21 Feb 2017

Labour leader 'should be ashamed'- Sir Pita

2:01 pm on 21 February 2017

Former Māori Party co-leader Sir Pita Sharples is "totally insulted" by Labour leader Andrew Little's claim the party has not done enough for Māori.

Former Maori Affairs Minister Sir Pita Sharples

Former Maori Affairs Minister Sir Pita Sharples Photo: Broddi Sigurðarson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Speaking to Morning Report today, Labour leader Andrew Little claimed the Māori Party was not kaupapa Māori after hitching its wagon to National.

His comments followed the signing of an agreement between the Māori Party and the Mana Party yesterday to work together up until this year's general election.

Mr Little said nothing had changed in terms of Māori over-representation in prisons and unemployment - which showed that the Māori Party had no influence over National and had conceded on every important issue.

Sir Pita - who was also one of the founding members of the Māori Party - said the Māori Party's focus was solely a Māori one, and said he was "totally insulted" by Mr Little's comments.

"It's that kind of using made-up phrases like that to denigrate the authenticity of Māori that really does the damage in race relations. He should be ashamed of himself."

Watch Andrew Little's full interview on Morning Report here:

The Māori Party was formed after tens of thousands of Māori and Pākehā marched to Parliament in 2004 to protest the government's Seabed and Foreshore bill, which prevented iwi opportunity to test Treaty rights in court.

Sir Pita co-led the Māori Party from 2004 through to 2013, and said he was baffled by Mr Little's claims.

"We champion and build kura kaupapa Māori schools highschools, wharekura run reo Māori language programmes and work by hui in marae and always have mihimihi, (greetings) so I don't know what he's talking about."

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira said the Labour leader's comments about his deal with the Māori Party were inappropriate and quite nasty.

He told Morning Report he found it quite astounding how arrogant Labour leaders could be when talking about what Māori needed.

Hone Harawera (left) & Tukoroirangi "Tuku" Morgan seal the new deal.

Hone Harawira (left) and Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

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