Claire Trevett

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

Tame Iti supports Maori Party

Tame Iti says he supports the Maori Party despite the break away of Hone Harawira. Photo / Alan Gibson
Tame Iti says he supports the Maori Party despite the break away of Hone Harawira. Photo / Alan Gibson

If it true that all the Maori activists abandoned the Maori Party to follow Hone Harawira over to the Mana Party, somebody forgot to tell Tame Iti.

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti was among the 300 people gathered at the Maori Party's conference in Whakatane and said he had always supported the Maori Party, despite the break away of Hone Harawira to form the Mana Party.

"I followed the Maori Party because I think we've been on the sidelines too long. It's important we are in the picture itself and making decisions. It doesn't matter who the party we're working with is."

He said he believed the Maori Party needed to look at talks with Mana. "That discussion ought to be happening somewhere. We've got to be a lot smarter about how we put our vote out there. My personal view is that having two Maori parties going out there just splits the vote."

Asked about the Maori Party's coalition with National, he said the Maori Party had to work with people who were prepared to support Maori. "You have to have a relationship of some shape or form. It doesn't mean I have to sleep with them, but working together. It doesn't mean I'm going to sleep with John. I'm not keen on sleeping with him."

- Herald on Sunday

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