15 Dec 2011

Maori Party co-leaders reappointed

7:34 am on 15 December 2011

The Maori Party has re-appointed Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia as its co-leaders.

They were confirmed in the positions by the National Council of the Maori Party in a conference call on Tuesday night.

Party president Pem Bird says under normal circumstances, a special meeting would have been held. However, in light of the extremely busy last few months and cost factors, the executive decided to hold the general meeting by telephone.

Mr Bird says the next three years are crucial to the Maori Party's renewal as a strong and credible force and the party is confident it has the team to take it forward.

Dr Sharples says his re-appointment was made after all the electorates voted unanimously for him.

Although Dr Sharples intends to step down at the next election, he rejects the idea that he should have stepped aside as co-leader now to refresh the party's leadership.

Dr Sharples says the party does not believe that he should step aside either.

He says he has plenty of opportunities to connect with Maori Party supporters as his ministerial roles give him a lot of time on the ground.