Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has hit back at speculation she will be demoted in a looming reshuffle by Labour leader David Shearer, indicating she will resist any attempt to take the education portfolio from her.
Mr Shearer confirmed last weekend he intended to go ahead with a reshuffle toward the end of the year. The recent appointment of Chris Hipkins to the education team and Ms Mahuta’s relatively low profile in the role until recently prompted speculation she would be taken off the front bench and the education portfolio given to another MP. The reshuffle will also coincide with Ms Mahuta having her second child in December.
If Shearer demotes her, it will look like she is being demoted for being pregnant and a mother. Would be a terrible look.
Ms Ms Mahuta said this time she intended to return to work and her pregnancy should not be a factor in any decisions to do with the reshuffle.
“I’ve said I intend to come back to work and I am happy in the role that I have in education, and I will work hard and am committed to that because it is an important portfolio.”
The other problem for Labour is their lack of Maori MPs who can become Ministers. Pareura is invisible (well politically) and on his way out. Shane Jones is under a cloud. And Mahuta is having people brief against her.
Asked about her future in politics, Ms Mahuta said she did intend to stand again in 2014. She was more dismissive about the possibility John Tamihere could run for Parliament again, saying Labour had decided during its recent organisational review that it should focus on attracting more young people and women to ensure it was in a strong place through to 2026.
“John Tamihere says a lot of things, and a lot of them are very memorable, like front bottoms, so if there’s space for John Tamihere in the Labour caucus it will probably be at the call of the current leadership. But what I know is that the future of the Labour Party will require looking to a younger generation of Maori leadership.”
Doesn’t sound like a warm welcome for JT.