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Sharples Says Maori Party has to Talk About Loss

Sharples Says Maori Party has to Talk About Loss

Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says the party’s MPs and its members have to talk through what went wrong in Ikaroa Rawhiti.

Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation” Dr Sharples said the party had been against the Labour organisation and the fact that the Mana candidates was a popular TV personality in the campaign.

And Dr Sharples said Te Ururoa Flavell’s leadership challenge was also a factor.

“I've been up and down Ikaroa Rawhiti for three weeks now and this is what people are saying, and we have to come to terms with that and deal with it,” he said.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira last night on Maori TV called on the Maori Party to merge with Mana.

Dr Sharples said he is willing to work with Mr Harawira but has ruled out dismantling the Maori Party as he wants it to be part of future governments.

“We have always said we will work with any party where we have the same kaupapa and the same thing applies to Mana,” he said.

“Hone and I have talked about a number of things, and I have a particular role as a minister in different areas, and if Hone wants to propose a joint programme on something, well we're waiting to hear. 

“In terms of dismantling the Maori Party and joining the Mana Party, that will not happen, because we promised our people that we would try and build a group of Maori who have a Maori philosophy in parliament and build it to such a level that no government could govern without us, and we're going to keep doing that.” .

'THE NATION'
PITA SHARPLES
Interviewed by RACHEL SMALLEY

Rachel Well the big upset last night was the Maori Party result, their candidate Na Raihania won 20% of the vote which is roughly the same support he got in the general election. But the big surprise is how the Mana Patty swept past the Maori Party to take second place. The Maori Party's Co-Leader Pita Sharples joins me now from Hastings. Kia ora Dr Sharples, thank you for joining us this morning. Meka Whaitiri said to us just then as you probably would have heard I think, that there's a lot of hurt out there in the electorate. How much responsibility does the Maori Party take for that hurt?

Dr Pita Sharples – Maori Party Co-Leader
I think what Meka has said take into account is that the successes she boasts of in 2008 were before the depression, and the recession, a world recession before the earthquake and all those things. The situation has changed completely and of course there's hurt, there's hurt throughout New Zealand, and we have to take care of that, and what is sad is that they haven't noticed how much the Maori Party has influenced the situation to help Maori over this period.

Rachel Is the candidate responsible then for this result in the electorate, or is the Maori Party responsible?

Pita Oh I think the Maori Party's responsible. I think also as she said – Meka, congratulations you're great, you'll be a good MP – but as she said Labour came out in force, the whole army was here, even their leader was out here so much, they made sure that they dotted their I's, transported people and all that stuff, and that's what you do. And they needed to do that because in the polls they're not doing too well. As for coming third and not second, well Hamua's a personality. You know he comes into all our homes, he brings entertainment and things like this, and we like him. You know he's somebody that people can relate to, and so that was a personality one I feel. Congratulations to him, but Na Raihania is an excellent candidate. I hope he stands again because he is worthwhile having in government, in the party.

Rachel Nonetheless does the swing to Mana, to you suggest that Maori want to vote for a party that’s left of centre?

Pita No it doesn’t. Well it may to a certain extent. There's been many reasons why our vote was low and as other media have said and I see it's in the paper this morning, that I have mentioned when asked that the leadership challenge on me was in fact a factor that counted for our low vote. Because if you look at it, in four years we have moved one billion dollars' worth of assets and programmes for Maori, into the Maori arena, and even including feeding people at schools.

Rachel Okay nonetheless though you still finished third in this vote. Maori still didn’t vote with you to the same degree that you would have wanted them to. You have an AGM coming up. Will you be discussing at that AGM your relationship with National?

Pita Oh most definitely. I don’t see it as so much as a relationship with National, I see it as our party having to get their act into gear, their structure right, the infrastructure in place, and moving out amongst the people, so they can be aware of how parliament operates, and how you get rewards for your people and programmes like the trade training programme we've got going and things like that.

Rachel Do you believe the vote also, or the lack of vote for the Maori Party is also the result of perhaps some of the discontent that’s been in the Maori Party's leadership, the fact that there has been some you know eyebrows raised, what's going on there, who's leading the party? Have you paid the price for that as well?

Pita There's no doubt that we have, and this is the feeling that’s been communicated to me around the areas. I've been up and down Ikaroa Rawhiti for three weeks now and this is what people are saying, and we have to come to terms with that and deal with it.

Rachel So who's responsible for that, Te Ururoa Flavell or yourself?

Pita It's about settling the issue really, and I think both the parliamentary group as well as the party hierarchy have to talk this through together.

Rachel As I mentioned earlier Dr Sharples, if Maori and Mana Party had combined you would have won this seat. Will you reconsider? I spoke to you at the start of this year and it was something that you were considering whether or not you would work with Mana. Is that something you should reconsider now?

Pita We have always said we will work with any party where we have the same kaupapa and the same thing applies to Mana. Hone and I have talked about a number of things, and I have a particular role as a minister in different areas, and if Hone wants to propose a joint programme on something, well we're waiting to hear. In terms of dismantling the Maori Party and joining the Mana Party, that will not happen, because we promised our people that we would try and build a group of Maori who have a Maori philosophy in parliament and build it to such a level that no government could govern without us, and we're going to keep doing that. The party's going to keep doing that.

Rachel So Hone Harawira has to come to you with a proposal?

Pita It's like ACT and the Greens and others do. If they have a proposal they come and see us, we talk it through. We support or don’t support, or work together. Yes.

Rachel Alright, Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-Leader, appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

Pita` Kia ora, and congratulations to all the others.

ENDS

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