Māori Party AGM saw new presidents elected
Will the Māori Party's injection of young blood see it return to parliament in 2020?
At its AGM, the party elected Che Wilson and Kaapua Smith in key executive roles.
According to new party president, Che Wilson, they will lay down a new direction.
“E toru ngā kaupapa; ko te whakarongo, ko te titiro, ko te hāpaitia - me whakarongo tātou ki ngā iwi, me whakarongo tātou ki te tangata, me whakarongo tātou ki ngā mema - mā tēnā ka ū ai te mārama e ahu ana mātou ki whea.”
Female Co-President, Kaapua Smith agrees.
“For now, the job is to reconnect with our whānau, the political strategy will come in a little bit later. At the moment we're not in parliament, but we have an opportunity to refresh our relationships, to refocus, to re-envision, and to realign what we're doing and that's what we're focused on at the moment.”
Political commentator, Ella Henry says it's good to have new blood at the helm.
“The fact that they have appointed two new leaders that reflect the younger face of the Māori population, who are both highly regarded throughout the Māori world, actively engaged as scholars, and community developers - that is an excellent choice.”
But she says they need to form a relationship with Labour.
“They still have to ensure that they build stronger relationships with the existing government. And just because they're not in government does not mean that they cannot be building relationships for the next election cycle.”
However, Smith says neither National nor Labour are the priority.
“To me, the Māori Party is about Māori aspirations - hei aha Labour, hei aha National, let's focus on what our whānau want us to deliver on and let's pursue that through the political system.”
The executive positions have been filled, but what about the new co-leaders?
“Me toro atu mātou, me whakarongo mātou ki te tangata. Anā, mā te haereere haere ki ngā huarahi o te motu, te torotoro atu ki ngā peka, ki ngā wāhi, ki ngā tāone ki reira whakarongo ai ki te tangata ahakoa ko wai.”
There's a lot of work ahead of them to keep the Māori Party alive.