15 Apr 2020

New Māori Party co-leaders announced

1:30 pm on 15 April 2020

The Māori Party has announced John Tamihere and Debbie-Ngarewa Packer will be the new co-leaders of the party.

Ngarewa-Packer is the party's Te Tai Hauāuru candidate and and Tamihere is standing in Tāmaki Makaurau.

John Tamihere and Debbie NgarewaJohn

John Tamihere and Debbie Ngarewa Photo: Supplied

Māori Party president Che Wilson said party members were united in agreement that both candidates brought outstanding mana and leadership to the leadership positions.

Wilson said the co-leaders were chosen so that they could represent the people during this difficult time.

"Debbie has demonstrated her leadership abilities time and time again.

"She has mobilised her iwi in response to Covid-19, working daily with other iwi leaders and the Crown to ensure that there is a Māori pandemic response," he said.

He said Tamihere had given whanau who were on 'struggle street' hope.

"John has a wealth of leadership experience, which we've seen through his many roles throughout his career including his current role as CEO of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency where he had the foresight to source and purchase bulk supplies two weeks before lock down," he said.

Wilson said the Māori people needed the party to hold the government to account now more than ever.

"We support the government's efforts, but delays in Māori-specific pandemic responses and their unprecedented emergency powers are why it is so important that we have a voice, he said.