Brooke van Velden unconcerned by lack of diversity in Government leadership

  • 02/12/2023

New Internal Affairs and Workplace Relations Minister Brooke van Velden says she's looking at "the outcomes we can deliver for New Zealanders" - and isn't concerned about diversity when it comes to the Government's leadership.

Van Velden was announced as a minister last week following the conclusion of coalition negotiations between now-Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, NZ First leader Winston Peters and David Seymour from the ACT Party, of which van Velden is the deputy leader.

Luxon appointed Peters as his deputy for the first part of the three-year term and Seymour for the latter half.

It's a change from the previous four Prime Minister/deputy combinations that consisted of a one male, one female structure. (Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni; Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson; Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters; Bill English and Paula Bennett). 

But van Velden told Newshub Nation host Simon Shepherd she wasn't disappointed about the lack of female representation in the Government's top brass.

"I'm not looking at the gender of the leaders," she said. "I'm looking at the outcomes we can deliver for New Zealanders.

"If, in three years' time, we can say that the cost of living is better for people, there's less crime and people feel safer and people actually feel united as a country again, I think that we've got some good outcomes, rather than focusing on the gender."

Van velden said there were many women, including herself, in Cabinet positions. 

She said she'd be representing women but, overall, that "doesn't really matter".

Van velden repeated the new Government was about delivering outcomes for New Zealanders.

But Green MP Efeso Collins, appearing on Newshub Nation alongside van Velden, was concerned about diversity in the new Government - especially given there were no ministers with Pasifika heritage.

"We've said that already - it's been disappointing for them," he said.

Collins said half of the Green Party's caucus, in Opposition, were Māori and Pasifika.  

"I think that represents the diversity that New Zealanders want to see because this is about all of us doing this together and making decisions together."