Parliamentary Melting Pot
Pansy Wong, 53, is New Zealand’s first Asian cabinet minister, having been named Minister for Ethnic Affairs and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the new government. Wong, who was born in Shanghai, said her appointment showed New Zealand is an open and tolerant country. She said she had always battled to be treated like any other New Zealander and her electorate win in Botany and her new role as a minister, sent a message to the world. The result was significant Wong said, because it showed that voters had “matured” and could see beyond race to assess a candidate. It was possible, she said, that New Zealand could one day have an Asian prime minister. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is New Zealand’s first Sikh MP and Melissa Lee the first Korean-born member.