July 02, 2013
Party rebuild top priority
Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson says Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell would be wise not to try for a ministerial position if he becomes leader of the Māori Party.
Mr Flavell is expected to be confirmed as leader at the party’s AGM in a fortnight, when both Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia will step down as co-leaders.
Mrs Turia flagged she would do so months ago, but Dr Sharples only made the jump yesterday after conceding that the drawn out leadership battle with Mr Flavell may have cost the party votes in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election.
Mr Jones says it’s not the leadership battle but the close relationship with National that lost Māori voters, and Mr Flavell should focus on rebuilding the party.
"Whoever becomes a minister with a warrant, some of the negativity around the current government towards Māori is going to rub off on them. Let's face it, as a parliamentarian Pita Sharples is damaged goods so there is not much damage he could do and I don't think Te Ururoa would be able to change the direction of the Government's macro policy, even if he was to take on the role of minister of Māori Affairs, but we certainly have a lame duck minister now," he says
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