Competition for Hauraki Waikato seat underway

By Mānia Clarke

Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta says she isn't fazed with comments made by the electorates Maori Party candidate Rahui Papa who says Labour leader Andrew little is the boss and what he says goes so she will have to tow the party line.

The Hauraki-Waikato incumbent says she's focused on continuing to represent her constituents.

"It's a competition for votes. The most important thing is focusing on the issues that we can improve in parliament. That's the only issue at hand. Competition is good," said Nanaia Mahuta.

Yesterday Papa officially launched his campaign as the Hauraki-Waikato candidate for the Māori Party, at the 60th Poukai anniversary at his marae of Pohara. Hundreds of Kiingitanga supporters arrived en mass, which was one of the marae's biggest Poukai turnouts.

"Little is the boss. No matter what Māori want to do, in the end, Little has the last say," said Papa. 

King Tuheitia publically endorsed Papa as the Māori Party candidate in March earlier this year at Waikato's Paaraawera Marae poukai.

"Since I started the Kiingitanga hasn't endorsed me to represent its issues. That's fine. Things have now changed, and that's okay. For me it's about advocating for the needy and impoverished," said Mahuta. 

We must affirm a political voice that will advocate for the principals of the King Movement in the house. Yes, it's a non-Māori house, but if we can influence it with the values of the King Movement, it will be all the better for it," said Papa.

Te Kāea visited the pan-tribal suburb of Papakura in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate to ask people how they will vote in the upcoming elections. However, people we spoke to didn't want to reveal which candidate they will vote for.

Mahuta's campaign is well underway in the hope of retaining her seat for the eighth term.