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Hapu Party Slams Pita Sharples over four questions

*Hapu Party Slams Pita Sharples over "four questions"*

The new Maori-based political party launched last week – the Hapu Party – has heavily criticised Pita Sharples' leadership of the Maori Party.

Hapu Party leader, David Rankin, claims that the Maori Party co-leader has not been fully accountable about the affairs relating to an aborted Maori University that Pita Sharples planned for Glen Eden.

Mr. Rankin has written repeatedly to Dr. Sharples asking for answers to questions relating to the financial management of the university, but Dr. Sharples has refused to reply.

The Hapu Party has decided that the matter should now be made public. The four questions put to Pita Sharples are:

1. What happened to the approximately $400,000 that Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust loaned to Dr. Sharples to build a Maori university in Glen Eden?

1. What happened to the loan of over one million dollars from the Waitakere City Council for the university to be built?

1. Why has Dr. Sharples refused to make public the accounts for the university, which would reveal where this money has gone?

1. Where is the money, and will Dr. Sharples return it to the rate payers of Waitakere City and the needy people of Waipareira Trust?

"My concern is that public money has disappeared, and that the leader of the Maori Party is pretending that nothing is wrong", says Mr. Rankin, "His method of management seems to be to sweep everything under the carpet".

Rankin cites one of his sources as John Tamihere, the CEO of Waipareira Trust. "Privately, I am aware of the extent of this problem through my contacts in the Waitakere City Council and elsewhere, and if I was in Pita Sharples' position, I would be extremely concerned", says Mr Rankin.

Rankin has given notice that if the Maori Party co-leader does not provide satisfactory answers to the four questions within ten days, he will lay a complaint with the Speaker of the House and with the Serious Fraud Office. "This is something I would be very reluctant to do", says Mr. Rankin, "but our people deserve better, and deserve a right to know that their leaders are beyond reproach when it comes to these sorts of matters".


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