10 Mar 2017

"A game changer"? Kingi Tuheitia backs Papa, dismisses Mahuta

From Morning Report, 7:50 am on 10 March 2017

"A game changer" -- that's how the Maori Party's President Tukoroirangi Morgan is describing a political endorsement by the Maori King.

 Tukoroirangi "Tuku" Morgan

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Speaking yesterday at Paaraawera Marae, Kingi Tuheitia backed tribal leader and Maori Party candidate Rahui Papa for the Hauraki-Waikato seat.  

But he went a step further proclaiming Nanaia Mahuta, who has held the seat for Labour since 1999, was off to the backbenches - where he said there was "no mana".

Ms Mahuta won the seat  from Tukoroirangi Morgan, who'd held it for New Zealand First and she suspects Mr Morgan is behind the king's attack, and is trying to relive old political battles.

But Tukoroirangi Morgan told Morning Report "The winds of change are blowing and the King has given his endorsement to Rahui Papa. The Labour party will be no more. It's as simple as that."