Election 2023: Carmel Sepuloni's constituents reveal key issue for Labour after selection as Deputy Prime Minister

Carmel Sepuloni's appointment as Deputy Prime Minister is being celebrated as a win for the Pacific community.

The West Auckland-based MP will become the first Pasifika person to take on the role. But there's only one issue concerning voters in her area.

West Auckland's Avondale Market is not far from Carmel Sepuloni's Kelston electorate and was busier than ever on Sunday. And there's no doubt the cost of living is the major concern here.

"People are angry because the food prices have gone up," one person told Newshub.

"At the moment, we are really in a hard situation," another said.

As a west Auckland MP, Sepuloni is expected to provide solutions to those problems and even more so now, that she's been confirmed as our next Deputy Prime Minister.

"As Deputy Prime Minister, I will continue to be focussed on what I always have been focussed on, and that is serving our communities and whanau and Aotearoa," she said.

Sepuloni was elected to Parliament on Labour's list in 2008, becoming our first MP of Tongan descent. In 2011 she won the now-abolished seat of Waitakere but after a recount lost it to National. Then in 2014 she won the newly created seat of Kelston in west Auckland and has held it ever since.

You might be familiar with Sepuloni as the Minister for Social Development and Employment - a position she's held since 2017. She's also Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Minister for ACC.

And now she's made history as the first Pasifika person to become Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand.

"I am proudly Samoan, Tongan and New Zealand European, and represent generations of New Zealanders with mixed heritage," she said.

"If she represents Pasifika, then yo," one member of the public said after hearing the news.

"I really support diversity," another added.

"It's historic dreams and aspirations of many of our parents and grandparents, it would validate the fact that their dreams of coming to this nation and making it their home is a beautiful thing," said Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio.

A sentiment shared by Auckland Councillor Alf Filipaina.

"It'll be great for the Pacific community," he said.

And while she may be a powerful Government minister, Sepuloni's also a mum as we found out during a viral video.

"My older son at first was a little bit reluctant and was pretty shocked - when I say reluctant I think I just mean shocked - but he's since sent me a wonderful message telling me how proud he is of me as a mother," she added.

Sepuloni grew up in the Taranaki town of Waitara and today she spoke of how she shared the big news with her father over the phone.

"He's very proud," she said.

"To think that he could come here to work on the railways and then the freezing works and marry a sheep-farmer's daughter and have a daughter who would become the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, it's very difficult to comprehend."

But proves to all Pasifika people it is possible.