Whaitiri wants Ministerial comeback for 2019

By Talisa Kupenga

Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri wants to make 2019 count by working hard to regain her former Minister's role, and Labour's Māori caucus co-chair Willie Jackson is supporting her.

Jackson says, "My hope and others' hopes is that over the next few months she might return to her position - she was an outstanding Minister."

A staffing incident between Whaitiri and her former press secretary in Gisborne in August last year led to the Prime Minister removing Whaitiri as a Minister.

Whaitiri says she working hard to earn that position back.

“The aspirations when you come into this place and into government is to be a Minister. It is an absolute privilege to be a Minister of the Crown and I make no bones that I do hope that there is an opportunity for me to return and I am doing my best to regain the confidence of the Prime Minister, one step at a time."

When Whaitiri was demoted one of the criteria set by the Prime Minister was that Whaitri undergo training to manage staff.

Whaitiri says, "It's been hard lessons, she has expectations of me and I am meeting those expectations by doing things that are showing that the concerns that she had in removing my ministerial warrant is being addressed."

When asked if she has the confidence of Māori, Whaitiri says she has the confidence of her electorate.

But the Prime Minister will have the final say whether she has confidence in Whaitiri returning to her Ministerial role.