July 03, 2013
Ministerial role at leader’s whim
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says once Pita Sharples stands down as Māori Party co-leader he will need to ask the new leader for permission to remain a minister.
The leadership will be decided at the party’s AGM this month, with both Dr Sharples and Tariana Turia now set to stand aside so the party can renew itself.
Dr Sharples says he wants to continue as Minister of Māori Affairs, though he could drop his associate portfolios.
Mr Peters says that is not on.
"The least he’s got to do is offer to step aside so the choice is someone else's. You can't say 'I'm no longer the leader but I will carry on being a minister.' What will the new leader's role be when you make those sorts of decisions when you are not the leader? The answer is you have no leader at all," Mr Peters says.
He says Dr Sharples’ best work was done before he entered parliament, and he has failed to make a significant contribution as Minister of Māori Affairs.
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