NZ Election 2020: Jacinda Ardern not committing to more Māori in Cabinet

Despite having just two Māori Labour MPs in her Cabinet, Jacinda Ardern wouldn't commit to bringing more in. 

The Labour leader was out in Gisborne with one of her rising Māori stars who is campaigning for the East Coast seat the party hopes will swing red.

Kiritapu Allan believes she can win the seat over National's new candidate Tania Tapsell. It was held by National's outgoing senior MP Anne Tolley.

A leaked poll commissioned by Labour shows Allan on 40.5 points, which is ahead of Tapsell who's on 35.

Despite the push to get the East Coast candidate into Parliament, Ardern won't commit to giving a Cabinet spot to a Māori contender.

"As you can imagine, I haven't been in the position or been so complacent that I'm focused on what Cabinet would look like [if re-elected]," she said on Thursday.

When asked if she thought there should be more diversity in Cabinet and more Māori should be at the table, she said: "We absolutely have to represent in Parliament the people that we serve."

Currently, six of 18 Cabinet ministers are Māori, only two of which are from the Labour Party. 

Meka Whaitiri was sacked as a minister after an incident with a staffer in 2018, and Allan is widely regarded as a future star in the party.

Ardern said there are strong Māori women in Labour, but again wouldn't go as far to say whether she would put them in Cabinet.

"I've been asked before about a number of our very strong members in our team. They know that that's not where we should be focussed right now, we are focussed on the campaign and on the election."