5 Feb 2020

Simon Bridges defends Waitangi speech after criticism

From Morning Report, 7:27 am on 5 February 2020

The Government's record on delivering for Māori, has been called into question by Simon Bridges at Waitangi - prompting both sides of the marae atea to rebuke him.

Since her first speech as Prime Minister at Waitangi in 2018, Ardern has repeatedly told those assembled at the Treaty grounds to "hold her to account".

But the National Party leader's attempt to do just that was not well received.

Challenges to Bridges' speech came from both paepae.  

Shane Jones, who was set to speak on behalf of New Zealand First, kept his remarks brief and then stepped aside for his party leader, Winston Peters.

While the final speaker for the hau kainga, Waihoroi Shortland, said his harshest critique was reserved for Bridges and his party's decision not to stand candidates in the Māori seats.

Bridges speaks to Susie Ferguson.