INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Party Distances Itself From Gisbourne Group

Published: Wed 6 Jul 2005 08:38 AM
Maori Party Distances itself from Maori Government of Aotearoa
Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leaders, Maori Party
The Maori Party today has responded to allegations from Peter Dunne concerning the Maori Government of Aotearoa; and the suggestion that the Maori Party is somehow unconcerned about the broader issue of human rights here and in places such as Zimbabwe.
“Contrary to Mr Dunne’s claims, I made an immediate response to this situation, two days ago, when the news first emerged about their actions in Gisborne” stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.
“On Sunday, I made a statement on national radio distancing the Maori Party from this organisation, and making it quite clear that we did not support their actions”.
“I regard Mr Dunne’s suggestions to the contrary as merely as an unfortunate early point-scoring exercise which has no substance, or indeed relevance to the major issue of his concern, which is the situation in Zimbabwe” said Mrs Turia.
The Maori Party rejects the comments and particularly the slurs made against the Maori Party and against Maori people generally.
“We are all aware that tangata whenua were to the forefront in opposing the apartheid regime in South Africa. Indeed many tangata whenua continue to be actively involved in advocating human rights around the world because the Treaty itself is a document of human rights” said Dr Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party.
“The concerns expressed by the Party are that decisions on Zimbabwe or indeed any situation of human rights abuse, need to be verified through independent channels, such as the upcoming report of the UN special envoy (special envoy to the UN, Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT) and the investigation of Amnesty International (Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Responsible for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa)” stated Dr Sharples.
“It is the Party’s view that to take precipitous action purely on the base of media reports (and the colour of the reporter’s skin is irrelevant), is politically unwise” said Mrs Turia today.
“When verifiable, independent reports are available, the party will be in a better position to make comment, and will do so, in the spirit of a long Maori advocacy of human rights. That would seem to be most reasoned approach”.
“As we have travelled the country, it has become clear that the people who support the Maori Party, are aware of the broader issues of human rights, Treaty rights, and seek to further those through processes that are consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi” commented Dr Sharples.
“Our presence in Parliament represents a broad base of people who recognise the fundamental role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in this nation”.
“We will take into Parliament our key messages of caring for ourselves (whanau,); caring for each other (Te Tiriti o Waitangi) and caring for our world (economy)”.
“Point-scoring and allegations of a racist nature are not helpful, or in the nation’s interests” concluded Dr Sharples.

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