High expectations and big challenges for Labour's newly-named Cabinet

Source: 1News

The newly-named Labour ministers have barely had time to get their feet under their desk, and they won't be sworn in until Friday, but there’s already high expectations riding on their performance.

The new Racing Minister Grant Robertson, who is taking over from Winston Peters, promised he’d “be putting my best efforts into it”.

It follows the Government’s $72.5 million emergency support package for the struggling racing industry in May.

Stuart Nash yesterday was named Tourism Minister, replacing Kelvin Davis.

“Well the first thing I'd do is I'd sit down and listen to their concerns,” Nash said.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said there was “probably never been a more challenging time to become Tourism Minister” amid the Covid-19 downturn.

“But there's also a huge opportunity … as long as he’s got his ears open,” he said.

New Police Minister Poto Williams, taking over from Nash, is the first Police Minister of Pacific descent.

When asked if there was institutional racism in the police, she said she didn’t “want to characterise it in that way”.

“I think it's important that I bring that cultural element to the work,” she said of her cultural upbringing.

JustSpeak criminal justice advocates said it was notable Williams was of Pacific descent.

“Having someone who is from one of those communities who have traditionally, I think, been failed by traditional policing models is so important,” the organisation’s director Tania Mead said.

“The New Zealand Police reflect New Zealand society and we know that racism and systemic bias is something that affects us as a country. I don't think we can really dispute that.”

Medical Association chairperson Dr Kate Baddock said of Andrew Little’s appointment as Health Minister: “I think there are going to be a lot of people who are going to be uncomfortable with the change and some who are going to welcome it.”

It comes as Little promised to reform the DHB system.

New Transport Minister Michael Wood is already making mention of the chronic underinvestment, especially in Auckland’s public transport.

Meanwhile, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has become the first minister of Indian descent.

“The message that it sends is that we're getting to a place where your ethnicity or your gender is no longer a barrier,” she said.