Whaitiri's co-chair position could be reviewed at release of incident report

By Talisa Kupenga

Labour's Māori caucus co-chair Willie Jackson says Meka Whaitiri's co-chair position could be reviewed when the Whaitiri-staffer incident report is released.  The Māori caucus has been criticised for backing Whaitiri despite only knowing her side of the story.

National’s Paula Bennett took aim at Employment Minister Willie Jackson in-house, alluding to the Whaitiri-staffer incident before being shut down by the speaker.

Jackson says, “Paula Bennett should kōrero to herself.  She's the one with a history in terms of bullying, in terms of beneficiaries and our community- so sick of hearing that sort of nonsense."

Yesterday under privilege, Amy Adams insinuated that Whaitiri left her former staffer with bruises as a result of the incident.

Jackson says, “"I do not accept what she says, she doesn't know all the facts right now."

But neither does Labour's Māori caucus, having only heard Whaitiri's version of events.  Despite this they unanimously back Whaitiri to retain her co-chair position.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says "I've heard rumours but right now I support her."

Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis says, "It doesn't mean we agree or disagree with anything but we're just here to support our colleague."

Te Kāea asked Jackson if Whaitiri’s position as co-chair would be reviewed if evidence backed Adams’ allegations.

He says, "We'll have a look.  We'll look at it again, we'll see how it goes."

Whaitiri attended the Māori Women's Welfare League National Conference today in Gisborne.