Labour leader Andrew Little says Kingi Tuheitia questioning Nanaia Mahuta’s loyalties is outrageous.
“I think it shows a disloyalty by the King to Nanaia and all she has done for Kiingitanga movement and for Waikato Māori. I think it's an abuse of his office.”
King Tuheitia made it clear what his political aspirations are for Hauraki-Waikato at the Paaraawera poukai in Waikato yesterday, stating;
"I'm putting the Kiingitanga support behind Rahui ...and if Nanaia wants to stay in Labour, well I know where her loyalties are. If she doesn't come off there, she's with Labour, she's not with the Kiingitanga."
But Andrew Little says “I think the King for the sake of his office should stop being political and let the political party's thrash it out and let Māori voters decide.”
Te Ara Taura Chair Rahui Papa confirmed at Parāwera marae yesterday he will put his name forward to contest the Māori Party candidacy in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate. He says this is not about dirty politics against each other.
“My sister's a woman of integrity and she's kept her integrity. Unlike the leaders in her party.”
Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan says the King's endorsement is a game changer.
“Everything will change because of what the King has done. All the marae within the Hauraki-Waikato electorate will adhere to the words of the King.”
During his address at his 10th Coronation last year, King Tuheitia showed his political leanings, which supported a Māori Party and Mana alliance, and criticised the Labour Party.
The Māori Party is expected to make an announcement following its selection processes in the next few weeks, which needs to be approved by the Party's council and signed off by their President.