Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi promises to 'hold Government to account'

Source: 1News

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi says he is committed to holding the Government to account over Māori issues now he has officially won the electorate of Waiariki.

Waititi had been only 400 votes ahead of incumbent Tamati Coffey before the special votes result, but extended his margin to 836.

The win also means the Māori Party has picked up an extra seat in Parliament - now having two seats instead of one - due to party votes.

The party increased its total vote share to 1.2 per cent, finishing with a total of 33,632, so co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer will join Waititi in Wellington.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Waititi outlined his plans as an MP.

"A strong opposition leads to a strong Government and we will be making sure we hold the Government accountable for the decisions they make in terms of delivering to Māori.

"That is our utmost position and job to do as a strong Māori voice in Parliament," Waititi said.

He also spoke about his campaign in Waiariki.

"We looked at the profile of Waiariki and focussed on that for the campaign which has been a major contributing factor.

"Also the Māori Party kaupapa resonated with people across the country."

Waititi congratulated Labour's Tamati Coffey for also running a strong campaign.

Waititi re-iterated his promised to change electoral roll laws he says keeps Māori “in second place”.

Currently, Māori are only able to switch between that roll and the general roll every five years.

The Māori Party campaigned to register all Māori to the Māori electoral roll and allow them to switch rolls at any time.

With more people on the Māori roll, Waititi said they could be entitled to about 19 seats instead of seven.