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Lee Staying With Mana Motuhake

Hon Sandra Lee MP
Deputy Leader of the Alliance

4 April 2002

"I have been a Mana Motuhake member for the past 20 years, ever since I helped with many others to establish the party, and I remain so.

"It is the only party I have belonged to during all my time in public office at local or central government level—unlike most of my Alliance colleagues in either faction, who as a matter of public record have belonged to other parties in recent years.

"I am grateful for the support I have received from Mana Motuhake members who believe that having a seat at the Cabinet table is critical for the advancement of policy we have advocated for so long.

“When Hon Matiu Rata formed Mana Motuhake, it was his desire that the movement would one day be the basis of a transformative process that would educate all New Zealanders about the Treaty of Waitangi and the potential for a sincere approach to resolving the disparities afflicting Maori.

"I have given my support to Jim Anderton and the majority of my parliamentary colleagues as the Alliance goes about formalising its two factions. Both factions of the Alliance, which include Mana Motuhake members, have given public assurances we will continue to provide a stable government with our coalition partner Labour for the remaining months of the current parliamentary term.

"All the Maori MPs in the ranks of the coalition government were put into Parliament by our people to re-build New Zealand after the many devastating years of New Right slash-and-burn social policies. The coalition government is making important changes in Maori policy areas. Most Maori MPs on the government side have borne the brunt of the opposition's fury, largely through personal attacks rather than reasoned policy debate.

"As the most senior Maori MP in government at this time, my call to all my Maori colleagues is to make our singular focus in the months leading up to the election the further advancement of our people's economic and social well-being.

"No good will be served in my view by personalised attacks through the media, and I will continue to refuse to engage on that level.

"To quote the words of Hon Matiu Rata: 'Maori Members of Parliament would be wise not to politically attack one another. Those who attempt to can rest assured that there will be plenty of others in Parliament who'll do that for them.' "

Ends

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