29 Aug 2023

Te Pāti Māori apologises to refugees and migrant communities for 'harmful narratives'

7:08 pm on 29 August 2023

Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Photo:

Te Pāti Māori has apologised to migrant and refugee communities for allowing what it described as "harmful narratives" on its website.

A series of tweets, posted on Tuesday afternoon, said the party did not stand for xenophobia and racism in any form, and thanked migrant and refugee communities for holding it to account.

The party said it had removed the words from its website, and was in the process of rewriting its policy.

RNZ has found an example of one such removal.

The party's Whānau Build policy, published in August 2021, laid out the party's plans to address the housing crisis, and contained a section on an "indigenous first" framework. RNZ viewed the policy through Wayback Machine.

The policy said Te Pāti Māori would ensure immigration was curbed until the supply of housing met demand.

"It is important to still manaaki our refugee and displaced whanaunga and bring in skills where required. But for us to exercise manaaki we have to commit to indigenous first so that we can then support others later," it said.

This section of the policy has now been removed.

Te Pāti Māori now said it would treat everybody how they would be treated on a marae.

"That means everyone will be welcomed, everyone will be fed, everyone will be housed, everyone will kept safe, and everyone will be loved. Manaakitanga & Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation of all of our policies moving forward."

A spokesperson told RNZ Te Pāti Māori was going through the process of updating and refreshing all of its policies on its website ahead of the election campaign, but the Whānau Build policy was the only one where a specific reference to migrant and refugee communities had been removed.

Last year, Te Pāti Māori removed a reference from its sports policy which said Māori genetic makeup was stronger than others.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs