The fighting over the Maori Party leadership involving all three MPs and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has been described by Rt Hon Winston Peters as blatant “pork barrel politics” that offend most Maori.
Speaking to Ratana elders at the Ratana celebrations today, the New Zealand First leader said it was unsightly and unseemly to watch the four locked in a power struggle while ordinary people are struggling with issues such unemployment, serious health problems, education and housing.
“They have the warped view that Maori will only progress if they have a separate system for everything whereas history shows the most progress has been made while all New Zealanders receive fair and equal treatment.”
Mr Peters said the best way forward was for governments to empower Maori leadership to work with Maori to deal with the serious immediate issues they face within the existing democratic system of government.
“It’s no use having leaders strutting around on a political stage mouthing platitudes while some families down the road have hungry or battered children, or children who can’t learn at school because of health problems due to poor housing.
“Maori have shown over many years, in the community, in battle and in sport that they are a tough, resilient and resourceful people. Political leaders have to harness these qualities for significant progress to be made.
“The way forward needs inspirational leadership – not the sort being shown by the Maori and Mana parties,” said Mr Peters.