Kelvin Davis has resigned from his Ministry of Education job, clearing the way for him to replace outgoing MP Shane Jones.
Mr Davis issued his political priorities on Thursday.
Among them is Te Reo Maori, which he says is in a sad state which has been rendered down in most communities to a ceremonial language with little everyday relevance.
Mr Davis says it needs to be a transactional language so he can walk into any bank, supermarket, service station or pub and do business in Te Reo.
He says it's a right English speakers enjoy without having to think about it.