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New Greens MPs: Diversity in Parliament is nice but it must stop being a 'beacon of colonisation'

The new Parliament has earned praise for its diversity, but three new Green Party MPs say it's not enough to just be there.

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Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Teanau Tuiono and Ricardo Menéndez March say they're looking to tackle some big issues now they're in Parliament. Source: Breakfast

Actual change - specifically, making sure that Parliament stops being the "beacon of ongoing colonisation" - is more important than the optics of diversity, they say.

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Teanau Tuiono and Ricardo Menéndez March this morning told TVNZ1's Breakfast they're looking to tackle some big issues now they're in Parliament.

The Labour-led Government is showcasing record numbers of women, members of the rainbow community and unprecedented ethnic diversity, including the first openly gay Deputy Prime Minister - Grant Robertson - and a first woman appointed as Foreign Affairs Minister - Nanaia Mahuta - who proudly wears a moko kauae.

Menéndez March, who is the first Latino-American in New Zealand's Parliament, this morning told Breakfast it was important to be truly representative of the nation, but added "beyond sort of just having representation in Parliament it's about the work that we've got to do to ensure that Parliament stops being that beacon of ongoing colonisation".

"There's a reason why the halls of Parliament are littered with white men on the walls. It's because at the end of the day the system upholds the ongoing colonisation of Aotearoa.

"There's a lot of work to do that I'm really excited about to change that."

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Among the positions Grant Robertson becomes Deputy PM while Andrew Little is made the Health Minister. Source: 1 NEWS

Menéndez March said it could be as simple as the Crown stopping giving away land to private developers.

"It's about the ongoing struggles that we're seeing at Ihumātao, it's about honouring those struggles in the house of power," he said.

Both Kerekere and Tuiono said they want the Ihumātao land given back, and were "disappointed" Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was yet to visit the occupied site.

When asked what issues they're keen to dive into, it was no surprise Menéndez March, who's well-known as an anti-poverty campaigner, said he wants to end poverty in New Zealand and lift benefits for struggling Kiwis.

Meanwhile, Kerekere said, while they're awaiting their portfolios, she wants to fight for fairness for gender-diverse New Zealanders and reduce the numbers of youth suicides.

"In this country our young people should be getting old," she said.

Tuiono, who is Pacific-Māori, would like to see meaningful climate action, particularly for Pacific people.