May 27, 2020
Collins defends low ranking for Māori MPs
Fourth-ranked National Party member Judith Collins says it’s not good to push MPs onto the front bench if they don’t have enough parliamentary experience.
New leader Todd Muller is under fire for leaving Māori out of his attack line-up, with former deputy leader Paula Bennett the top-ranked MP of Māori descent at number 13.
Whangārei MP Shane Reti, who is the shadow treaty negotiations spokesperson, is next at 17, while first term Whanganui MP is at 39 despite being given responsibility for speaking on crown-Māori relations.
"People have to move up when they are actually ready in terms of this place, and parliament is a tough environment and people like (Harete) are still learning their way but she has a very important portfolio now for us. That portfolio was with Nick Smith. I think this is a much better fit – Nick's a great guy but he is not connected to Māoridom like Harete is," Ms Collins says.
The discrepancy was highlighted by new deputy leader Nikki Kaye claiming Paul Goldsmith had Māori whakapapa, a gaffe that had the finance spokesperson saying thanks but no thanks, and New Zealand First MP Shane Jones being told off by the Speaker when he called out “Ngāti Epsom” as Mr Goldsmith rose to speak.
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