Former Labour candidate Rawiri Waititi to stand for Māori Party in Waiariki electorate

Rawiri Waititi.
Rawiri Waititi. Photo credit: Supplied

Former Labour Party candidate Rawiri Waititi has jumped waka and joined the Māori Party.

Waititi announced on Sunday that he will be running for the Waiariki electorate.

The 39-year-old told Newshub he is eager to get traction on Māori issues.

"The Māori Party is the only Māori voice that can represent our people and the hopes and aspirations of Maoridom, so it was an easy choice for me," he said.

Waititi ran for Labour in 2014. He says in this election he will be campaigning on issues such as climate change and overhauling Oranga Tamariki in order to provide more help for at-risk children.

"We need to really, really look at whether Oranga Tamariki is the right vehicle to be dealing with this issue, or should we be looking at something that is more inclusive of a whanau being part of the solution?" 

Waititi told Newshub he believes indigenous knowledge can help preserve the environment.

"We've given everybody else a go and we've got polluted rivers, we've got a huge hunger for economics but there's pressure put on the other end, which is the environment. If we don't look after our environment we don't have an economy."

He is the second Māori Party candidate confirmed so far, joining Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who is standing in the western Māori seat Te Tai Hauāuru.

The election will be held on September 19.