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Sharples planned Budget no-show appalling

27 May 2009
Media Statement


Sharples planned Budget no-show appalling

Labour is appalled to discover that Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples was planning to avoid fronting on tomorrow’s Budget and remain in Australia instead, says Labour’s Maori Affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia.

“We understand it dawned on someone in the Beehive or the Maori Party just yesterday how bad this would look and in a last-minute panic, it was decided Dr Sharples would have to cut his trip short and rush back in time for tomorrow.

“You really have to wonder how the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Maori Party co-leader believed he could justify his absence,” Parekura Horomia said.

“Did he plan to be in Australia because he’s embarrassed about how little this Budget delivers for Maori?

“Or did he simply think that the Government’s spending programme – and how it will or won’t benefit Maori - was of little interest to Maori voters?

“Prime Minister John Key signed off Dr Sharples’ trip and was therefore well aware that the Minister and Maori Party co-leader did not intend to be around for the Budget.

“It would appear the Prime Minister considered that either convenient or of little significance,” said Parekura Horomia.

“Dr Sharples and his party have got some explaining to do. They’ve been vocal critics of past Budgets and now they claim to be in a position to influence things to the advantage of Maori.

“Hearing that the Minister planned a no-show won’t exactly inspire confidence that this is the case.”

ENDS

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