English expects a demanding session with iwi leaders in forum at Waitangi

Prime Minister Bill English arrives at the Iwi Chairs Forum flanked by his deputy Paula Bennett, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF
Prime Minister Bill English arrives at the Iwi Chairs Forum flanked by his deputy Paula Bennett, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Education Minister Hekia Parata. PHOTO / PETER DE GRAAF

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox has led a large delegation of MPs into the first Iwi Chairs Forum of the year.

Prime Minister Bill English was flanked by his deputy Paula Bennett and Education Minister Hekia Parata as he arrived for the event at Waitangi.

More than 69 iwi leaders from across New Zealand were waiting inside to discuss with the Government issues on everything from children and young people to natural resources.

"It'll be well organised, well focused and pretty demanding of us and them and we'll come out of it having achieved something and that's the kind of approach we can work with," Mr English said ahead of the forum.

Although Mr English is in Waitangi for the forum, he will head to Auckland to celebrate Waitangi Day. He refused to attend official celebrations because of a dispute over speaking rights which began with former prime minister John Key last year.

A number of police were patrolling the Copthorne Hotel venue in case of protesters but just one showed up. She arrived after Mr English and his delegation had gone inside but stood across the road shouting while event staff and police stopped her getting closer.

- NZN

- NZ Herald

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