From NZ Herald
Labour is pledging its support to Ngāpuhi and wider te ao Māori as the iwi seeks to oppose some of the Government’s agenda on Māori issues.
Hipkins hit back at Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s challenge to iwi leaders yesterday regarding poor school attendance by Māori students, saying Luxon should first understand how the current education system wasn’t respectful or inviting to Māori.
Labour and the Greens joined together for their pōwhiri (welcome) to Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds conditions that were at times blustery and stormy.
It’s the first of three pōwhiri featuring politicians over the next three days. Te Pāti Māori would be welcomed on alongside representatives of the Kīngitanga and the Rātana Church, while the three governing parties would walk on together on Monday.
Under the previous Labour Government, a single pōwhiri was held at the annual celebrations in an effort to promote unity.
Several speakers today either joked about Te Pāti Māori’s absence or confessed disappointment all parties within the Opposition couldn’t portray a united front through a single welcome.
Regardless, it didn’t prevent Ngāpuhi leader Hone Sadler from questioning Labour and the Greens on how they would support Ngāpuhi in its resistance against Government policies that concerned Māori, such as the Treaty Principles Bill and the repeal of the Māori Health Authority.
Hone Sadler challenged Hipkins to “strengthen your back” and “square your shoulders”, while cheekily congratulating the former Prime Minister for not “crying” because he had lost the election.
It’s quite apparent that not only is Te Pati Maori avoiding being part of the opposition party group, but it’s also not lost on us that Hipkins is not held in an overly high regard either.
Hipkins also clearly underestimates the mana in north that both Shane Jones and Winston Peters hold … both are from the north and have deep whanau ties with local iwi.
We will be at Waitangi tomorrow for the pōwhiri, when the coalition government is welcomed to Waitangi as we are part of a large media contingent covering Waitangi celebrations.