PM will not be attending Waitangi

Prime Minister John Key is welcomed to Te Tii marae ahead of Waitangi Day celebrations. 05 February 2015 Northern Advocate Photograph by John Stone
Prime Minister John Key is welcomed to Te Tii marae ahead of Waitangi Day celebrations. 05 February 2015 Northern Advocate Photograph by John Stone

The Prime Minister has pulled out of attending Waitangi.

Mr Key has just announced he will not attend after failing to get a response from the marae to his concerns about an attempt to prevent him speaking about politics.

"The Prime Minister's Office has had no response to its letter sent to trustees at Te Tii Marae earlier today. Accordingly, the Prime Minister has decided he will not be attending celebrations in Waitangi this year," a spokesman said.

At the marae, members of the executive are understood to be meeting now to decide how to respond.

Mr Key said he received a letter last night from marae trustees saying he could not discuss politics in the wharenui and instead suggested political discussions be held in a political forum tent.

That letter followed an earlier invitation from the marae trustees that said he could speak on the same conditions as before- inside the whare and without restrictions on what he talked about.

"I am not going to go to Waitangi with a bunch of protesters yelling and saying things which are not right and somehow go onto Te Tii Marae with a gagging order.
"That is not the way it operates," Mr Key said prior to announcing he would not be attending Waitangi celebrations.

- Northern Advocate

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