Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says Hone Harawira’s latest round of attacks on the Maori Party is just scaremongering to get publicity.
"The antics of Hone Harawira, the master scaremonger and name-caller, have no doubt made a difficult situation worse for the people he pretends to defend – the workers of Te Puni Kokiri” said Dr Sharples.
“Hone is good at creating confusion and discord, instead of addressing the issues. We would love Hone to put forward some constructive ideas, but we are not holding our breath."
“The Maori Party’s priorities are clear – getting Maori into jobs, improving housing for Maori families, educating our people, and helping whanau take control of their destiny through Whanau Ora,” said Dr Sharples.
“We are also working on te Reo Mauriora, a new Maori language strategy to empower communities to maintain their own reo; we are pursuing a review of the constitution to put the Treaty at the heart of government; and we are progressing a Maori economic development strategy. These are key planks in our comprehensive Maori development programme."
“Yesterday, Mr Harawira made the wild claim that Te Puni Kokiri was losing major responsibilities because of the Maori Party's programme. Fact: another bogus claim. The fiscal pressures on Te Puni Koriri are a part of the efficiency dividend announced in Budget 2011 for all government departments. If Mr Harawira bothered to turn up to Parliament he would be aware of this”.
"In fact, I worked hard to ensure that Te Puni Kokiri were able to retain their budget at a time when most agencies were losing money. It is unfortunate that cuts have had to happen as part of this wider government agenda. But make no mistake - the Maori Party is about supporting Maori development and progress."
“Let’s not forget Mr Harawira walked away from the Maori Party because of our relationship with National, which adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and has significantly progressed a range of advances, such as Maori economic development, Te Reo Maori Strategy and Whanau Ora. To be suddenly concerned about these programmes now is complete hypocrisy.
“Let me be absolutely clear. The Maori Party is determined to make the Maori programmes Te Puni Kokiri and other Ministries across Government deliver the strongest and most effective than they have ever been to achieve the transformation our whanau seek,” said Dr Sharples.
“The Maori Party can do this because we are working with Government representing our people. Fact: Mr Harawira cannot.”