New Zealand new cabinet line-up focuses on COVID-19 recovery

New Zealand new cabinet line-up focuses on COVID-19 recovery

WELLINGTON: Experienced ministers will hold key economic recovery and ongoing COVID-19 response portfolios in the new Cabinet line-up announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, reported Xinhua news agency.

“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,” Ardern told 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,” Ardern said.

Grant Robertson will become deputy prime minister, finance minister and infrastructure minister, drawing together the key portfolios central to that economic recovery, she said.

The incumbent Health Minister Chris Hipkins becomes the minister for COVID-19 response. This is a new role that will give the minister responsibility for all aspects of the ongoing response, including the running of managed isolation facilities, border defences as well as health response including testing and contact tracing systems and managing any resurgence of the virus, the prime minister said.

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 hold the role.