For me, the Māori MP of the year has to be Nanaia Mahuta!
She has revolutionized Foreign Affairs unlike any politician in recent times with an indigenous world view that strengthens NZs diplomatic sway at a time when the Pacific is heating up between China and America.
Her Taniwha and Dragon imagery is as poetic as it is clever.
Steering NZ on an independent foreign policy between our largest trading partner and old alliances is one of the most difficult jobs in politics and Nanaia has brought intelligence and mana to the role that benefits New Zealand’s standing.
Domestically her decision to push ahead and effectively nationalize water with the 3 Waters policy has enraged critics who see the issue as merely stealing local water assets to give to Maori.
This simplistic reading misses how Labour can turn this into a water privatization issue.
Nanaia has written to the other political parties calling on them to not privatize water if Labour nationalize it.
As far as ACT are concerned everything not nailed down is up for sale and National aren’t much better.
Indeed it was National selling 49% of our hydro energy assets that started the modern debate over water ownership!
If Labour can turn 3 waters into a water privatization debate, it will quickly find traction and political support.
Special mention also to Kiri Allen whose fight with cancer was an inspiration!
First published on Waatea News.