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Trashed by Brash

3 February 2004 Media Statement

Trashed by Brash

National Party leader Don Brash's decision to replace Georgina Te Heuheu with Gerry Brownlee as Maori Affairs spokesman was a sad day which ended a long and honourable relationship between the Te Heuheu family and National, Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere says.

Mr Tamihere said the decision indicated that there was no place for Maori in the National Party, and Mrs Te Heuheu no longer had the support of the party or leadership, and should resign from the party.

Mrs Te Heuheu's demotion broke a long connection between the Te Heuheu whanau and National, one of the strongest relationships National ever had with Maori, Mr Tamihere said.

"Going back to the time when the Te Heuheu family gifted Tongariro National Park to the nation, they had a huge historic relationship with National. Georgina's banishment is a sad day for her and ends a long history of commitment and service to National."

Mr Tamihere said he could think of few skills that Mr Brownlee could bring to the job.

"I hear he's good at karaoke and plays the guitar, and obviously loves his boil-ups, but apart from that I can't really think of any attributes he could contribute to the portfolio – it can hardly be due to a huge Maori support base in Ilam."


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