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New caucus co-chairs reaffirm Labour commitment to Maori

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

MP for Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene and MP for Northland, Willow-Jean Prime were this morning unanimously elected as new co-chairs of the Labour Māori Caucus.

The Labour MPs, who replace outgoing co-chairs Willie Jackson and Meka Whaitiri, say they are focused on continuing the caucus’s work across Government to deliver for Māori.

"Thanks to the support of our communities, the Labour Māori Caucus now has a record 15 members, each a committed representative of their people," says Willow-Jean Prime.

"The opportunity for Rino and I to lead this Caucus in further improving the health of our whānau, the environment, and creating opportunities in the Māori economy is humbling and exciting.

"We are getting on with the job. Labour has a clear mandate from Māori to deliver on the policies of our Māori and wider Labour manifestos in order to get our whānau through these challenging times.

"We mihi to Willie Jackson and Meka Whaitiri for the incredible mahi and leadership they have provided to our Māori Caucus and communities over the last three years.

"From record investment in Māori-targeted funding in consecutive Budgets to increasing the number of Māori DHB chairs and District Court judges, the change that has occurred backed by their strength and focus on ‘whānau first’ is huge," says Willow-Jean Prime.

"It is a privilege to be the voice of our people and I am confident that alongside the tautoko of our fellow Labour Māori Caucus colleagues, we will continue to promote the interests and wellbeing of Māori in our Government," says Rino Tirikatene.

"Māori now make up 25 per cent of Cabinet. The wider Māori caucus has proven experience from across te ao Māori and politics, and new talent in MPs such as Shanan Halbert (Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Whitikaupeka) and Arena Williams (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Tūhoe, Ngāi Tahu).

"We will use this depth of talent and experience to ensure we have progressive, strong Māori voices in every decision of the Government, to honour the trust and confidence of the mandate Māori have given us.

"As co-chairs, we will ensure the Labour Māori Caucus continues to advocate hard for our people. Together, we will support Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to continue rolling out Labour’s plan that is moving in the right direction and investing in our people," says Rino Tirikatene.

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