24 Jan 2017

Labour hits back at Māori Party bid for Rātana support

11:13 am on 24 January 2017

Labour's relationship with Rātana is strong and it is "ridiculous" to say the alliance is finished, party leader Andrew Little says.

Labour Party leader Addrew Little.

Andrew Little says the Māori Party, as support partner to the National government, had done nothing to help Māori. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Speaking at the annual gathering at Rātana Pā yesterday, Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said the historic agreement between the church and Labour Party was, in his opinion, over.

"Well I think it's finished. At the end of the day, as many speakers have said, that was made for a place and a time. Times have moved on, the political environment is totally different," he said. Mr Flavell said it was time to make a political movement under a Māori Party banner a reality.

Maori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell.

Māori Party co-leaders Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell Photo: Supplied

Mr Little said the Māori Party, as support partner to the National government, had done nothing to help Māori.

"I think Te Ururoa Flavell and the Māori Party should be doing everything they can to try to distract people from the reality that that is a party that has been shackled to the National government for nearly nine years now and conditions for Māori have got worse."

Home ownership rates had fallen overall but for Māori they were down to 25 percent, he said. "The Māori Party has sat alongside and cheered along everything the National government has done, and has not done anything to improve the situation for Māori."

Mr Little said the party's link with Rātana remained strong needed no new endorsement from the church's leaders.

"Over the last year we've had good dialogue, good kōrero with Rātana," he told Morning Report.

"We've had some good discussions, some good ideas came out of those discussions about things that we can and should be doing together."

The Labour, Green, New Zealand First and the Opportunities parties were welcomed on to Rātana Pā this morning.

In the first speech from the Kiingitanga, advisor Rahui Papa said Māori would rate parties on their performances, not just their promises for election year.

Each party leader will make a speech at the paepae where they are expected to explain the issues they see Maori people facing.

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