Nov. 1, 2017, 9:27 a.m.
Lastweek was a political rollercoaster with the whole country anxiously waiting with bated breath for a decision from NZ First leader Winston Peters on which party he would form a coalition partnership with to give NZ it's 53rd elected government. The ushering in of our new government also gave us our highest number of Parliamentary members that are of Māori descent to date. Four of these Ministers are from Te Tai Tokerau and have roles or portfolios that will have an impact here in the North.
Te Tai Tokerau MP and Deputy Labour Party Leader, Kelvin Davis earlier this year proposed kaupapa Māori based prisons to deal with over half the prison population (50.5%) being Māori. Kelvin's new role as Minister of Corrections could see this become reality. His other role is the newly formed Crown/Māori relations portfolio signalling a move into post treaty settlements which also brings up the question of how does this help Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little get the Ngāpuhi claims across the finish line.
NZ First list MP Shane Jones from Te Aupōuri may have his hands full as he takes on the role of Minister of Forestry and the Minister of Regional Economic Development and also the Minister of Infrastructure which could be good for North Port of Whangarei bringing much needed economic growth to Northland.
National MP Shane Reti managed to hold his seat as the Whangarei MP beating out 2nd place Shane Jones. Though from Dr Reti's seat in parliament as opposition he will struggle to push forward his promises for Whangarei however he could be thankful that Shane Jones has a vested interest in Northland and could also be Whangarei's saving grace.
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta of Waikato and Ngāti Manu (Kawakawa) is the first female to become Te Minita Whakawhanake Māori (Minister of Māori Development). Her first charge being Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill currently being put through Parliament, instead favouring that another path be taken concerning Māori land reforms.
Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters will take on the roles of Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Minister of Racing and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Winston's hardlined views on immigration maybe a welcome chance for Northlanders to upskill it's own before outsourcing outside of Te Tai Tokerau.