Grant Robertson has been appointed New Zealand deputy prime minister by Jacinda Ardern, becoming the first out gay person to hold the role.
Robertson, 49, said it was a “true honour” to be appointed to the role, which he will hold as he continues his former job as finance minister.
He said he has tried to be a minister for all New Zealanders, but added that it’s important for young LGBT+ people to see people they identify with taking on top roles.
“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-modeling,” he said after accepting the position.
“I’ll keep doing my job the way that I’ve been doing it, but I’m very proud to have the role.”
Cheers to all for the congrats today. A wonderful team to be a part of. Feeling humbled, proud and ready to go!
— Grant Robertson (@grantrobertson1) November 2, 2020
Jacinda Ardern proud to preside over ‘incredibly diverse’ cabinet including gay deputy prime minister.
Of Jacinda Ardern’s 20 cabinet appointments, three are LGBT+, including the new deputy prime minister Grant Robertson. Eight ministers are women and five are Māori – both including new foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta, the first woman to hold the position. Another three are Pasifika.
Ardern, who won a landslide victory in last month’s general elections, said she was proud her cabinet appointments were both “incredibly diverse” and merit-based.
“It is both a cabinet with huge merit and talent, who also happen to be incredibly diverse,” Ardern said. “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.
“I think as a country we should be proud of this.”
Despite Ardern winning enough seats to form a single party government, she signed a coalition agreement with the Green party on Sunday (November 1). Between Ardern’s Labour and the Greens, there are now 12 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer members in the country’s 120-seat parliament, up from seven.
This means ten percent of MPs openly identify as LGBT+, giving New Zealand the highest proportion of LGBT+ MPs in the world. The UK has the highest number of openly queer MPs, with 45 across 650 seats, but this only amounts to a 7 per cent representation.