Louisa Wall: An inevitable end

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Retiring Labour MP Luisa Wall claims Prime Minister Jacinda Adern told her directly she'd never become a cabinet minister. The MP will exit politics this week but is still making headlines, a move one political commentator says was inevitable for a politician who went against the grain.

It's the rift many speculated about - Louisa Wall and Jacinda Ardern's working relationship now at the centre of controversy.

Political commentator Chris Wikaira says the working culture in Parliament is unlike any other and there are tikanga that belong to the halls of power, "if you are in a party and you get out of sync with your leader or out of sync with the rest of them, you're in trouble.

"If you're on the back bench and you stick your head up out of the trench and make noise, which then drags you into having to defend a position or two to answer to what you've said, that's pretty close to political suicide, whether you're right or whether you're wrong,. That's just political parties and in how it works," Wikaira says.

The prime minister has continued to deny any breakdown in the relationship and in response to Wall's rather telling interview yesterday on Q&A chose to acknowledge the work that the former Black Fern, Silver Fern and soon-to-be-former MP has achieved in her time in Parliament. 

Wikaira says the politics were evident at the time of Wall's announcement: "There were National MPs jumping up saying, 'Oh, that's a really shame. She's worked really well with us across the House."

'Backhanded slap'

"And when MPS from the other side of the House are praising the government, "Yeah, it's a backhanded slap to the prime minister as much as it is a compliment to the outgoing MP, " he says.

Safe zones for abortions and marriage equality are two significant pieces of work and ones Wall can be proud of.

One of the residents in Manurewa - her former electorate before being replaced by Arena Williams in the run-up to the 2020 election - said, "I think she's done a lot in her time in Parliament."

Wikaira describes the outgoing MP as 'tough'. 

"She's pushed the boat out, and she's challenged, and that challenge, not always toeing the party line, not always singing the party song, is what got her into a bit of trouble from time to time. But it's also been a strength. It's a double-edged sword."
Wall is to take on a new role as Pacific gender equality ambassador.