4 Jul 2013

Maori Party drop due to relationship with National

8:54 am on 4 July 2013

Maori Party president Pem Bird, who is soon to resign, says the party's relationship with National is one reason behind its drop in support

Mr Bird will stand down at the party's annual general meeting next week, alongside Dr Pita Sharples who will resign as co-leader.

Mr Bird says he made the decision to leave about six weeks ago, to focus more on his teaching job.

He told Morning Report it had nothing to do with the party's decline in support - which he admits is partly because of its relationship with the National Party and also because of the issue with the party's leadership.

Mr Bird has been president since 2010. Earlier, he said his decision will allow the party to travel forward with new energy at the helm.

a new co-leader and president will be selected on 13 July in Whakatane.