The Māori Party is pleased pressure applied during the election campaign has resulted in Labour Maori MPs being elevated to key cabinet positions.
But new Māori Party Co-Leader Rawiri Waititi is disappointed Labour Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis has not taken up the challenge of becoming the second most important person in New Zealand.
“This is a day for celebration for our Labour whānaunga who have been handed extremely important positions and responsibilities,” Waititi said.
“But it is deeply regretful to see Kelvin Davis demoted by his own hand and forced to fall on his sword. As Māori, we hold Kelvin and the position he had as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in high regard.
“Kelvin’s demotion sends a clear message that a liberated Māori voice must prevail.”
The Māori Labour Party caucus has five Ministers inside Cabinet – Davis (Māori-Crown Relations, Corrections & Oranga Tamariki), Waikato-Hauraki MP Nanaia Mahuta (Foreign Affairs, Local Government), Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare (Whanau Ora & Defence), East Coast MP Kiri Allan (Conservation) and the elevation of Labour list MP Willie Jackson (Maori Development).
Meka Whaitiri is returned as a Minister (Customs & Veterans).
While congratulating the new Cabinet, Waititi said the Labour MPs must make Māori a priority with a whole of government approach.
“Now that we have Māori in key influential roles with financial delegations, they must use that authority to lift our people off the bottom,” he said.
“Māori cannot be treated as second class citizens in the land of our ancestors.”
Waititi – who will find out on Friday if the election night victory will be overturned by the special votes said the Māori Party would continue to advocate for Māori and to hold the government to account.
“This has been dubbed a Covid Recovery Cabinet. When will we see a Māori Recovery Cabinet?” Waititi said.