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Jenny Salesa, New Zealand's first Tongan-born Cabinet Minister Featured

Jenny Salesa Jenny Salesa

26 October, 2017. In New Zealand Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern’s announcement of her Executive team today, there was one that created a new world first.

Jenny Salesa, MP for Manukau East, will not only become New Zealand’s first Tongan-born, Tongan-speaking Cabinet Minister, her appointment is historically significant as it now also makes her the world’s first Tongan-born woman 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,” Mrs Salesa said in a Labour press statement.

“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.

Mrs Salesa who is married to Samoan academic Toeolesulusulu Damon 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.”

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