Labour MP believed to be on Celebrity Treasure Island

Senior Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZ
Senior Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZ
Former deputy prime minister and senior Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni is understood to be one of the contestants on the new season of Celebrity Treasure Island.

The reality television show is due to be screened in New Zealand later this year.

Last year's season five was filmed in Te Waipounamu (the South Island) and had a group of 18 contestants vying to win $100,000 for their chosen charity.

Contestants included comedians Courtney Dawson and Eli Matthewson, presenter Mary Lambie, actor Miriama Smith, and activist and artist Tame Iti, among others.

Sepuloni first became an MP in 2008, lasting a term before dipping out of politics and returning again in 2014 as the MP for Kelston - a seat she still holds.

She became deputy prime minister in January 2023 when Chris Hipkins took over from Dame Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand's first MP of Tongan descent, Sepuloni was a senior minister between 2017 and 2023, holding portfolios including social development and ACC.

The MP has not been seen in Wellington for some time after an Achillies injury which required surgery, forcing her to take leave from Parliament for a number of weeks.

She is due back on Tuesday, and will be getting around the halls of power on a scooter.

Sepuloni will be the first MP to compete on Celebrity Treasure Island, but she will not be the only politician to have taken part in a reality TV show.

In 2018, ACT leader David Seymour hit the country's screens on Dancing with the Stars and made it all the way to the semi-final, finishing fifth overall.

The following year he made a one episode return as a former contestant.

Seymour is most remembered for his dance routine which involved him wearing bright highlighter-coloured '80s gym gear, where he twerked on stage.

Dancing, it seems, is in the ACT party's blood with former leader Rodney Hide also a contestant in 2006.

Hide received a record low score in one episode, just one point each from the four judges, after he dropped his dance partner, Krystal Stuart, mid-routine, and the pair were eliminated.

TVNZ has been contacted for comment.