Minister Munokoapoto (Poto) Williams of New Zealand and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown in 2021. SUPPLIED/21072905.
New Zealand-born Cook Islander Munokoapoto (Poto) Williams is one of the Labour MPs stepping down at the next election.
Williams in 2019 became the first of Cook Islands descent to hold a ministerial
role in New Zealand government when she was appointed Minister for the
Community and Voluntary Sector.
the 2020 election she became Minister of Police but was replaced by Chris
Hipkins this year under intense scrutiny from the Opposition amid a spike in
youth crime and claims she was “soft on crime”.
is now the Minister of Conservation and Minister for Disability Issues, as well
as Associate Minister for Children.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “Minister Williams brought her experience
in the community sector to Cabinet, working across groups as diverse as the
construction sector through to the disability community. She also did a huge
amount of work on the implementation of gun reforms.”
became an MP in 2013 after winning a by-election in the staunchly-Labour
Christchurch East electorate, becoming the South Island’s first elected
an interview with Cook Islands News after the 2020 election, Williams said: “As an electorate
MP I see every day, the struggle of our people to find adequate, affordable
housing and how precarious housing options can be for those with health, mental
health and disability issues. I will do all I can to support the Minister to
provide decent housing for our people.”
Williams also thanked her Cook Islands community for their guidance and
“We, as Cook Islanders have an opportunity that we have not had before,
to build strong working and mutually beneficial relationships across our two
nations based on trust and kinship and the desire to get great outcomes for our
people, wherever they choose to reside.”
other retiring Labour MPs include Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate
Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio, Minister for State Owned
Enterprises of New Zealand David Clark and backbench MPs Jamie Strange, Marja
Lubeck and Paul Eagle.
want to thank them personally for their work and for being part of our team.
They have all made an important contribution to Government and the lives of New
Zealanders,” Ardern said.
decisions come in the midst of Labour’s selection process for seats in the 2023
elections. MPs have made these decisions in good time to allow succession
planning for both Cabinet and caucus.
retirements will have no immediate impact on Cabinet with a reshuffle not
scheduled until early next year.