NZ Election 2020: World reacts to Jacinda Ardern's 'incredibly diverse' Cabinet

Jacinda Ardern has unveiled her reshuffled Cabinet following Labour's landslide victory in last month's election, and the Prime Minister's "incredibly diverse" lineup was quick to make global headlines.

Ardern's right-hand man and close ally, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, has risen to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister - the first openly gay person to hold the position. 

Meanwhile, Nanaia Mahuta, a wāhine Māori with a moko kauae, was tasked with the coveted portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs. She's the first woman in New Zealand's history to land the ministerial position.

Labour's revamped Cabinet also features four other Māori ministers - Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Willie Jackson and Kiri Allan - and two out of Cabinet ministers, Meka Whaitiri and Greens' co-leader Marama Davidson. Rino Tirikatene has also been appointed as a parliamentary under-secretary.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Ayesha Verrall, also a member of the LGBT community, was catapulted straight into Cabinet as a first-term list MP with several roles including Associate Minister of Health and Minister for Food Safety.

LGBT Labour MP Kiri Allan has been appointed Conservation Minister, replacing Green MP Eugenie Sage.

Three ministers of the 20-strong Cabinet are also of Pasifika descent - Poto Williams, Carmel Sepuloni and Kris Faafoi.

"It is both a Cabinet with huge merit and talent, which also happens to be incredibly diverse," Ardern told reporters on Monday following her announcement.

"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."

Here's what the headlines are saying:

"Ardern's changes to the Cabinet represent a bold political statement that places women, Māori and other minority groups in important decision-making roles," the Financial Times reported.

"It should help silence internal critics on the political left, who have alleged her government will be incrementalist rather than transformative, said Bronwyn Hayward, politics professor at University of Canterbury."

The Guardian reported New Zealand's diverse new government would focus on "COVID-19 containment and economic recovery".

"Of the 20-strong Cabinet, eight are women, five are Māori, three are Pasifika and three are LGBT," contributing writer Phil Taylor wrote from Auckland.

Nanaia Mahuta

The majority of the news around New Zealand's new Cabinet focused on the appointment of Mahuta as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Guardian article referred to Mahuta as a "trailblazing MP", noting her milestone achievement as the first woman to hold the portfolio.

The Financial Times called her appointment the "biggest surprise" in the new Cabinet.

Nanaia Mahuta.
Nanaia Mahuta. Photo credit: Getty

Mahuta also made headlines in Australia and the United Kingdom with SBS Australia and the Daily Mail profiling New Zealand's new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Washington Post was among those to make note of the announcement with the headline "New Zealand's Ardern names 'incredibly diverse' Cabinet, including first Indigenous woman as top diplomat".

Addressing reporters on Monday, Mahuta graciously said her successes followed "in the line of a long legacy of firsts for women", and expressed hope that her appointment would continue to break down barriers for Māori women.

Compared to Australia

ABC News compared New Zealand's Cabinet compared to Australia's federal Government.

Currently in Australia, there are 86 women elected across the 227 seats, or just under 38 per cent, along with six indigenous people and nine people who identify as LGBTQ+.

"After the 2019 election, about 4 percent of Federal MPs had non-European heritage - far below Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom," ABC reported.

Dr Blair Williams, a lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University, said it was important to think of ways to improve diversity in Australia.

'"It is not diverse at all,'" he said.

"It doesn't really represent what Australia looks like. So we need to open up these conversations around how do we get our Parliament to be more inclusive?"'