“I've seen all the highs and lows but I'm still here.”
Those were the sentiments of Nanaia Mahuta after being demoted several levels down Labour’s list and losing her Māori Development portfolio.
Mahuta isn't one to give up even after party leader Andrew Little promoted Kelvin Davis to the highest ranking Māori on the list. She also wants to silence any murmurs of in-fighting within the party.
Mahuta says, “I just want to correct what is being said in the newspapers and in the media. There isn't a competition going on between myself and Kelvin Davis.”
Mahuta has made it clear that losing the position of spokesperson for Māori Development was a directive from the leader. She also expressed that a part of her wanted to hang on to the position.
“Absolutely. But the call came down that Kelvin wanted that portfolio and Andrew agreed. Andrew has the last word,” explained Mahuta.
Nanaia Mahuta has been in politics for 19 years. She's the most experienced Māori seat MP in Parliament.
Her Hauraki-Waikato electorate gained the biggest majority of all the Māori seats in the last election. She also went for the Labour leadership.
But for Māori Development, Kelvin Davis will be the face for those issues.
Davis says, “I just gotta roll my sleeves up and get stuck in.”
Mahuta says she isn't planning on leaving the party as a consequence of her demotion.