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Maori Party shocked at Te Tai Tokerau by-election



Maori Party shocked at Te Tai Tokerau by-election

The Maori Party says it is shocked that Hone Harawira is going to force a by-election in Te Tai Tokerau.

Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says there are three reasons he is shocked and disappointed.

“Hone says the by-election is needed to give him a fresh mandate, but a by-election will not do that if the Maori Party does not contest it,” said Dr Sharples. “It would just be a manipulation of the system.”

“If Hone really wants to test his support, he should agree that we stand against him. Otherwise the by-election will prove nothing and be a huge waste of money.

“Secondly, our agreement not to stand against Hone applies only to a general election, when people can support the Maori Party with their party vote, even if we do not stand a candidate in the electorate.

“In a by-election, there is no party vote, so people cannot show their support for the Maori Party unless we stand a candidate - so the agreement does not apply.

Most importantly, says Dr Sharples, Mr Harawira will be breaching the agreement by resigning.

“Our agreement says that 'Hone will continue to represent Te Tai Tokerau as an independent candidate'. The moment he resigns, he has abandoned Te Tai Tokerau, and violated the agreement.

“So we are shocked that Hone would force a by-election costing around half a million dollars, and breach the agreement he made with us - especially after he told the media so clearly that he would not do that,” said Dr Sharples.

“It is up to the Maori Party Council to decide if the party will stand in the by-election, after consultation with Te Tai Tokerau members. Obviously they will discuss that urgently. At this stage Hone has not yet resigned.

“But whatever the Council decides about standing a candidate, we are moving immediately to rebuild the Maori Party organisation in Te Tai Tokerau.

“Kaumatua and community leaders from the North have come to us to tell us we need to do that. So I have started to call meetings for next weekend, and the Party Council is working on a membership drive and setting up electorate committees and branches right through Te Tai Tokerau.

“If Hone forces a by-election, we certainly want to be ready,” said Dr Sharples.


ends


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