Labour list MP Mita Ririnui has announced he will leave Parliament at the end of this year to pursue new opportunities working with his people in the Bay of Plenty, the NZ Herald is reporting.
“My focus will be on leading Tauranga iwi through the settlement process and providing them with any guidance and assistance they may need. I also intend to be involved in the post-settlement challenges that iwi will be confronted with. These are exciting times,” he told the Herald.
“It’s been a wonderful 12 years, many of which I spent as a Minister helping shape policies designed to improve the lives of Maori throughout the country. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Mr Ririnui was born and raised in Tauranga and represented Waiariki from 1999 till 2005. He has previously served as Associate Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Health, Corrections and Forestry.
He revealed to SunLive.co.nz that he considered leaving the party with fellow MP Tariana Turia in 2004 when Maori expressed fierce opposition to the controversial foreshore and seabed legislation.
“If I had done what Tariana Turia had done, I would still be the member for Waiariki, but there was a cost attached to that.”
The 58 year old says he achieved a lot for Maori during his time in Parliament.
He lists achievements as the return of Mauao to Tauranga iwi, the transfer of the Te Arawa Lakes to the tribes of Te Arawa, positive progress of treaty settlements in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Central North Island Settlement, which is New Zealand’s largest treaty settlement to date.
Today, Mr Goff wished Mr Ririnui all the best for the future.
“I’d like to acknowledge the contribution that Mita has made to the Labour caucus during his 12 years in Parliament, particularly the work he has done on behalf of the M?ori community and the Ratana movement. He is a valued member of our team.
“It’s a tough decision but one that I respect. I wish Mita all the best with his life outside Parliament and the contribution he will undoubtably make supporting iwi in his Bay of Plenty community through the settlement process.