Monday, 6 October 2008


Pita Sharples has told Maori the constitutional status of the Treaty of Waitangi is "going nowhere" in the near future, and the Maori Party must focus on getting enough influence to change the lot of its people in the short term.

At the party's annual conference on the weekend, Dr Sharples said the party would be agitating for progress in areas that affected the wealth of Maori families.

Well bugger me - this sounds like common sense - good to see the Maori Party focus their attention on the stuff that really matters for their voters

He said the party remained committed to issues such as the seabed and foreshore, entrenching the Maori seats, and ensuring the Treaty was given greater legal status. But he said the Treaty "was going nowhere under National and Labour" and any move to enshrine it in a constitution was unlikely unless New Zealand became a republic - "and that's miles away."

"The thing at hand now is our people's situation. Education, health, poverty, violence are all things striking our people. There are so many who don't even earn $20,000 a year. How the hell can they bring up kids on something like that?"

Both Dr Sharples and Mrs Turia said a stock-take of all the money spent on Maori was needed to ensure it was being as well spent as it could be.

This is whale song to the ears of prawns... This is way overdue and it will put the spotlight on some seriously fluffy stuff being done in the the name of Maori advancement by government departments.

Dr Sharples said the party wanted some "budgetary responsibilities" after the election "so we can actually make laws and control spending for our people in very important areas like health and education."

Good idea - there are plenty of examples where Maori are doing good things on the ground with bulk government funding

He said it was the "last chance" for Maori to have more influence in government after NZ First - which held five Maori seats from 1996 to 1999 and Mana Motuhake failed to deliver.

"The Maori Party has to stay firm - we can't blow this chance."

Ae, he's so right -

Dr Sharples also referred to Winston Peters' censure by the privileges committee for failing to disclose a $100,000 gift from Owen Glenn towards his legal costs. The Maori Party was among those who backed the censure, earning a rebuke from Mr Peters who accused them of betraying another Maori. Labour had refused to back the censure, and Dr Sharples said it had come as a shock to see others act "almost outside their integrity" to protect a political ally.

Integrity they have in spades....

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