Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Political leaders speak at Ratana

Metiria Turei has been given the rare honour of being allowed to talk at Ratana, the first time a Green Party co-leader has spoken at the marae. File photo / Herald on Sunday
Metiria Turei has been given the rare honour of being allowed to talk at Ratana, the first time a Green Party co-leader has spoken at the marae. File photo / Herald on Sunday

Prime Minister John Key has asked the Ratana Movement not to put their faith blindly in Labour without considering what National has done for Maori.

Mr Key was welcomed onto Ratana marae this afternoon, where speaker Waka Paama soon made it clear what Key was up against: "The only thing in your favour here is the blue shirt I am wearing."

He went in to say the movement did appreciate Key making the effort to visit Ratana, despite its ties with Labour.

Mr Key responded by saying he acknowledged Ratana's links with Labour, but said it needed to consider what National had actually delivered.

"Words are cheap in politics - what really speaks is delivery."

He emphasised the pace of Treaty settlements, saying 33 of the 59 completed settlements were under National. National had also refurbished housing at Ratana.

"They can turn up at Ratana and tell you they love you, but they didn't live you enough to fix your houses."

Mr Key also spoke about Maori education saying he was determined to improve the results He said people had called for him to sack Education Minister Hekia Parata, but he knew nobody who was as passionate about Maori education as she.

Ms Parata had walked onto the marae alongside Mr Key - his usual escort, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was not there today. He had instead been welcomed on the day before.

Labour leader David Shearer was also welcomed onto Ratana marae today with an encouraging prophesy for him: that he will be Prime Minister after 2014.

Ratana speaker Ruia Aperehama said he believed Labour would win the next election and called for Labour to honour it's links with Ratana and all Maori at that time.

In return Mr Shearer said that he hoped Mr Aperehama was a prophet able to see into the future.

He said he had already committed to deepening the relationship with Ratana and should that prophesy come to fruition, "I hope that we are able to see a partnership between the Labour Government and the Ratana Movement."

Green co-leader Metiria Turei was given the rare honour of being allowed to talk on the marae. It was the first time a Green Party co-leader has spoken at Ratana.

Before setting out the party's new housing policy, including a rent to buy scheme, she told them she had come to Ratana every year as a child and even had her first kiss there.

Mr Aperehama also had an encouraging message for her, saying the Green Party could benefit from Maori voters who were "hoha" (angry) about the "imploding and tribal fighting" between Mana and the Maori Party.

- NZ Herald

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