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Maori Party asks why another week is necessary?

Maori Party asks why another week is necessary?

Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Co-leaders of the Maori Party

Thursday 12 October 2006

The Maori Party is concerned that the country is being dragged into another week for an opportunity to create greater confusion.

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party, expressed his frustration that the nation was expected to wait until next Thursday (19 October 2006) before parliamentary parties can be held to be accountable.

“The concerns around parliamentary advertising have been lurking for the last twelve months and more” said Dr Sharples. “This situation is becoming farcical and does not reflect well on Parliament”.

“The Maori Party endorses the comments from the Speaker, that it is essential that the matter is resolved “if public confidence in Parliament is to be maintained” stated Dr Sharples.

In a study released by the Electoral Commission in July 2006, ‘Understanding of MMP in the 2005 NZES survey’; a third of nearly 3000 survey participants, when asked how much trust and confidence they had in parliament, were close to the centre.

“We need to do much better in Parliament, if we are to encourage public confidence” said Dr Sharples.

“We also welcome the response of the Prime Minister in stating that “Politics is a public business and it requires transparency” said Dr Sharples. “We were, therefore, extremely disappointed that the House was unable, today, to debate a matter which has consumed so much time and public profile over the last year”.

“Compliance with Party and member support appropriations under Vote Parliamentary Service is a critical part of doing our job” said Tariana Turia. “We have always been clear that public money may only be spent under parliamentary authority. It’s a case of One Law for All - surely a standard we thought all parties signed up to”.

“We accept, unreservedly, the comments from the Controller and Auditor-General for the need for prudent management of public money” said Mrs Turia. “We also share his concern around the significant breaches of the appropriations”.

“We can not resile from the fact that this whole inquiry came into being because of the increasingly fuzzy boundaries between departmental, ministerial and political advertising that were evident through the Working for Families promotion” said Mrs Turia.

“It is outrageous that the same Government that is denying beneficiary families making claim to a mere $3000 a year under the Working for Families package is the one most liable for the greatest breaches of the appropriations” said Mrs Turia.

“It is also reproachable that a surplus of $11.5 billion can be announced while the poor wallow in poverty” said Mrs Turia.

“We are relieved that the Prime Minister has announced that Labour will refund the money ruled by the Auditor-General to have been wrongly spent on communications - although we will await the detail of what this means in practice” said Mrs Turia. “I know the Labour spin machine has been working over-time to create statements such as this. It always pays to be wary”.

“We look forward to robust debate about what is a valid “parliamentary purpose” as opposed to “electioneering purposes” at the meetings of the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Appropriation Review Committee” said Mrs Turia.

“We are all under the scope of public scrutiny - and the Maori Party has stood up to that scrutiny and ‘paid it back’” concluded Mrs Turia.

ENDS

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