With 2018 over and 2019 dawning, as co-chair of the Māori Caucus inside the Labour Party, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate and celebrate our Māori MPs who have had a challenging, but rewarding year.
Kelvin Davis has led as Deputy with distinction and despite all the mud thrown at him by the Nats and their media mates, his work on Corrections and finding a way to decrease our prison population by 1000 within the existing rules shows how driven and successful he really is.
Willow-Jean Prime’s staunch defence of speaking te reo in Parliament has been one of the highlights of the year.
Kiri Allan’s podcast about politics is one of the best things online and she continues to impress as one of our Whips in the House.
Louisa Wall’s passion to stamp out smoking and stand up for the LGBTQI community was well noted.
Jo Luxton’s fight to retain Timaru District Council’s shares in Alpine Energy was commendable.
Paul Eagle had a funny phone call to the panel beaters go awry and wore it with his great sense of humour, and continues to impress with his experience from local body politics.
Peeni Henare supported two south Auckland marae for teaming up witH Auckland City Mission to help those in need at Christmas, and never fails to impress in the House with his eloquence in Te Reo Māori.
Nanaia Mahuta was voted globally as one of the most influential women in the world and has led by example as Māori Development Minister.
Tamati Coffey supported the Eastern Bay launch of the New Zealand Howard League for Penal Reform driving programme that sees those caught without a driving licence gain the opportunity to get their licence rather than face jail time.
Adrian Rurawhe was maybe the most excited Caucus member after winning the opportunity to host the Labour Party 2019 conference in his home town, and has really impressed as Assistant Speaker with his no-nonsense-approach and being particularly tough on people like myself!
My co-chair Meka Whaitiri had a hard year, but she faced her challenge with mana and determination – she remains a great representative for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.
Rino Tirikatene’s private members bill to entrench the Māori seats and his work towards 2025 smoke free was courageous, he continues to remind the nation of how important our Māori seat representatives are.
I was proud of the hard work our Caucus have done for Māori and all New Zealanders in 2018, we will strive to do far more for you all in 2019.
Willie Jackson is the Minister for Employment