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New Zealand Labor Minister suddenly defected to Maori | New Zealand Politics

New Zealand’s Labor government minister abruptly quits, saying he will run for a minor Maori party in the upcoming elections.

Meka Whaitiri’s resignation from the Labor Party “with immediate effect” appeared likely to boost Te Pāti’s election campaign Maori (Recent polls suggest he could be the kingmaker after the October general election).

In her speech Wednesday at the Marae, her ancestral meeting place in Hastings, Waitiri did not cite any specific disagreements with the Labor Party as the reason for her departure.

“When I return to parliament, I will sit with Te Pati Māori and join an unapologetic Māori political movement to achieve what was promised to us 183 years ago.” Nearly two centuries of struggle for sovereignty and land ownership ensued. At times emotional, Waitiri did not take questions from reporters and did not elaborate on his remarks.

But her move surprised Labor Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who was traveling to London for King Charles’ coronation, when speculation abounded in the media on Tuesday night. I said I didn’t tell him.

Acting Prime Minister Carmel Ceproni told reporters in Wellington on Wednesday that she and her Labor colleagues had “no reason” for Waitiri’s defection. He was credited with remarks about a former colleague who might soon fall back on a later governing agreement.

The Labor Party will contest Whaitiri’s electoral seats in the October poll, the leader added.

Waitiri, who was Minister of Customs, Food Safety and Veterans Affairs and Chief Minister of Recovery Efforts after Cyclone Gabriel, joined parliament in 2013 and won the Maori Ikaroalafiti campaign for labor in the 2020 elections. Easily won the constituency. poll of her closest rivals.Her voters have the deepest coverage in some areas Destroyed by a cyclone in February.

John Tamihere, president of Te Pati Maori, hinted at tensions between Waitiri and workers when introducing her on Wednesday. , and go from being ruled by others to being the party you rule.”

Waitiri has languished in ministerial rankings and been overlooked for promotion as his Māori caucus colleagues were promoted this year when Hipkins took office. In 2018, he was stripped of his ministerial portfolio for alleged bullying in an altercation with a spokesperson, but was reappointed as cabinet minister in 2020.

Seproni said on Wednesday that Waitiri had been sacked as minister following her resignation, but Labor would not seek to remove her despite a law allowing her to be ousted from parliament. The speaker of New Zealand’s parliament said on Wednesday that Waitiri could sit in the House of Commons until dissolved for election, along with Te Pati Maori and her two MPs, but she would not be a member of her new group and would be independent. considered a member of parliament.

April Curia Poll Labor and the main opposition party, the center-right National, the Labor-backed left-leaning Green Party with 7% and the Libertarian ACT Party (traditionally aligned with the National Party) with 10%, each with 37% of the vote. Both major parties would need Te Pati Maori support to form a government.

“We are not deliberately choosing who we go with because we may never have the kind of relationships that have been done in the past,” said Te Pati Maori co-leader. Debbie Ngarewa Packer told TVNZ in March.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/03/new-zealand-labour-minister-suddenly-defects-to-maori-party New Zealand Labor Minister suddenly defected to Maori | New Zealand Politics

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