MP for Kelston, Carmel Sepuloni is of Samoan, Tongan and NZ European descent. She was born and raised in Waitara but has lived in Auckland since 1996.
Outside of politics Carmel has worked broadly across the health and education sectors, working as a Literacy Educator with youth in West Auckland, teaching in Samoa, managing equity programmes at the University of Auckland, managing the non-regulated Pacific health research project and acting as CEO of New Zealand’s only national Pacific health provider, Vaka Tautua.
Carmel has always been committed to improving social, health and educational outcomes for all New Zealanders but has especially focused during her career on low socio-economic groups, Māori, Pacific, disabled people and sole parents. During her political career Carmel has brought to the fore the slashing of the training incentive allowance, made public the impact of cuts to ACC funding for survivors of sexual violence, campaigned for better legislation around social workers and fought for the right to privacy for social service users.
In the 2020 Labour Government, Carmel was sworn in as the Minister for Social Development and Employment, Minister for ACC, Minister for Disability Issues, and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. Carmel is looking forward to continuing her work on building a fairer welfare system that treats New Zealanders with respect, upholds their dignity and supports them and their families to realise their potential.