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Time for Māori voters to come back home


15 October 2015

Time for Māori voters to come back home

The Māori Party says it is time Māori voters recognised that there is no other political party in Parliament that comes from a Māori perspective or prioritises their concerns. The Māori Party is holding its AGM at Te Ōhaaki Marae in Huntly this weekend where the party will review its first year since the General Election 2014 and plan for the future.

As a support partner in Government, the Māori Party is driving a development agenda focused on whānau wellbeing, housing and better use and retention of Māori land.

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says, “We are the only political party in this country focused on supporting Māori-driven strategies in housing, education, family violence and the revival of our language.

“Like most kaupapa Māori organisations, we punch well above our weight.”

This year’s budget saw gains for Whānau Ora with an additional $49.8 million allocated to fund Navigators, $2.1 million for the rangatahi Māori suicide prevention fund, $12.8 million to support a Ture Whenua Network and $63.34 million committed to the Māori Housing Network.

The Māori Party is particularly proud of their continued advocacy around whānau poverty which resulted in an increase to benefit levels for beneficiaries with tamariki in this year’s Budget.

Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says most commentators were surprised that a National-led Government would spend $790-million to lift core benefit rates for whānau.

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“We were instrumental in securing that benefit increase and we will continue to advocate for whānau enduring hardship in this country. As the only non-Ministerial MP on the Ministerial Committee on Poverty, I’ll continue to keep the pressure on this Government to reduce poverty.”

Mrs Fox, who came into Parliament as the party’s first List MP at the last General Election, says the Māori Party MPs have used their two votes and their role as a support partner in Government to maximum effect.

“We’ve been criticised by some for supporting a National-led Government but we’re at the table so we can continue to build on the gains we’ve already made for our people. The Relationship Agreement we have with National means we can lobby National directly on issues that are important to our voters like housing, reducing family violence and protecting our environment.

“We also have the freedom to vote for opposition-led bills like the Paid Parental Leave Bill and the Minimum Wage Bill which were proposed by Labour,” she says.

As the Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell is leading two major legislative reforms on the laws governing Māori land and the Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill.

Mr Flavell says the biggest challenge for the party going forward is to secure more Māori Party MPs at the next General Election.

“We know there’s a lot of support for what we’re doing in Parliament, from both Māori and non-Māori, so our challenge is to translate that support in to votes.”


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