Labour's Nanaia Mahuta defeats Rahui Papa in Hauraki-Waikato

Nanaia Mahuta took at swipe at the Maori Party after she crushed her opponent in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Nanaia Mahuta took at swipe at the Maori Party after she crushed her opponent in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

Nanaia Mahuta rubbed salt into the Māori Party's raw wound after crushing her opponent in the Hauraki-Waikato electorate. 

The Labour incumbent cruised to victory with 12,070 votes compared to first-time Māori Party candidate Rahui Papa, who received 4619. 

There was anticipation of a tighter race after Māori King Tuheitia - to whom Mahuta is a close friend, relative and adviser - abandoned the Labour Party and switched his loyalty to the Māori Party and Papa. 

Maori Party candidate Rahui Papa is unsure of what he'll do next.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Maori Party candidate Rahui Papa is unsure of what he'll do next.

"I never take an election for granted. I've been clear in this election about the issues that Labour would seek to implement to improve the lives of whānau that I represent. And they've heard that message, and they've spoken, and they've returned me back to Parliament for three years," Mahuta said. 

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She feels that the Māori Party did itself no favours during the campaign. 

"The Māori Party has to take some responsibility for why they didn't get their message well understood, and why voters didn't have confidence that they were still going to back them.

"So I think we're expecting fairly negative comments from the Māori Party, because effectively what Tamati Coffey has achieved in Waiariki, which is winning that seat and unseating a minister, has been a huge blow to supporters of the Māori Party."

"The outcome tonight has demonstrated that people were really clear when they went to the polling booth about what they were voting for. Their lives have not improved, they wanted a change, and they have confidence in the leadership that provide on their behalf, on the issues that matter."

"People sleeping in cars, harder to find a home, rents going up, unstable work: those are the things that people are struggling with and it's clear to me and especially across all the Māori electorates, that Māori voters, in particular, do want a change."

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As for Papa, he learnt a big lesson in his short taste of politics, having only entered the race in June. 

"It was my first time campaigning," he said. "Now I know what it's about. But there are too many variables to ascertain what happened or what didn't happen.

"The biggest learning curve is that people think I'm too humble and I agree. I need to be a bit more aggressive.

"I think there need to be more challenges and more calling out of people. Winston [Peters], who looks to be king maker, but he is racist as hell. There's Nanaia, who is going to be catapulted into the opposition, but that's not going to do Māori any favours," Papa said. 

Papa, who resigned as chairman of Waikato-Tainui executive arm Te Arataura in June, is unsure what his next move is, as he hadn't been looking any further ahead than September 23. 

 - Stuff

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