The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.
“We’re confident our outstanding Māori electorate MPs will win their seats.
“We take nothing for granted and our MPs will be working hard to win the trust of voters. But we’re very confident they’ll make the case this coming election given the strength of our plans and Labour’s record of delivering for Māori in government.”
Under Labour Party rules a waiver can be granted for MPs wanting to be exempted from the party list in special circumstances.
“This is a statement of Labour’s intent,” says Labour Party President Nigel Haworth.
“We back our Māori electorate MPs 100 per cent to win their seats which is why the Party agreed to the waiver. They’re an excellent group of MPs who have Labour values and Maori aspirations in the forefront of all their work.”
Māori Vice-President Tane Phillips said the decision to grant the waiver underlined how important it was for Labour to secure all the Māori seats.
“We have a strong Māori team who have worked hard to promote what matters to Māori. They are looking for a mandate so we can really start making a difference for Māori in government.”
Andrew Little says the decision was a direct challenge by the Māori MPs to the Māori Party.
“The Māori Party has failed Māori during the nine years they have been shackled to National.
“They have neglected their people for too long, thinking that the crumbs that fall off the Cabinet table are all that matters. What matters to Labour is making a positive difference for Māori.
“If Māori want to see progress on the problems they face in housing, health and education, then they should back their Labour candidate.
“We have a plan to turn the position of Māori around and we’ll be running a campaign to show how Māori will be better served by a strong Labour Māori voice around the Cabinet table.”