General News

New Zealand appoints first openly gay deputy prime minister

Rachel Badham November 5, 2020

Former finance minister Grant Robertson is now New Zealand’s first openly gay deputy prime minister after he was appointed by Jacinda Ardern; he is due to be officially sworn in on Friday. The new cabinet unveiling is a victory for the LGBTQ+ community and also consists of eight women and five of Māori (the indigenous community of New Zealand) descent.

According to The Guardian, Robertson was responsible for handling the country’s Covid-19 funding, and the government have been widely praised for their efficient response to the pandemic. When discussing his appointment as deputy, Robertson said: “I still get a lot of emails and messages from young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who look towards us to provide that kind of role-modelling. I’ll keep doing my job the way that I’ve been doing it, but I’m very proud to have the role.”

Jacinda Ardern

Following the October elections, New Zealand has the most LGBTQ+ inclusive parliament in the world. Out of 120 parliamentary positions, 12 seats – up from 7 – are now held by openly LGBTQ+ members, meaning 9.6% of the cabinet is made up of queer politicians; this is over 2% more than the UK Parliament. Labour prime minister Ardern, who won in a landslide victory, also promised to increase protections for the LGBTQ+ community, saying: “People should not be discriminated against, bullied or hurt for being who they are. We need to rally around that simple premise.”