September 27, 2012
Tough task for new TPK head
New Zealand First Leader and former Maori Affairs Minister Winston Peters say the new boss of Te Puni Kokiri has a tough job on her hands because of years of under-funding.
Michelle Hippolite, who is currently the Maori leader of Te Papa Tongarewa, has been picked to replace the Leith Comer, who retires soon after 12 years in the job.
Mr Peters, who set up the Ministry for Maori Development in the early 1990s after rejecting the structures Labour set up to replace the Department of Maori Affairs, says she could have inherited a poisoned chalice.
“In a way she has inherited a poisoned chalice because the department is so run down and so cut back that it’s not the department. It once was with the capacity to come up with some brilliant ideas and do some very exciting things in the very difficult world which Maoridom is, so I think it will be very difficult times for her and it will be very difficult for the ensuing years if the department keeps being under-funded in key areas, where they are expected to report and advise government,” Mr Peters says.