The long list of names of possible and probable candidates for the Māori Party now includes a sitting Labour MP. Sources within the Māori Party have told Te Ao, that Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri is among those that the party is interested in recruiting in the next election.
It is also understood that Whaitiri has been told she will not be a Minister if Labour is re-elected into Government. Whaitiri was stripped of her ministerial portfolios after accusations of bullying by the MP within her office. Whaitiri has been the member for Ikaroa Whawhiti since 2013 and won the seat comfortably over Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox in 2017.
Whaitiri’s interest in switching to the Māori Party is unknown.
This comes as several high profile names are being mentioned in connection with the Māori Party. Former Labour Minister John Tamihere, former Labour candidate Rawiri Waititi and high profile Rotorua councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait are among the names being rumoured as candidates for the Māori Party.