Te Puni Kokiri needs an overhaul: Turia

By Yvonne Tahana

Tariana Turia. Photo / APN
Tariana Turia. Photo / APN

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia wants a post election agreement with a governing party to include a review of the Maori Development ministry, Te Puni Kokiri.

Mrs Turia said her party which signed a relationship, confidence and supply agreement with National in 2008 bringing it into government, had yet to talk to Prime Minister John Key or Labour about what any future arrangements might look like post election day.

She wouldn't be drawn on which party she'd prefer to deal with but said the Maori Party wanted to continue working in government.

Her parliamentary colleagues and party hierarchy would be meeting in the final week before November 26 to set out a list of priorities which may form the basis of any post election negotiations.

However, it was her personal view that Te Puni Kokiri needed an overhaul, she said.

"TPK could be reviewed to have a much stronger employment focus.

"I think we need to have a look at what [TPK is] doing and whether that's value for money.

"My view is while they do a really good job in Whanau Ora and generally they don't do too bad a job, we expect the Maori agency to be at the forefront leading the charge....to create a change for us."

She said TPK's monitoring responsibilities of different government agencies was one area where she felt the ministry had "struggled," although she had her "doubts" about whether the service was of any value to Maori.

The Maori Party lost the Te Tai Tokerau seat when Hone Harawira won the byelection for the Mana Party. That leaves Mr Harawira's former party with four of the seven Maori seats, with Labour holding two others.

Asked if the loss of the electorate affected its bargaining power, Mrs Turia said numbers counted, however, National struck a deal in 2008 when it didn't need the Maori Party's extra five votes to govern.

Maori constituients, many of who were uncomfortable with the initial agreement preferring Labour - were now more comfortable with the blue party and National benefitted by building relationships within the Maori world.

- NZ Herald

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