New Zealand Labour Party

Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate

Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.

“Te Ururoa Flavell attempts to shut down debate on his unpopular Māori land reforms by calling opponents to the reforms ‘liars’.

“Last week on Te Kaea, Te Ururoa Flavell admitted that landowners were confused about his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill.

“He didn’t attribute this to his complex and constantly changing bill, or his own poor consultation, but to –- you guessed it –- ‘lies’ he has alleged I have told about the reforms.

“This didn’t surprise me as only a few weeks ago I wrote an opinion piece on the Minister’s nasty habit of calling people liars.

“I say this to the Minister: I’m calling you out. Cut out the gutter politics. Recently you accused your own so-called political ally Hone Harawira of telling lies about the reforms. Show some leadership and front up to a debate with me on Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill.

“You’ve shown contempt for the Waitangi Tribunal and the Māori Land Court. You’ve ignored the concerns of landowners and you’ve tried to make multiple amendments to this bill without any public scrutiny.

“Māori deserve so much better than this. If you want to retain any credibility then debate me on your bill. I look forward to you showing the leadership Māori expect and accepting my challenge,” says Meka Whaitiri.