July 03, 2013
Sharples relieved to give up top job
Tāmaki Makaurau MP Pita Sharples says it feels like a relief to give up the co-leadership of the Māori Party.
Dr Sharples will step down at the party’s AGM this month, opening the way for Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell to be elected to the role.
While the decision was announced in response to the poor showing by the party’s candidate in the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election, he says it was one he has wrestled with all year.
He believes support in the party is evenly split between him and Mr Flavell, but the contest was creating fall out in the electorates.
"So rather than have that confrontation. I thought I'd step down from the leadership and stay working in my ministerial stuff for a while, so we made the decision and since then it's a sort of relief. My wife and I both feel pretty happy with the decision. I really want the Māori Party to survive. I didn't want it to crash over a debate about who should be leader," Dr Sharples says.
He says being a small party is not an easy road.
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