The Labour-led government has appointed Justice Helen Winkelmann to replace Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice of New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Winkelmann’s appointment at her last post-Cabinet press conference for year.

Elias became NZ’s head jurist in 1999, ahead of the 2004 move to make a New Zealand Supreme Court the country’s highest court of appeal instead of the Privy Council, in London.

That makes Winkelmann (pictured below) the first New Zealand judge formally appointed to the chief justice role, which she will take up on March 13 next year.

She was appointed to the New Zealand bar in 1985, was made a judge of the High Court in 2004 and chief judge of the High Court in 2015.

Ardern said there was a “high degree of consensus” from the wide range of interested parties consulted by the Solicitor-General, Una Jagose, who recommended Winkelmann’s appointment to Ardern, who will in turn recommend the appointment to the Governor-General, Dame Patsy Reddy.

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