Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she will step down at the next election.
Turia, who has signalled her intention to retire previously before changing her mind, said she would have spent 18 years in Parliament by the time she leaves in 2014.
The Maori Party said Turia had signalled her intention to leave early so it could prepare for her departure and put a succession plan in place.
“I have given it serious thought and have made the decision with my family not to seek re-election in 2014,” Turia said.
Her co-leader Pita Sharples said it would be a “huge change to lose my mate”.
Turia would not give up her roles as minister and co-leader in the interim.
This poses three challenges for the Maori Party.
- They need to elect a female co-leader and get her into Parliament
- They need to ensure they have politically agile parliamentary leadership. Everyone loves Pita Sharples, but it is known that Tariana is the one who makes things happen. This probably puts some pressure on Flavell to become male co-leader at some stage. However changing both co-leaders at the same time is also a risk.
- They need to retain Te Tai Hauauru
I think Turia’s endorsement should be enough for them to retain Te Tai Hauauru in 2014, if they select a competent enough candidate. However by 2017 they’ll need to be able to retain it on their own.