20 Oct 2017

Ardern vows to improve Cabinet gender balance

6:39 pm on 20 October 2017

Prime Minister designate Jacinda Ardern has revealed who Labour has elected to be ministers in the next government she's forming with New Zealand First.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

However, she admits to not being happy with the gender balance, with women taking just seven out of the 21 Cabinet positions.

Ms Ardern, who will be New Zealand's second youngest leader, told Morning Report that Labour's plan for its first 100 days in government remained largely intact.

Her government will be the 52nd in power and she will become the 40th prime minister.

After a caucus meeting today, the party released its list of ministers.

Watch the press conference (Some poor sound quality):

However, the public will not know for certain until next week which portfolios the Labour Ministers will hold with the exception of Grant Robertson, who will be Finance Minister.

Ms Ardern repeated her statements from the campaign trail that she was interested in the Arts and Culture portfolio, and wanted to keep involved in childrens' issues.

Other likely portfolios include David Clark in Health and Kelvin Davis as Corrections Minister.

However, women would hold just six of Labour's 16-strong Cabinet posts, and just one of its five ministerial roles outside of Cabinet.

Ms Ardern said that was not good enough and she was vowing to bring more women up to the top level.

"I'm going to make sure that we continue to work on bringing through more of our team," she said.

"We set ourselves a goal as a Labour Party that we would bring more women into our caucus. When we set that goal we set it at 50 percent, and we came very close to achieving that this election and I'm proud of that," Ms Ardern said.

"We'll continue to make sure that we try to see that reflected in our membership as they come up through roles and responsibilities through both our caucus and through our Cabinet."

Ms Ardern said she had great ambition that the party would make great gains in issues like equal pay.

"The interest in both economic development and regional development in this Labour-led government is immense. We have a very strong view in particular that the regions have been neglected and we need strong emphasis on infrastructure, growth and development in the regions in particular."

On drug reform, she said she did not believe people should be imprisoned for the personal use of cannabis, but there were concerns about use by young people.

"What we have now, a justice-based approach, to cannabis in this country isn't working."

New Zealand First will have four Cabinet Ministers in the new government, and Winston Peters is weighing up whether he wants to be deputy Prime Minister or take on other roles.

The Greens will have three Ministers outside of Cabinet and an undersecretary.

Ms Ardern is hoping to announce the portfolios next Wednesday.

She also said the ministerial portfolios would be announced next week and an official swearing-in ceremony was expected to be held on Thursday.

Ms Ardern also said she would be speaking to other world leaders today.

"I've received a message and will be speaking with Theresa May later on this evening, last night I had a conversation with Prime Minister Turnbull and we spoke about our mutual issues, the strength of our relationship and my hope to travel to Australia in the future which he welcomed."

Cabinet Ministers (alphabetical order):

  • Jacinda Ardern
  • David Clark
  • Clare Curran
  • Kelvin Davis
  • Chris Hipkins
  • Iain Lees-Galloway
  • Andrew Little
  • Nanaia Mahuta
  • Stuart Nash
  • Damien O'Connor
  • David Parker
  • Grant Robertson
  • Jenny Salesa
  • Carmel Sepuloni
  • Phil Twyford
  • Megan Woods

Ministers outside Cabinet (alphabetical order):

  • Kris Faafoi
  • Peeni Henare
  • Willie Jackson
  • Aupito William Sio
  • Meka Whaitiri

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