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Rodney Hide – Scraping the bottom of the barrel

“Rodney Hide – Scraping the bottom of the barrel and desperate for publicity,” says the Co-Leader of the Maori Party, Dr. Pita Sharples.

Dr. Pita Sharples (Co-Leader Maori Party) - Press Release

In response to Rodney Hide’s comments earlier this week Dr. Pita Sharples says “Rodney Hide must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel and desperate for publicity; that he has to base his entire speech to the influential Wellington Central branch of the Rotary club on discrediting the Maori party. One would have thought that he would have been better served to promote his party’s policies given his recent position in the polls”.

“As Co-leader of the Maori party, I consider it to be quite a compliment that he should spend so much energy in criticising a party that has made no candidate selections at this point; that has yet to publish it’s policies; and, that is only a little over two months old!”

“Rodney Hide has great difficulty in accepting that the Maori party is for all New Zealanders. Maori culture has always been inclusive – it still is – it just never has been allowed to expand into the political arena. The Maori party’s founding philosophies are most definitely grounded in Maori cultural beliefs and aspirations, which will be expressed in policies that embrace and acknowledge the bicultural partnership expressed in the Treaty of Waitangi in the first place, and secondly the multicultural

environment that is modern New Zealand,” says Dr Sharples.

“Both National and Labour are western or pakeha westminister parties for all New

Zealanders, including Maori. Likewise the Maori party is a Maori party also for all New Zealanders. It is both arrogant and ethnocentric to assume that western based philosophies can provide governing policies for Maori, but that Maori philosophies

cannot cater for pakeha and other New Zealanders,” states Dr. Sharples.

“Rodney Hide also makes other ridiculous claims, one of which likens the Maori party to the National front. The National front openly admits it has its basis in exclusiveness, and is opposed to eastern immigration to this country. The National front also wants Maori to have a separate parliament and territory outside of pakeha New Zealanders’ space. The Maori party on the other hand wants to be part of an integrated New Zealand, but where Maori aspirations in language and culture can sit side-by-side within our general New Zealand culture,” says Dr. Sharples.

He says, “Self-determination to the Maori party can be achieved for Maori by creating pathways within a single parliamentary system, which recognises that Maori knowledge is still a valid and appropriate knowledge to be included in today’s planning for our nationhood. Rodney says the Maori party is race-based and separatist. Whilst the Maori party does have its basis from within Maori cultural and spiritual beliefs it is, nevertheless, totally for all New Zealanders and is anything but separatist.

On the other hand, however, successive governments of New Zealand have shown in the past that on very important matters to Maori they have themselves been separatist in their policies and practices. I refer here to the deliberate marginalisation of Maori students within the policies and practices of the Ministry of Education in the latter half of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century. I refer to the legislation of 1907 “the Tohunga Suppression Act”, which placed Maori culture outside the law of New Zealand and with reference to the policy of corporal punishment of Maori students in the 1920’s and 1930’s for speaking their own language”.

Finally Dr Sharples says, “No, Rodney, the Maori party is not separatist or divisive and is here to stay. The Maori party will bring a fresh approach and brighter times ahead for all New Zealanders, which will include you as well Rodney. It is a party, which aims to unite New Zealanders to respect each other’s differences in order to go forward together”.

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