The Labour Party Cabinet reshuffle has been announced and the axe has fallen on Nanaia Mahuta. She has been stripped of her Māori Affairs spokesperson role which has now gone to Kelvin Davis.
According to Davis, “All Māori members want to be the spokesperson for Māori Development, so this is a huge honour for me.”
Davis has also moved from number eight to number seven on the party list and is now the highest ranked Māori.
Nanaia Mahuta drops from forth to 12th.
Andrew Little said, “I had a very good conversation with Nanaia this morning, and she is very pleased with what she got.”
Some were a bit surprised at the revelation.
Meka Whaitiri says, “I had no idea he was interested in the Māori Development portfolio.”
Other big movers were Peeni Henare and Meka Whaitiri being added to the Shadow Cabinet. It is a first for both and an especially quick rise for Henare, given he has only been in Parliament a little over a year.
Little says, “Peeni Henare, I think is a proven performer in the house. In terms of engagement with Māori outside the house, where frankly most of the engagement is. He is very strong.”
“Meka, she is a talent I identified a long time ago. She’s got a lot to contribute,” added Little.
There is now four Māori members in the Shadow Cabinet. A new position has also been established which is the spokesperson for Urban Māori. That position has gone to Peeni Henare.
Nanaia Mahuta is still on the front bench. She still has some portfolios of substance including Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, however for the first time since Shane Jones' departure, she isn't the top.