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Cracks evident in Maori Party

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Latest Political News | Thursday January 24 2013 5:39

Cracks evident in Maori Party

The cracks are starting to show within the Maori Party.

Members, the executive and MPs debated changes to the constitution and possible leadership contenders until late last night, at a hui near Ratana Pa.

Co-leader Pita Sharples, who is facing a challenge from MP Te Ururoa Flavell, is open to the idea of the party merging with Mana.

But Tariana Turia is not so happy with that proposal from Hone Harawira.

"If I go on past experience, and if I'm being really honest about it, it was a horrendous experience and not one that I personally would want to repeat."

Te Ururoa Flavell is also lukewarm on the idea.

"Hone Harawira, whatever he says, that's for him to say.

"I suspect that he's being funny, and failing dismally."

Te Ururoa Flavell says it's early days yet.

"Hone is playing politics, and at the end of the day when it comes down to the crunch like we have to do from time to time, we make accommodations, and it's really something we have to consider.

"Probably, as a party anyway, it means making up the numbers."

Dr Sharples is being challenged for the role by Te Ururoa Flavell and is being urged by his co leader Tariana Turia to step aside.

John Key says if there's a change then he'll consult the new leadership.

"While as Prime Minister I obviously reserve the right to determine who is in Cabinet and who is out, I also take strong guidance from the leadership, and so if there was a change in leadership then they may well have a view of who will make up the ministerial warrants, and who should have those."

Massey University associate professor of politics, Grant Duncan, says the party has been hurt by its association with National, and may lose support in the next election.

"They really need to do something desperately, I suggest, to have a makeover, because they may not have the number of seats in parliament next time that they have now."

Discussions within the Maori Party continue at Ratana today.

Photo: Getty Images

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