Maori Party President Tukoroirangi Morgan has resigned and called on co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox to follow his lead.

Morgan announced his resignation in a newsletter sent to party members today, saying after the defeat at the election it needed fresh leadership.

In his newsletter, Morgan said a new generation of leaders was needed to carry the party forward.

"Both co-leaders Marama and Te Ururoa should stand down and allow fresh talent to step up and lead. This is not to diminish their record of achievement over the past years. Their contribution in securing major political gains for Maori is undeniable and is a source of immense pride for our Party."

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The Maori Party's 12 years in Parliament ended after Flavell lost the party's sole remaining electorate of Waiariki.

In response to Morgan's call, Fox said it was up to the Maori Party members whether she stayed in the job she had held since Dame Tariana Turia stood down in 2014.

"I'm keen to represent [them] if our people want me there."

Flavell is yet to respond but has previously said he would quit but would stay on if needed until the party found another co-leader – prominent Kaitaia doctor Lance O'Sullivan has been considering it.

Maori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan during the campaign as Te Ururoa Flavell (left) looks on. Photo / Duncan Brown
Maori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan during the campaign as Te Ururoa Flavell (left) looks on. Photo / Duncan Brown

The party is due to hold its AGM in January where the leadership was expected to be voted on.

Morgan has been the party's President for the last eight months and had run the party's campaign, including a deal with Mana not to stand against each other, getting a controversial endorsement from the Kingitanga and recruiting several Pacific candidates to try to boost the party vote.

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Morgan's newsletter included a defence of his campaign strategy, saying the party was not prepared for the outcome and it was easy to blame the national executive for it.

He said the rise of Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and her campaign to change the Government was "overwhelmingly supported by Maori."

He said Ardern's popularity and promoting Kelvin Davis to deputy all had an impact "and the Maori MPs took full advantage of her stellar performance by clean sweeping all the Maori seats."

Morgan said the party also needed to overhaul its organisation, describing it as unworkable and too bureaucratic. He said the relationship between the Parliamentary wing of the party and its national executive was "at times dysfunctional and unacceptable."

Morgan praised Fox's role in the campaign, saying she had "performed brilliantly" but was more critical of Flavell.

"Anecdotally, Te Ururoa had become alienated from his support base through his ministerial role and the close association with the National Government."

He said Flavell's hold on Waiariki was weakened by "deliberate misinformation" about the Te Ture Whenua reforms as well as the "Jacinda Effect." He also said it was clear Mana supporters in that seat backed Labour's Labour's Tamati Coffey instead of Flavell.