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Te Pāti Māori: Speaker’s Ruling Misses The Point

Te Pāti Māori Co-Leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer have responded to the Speaker’s ruling on racial debates, stating that it has missed the point altogether.

“We are demanding for the racist rhetoric to stop. Yesterday’s ruling still permits racist rhetoric to continue in the House and asserts that we can call a policy or a view racist but not a person. When we know racist policies are written by racist people,” said Mr Waititi.

“Whilst we acknowledge that Parliament is a place for the robust contest of ideas, we draw the line when the leader of the largest opposition party constantly, over multiple weeks, uses commentary like stealth and Māori, apartheid and Māori, separatism and Māori to negatively frame our indigenous rights. This is when a robust debate becomes a racist one because it targets one group of people.

“The Speaker’s ruling continues upholds the racist rhetoric within the institution of Parliament and serves only to diminish and invalidate the very real experience of racism that Tangata Whenua experience every day,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.

“Racist rhetoric is dangerous to tangata whenua and any person allowing racist rhetoric to flourish is a dangerous person.

“What we see here is yet another attempt to silence Māori whilst protecting the voice of racism in the house. The ruling protects the system and it’s not good enough. We want to change the system,” said Waititi.

“We have an unapologetic generation of Maori who recognise that being forced to work within the system no longer suits our plight for mana motuhake. That is what we are here to do; dismantle the system and create our own.

“The debate in the House yesterday shows there is an appetite from some MP’s to intervene at a systemic level and we appreciate the support we received yesterday by the few of our Maori colleagues and Tangata Tiriti but the silence on this issue from the rest of our Māori colleagues is deafening and our mokopuna need them to speak up,” said Ngarewa-Packer.

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