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Key dismisses call for half-female cabinet

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/11/2016

Prime Minister John Key has dismissed a call to make his next cabinet at least half women, saying he'd be "stupid" to commit to a quota.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue has called on Mr Key to follow in the steps of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who last year appointed a half-female cabinet.

But asked whether he would promise to make his next cabinet 50 per cent women, Mr Key rejected the idea, saying he wanted ministers to be appointed on merit.

"I think it would be stupid to do that," he told TV3's The Nation.

"I think if you went to our female ministers, of which we've got a tremendous group of talent ... there's just a bunch of very talented women in there - they're there because they're immensely talented. Yes, it's great that they're women, and I think there should be balance," he said.

The government's current cabinet of 20 ministers includes seven women, along with three female ministers outside of cabinet.

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