Topic: Elections

Māori MPs barely make appearance in Labour's first election ad

By Talisa Kupenga

The Labour Party launched its first election TV advertisement today, in an effort to entice votes, but it featured minimal vision of its Māori MPs.

The Labour leader says the ad's vibe is about urgency.  

Jacinda Ardern says, "There is a sense of urgency, not just because we have a short timeframe before the election, but because this is our opportunity to make a real difference for New Zealand's future."

But Labour's Māori MPs seldom feature in the clip. 

Ardern says, "We're going to make sure that we have an entire ad focussed on our Māori MPs because we have such strong talent in our Māori MPs."

Labour's first Māori deputy leader Kelvin Davis will front for Māori Television's Leader's Debate tonight, but Ardern says it doesn't mean she's not keen to front for Māori audiences.

"I've certainly offered because of the fact that the Prime Minister has decided not to front. We wanted to make sure we did have an opportunity, if that wasn't going to be a leader-to-leader debate, the opportunity to Māori TV to sit down and I would be happy to canvas any issues, any policies that voters and their viewers would like to hear," she explains.

The party's drawn criticism from United Future and the Opportunities Party for being all show and no substance. 

Ardern says, "I'd really push back on the idea that we haven't released enough policy. Of course since I've been leader we've had Auckland Transport, regional transport, rail policy for Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton we've had pay equity."

The list goes on, and Labour is confident it's not over committing.

"No. In fact one of the reasons we announced some of our bigger policies earlier on was so people had the time to think about them and digest them," says Ardern.

The advertisement goes to air tomorrow.