Nanaia Mahuta: taking stock and spending time with whānau

2:04 pm on 15 October 2023
New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta speaks during an interview at the New Zealand embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2023. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)

Labour's Nanaia Mahuta (file photo) Photo: GREG BAKER / AFP

Defeated Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta says she hopes the gains for Māori over the last two Labour terms will not be wound back.

The ousting of Mahuta, who was first elected to Parliament in 1996, was one of the shocks of last night's election results.

She was beaten by Te Māori Pati's Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke by 1366 votes in Hauraki-Waikato.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Mahuta said she had much to think about.

"Now I'm going to take stock and obviously spend time with whānau," Mahuta said.

Whānau is the hugest sacrifice you make when you serve over such a long period of time, so they're looking forward to having me to themselves for a while and then we'll map out next steps."

Mahuta said she had concerns a National/ Act government could impact progress that was made for the Māori population under the now-outgoing government.

"[In this election] there was a lot of challenges in terms of people learning what change means.

"We were very clear right from the get-go that a National and Act government would turn back the clock in a number of significant gains that have been made for Māori."

But the people had spoken, she said.

"That's our democracy, and we've just gotta find our way through and move forward, and hopefully ensure that the good gains that have supported the aspirations of Māori, which are good for the country, aren't winded back."

Mahuta believed Chris Hipkins would have Labour's support to stay as leader.

"I'm sure the team will continue to rally behind Chris [Hipkins].

"He led a very strong campaign during that period. People have to remember that his child became sick and also he got Covid, but he ran a strong campaign.

"We're very proud of his leadership and the strength with which he debated issues."

Mahuta said it had been a privilege to serve as a minister under Helen Clark, Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins.

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