Mihi Forbes at Radio NZ reports:
The riverside at Tūrangawaewae marae was abuzz this afternoon as nearly 1000 people gathered to hear the Māori King, Kiingi Tuheitia, deliver his annual speech.
Celebrations have been going on for several days at the marae in Ngāruawāhia for the tenth anniversary of his coronation, which is today.
However, what caught the crowd’s attention was the unscripted closer, where he told those gathered that he would not be voting for Labour again.
He said he had changed his mind about the party after its leadership said it would not work with the Māori Party.
The Labour Party keeps trying to destroy the Maori Party, rather than work with them.
In another story they report:
Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox was in the crowd and saw the speech as the king’s nod of approval.
“It was as close as I think an endorsement was going to be and I appreciate his words.”
So how did Nanaia Mahuta take the king’s comments? “If that’s the intention of the Māori Party certainly under Tuku’s presidency then that could be a very different landscape.”
Māori Party chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan has been in the role for less than a month and is on record as pledging to win all the Māori seats at the 2017 election including Hauraki Waikato.
“It’s as I said, it’s a momentous occasion it’s not often that the King would make that kind of announcement here in front of the motu.”
Waikato has had a long relationship with the Labour Party and Ms Mahuta has held the seat for 17 years, but that relationship is well and truly severed with the king saying he’d no longer vote for Labour.
Maori politics is getting more interesting.