AFTER her landslide win at the recent elections, she has now appointed the most diverse cabinet in New Zealand history.

Her new foreign minister is the experienced ex-trade supremo, Nanaia Mahuta, one of eight new female ministers in the cabinet and one of five indigenous Maori ministers. Mahuta is the first woman ever in New Zealand to become Foreign Minister and is also the first female member to wear the traditional Maori tattoo on her chin, the moko kauae.

Jacinda Ardern’s new deputy prime minister is gay, with two prominent lesbian mothers, Ayesha Verrall and Kiri Allan, also appointed. Now, almost half of the government is female, 10% of it gay, one-quarter indigenous Maoris, while the new parliament boasts its first-ever Latin American, Sri Lankan and African MPs. Ardern is conscious that her new cabinet reflects the country that elected her party into majority government. She has put herself on the line to bring to reality her commitment to greater political representation for women in political life and the importance of minority groups securing a place at the top table.

READ MORE: Result of US election will have huge implications for an independent Scotland

Scotland take note, we still have a long way to go, with no female BAME MSPs ever to take a seat in the chamber at Holyrood, where just 36% of MSPs are women. All this could change at next year’s elections and let’s hope it does. However the SNP’s priorities over the last few years seem to have been skewed to a very narrow aspect of gender politics.

Meanwhile, back in NZ, in a bid to cement positivity and the spirit of co-operation in her brave new government, Ardern has offered two ministerial posts to the opposition, the Green Party, which also signals her commitment to addressing urgent climate crisis and wellbeing issues.

Here is a leader who is not afraid to bring debate to the heart of her government, to hear other voices, to ensure that expertise and representation are at the heart of “shared goals” and building consensus. What a breath of fresh air. And forget virtue signalling, these are all appointments based on merit. “Talent,” says Ardern, just “also happens to be incredibly diverse”.

This approach to government couldn’t be further away from the incompetent shower who occupy Number 10. It’s hard to imagine Johnson offering a “co-operation agreement” to anyone or indeed valuing any kind of expertise or diversity of input. If you’re not on board with Johnson and Cummings’s Big Brexit trajectory, you are defenestrated, and yer bums well and truly oot the windae.

The exclusion of talent, the absence of questioning voices, the blame for Covid placed on public carelessness, not government incompetence. The electorate of New Zealand must look at the mother country and think – “what a farce”.Just compare and contrast Ardern’s success in dealing with the Covid crisis – acting fast, following science, incorporating a vital test, trace and isolate system, saving lives with a total of 25 fatalities as compared to the horror and loss of tens of thousands in the UK. Its chalk and cheese, competence and incompetence, New Zealand reality meets the UK nightmare.

Ardern is seen as competent, empathetic, unflustered and charismatic both at home and on the world stage. Johnson? He’s a global laughing stock.

Ardern has been chosen as the best leader to run the country while the pandemic has its grip on the world. I wonder who the UK would choose had the election happened this year not last.

We’ll never get the chance to find out. But I’m guessing Johnson who once boasted of the “titanic success” of Brexit, is now finally sunk as a political asset.

READ MORE: Wee Ginger Dug: What is the Union? The current definition seems peculiar

As Ardern and her new cabinet are sworn in on Friday, she’ll realise that second time around she’ll need to make good on her promises for change. In her previous government, she was stymied in her bid to ensure delivery of her more progressive flagship policies by her coalition partners in New Zealand’s First Party.

Now she’s got her majority and her new line up is symbolic of her ambitions. If ever there was a time for co-operation agreements and diversity of opinion, its most definitely now. Hopes are high, and the world is watching.

New Zealand, for all its small stature in global politics, has shone a light into the political darkness and populist xenophobia that has so damaged our discourse and future ambitions.

Ardern is showing that it doesn’t have to be that way, that we can be better than that, and that we need minorities to be part of that change for the better. Thus we can “keep moving” together once it is as safe as she pledged in her manifesto.

Let’s hope that other countries follow suit. Scotland, we’re next.