Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled her new cabinet, which will create new portfolios for the country’s economic recovery and ongoing Covid-19 response.
“The next three years will be very challenging for New Zealand. With the global outlook worsening we won’t be immune to the ongoing impact Covid-19 is having around the world,” Xinhua news agency quoted Ardern as saying at a press conference.
“With this in mind the new Labor government will have two overarching priorities: to drive our economic recovery from Covid-19, and to continue our health response to keep New Zealanders safe from the virus,” she added.
Grant Robertson will become the Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Infrastructure Minister, drawing together the key portfolios central to that economic recovery, according to Ardern.
The incumbent Health Minister Chris Hipkins has been given the Covid-19 response portfolio.
The premier said that this new portfolio will give the minister responsibility for all aspects of the ongoing response, including the running of managed isolation facilities, border defenses as well as health response including testing and contact tracing systems and managing any resurgence of the virus.
Andrew Little will become the Minister of Health, driving overdue reforms of the system aimed at improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders, she said.
Nanaia Mahuta will become the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the first woman in New Zealand’s history appointed to the post.
The new cabinet line-up comes after Ardern secured a second term after winning a landslide majority in the October 17 general elections.