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Foreshore and Seabed is a matter of principle

Foreshore and Seabed is a matter of principle

Hon Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-Leaders          7 July 2008

Labour’s desperation at their poor poll results is obvious from complaints by the Minister of Maori Affairs that, in his view, the Maori Party is a one-ticket party.

“The Maori Party is a party of principle,” said Tariana Turia. “That’s the difference between us and Labour, and that’s why we’re going up in public opinion, and Labour is going down. Their Maori caucus might want to think about that at their party’s election strategy huddle tomorrow,” she said.

“The confiscation of customary rights in the foreshore and seabed was certainly the catalyst for the formation of the Maori Party, out of the almost total opposition among tangata whenua to the actions of the Crown,” said Dr Sharples.

“But it was the denial of due process, Labour’s overthrow of the rule of law, that infuriated tangata whenua and others who saw what was happening,” said Mrs Turia.

“It was also the fact that six out of seven members of Labour’s Maori caucus supported confiscation of the foreshore and seabed that launched the Maori Party,” said Dr Sharples. “Our people wanted a voice in Parliament, and they saw with absolute certainty that the Labour MPs did not represent them.”

“That’s all a matter of historical record, which Parekura should know,” he said. “These days, what our people see is that the Maori Party stands to speak on every issue, every day that Parliament sits, and advocates for tangata whenua on every matter before the nation. We are definitely not a one-ticket party.

“In fact at last count, the Hansard record shows that our four MPs have delivered 544 speeches in the House on a vast range of topics (an average of 136 speeches each); while in the same period, the ten Labour Maori MPs had delivered only 404 speeches between them - an average of 40 per member."

“We forced a back-down on the sale of land under claim at Whenuakite, Rangiputa and Taurewa, we got the Treaty of Waitangi put back into the school curriculum, we fought for a Treaty clause in the Public Health Act, and much, much more.

“Our MPs are the genuine independent voice of Maori in Parliament,” said Dr Sharples. “We will expose things that the people need to know, if necessary we will express opinions that other parties find unpopular or unpalatable, but our views are based on principle.”

“Our stance is guided by kaupapa and tikanga handed down by our tupuna,” said Mrs Turia. “That’s what gives the Maori Party strength, and that’s why the people support us. Perhaps the unity and single-minded determination of the people is what makes Parekura think we are a one-ticket party, I’m not sure,” she said. 


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