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Call for Clark to sack Tamihere

National Deputy Leader
8 March 2004

Call for Clark to sack Tamihere

Prime Minister Helen Clark should sack Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere for breaching Cabinet collective responsibility, says National Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee.

He is commenting on statements by Mr Tamihere warning that Maori MPs may quit over the Government's reaction to the Waitangi Tribunal report on foreshore and seabed legislation. He outlined a plan for setting up a Maori political party where Maori MPs would resign from the Government and force a by-election.

Mr Brownlee said that though it might have been tolerable for a Minister outside Cabinet - Tariana Turia - to threaten to vote against the Government, it is not tolerable for a Cabinet Minister.

"The authority of the Crown in New Zealand is exercised by the Executive of government, the Cabinet, and the principle of collective responsibility is in place because the Crown should never be either unsupported or attacked by its own.

"This is a fundamental of Article 1 of the Treaty of Waitangi, and John Tamihere is in breach of it.

"He cannot raise the possibility of voting against the Cabinet. He cannot raise the prospect of forcing a by-election over this issue, and he cannot go around the countryside inciting views against Government policy and remain in Cabinet.

"And if Helen Clark lets him get away with this all she does is demonstrate her desperate desire to cling to power," Mr Brownlee says.

"Past Prime Ministers have sacked Ministers for less.

"This Prime Minister's silence on this issue speaks volumes."

Ends

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