Topic: Elections

Māori Development portfolio ineffective outside Cabinet - Roihana Nuri

By Leah Te Whata

A political commentator predicts a Māori Development portfolio under a National-NZ First coalition will be tokenistic. The Māori Development portfolio has sat outside of cabinet since 2008. 

There is still no real indication as to who will take on the Māori Development ministerial portfolio if a National-NZ First coalition is formed. However, political commentator Roihana Nuri says this outcome is highly unlikely.

"If Winston makes a coalition agreement with National, it's difficult to imagine who will hold the Māori Development ministerial portfolio. At the moment, I can't see them working together because of National’s aggressive campaign to wipe Winston Peters out."

If National is successful in negotiations with NZ First, Nuri says Shane Jones would not put his hand up for Māori Development and would prefer to take on the foreign affairs portfolio.

"I also have reason to say that Shane Jones does not want to take on the Māori Development portfolio."

If the position continues to sit outside cabinet, it may be seen as being tokenistic and according to Nuri, ineffective. 

"You have no real authority unless you are sitting at the cabinet table. What good are you to New Zealand from outside of cabinet? We need to take our example from the time that Parekura Horomia held that portfolio."

Nuri says Labour has 13 potential Ministers for Māori Development. The Māori Affairs Minister and Māori Development portfolios have sat outside of cabinet since 2008.

"If NZ First, Labour and the Greens enter a coalition agreement the Labour Māori Caucus will have the authority to make the call as to who will be the Minister for Māori Development because the Labour Party has the mandate by Māori."

For the first time in nine years, the Minister for Māori Development could sit at the cabinet table.