NEWSFLASH: Tariana Turia Looking Forward To Byelection
Radio Waatea 603am today broke the news that Tariana Turia has decided to resign from Parliament and stand in a by-election in the Te Tai Hauaru Electorate. The news was announced at 3pm in a pre-recorded interview with Willie Jackson, himself a former MP.
Associate Maori Affairs Minister Turia is presently holding a press conference for national media organisations at Ratana Pa. Ms Turia's resignation from Parliament will spark a by-election in the Te Tai Hauaru Electorate.
In the Radio Waatea interview Ms Turia said she was very much a whanau, hapu and Iwi person and had never made the transition to putting the Labour Party first.
In fac she had never even expected to become an MP in 1996 when she stood, let alone a Minister in following years.
Ms Turia thanked Prime Minister Helen Clark for giving her the opportunities that she had in her time with the Labour Party.
She said she had been able to bring another perspective to both the Caucus and Cabinet table in her time in Parliament. That said she said she had entered Parliament naievely beleiving that under MMP she would be able to vote against the Government from time to time and to speak against the Government. In fact that had not proved to be possible.
Ms Turia said her Labour Maori MP colleagues would in the end be accountable to their electorates. She said she was not willing to speak against either them or their electorates.
Concluduing the interview Willie Jackson asked Ms Turia about the possible birth of a new Maori Political Party.
"It is my belief that our people have through this issue realised that it is time for a Maori Political movement," she replied. "And it is something that I believe too. I am excited Willie. I have been excited listening to our people around the country.
"Generally people are feeling for the first time - that I have witnessed anyway - that they want some political authority. And I think the time is right. "
Q: You now have a byelection in front of you, are you excited?
A "I have spent a lot of time in the electorate in the last three weeks. And I am confident that our people will want to take back power to themselves and this is a way they can do so."