New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed the country’s first openly gay Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson.
Ardern’s Labour party was reelected earlier this month in a landslide victory. In the poll, Kiwis also elected the world’s “most rainbow” parliament with the highest proportion of gay and lesbian MPs.
And on Monday Robertson said his appointment to Deputy PM is a “true honour”. He’s the first openly gay person to hold the role.
Robertson first entered the New Zealand Parliament in 2008 and has served as the country’s Finance Minister since 2017.
He said he’s been a minister for all New Zealanders but was proud to be a role model to young queer people.
“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,” he said.
“I’ll keep doing my job the way that I’ve been doing it, but I’m very proud to have the role.”
Ardern said she was proud her cabinet appointments were both “incredibly diverse” and merit-based.
“It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, who also happen to be incredibly diverse,” Ardern said.
“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.”
Jacinda Ardern pledged ‘conversion therapy’ ban in New Zealand
After the New Zealand election in October, there are now 13 Kiwi MPs who identify as gay or lesbian. That total is up from five in the previous Parliament.
Ahead of the election, Jacinda Ardern pledged to pass a ban on harmful LGBT “conversion therapy”.
“If we are able to form a government this will be on our agenda,” she said at the time.
“I will commit our numbers to delivering this. I hope [other] parties in parliament will support it.”
Ardern’s government also pledged to review the Human Rights Act and adoption and surrogacy policies to address LGBTIQ discrimination.
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