New Zealand elects most diverse parliament increasing Māori MPs

A week ago, the ruling Labour party leads by Jacinda Ardern was handed a resounding mandate as voters rewarded its prime minister for her decisive response to Covid-19.

Labour won 64 of the 120 parliamentary seats, and more than half of those are female candidates. The Labour contingent also has 16 Māori MPs, an expanded group with Pacific islands heritage, the first MP of African origin, Ibrahim Omar, and Vanushi Walters, who is of Sri Lankan origin, reported The Guardian. 

Elizabeth Kerekere. Source: NZ Parliament

Around 10% of the members in the 120-seat house identify as from the LGBTQ+ community, likely making it the most diverse parliament in the world. 

The Green party won as many as 10 seats in parliament and a majority of them are women, indigenous leaders or LGBTQ+.

One of them is Elizabeth Kerekere. She is of Māori descent and best known for advocacy for takatāpui (Māori LGBTIQ) and Rainbow communities; Treaty relations; and youth development. 

It was vital that “people have the opportunity to take part in the decisions that affect their lives”, and she wanted to make sure decisions are viewed through a Māori and rainbow lens,” said Kerekere to ABC News. 

Frederick Nene Russell, Mete Kingi Te Rangi Paetahi, Tāreha Te Moananui and John Patterson took their places as the first Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House in 1868, according to New Zealand history. 

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