26 Oct 2017

Questions raised over status of NZ's Pacific Peoples minister

2:56 pm on 26 October 2017

A Pasifika academic in New Zealand says the country's new prime minister needs to explain why the Minister for Pacific Peoples is not a cabinet position.

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Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

Teena Brown Pulu is a lecturer in indigenous development at Auckland's AUT university and says the Pasifika constituency remained loyal to Labour through nine years in opposition.

She said Jacinda Ardern owed the Pasifika community an explanation as to why their minister, Aupito William Sio, now sits outside the cabinet executive when Jenny Salesa is inside cabinet with the Ethnic Communities portfolio.

"There's an anomaly there and I really believe the prime minister needs to address that immediately and offer an explanation as to how this decision came about. If not, at least William Sio has to be able to front up to his people."

There are four Pasifika ministers among New Zealand's new coalition line-up, all from the Labour caucus.

Carmel Sepuloni and Jenny Salesa have picked up portfolios inside cabinet.

Ms Sepuloni is Minister for Social Development and for Disability Issues.

The Labour spokesperson for Pacific Peoples Su'a William Sio.

Aupito William Sio Photo: RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox

Ms Salesa is responsible for Building and Construction, and for Ethnic Communities.

Outside cabinet, Kris Fa'afoi is Minister of Civil Defence, and Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and Aupito William Sio has the Pacific Peoples portfolio.


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