Judith Collins has eye on Ngāpuhi individual to contest Māori seat

By Whatitiri Te Wake

With the elections still three years away, National leader Judith Collins says it’s too early to name potential candidates who will stand in Maori electorates for the National Party. However, she's confident there are people up for the challenge.

“I’ve got my eye on someone already from Ngāpuhi, actually,” she said.

When asked if that person was Mere Mangu, Collins said she will not “go down that path” but described Mangu, former Ngāpuhi chair, as an impressive person.

Mere Mangu says that she has no comment as it is “too early” to confirm.

Last week, Collins announced the National party was working towards standing candidates in Māori electorates in the next election. But former National MP Claudette Hauiti says Collins must first apologise.

“Māori voters remember Don Brash and that Orewa speech and Judith Collins is going to have to apologise on behalf of the National Party for allowing that person to make those comments all those years ago,” Hauiti said.

But Collins says she will not apologise.

“Well I don’t see the Labour Party apologising for Helen Clark's Foreshore and Seabed, so the answer is 'no'. I’m not responsible for a grown man… five leaders’ back. No that won’t be happening from me,” she said.

Yesterday, Collins wasn’t afforded the opportunity to speak from the mahau or veranda of Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty grounds. She was however heartened at Te Waihoroi Shortland’s comments, confirming that next year all female political leaders will have the opportunity to speak from the mahau.

Collins said, “It was disappointing. I was there. Not only there as the leader of the National Party, but actually the leader of the opposition. The Government gets to have a say. The opposition would normally expect to.”

“I’ve made this very clear, it's not my Marae. Which is why I’m not going to do anything to break those rules”

Hauiti, who left Parliament in 2014, says National has delivered a lot of good outcomes that have benefited Māori over the years.

“We got our iwi radio broadcasting out of National with Maurice Williamson. We got Treaty settlements out of Chris Finlayson, Bill English as well too. Putea for small farming and agriculture. We got more tauira passing NCEA under Hekia Parata."