Jenny Salesa, MP for Manukau East, is New Zealand’s first Tongan-born, Tongan-speaking Cabinet Minister.
Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern named Ms Salesa to her Cabinet last week and today released the Ministerial portfolio allocations for New Zealand’s 52nd Parliament. In a historic first, four Pacific MPs have been named as Ministers.
Jenny Salesa is the new Minister for Building and Construction, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Associate Minister for Housing and Urban Development, for Associate Health and Associate Education.
“I am honoured to be appointed as a Minister in this ambitious Labour-led Government, which has the mandate to tackle New Zealand’s housing crisis, the recent years of funding cuts and neglect in health and education and to ensure that economic growth delivers for all Kiwis.
“It is a huge responsibility and I am excited to play a role in building a better New Zealand in which all New Zealanders will thrive.
“I am looking forward to briefings from the pertinent government departments about the key issues in my portfolios and knuckling down to work.”
Jenny Salesa was the first woman who was born and raised in Tonga to become a New Zealand Member of Parliament and is now the world’s first Tongan-born Cabinet Minister.
“I am immensely proud, as an immigrant and as a Pacific woman, to show that anyone who comes here can dream big and can be successful, through perseverance and hard work, at whatever they set out to do.
“New Zealand was a land of opportunity for me and as a Cabinet Minister I can play a part in ensuring it remains so for everyone who chooses to live here”, says Jenny Salesa.