Māori Party picks up extra MP in Parliament as Rawiri Waititi holds on to Waiariki

Source: 1News

The Māori Party has confirmed its return to Parliament as Rawiri Waititi has officially beaten Labour’s Tamati Coffey in Waiariki after special votes came in this afternoon.

Waititi had been only 400 votes ahead of the incumbent Coffey before the 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. 

She is delighted with this afternoon's result.

“Really stoked, very humbled, we have a lot to do and I am feeling – obviously - very emotional.

“To have two of us (in Parliament) is a dream come true.”

It's a strong finish after the party failed to win any seats or enough party votes to get into Parliament at the 2017 election.

Rawiri Waititi has shot to political fame for his distinctive style, the Māori Party co-leader donning a cowboy hat for his arrival at Parliament after the election.

Waititi has promised he will make changes in the “system” he says keeps Māori “in second place”.

“That system doesn’t belong to us. So, our job is now to go through and start to manipulate that system and make disruptions here and there. 

“That’s exactly what I’m committed to doing.”

He said he wanted to see changes to the Māori electoral roll. 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.