Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta has admitted the stream of attacks against her has affected her family members and her iwi.
Mahuta was speaking to the host of The Hui, Julian Wilcox, about the attacks on her former flagship policy Three Waters and the repeated use of her image by those opposing the policy, even months after she stopped being the minister responsible.
“It’s not helpful seeing memes and cartoons and negative images as part of a negative narrative being promoted against the issues that I have been trying to advance.
“My whanau do feel personally impacted. My iwi feel like they need to be defensive about all of this.”
But she said it was important to put the negative memes and cartoons in context.
“Those people and organisations who are promoting this negative narrative… are a small part of New Zealand I believe. And I believe most New Zealanders are fair-minded and they want a better go for all our kids.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister told Wilcox it was important not to “go down a rabbit hole where there are small-minded views being fostered for a negative divisive purpose”.
Mahuta wanted the conversation to be elevated to a well-informed and well-articulated place that had the best interests of all New Zealanders at heart.
She told The Hui host she had considered whether to stand again for the seat of Hauraki-Waikato that she has held for five terms, but said it was something she did before standing again at every election.
She said she always asked herself, “Have I done enough and have I gone as far as I can go?”
Mahuta said she ultimately decided to stand again in October, adding: “I believe that at this time when we are dealing with so many complex challenges both domestically and internationally that I bring a different perspective to the negotiating table for the benefit of the people of Hauraki-Waikato and the country at large.”
Made with support from New Zealand On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.