Meka Whaitiri is New Zealand's newest MP. Ms Whaitiri won yesterday's Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election with a majority of 1761 votes over the Mana Party's candidate Te Hamua Nikora. The Maori Party and Green Party candidates filled third and fourth places, as predicted.
But Meka Whaitiri's majority will be of concern to Labour. She won 41.5% or the vote, compared to Parekura Horomia having won more than 60% in 2011. And her share of the vote is significantly less that the more-than 50% of Ikaroa-Rawhiti electors who party-voted for Labour in 2011.
This result most certainly can not be taken as a ringing endorsement of David Shearer's leadership. Labour should have won by a far wider margin given the vice-like grip which Mr Horomia held over Ikaroa-Rawhiti.
But it was Meka Whaitiri's night, and we congratulate her sincerely. She will bring a solid background of service to Maori to Parliament.