July 25, 2014
Party founders changed house
Former Maori Party president Pem Bird says founding co-leaders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have changed the way parliament operates.
The pair gave valedictory speeches yesterday in a sitting day with a high Maori content, with the Tuhoe-Te Urewera and Tamaki Makaurau Collective settlements and the new Maori language bill also on the agenda.
Mr Bird says in their nine years in the house together, Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples complemented each other and showed there is a Maori way of doing politics.
"There is a unique way that is distinctly ours, and that was reflected in the way the house operates now, where Maori is now accepted as the norm, the way we are, the way we behave and conduct ourselves in parliament, bringing respect for one another. The fact that there are values we stand by, and those values have meaning and can continue to do the business for us," he says.
Mr Bird says the Maori Party has left a permanent legacy with whanau ora part of the way government will work in future.
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