Newly re-elected New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s cabinet includes Dr Gaurav Sharma, a 33-year-old India-born Labour Party leader from Himachal Pradesh.
Sharma was elected from Hamilton West as a Labour Party candidate. He polled 16,950 votes defeating National Party’s Tim Macindoe by a 4,425-vote margin, New Zealand’s Electoral Commission said.The news was celebrated back home in India, where Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on October 18 tweeted: "Gaurav, living up to your name (Gaurav means pride in multiple Indian languages), you have made your home state proud. We wish you hearty congratulations and all the best on behalf of all the people from your home state of Himachal Pradesh."
गौरव आपने अपने नाम को सार्थक करते हुए विदेश में देवभूमि का भी नाम गौरवान्वित किया है, आपको देवभूमि हिमाचल की समस्त जनता की ओर से हार्दिक बधाई एवं अनंत शुभकामनाएँ। https://t.co/YsqnKfY6l3
— Jairam Thakur (@jairamthakurbjp) October 18, 2020
A doctor by profession, Dr Sharma is originally from Galod in Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh. He immigrated to New Zealand with his family in 2000 at age nine. He practices medicine in Nawton, Hamilton and holds a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University, US, as per a New18 report.
Dr Sharma stated that his healthcare background would help in the “recovery phase post COVID-19,” adding: "As a local doctor, I hear first-hand the concerns of our community every day. My work in healthcare and experience in management will help me be a strong voice for Hamilton in this post-pandemic recovery phase.”
According to the Labour Party, Sharma has long been involved in public health and policy, having consulted in several countries and helping in rebuilding villages in Nepal after the earthquake in 2015.
Sharma’s family struggled in New Zealand at the start, being homeless and spending time on park benches besides arranging food from the Auckland City Mission. His father took six years to find a job after leaving behind a government job as an executive engineer with the HP electricity board, the report said.