning out to be one of the most assorted parliaments in the world.
Nanaia Mahuta, who is Māori, the Indigenous people of New Zealand, four years ago also became the country’s first female member of parliament to wear a moko kauae, a traditional tattoo on her jaw. The country’s previous foreign minister, Winston Peters, is also Māori.
“I’m privileged to be able to lead the conversation in the foreign space,” Mahuta said, according to national broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s center-left Labor Party was reelected in a landslide last month, winning 49.1% of the vote according to preliminary results. Taking 64 of the 120 seats, her party was the first to win a majority since the country’s current political system was introduced in 1996.
Ardern’s incoming parliament looks set to be one of the most different in the world. Almost half of the country’s lawmakers will be women – significantly higher than the global average of 25%.
Around 10% of the incoming parliament are openly LGBTQ – higher than the previous title holder, the United Kingdom, where about 7% of the members of the House of Commons are openly gay, according to a national broadcaster Television New Zealand. New Zealand’s new deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson is also gay.
“This is a cabinet and an executive that is based on merit that also happen to be incredibly different and I am proud of that,” Ardern said Monday as she announced her cabinet.
“They reflect the New Zealand that elected them,” she added.
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