National | Politics

Cabinet reshuffle injects new Māori blood into senior leadership

The responsibilities and influence of Labour's Māori caucus have been expanded by yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle.

That's the view of Auckland University political analyst, Dr Lara Greaves.

Kiritapu Allan is the new minister of justice with an associate finance role and Māori development minister Willie Jackson picked up the wider broadcasting portfolio.

Meka Whaitiri is the minister of food safety and Adrian Rurawhe has been nominated as the next speaker of the house to replace Trevor Mallard.

Dr Greaves says with people vacating their positions it's important to see new, fresh talent moving through the cabinet, getting experience and developing in these roles.

“There was a lot of criticism of Helen Clark's government then and what they hadn't done was bring through the next generation.”

'First Māori justice minister'


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Greaves think that Māori representation is greater in this government with Kiritapu Allan being the first Māori and one of the few women in the role.

"This is also supported by the nomination of Adrian Rurawhe as the second Māori for speaker. The first was Sir Peter Tapsell of Te Arawa in 1993.

"We also have Willie Jackson who is also taking up the broadcasting portfolio which is good for Māori representation."

Dr Greaves says the next cabinet reshuffle, traditionally before the next election, will also "be a big one".