Election 2023: Nanaia Mahuta takes herself off Labour's list, will stand as electorate-only

Labour's Nanaia Mahuta isn't seeking a position on the party's list and will run at the 2023 election as an electorate-only candidate in Hauraki-Waikato.

Mahuta, who has made this move twice before in her decades-long career in Parliament, confirmed to Newshub on Tuesday morning she was committed to standing at the October 14 election, but had chosen not to seek a list position.

"I think that at this election, because of the significance of the decisions voters have to make, and certainly in my electorate, I am putting quite squarely in front of voters in Hauraki-Waikato, that I am up for the next set of challenges," Mahuta said.

The MP and current Foreign Affairs Minister, who first entered Parliament in 1996, said she wanted to see Labour re-elected.

"There is a lot at stake and I am prepared to go to the electorate and seek their support."

Mahuta said the Labour Government had "made some significant gains for New Zealanders during some really difficult challenges".

"When I think about the health reforms that have been put through, when I think about removing rates remission on Māori so we can get Māori land more productive, when I think about increasing representation around council decision-making tables so Māori are not left out of those local decisions."

She said she was unaware if any of her Labour colleagues standing in other Māori seats are making a similar move.

Mahuta took Hauraki-Waikato in 2020 with a significant margin. She received 15,885 votes to Te Pāti Māori's 6225.

She has stood as an electorate-only candidate twice before.

The first time was at the 2005 election amid the foreshore and seabed controversy. She said iwi in her electorate of Tainui didn't support the legislation and she wanted to give her constituents "the final word on this at the next election on my ability to represent them".

All of Labour's candidates standing for Māori seats took themselves off the list in 2017 in a strategic decision to try and wipe out the Māori Party.

The Māori Party lost its seats in Parliament at that election but returned with Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer in 2020. Te Pāti Māori is making a big play for the Māori seats this election, including by swiping previous Labour minister Meka Whaitiri.