Priyanca Radhakrishnan

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Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Priyanca Radhakrishnan.jpg
10th Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Assumed office
6 November 2020
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byPoto Williams
Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities
Assumed office
6 November 2020
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byJenny Salesa
15th Minister for Youth
Assumed office
6 November 2020
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byPeeni Henare
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Maungakiekie
Assumed office
17 October 2020
Preceded byDenise Lee
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour party list
In office
23 September 2017 – 17 October 2020
Personal details
Born1979 (age 41–42)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Political partyLabour (2006–present)
Alma materVictoria University of Wellington
WebsiteLabour Party profile

Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP (born 1979)[1] is a New Zealand politician who was elected to the New Zealand parliament at the 2017 general election as a representative of the New Zealand Labour Party.

Early life and career[edit]

Radhakrishnan was born in Chennai, India to Malayali Nair parents.[2][3] Her great grandfather Dr C. R. Krishna Pillai, was associated with Left wing politics in India, and played an instrumental role in the formation the Kerala state.[3] She grew up in Singapore before moving to New Zealand. She attended Victoria University of Wellington and graduated with a master's degree in development studies.[4]

After graduating, Radhakrishnan worked as a social worker among the Indian community in Auckland. She joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 2006 and has worked on the internal party policy development process and has been active in both local and regional party organisation.[5]

Political career[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2017–2020 52nd List 12 Labour
2020–present 53rd Maungakiekie 31 Labour

At the 2014 election, Radhakrishnan was ranked number 23 on the Labour Party list, the highest newcomer, but narrowly missed out on election due to a drop in Labour's party vote that year.[6] In October 2016, Radhakrishnan was selected as Labour's candidate for the electorate of Maungakiekie for the 2017 election.[7] She was also ranked number 12 on Labour's list, making her the highest-ranked Labour member not already an MP and a significant increase from her ranking three years earlier.[8]

Radhakrishnan did not win the electorate, but entered parliament via the Party list.[9]

Radhakrishnan was mugged in broad daylight in an Auckland street after returning from a visit to Bangladesh.[10]

Following a cabinet reshuffle on 27 June 2019, Radhakrishnan was appointed as the Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs.[11]

During the 2020 New Zealand general election held on 17 October, Radhakrishnan on preliminary results came second to National MP Denise Lee by a margin of 580 votes in the Maungakiekie electorate,[12] but was returned to Parliament on the Labour Party list. The final election results saw Radhakrishnan defeat Lee by 635 votes and become MP for Maungakiekie.[13][14]

On 2 November 2020, Radhakrishnan was appointed as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Minister for Youth and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment.[15]

Honours and awards[edit]

In January 2021, Radhakrishnan was conferred a Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award for public service, by the Indian president in a virtual ceremony.[16]


  1. ^ "Roll of members of the New Zealand House of Representatives, 1854 onwards" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. 24 May 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. ^ "POLITICS RUNS IN MY BLOOD: PRIYANCA RADHAKRISHNAN". Indianweekender NZ. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Kerala-native Priyanca Radhakrishnan becomes minister in New Zealand cabinet".
  4. ^ "Indians add colour to political canvas". Indian Newslink. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Priyanka Radhakrishnan will be the most possible Labour candidate for Maungakiekie Electorate". India NZ Herald. 23 October 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  6. ^ Parker, Elliot (25 June 2014). "Priyanca jumps up Labour list". Wairarapa Times-Age. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Priyanca Radhakrishnan". New Zealand Labour Party. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Revised Labour Party List for the 2017 Election". 15 August 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Successful Candidates". Electoral Commission. 23 September 2017. Archived from the original on 28 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  10. ^ Christian, Harrison (11 November 2017). "Labour MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan mugged in broad daylight in Auckland". Stuff. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Winners and losers – PM reveals first substantive Cabinet reshuffle". Radio New Zealand. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Maungakiekie – Preliminary Count". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Maungakiekie - Official Result". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  14. ^ Cheng, Derek (6 November 2020). "Election 2020: National loses two seats, Labour and Māori Party gain one". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ "Ministerial List for Announcement on Monday" (PDF). New Zealand Government. 2 November 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Suriname President, Curacao PM, NZ minister among 30 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awardees". The Hindu. 9 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Denise Lee
Member of Parliament for Maungakiekie
Political offices
Preceded by
Peeni Henare
Minister for Youth
Preceded by
Poto Williams
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector