January 25, 2016
Mahuta defends marae politics
Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta is defending her part from claims it turned the annual visit to Ratana Pa into a political forum rather than a celebration of the birthday of church founder Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has expressed disquiet about the two bus loads of Labour supporters who came on wearing badges acknowledging the party's 80-year alliance with the movement.
He objected to Labour leader Andrew Little's speech, which challenged the impact of Government policies on Maori and warned of the likely effect of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Ms Mahuta says politics has always been part of the day.
"T W Ratana was political but there is a spiritual movement and a movement of the people. It's like Koroneihana, like Waitangi, in those forums politics will inevitably come up because at the heart of all those forums is the betterment of Maoridom. It would be naive to think any of these forums would not be deserving of some explanation, certainly from the government of the day, what the gains are they are providing to Maori. I think that's a minimum expectation," she says.
Nanaia Mahuta says the showstopper was clearly New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, whose speech wove in the work of the Maori wardens, government secrecy on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the flag referendum and other issues of the day.
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