Jacinda Ardern has defended her picks for Cabinet, saying diversity at the top of the table will come with increasing the pool of candidates.
It comes after Labour announced its party list for the 2020 election, claiming it is "bolstering an experienced caucus with diverse new talent".
During her post-Cabinet press conference, the Prime Minister was asked how she can talk about equality with only six women in the list's top 20.
Ardern said the list reflects the current Cabinet rankings, with the exception of Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard.
"Our Cabinet rankings just mirror what we have today," she said. "That is simply because Cabinet is something that I determine when I do Cabinet reshuffles - not through a list process.
"So what we've generated here, with the Labour Party, is the look of our entire caucus.
"I'm very proud of the fact that based on the best estimates we can make, we can now have a caucus which is made up of 50 percent women and extraordinary talent amongst it."
Ardern was also asked why Labour's top 20 only just had more Māori candidates than the National Party, whose shadow cabinet was widely panned as white-washed last month.
"In our wider caucus we have the most representation from Māori that we have had in the Labour Party, and now we are looking to add to that the talent of Arena Williams and also Shanan Halbert in Northcote," he said.
"I'm very proud of the diversity in our team and again, going into the future, increasing the pool of that diversity means that we should see that reflected in the top table as well."
The National Party has recently been under fire for the lack of diversity in their shadow cabinet. There are no Māori MPs in their top 12.
When questioned by Newshub's Political Editor Tova O'Brien, deputy National leader Nikki Kaye incorrectly described Paul Goldsmith as Māori.
In an interview with Newshub Nation on June 6, Kaye also inferred National had a "moral obligation" to win the election, which was why they chose their controversial front bench.