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Sharples Smoke And Mirrors Stance On Seats

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Parekura Horomia
Parekura Horomia

Pita Sharples' outrage over the Government's refusal to back Maori seats on the new Auckland Council rings hollow in light of the deal the Maori Party signed with National after the election, says Labour's Maori Affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia.

"The confidence and supply agreement the Maori Party signed with National records the Maori Party's commitment not to pursue the entrenchment of the Maori seats in Parliament this term.

"This was a cop-out at the time, especially given the fact it was a so-called bottom line for the Maori Party before the election," says Parekura Horomia.

"It's even more of a cop-out when you consider all the statements Dr Sharples has made over the past two days about why Maori seats are so important.

"Dr Sharples needs to explain why the Maori Party caved in on this issue during confidence and supply negotiations, and how he can reconcile that action with the attacks he is now making," says Parekura Horomia.

"He also needs to explain why he continues to be part of a Government which repeatedly makes decisions which have a negative impact on Maori.

"He claims that by agreeing to disagree he is acting with integrity. But the reality is that there is no integrity in continuing to prop up a government which disadvantages Maori - even if he is 'allowed' to complain about various decisions.

"This is either a mana-enhancing relationship or it's not and the proof of that is what this Government does, not a lot of huffing and puffing.

"So far we've had the 90 Day fire at will law, a pitiful minimum wage increase, tax cuts which deliver nothing to the vast majority of Maori families and now this.

"Dr Sharples and his party have been sidelined repeatedly. They have taken the position of the Minister of Maori Affairs outside Cabinet which has clearly played a role in diminishing the Maori voice when key decisions are made.

"He needs to take responsibility for this and for the decisions taken by this Government, because he is a minister in it. He can't take the credit when he likes what the Government does and pretend he's got nothing to do with it when he doesn't."

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