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Leaders declare a new Maori movement, but Labour not concerned

Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 9:26AM
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell and the Mana Movement's Hone Harawira walk on to the Ratana Pa marae together. Moments earlier Harawira embraced Flavell in a bear-hug in full view of the media (Mark Mitchell)

Leaders declare a new Maori movement, but Labour not concerned

Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Jan 2017, 9:26AM

UPDATED 10.30AM: Labour Party leader Andrew Little insists he isn't concerned about a new alliance between the Māori and Mana parties which pitched for support at Rātana Pa yesterday.

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell, flanked by counterpart Marama Fox and Mana figurehead Hone Harawira, spoke of a "political movement under a Māori Party banner" which would reclaim Māori electorate seats from Labour "and stay in kaupapa Māori hands forever."

Labour holds six of the seven Māori seats in Parliament, and Andrew Little doesn't feel threatened by the alliance.

"The Māori Party is totally discredited, they've been utterly shackled to the National Party for the last nearly nine years, and the conditions for Māori have got worse," Little said.

The Mana Party was "frankly pretty irrelevant," Little said, and wasn't concerned about their resurgence.


Despite the Labour leader's assessment, Hone Harawira is upbeat about the new union.

"There's surprisingly a lot of common ground," Harawira said. "The difficulty was that in the past people weren't willing to engage."

"The Māori Party having a new president changed all that - we're talking now quite regularly."

However Labour MP Kelvin Davis, who holds the Te Tai Tokerau seat which Harawira used to represent, has accused his predecessor of "speaking with a forked tongue."

"There's many reasons to go into parliament and to want to be a member of parliament," Davis said. "To repair your hurt pride is not one of them."

Both leaders of the two parties took the chance to criticise Prime Minister Bill English's decision not to attend celebrations at Waitangi on February 6th.

Marama Fox noted that Waitangi is different to Ratana, highlighting the significance of Waitangi being the signing place of a Treaty that was ignored for 100 years.

"At Waitangi, it is the place where we need to show that until we hold the standards of the Treaty, then we can never move forward as a nation united," she said.

Hone Harawira pointed out that no one can assume to be the leader of the nation if they're not prepared to go to its birthplace.

"One thing I always respected about John Key - I say respected because I don't particularly like the guy - regardless of the flack, he always fronted," Harawira said.

"Bill English is doing himself a disservice, and the role of Prime Minister a disservice by not fronting."




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