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Bennett sets record straight on powhiri

Paula Bennett

National Party MP

09 May 2006

Bennett sets record straight on powhiri

National MP Paula Bennett categorically denies the Prime Minister’s account of what happened after a powhiri at a Government-run youth justice facility on Friday.

“I challenge Georgina Beyer, who like me but unlike Helen Clark was actually at the event, to stand up and tell us what the kaumatua was upset about at the end of the powhiri.

“He made it very clear that he found it offensive and that it ‘brought shame’ for two women to sit in the front. There was no ‘boorish behaviour’, as Ms Beyer well knows. The kaumatua felt that protocol had been broken by two women sitting at the front.

“At the end of the powhiri, when Anne Tolley turned to Ms Beyer to ask her if she was going to do anything about his insults to the two women, she clearly stated that she wouldn’t and that ‘they shouldn’t have sat there’.

“Other allegations of rudeness are completely untrue. Ms Collins and I took our shoes off together outside the whare and actually balanced on each other. I was standing directly behind both Judith and Anne during the haka and did not see anything but awe for the boys’ outstanding performance.

“Helen Clark claims women have a choice to sit in the front or the back during powhiri at government facilities. Clearly, her comments, and the actions of Ms Beyer in defending the practice, show this is simply not correct ,” says Ms Bennett.

Ends

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