15 Oct 2009

Departing president urges Maori Party to stick with Govt

7:12 am on 15 October 2009

Retiring Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says it's important the party continues its partnership with the Government.

Professor Winiata, 74, has been president since the party was formed in 2004. He is leaving for the United States, where he earned his doctorate in the early 1960s, to further his studies.

He lists failing to get Maori seats on the Auckland super-city and the treatment of Maori Television's Rugby World Cup bid as major setbacks.

Professor Winiata told Waatea News the party has not lost sight of its objective to get Treaty issues resolved.

He said positives so far include the review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act and National's promise of a constitutional review.

Professor Winiata also said it's important the party organisation does not go to sleep between elections.

While supporters may be motivated by the party's performance to get actively involved at the next election, he said there's "always the risk" they could go into "hibernation" as they did last term.