The Maori Party's former MP for Te Tai Tonga Rahui Katene says constituents are seeking her help because her Labour successor can't keep up with his workload - but until yesterday was advertising herself as the current member of Parliament.
Labour's Rino Tirikatene says Katene has "sour grapes" over losing the seat and has lodged a complaint with the Speaker of the House that her Facebook page had listed her as the MP for Te Tai Tonga.
Katene said today she had been fielding inquiries for the past few months from people who thought she was still their MP.
"I walk into a mall and people come up to me and ask me. I've been getting phone calls. It wasn't just at the beginning when people might have thought I was still the MP.
"I certainly hoped that by now they realise that I'm not, even though I'd still love to be. But because they can't get in touch with their MP, they find it easier to come up and talk to me."
Katene admitted until yesterday her Facebook page still said she was the MP.
"Unfortunately I couldn't get into it. The person who had the password actually had gone overseas so it was just yesterday that I managed to get the password so I could make the change.
"I could get into it from my ipad but I couldn't make the change because it didn't allow me into that section."
Katene said despite having 2600 Facebook friends, she didn't believe it contributed to people believing she was still the MP.
"At least two of the people that saw me don't have access to electronic and social networking media so it wouldn't have been that at all."
Tirikatene said today it was "no wonder our people are confused".
He said he was approached by Maori media after Katene complained she was having to do his job because he couldn't keep up.
"She's out of Parliament, she's trying to stay relevant. She just has to learn to accept the fact that she got voted out and I'm the MP now."
He conceded the Maori electorate of Te Tai Tonga carried a big workload because it was the biggest geographical seat in the country.
"I'm definitely not struggling, I'm part of a Labour team. There are 20 general electorates that make up Te Tai Tonga."
The Wellington-based MP said he was in Christchurch at least every 10 days and spent much of his time on the road.
Katene said she would love to be back in Parliament and hoped to be nominated by the Maori Party to run for the seat again in 2014.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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