Mahuta re-claims the Hau­raki-Waikato seat


Nanaia Mahuta rubbed salt into the Ma¯ori Party’s raw wound af­ter crush­ing her op­po­nent in the Hau­raki-Waikato elec­torate.

The Labour in­cum­bent cruised to vic­tory with 12,070 votes com­pared to first-time Ma¯ori Party can­di­date Rahui Papa, who re­ceived 4619.

There was an­tic­i­pa­tion of a tighter race af­ter Ma¯ori King Tuheitia - to whom Mahuta is a close friend, rel­a­tive and ad­viser - aban­doned the Labour Party and switched his loy­alty to the Ma¯ori Party and Papa.

‘‘I never take an elec­tion for granted.

‘‘I’ve been clear in this elec­tion about the is­sues that Labour would seek to im­ple­ment to im­prove the lives of wha¯nau that I rep­re­sent.

‘‘And they’ve heard that mes­sage, and they’ve spo­ken, and they’ve re­turned me back to Par­lia­ment for three years,’’ Mahuta said.

She feels that the Ma¯ori Party did it­self no favours dur­ing the cam­paign.

‘‘The Ma¯ori Party has to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity for why they didn’t get their mes­sage well un­der­stood, and why vot­ers didn’t have con­fi­dence that they were still go­ing to back them.

‘‘So I think we’re ex­pect­ing fairly neg­a­tive com­ments from the Ma¯ori Party, be­cause ef­fec­tively what Ta­mati Cof­fey has achieved in Wa­iariki, which is win­ning that seat and un­seat­ing a min­is­ter, has been a huge blow to sup­port­ers of the Ma¯ori Party.’’

‘‘The out­come tonight has demon­strated that peo­ple were re­ally clear when they went to the polling booth about what they were vot­ing for.

‘‘Their lives have not im­proved, they wanted a change, and they have con­fi­dence in the lead­er­ship that pro­vide on their be­half, on the is­sues that mat­ter.’’

‘‘Peo­ple sleep­ing in cars, harder to find a home, rents go­ing up, un­sta­ble work: those are the things that peo­ple are strug­gling with and it’s clear to me and es­pe­cially across all the Ma¯ori elec­torates, that Ma¯ori vot­ers, in par­tic­u­lar, do want a change.’’

As for Papa, he learnt a big les­son in his short taste of pol­i­tics, hav­ing only en­tered the race in June.

‘‘It was my first cam­paign­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘Now I know what it’s about. But there are too many vari­ables to as­cer­tain what hap­pened or what didn’t hap­pen.

‘‘The big­gest learn­ing curve is that peo­ple think I’m too humble and I agree. I need to be a bit more ag­gres­sive. ‘‘I think there need to be more chal­lenges and more call­ing out of peo­ple. Win­ston [Peters], who looks to be king maker, but he is racist as hell.

‘‘There’s Nanaia, who is go­ing to be cat­a­pulted into the op­po­si­tion, but that’s not go­ing to do Ma¯ori any favours.’’ Papa, who re­signed as chair­man of Waikato-Tainui ex­ec­u­tive arm Te Arataura in June, is un­sure what his next move is as he hadn’t been look­ing any fur­ther ahead than September 23. time

Rahui Papa isn’t sure of fu­ture plans.

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