8 Apr 2013

Maori Party co-leader hopes MP will stay on

10:32 pm on 8 April 2013

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he hopes colleague Te Ururoa Flavell stays on as an MP after the next election

Dr Sharples says the MP for Waiariki has threatened to leave the party if he is not given a leadership position.

Mr Flavell has put in a bid for the leadership, but the party's constitution needs to be changed to allow for such a challenge.

Dr Sharples says the Maori Party National Council needs to sort the matter out, but says the party is in chaos.

"It's not good for the Maori Party to have this scrap in public because people are feeding it and it's just on. A lot of my people are saying, 'Don't give in, stand up' and I say how can this be good for anybody."

Te Ururoa Flavell told the Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Monday the party is not in chaos and he has not threatened to quit.

"What I've done is, I've offered myself up to contest the leadership of the Maori Party and leaving that in the hands of the national council.

"What I've said is that I'll act in the best interests of the Maori Party and if they believe that it's appropriate that I stand down in the future for the purposes of succession planning, which is a number one priority along with the election campaign 2014, then I'm prepared to get that consideration."

Mr Flavell says he has made it clear he will make a decision about his future when a decision about the leadership is made.

Pita Sharples says he wants to stay on as co-leader until he dies - as long as he has the support of the membership.

The other co-leader, Tariana Turia, is retiring at the next election in 2014 and has called for the party to consider a succession plan for both leadership positions.