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Korero kaupapa - not political rhetoric

Korero kaupapa - not political rhetoric:

Maori Party Dr Pita Sharples and Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leaders

3 November 2008

The Maori Party says both National and Labour are gradually coming around to a consistent position on entrenchment of the Maori seats - a position which reflects very favourably on the influence and impact of the Maori Party.

"The Prime Minister said several times on TV yesterday that entrenchment of the Maori seats is Labour Party policy. And so it was (in 2001) then wasn't (in 2005) and now is again," said Co-leader Tariana Turia. "Yet last week, the Minister of Maori Affairs said entrenchment wasn't necessary. It has literally been a moving feast this last week" she laughed.

"Meanwhile National says abolition of the seats is party policy, but not a bottom line, and entrenchment is something that might be discussed after the election. This shows they, too, are aware of the influence of the Maori Party in taking up the aspirations and ideals of the Maori constituency'" said Dr Pita Sharples.

"Labour's stance is not about supporting the Maori Party, it's about grabbing Maori votes. The Prime Minister's suggestions of a cosy relationship is painting a picture that's not quite accurate, and they are signing up to policy they are clearly not committed to," said Mrs Turia. "National is also non-committal."

"I know what our voters would say - talk tika not teka!" (accuracy rather than deceit)

"The Maori Party's view is that the Maori seats reflect the Treaty relationship in Parliament, so they are a constitutional matter, not to be abolished at the whim of any political party. Our policy is the Maori seats should have the same protection as other seats in Parliament, and entrenchment does that," said Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia.

"It is our role as the authentic and independent voice of Maori in Parliament to advocate and follow up these issues on behalf of our constituents.

"All of these last minute change of heart decisions remind us that the Maori Party is influential - and we welcome the opportunity that both these parties have put forward, to be prepared to listen and to compromise - to value the Treaty based relationship".

"We are looking for relationships with other parties who show understanding of Treaty principles and the special role of those who take up the obligations and responsibilities of serving in the Maori electorate seats - parties who are willing to come on board with our kaupapa for the advancement of the whole nation," they said.

ENDS

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