Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Key compares Maori unity on water to Gaga's outfits

Key said Maori had more positions on water than Lady Gaga had outfits. Photos / AP, File
Key said Maori had more positions on water than Lady Gaga had outfits. Photos / AP, File

Prime Minister John Key said Maori had more positions on water than Lady Gaga had outfits.

On his way into caucus at Parliament this morning he was asked about the unity around the water issue at the national hui last week called by King Tuheitia.

He suggested that from the media reports he had seen there wasn't unity.

"There are kind of more positions than Lady Gaga's got outfits."

There were many views in Maoridom over these issues, he said.

That King's hui attended by iwi leaders, trusts, corporations and ordinary iwi passed a series of resolutions last week:

- That Maori stand united on the matter;

- That a framework for expression on Mana, including proprietary right be settled before the sale of shares in the state-owned Mighty River Power and before iwi and hapu enter negotiations with the Crown;

- That that framework be negotiated with the Crown by persons chosen by Kingi Tuheitia, Sir Tumu Te Heuheu, Sir Taihakurei Durie, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Kaa O'Brien from nominees of the claimants, New Zealand Mâori Council and Iwi leaders, and having regard to gender.

At a hui of the Iwi Chairs Forum the following morning, the 45 leaders there passed the first motion about standing united but were adamant that iwi themselves should negotiate with the Crown, rather than another group.

Mr Key said it was a free country and the groups the Government had invited were free not to turn up but he would be disappointed.

"But at the end of the day if they don't want to turn up, they don't want to turn up."

He said no other proposal was going to be tabled at the consultation hui but if mandated iwi who were yet to settle with the Crown wanted to buy some ''on account'' that would be possible.

"We do lots of 'on account' settlements at the moment for an iwi that has got a mandate but who hasn't actually physically got the cash yet. We do that for assets and this is another form of asset so in principle, if they wanted to do that I wanted to object to that.

"That's just Maori paying the full price in the same queue as everybody else."

Finance Minister Bill who will be fronting the consultation meetings for the Government said this morning he not been advised that any group would not be going.

- NZ Herald

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