Labour leader Andrew Little to attend Waitangi event in Sydney

Labour leader Andrew Little speaking in Ratana last week. Photo: Mark Mitchell
Labour leader Andrew Little speaking in Ratana last week. Photo: Mark Mitchell

Labour leader Andrew Little will attend Waitangi celebrations in both Australia and Waitangi this year.

Little has accepted an invitation to attend the Waitangi Festival in Sydney and will be accompanied by Labour's Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirakatene.

The annual festival in Sydney's west attracts up to 5000 people. There are around 130,000 Maori living in Australia.

The Labour leader is returning to New Zealand to spend Sunday and Monday in Waitangi.

He will attend the powhiri at Te Tii Marae and will speak at the political forum on "Labour's plan for Maori".

The Government will be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett at Waitangi. She is attending the dawn service at the Treaty grounds on Monday.

Prime Minister Bill English is due to speak to an iwi leaders' meeting at Waitangi three days ahead of Waitangi Day but will not be there on the day.

English declined an invitation to attend an event at Te Tii Marae on Waitangi Day because the organising committee told him he would not be allowed to speak. His absence from the official celebrations has been criticised by Labour and the Greens.

The Prime Minister will instead be hosted by Ngati Whatua Orakei at Bastion Point in Auckland on Waitangi Day.

- NZ Herald

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