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Clean sweep across Maori seats

Meka Whaitiri remains the MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti. PHOTO/HAWKE’S BAY TODAY

CHELSEA BOYLE

[email protected]

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri is “over the moon” to regain her seat, amid a red wave that swept the Maori seats.

The Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate incumbent was not sad to see the Maori Party ousted in the process, saying they had become disconnected from the people they represented.

Instead she was focused on Labour taking the lead.

“There is no doubt in my mind Jacinda will be a prime minister of New Zealand,” she said.

“But the question is, quite rightly so, will it be now, or will it be the next one?

“It’s about the long game, not the short game.

“It’s about having people who will do the right thing for the country.”

Ms Whaitiri rung in her Saturday night celebrations at the Clive Hotel, with people from across the far reaches of her electorate, which takes in much of the east coast of the North Island.

She took a commanding lead in Ikaroa-Rawhiti and was “relieved” and “humbled” that 10,232 people gave her the nod to seal the win.

That left the Maori Party’s co-leader Marama Fox in second with 6436 votes and the Green Party candidate Elizabeth Kerekere in third with 1539.

Ms Whaitiri was more apprehensive watching the Labour’s party vote roll in but was thrilled with its progress, calling it a huge advance from their position in 2014.

“I’m absolutely stoked with the Labour effort, given that eight weeks ago we weren’t going to bring in 45 MPs,” she said.

“You have got to put that down to Jacinda coming in.”

Ms Ardern had done a spectacular job in lifting Labour’s profile and party vote, she said.

They had planned to win all the Maori seats and had pushed hard for it.

“That gives Labour the only political mandate to speak on behalf of Maori,” Ms Whaitiri said.

“I wish those that were competing in those seats were a bit more, you know, gracious.

“I don’t get why people have to be such sour grapes on their way out.”

They had lost the opportunity to represent the Maori people because they were “disconnected” from their concerns about housing, mental health issues, and jobs in the regions.

Looking forward she was focused on innovation in primary industry and opening up apprenticeships in that area that would give young people a foot in the door.

Industries such as forestry, farming, and fishing, had been “the backbone of the people throughout Ikaroa-Rawhiti”.

They needed to be smart about promoting growth in the regions, and needed to genuinely be clean and green as well as innovative.

“I think we have been doing the same old, same old for a long time.”

They needed to be smart about choosing a market where they would get premium price, she said.

“We can’t compete on scale, we are such a small country so we have to be lifting our game.”

“We have to be very smart about how we get our products to market.”

She also said while New Zealand had never had a female minister of primary industries, under a government led by Jacinda Ardern that could all change.

“I’ve worked in the freezing works, I’ve worked in the shearing shed,” Ms Whaitiri said.

Her life had revolved around primary industry and it was area she believed she could add value to Labour.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe NZ First have the most right speak for Maori as 6 of their 9 MP’s (including their leader) are Maori??

  2. Kia ora, I would just like to refer back to the statement made by Meka Whaitiri
    “That gives Labour the only political mandate to speak on behalf of Maori,” Ms Whaitiri said. Tell me why she thinks she can speack on behalf of Maori, when she is sitting under the unbrella of a pakeha run party, who dont care for the needs of Maori. Also how dare she say that the Maori party had become disconnected from their people and values, when Meka was the one who had taken herself off the Maori roll, talk about been a HYPOCRTIE!! MANA MAORI ALL THE WAY

  3. I can’t believe that Wairarapa Times age reported on her story. “That gives Labour the only political mandate to speak on behalf of Maori,” Ms Whaitiri said.

    Sorry, but you don’t speak for all Maori, Maori speak for Maori.
    You also quote and say that people need to leave graciously? Excuse me but how else are you meant to leave when your own people turn their back on you? Maori going against Maori. When push comes to shove you will succumb to the ringa of the pakeha

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