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NEWSFLASH: Dover Deadlock

Two hours of meeting with the PM Helen Clark last night was not enough to convince Maori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels to resign from his position as Maori Affairs Minister.

Mr Samuels has been under seige since early last week when he stood down from his ministerial duties while police investigated whether he had committed any criminal offence in his relationship with a teenager 14 years ago.

Initially the PM said she would be waiting for the police investigation report before any decisions would be taken on Mr Samuels fate. However yesterday the pace of developments overtook these plans and it had been expected that Mr Samuels would resign.

Last night the Maori Caucus met to discuss the issue and – according to Georgina Beyer – reached a decision. However just what that decision has not been revealed.

Samuels has several supporters in the caucus, notably Hauraki MP John Tamihere who yesterday evening, on Radio New Zealand’s checkpoint show, said he, as a “heterosexual male”, supported Dover Samuels.

Later –after the caucus - Mr Samuels is reported to have met with the PM for two hours discussing his resignation. However he is sticking to his guns it appears.

Yesterday the PM said Maoridom had indicated to her that it did not want the allegations against Samuels to obstruct the government’s “flag-ship” Closing The Gaps programme. She also said that she herself might step in to become Minister of Maori Affairs if Samuels were to go.

However she has also indicated that she wants Samuels to go of his own accord.

This morning Parliament has resumed sitting under urgency after much of yesterday’s session was taken up with an opposition filibuster on budget legislation.

Today was to have been a members day but it appears this – and Question time – have now been cancelled due to urgency.

(continuing...)

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