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Government moves against Maori Council

Government moves against Maori Council

Brendan Horan MP asks why Te Puni Kokiri appears to be acting unlawfully in withholding $13 million from the Maori Council.

He was commenting following the conclusion of Waitangi Tribunal hearings on a claim brought by the Maori Council. Brendan Horan has previously highlighted excessive spending on contractors and consultants by Te Puni Kokiri.

“Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Te Puni Kokiri appear to be acting outside the law and what are their motives?

“Government is moving to vest control of Maori Wardens in entities other than the Maori Council. Yet the Maori Coommunity Development Act 1962 clearly gives the Maori Council control of the wardens’ organisation,” said Brendan Horan.

At stake is an investment grant of $13 million, which has not been properly allocated since 2007. The Maori Council has told the Waitangi Tribunal that the warden system works well except for the intervention of Te Puni Kokiri and the favouritism of the Minister which created divisions amongst the wardens.

The Tribunal was told that the wardens were manipulated by the Minister and Te Puni Kokiri as if the wardens were puppets – as if wardens were servants – as if the wardens were a voluntary police force – as if wardens were a body to do the bidding of the govt.

Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite has stated that the “Council was a Maori institution.” The Maori Council is not a government institution, yet the Government has assumed it has the authority to control the wardens, to isolate them from the Council, and to make proposals and attempt to implement them without consultation with the Council

“This is typical of the Government’s divide-and-conquer regime.

“The Act clearly establishes that the Maori Council is the legal authority to control wardens whose role is to provide an important service to ensure that law and order within Maori communities was maintained under the direction of the District Maori Councils.

“It is obvious that Government is attempting to destroy the Maori Council because it has been a thorn in the side of Government, in its representation of all Maori, rural and urban regardless of iwi affiliation. Most recently in the Maori Council’s opposition to the Government on asset sales and on water,” said Brendan Horan.

ENDS

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