Meka Whaitiri has defended the decision made by Maori seat Labour MPs to remove themselves from the Labour party list.
In Election Aotearoa’s Ikaroa Rāwhiti debate Whaitiri said “coming off the list creates more Māori on the Labour Party list. We are likely on current polls to see 12 to 13 Māori come into Parliament under the Labour banner.”
The latest Election Aotearoa preferred candidate polls for Ikaroa Rāwhiti show the incumbent with a strong lead of 55%.
Marama Fox from the Māori Party is currently in second place on 39% and claims Labour is putting voters in a precarious position.
Fox says “they are taking a risk by saying to our whanau, vote for us or you’re not going to get us, or vote for “them”. But if they take themselves off the list that’s not bringing more Maori into parliament, we could’ve had two for one here but we’re not gonna get that now.”
Māori seat Labour MPs announced they would remove themselves from the party list earlier this year while Andrew Little was Labour leader.
Whaitiri says the decision was made to encourage more Māori to get in to parliament and she has no regrets about removing her name from the party list.