24 Jan 2019

Rātana: Bridges and Peters speak on actions for Māori

5:19 pm on 24 January 2019

Speaking at Rātana Pā, Winston Peters says the government will keep its promises to Māori, while Simon Bridges said he will support Treaty Negotiations.

Winston Peters speaks at the Rātana church's annual celebrations.

Winston Peters speaks at the Rātana church's annual celebrations today. Photo: RNZ

National Party leader Simon Bridges has promised not to throw stones at Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little while he continues the task of compensating Māori for past injustices.

Bridges has just spoken at the annual Rātana celebrations today, at Rātana Pā, near Whanganui.

He said he does not believe this government has a plan or is doing the right thing, when it comes to fixing the broad issues for Māori, but he will support Mr Little where he can.

Acting Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters earlier paid his respects at the Rātana Church, and also spoke.

He kicked off his speech by saying he had not heard a bad word said today and expected not to hear any on the evening news.

He said that was because the Māori represented at Rātana knew the government was delivering and would deliver for them.

"As the ... old saying goes words are not deeds, and one year on this government has put deeds into action.

"It's great to have a chance to bear, to defend ourselves, in the circumstances."

He said the government had made promises to Māori, and planned to keep them.

Rātana followers would understand why Ms Ardern could not be present, he said.

"You can't be everywhere and there's a serious conference going on in Davos [the World Economic Forum in Switzerland], where she's been, and we all understand that ... representation there is about this country's interests economically and socially, and extremely important.

"So I'm here with a very experienced team, who have been here for decades actually, to make sure we do our best as well."

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