Flavell has backing of Te Arawa leaders

By Sonya Bateson

Te Arawa leaders are ready to support Te Ururoa Flavell as the new Maori Party leader - but they still think Pita Sharples is a good leader.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia will be stepping down from the role for the 2014 general election and it may be that another leader is also chosen to replace Dr Sharples, although there would be no change in the immediate future.

The Maori Party National Council met this week at Whangaehu Marae to discuss a range of party issues, including that of the future leadership of the party.

Maori Party president Pem Bird said there would be no immediate change.

"The hui had robust discussions around our constitution and our processes.

"Among a number of decisions made on party matters the hui confirmed there will be no immediate change in leadership. Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples will continue as co-leaders."

Mr Bird said a meeting would be held in the next few months to discuss the constitution further and how leadership changes should take place.

"Te Ururoa has signalled that he wishes to be given the opportunity to co-lead the party and so the Maori Party needs to work through constitutional and procedural processes as part of our succession planning.

"Te Ururoa is a highly valued member of Parliament. As announced last year, Tariana Turia will be stepping down at the 2014 general election and Dr Sharples will stand again at the next general election."

Rotorua Deputy Mayor Trevor Maxwell said he thought Mr Flavell would be an excellent leader for the party.

"It is well known he is a very hard worker for the party nationally. Here in our own district of Te Arawa and Waiariki, he is seen to be rolling his sleeves up and working as hard as anyone. At Te Matatini, he is helping out back stage to assist our people."

Mr Maxwell said he had no criticisms of Dr Sharples and said he counted him as a very good friend.

"Both Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have led the party well for quite a while. With elections coming up next year perhaps a change will help invigorate the party.

"I have no criticisms of Pita, but I think Te Ururoa could make an excellent leader."

Te Arawa kaumatua Toby Curtis said Mr Flavell was a person who needed to be considered for leadership in the present context.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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