Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Maori Party's stance 'disappointing'

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Trevor Maxwell. PHOTO/FILE
Trevor Maxwell. PHOTO/FILE

The Maori Party's decision to not support former Prime Minister Helen Clark's bid for the United Nations top job has been described as disappointing by Rotorua Lakes Council cultural ambassador Trevor Maxwell.

Mr Maxwell said while he was not "jumping up and down and throwing things" he was disappointed the Maori Party could not move on from the past for the sake of New Zealand.

Maori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox say they support having a New Zealander as UN Secretary General but say they cannot support Miss Clark's bid.

Waiariki MP Mr Flavell said that when she was leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister Miss Clark oversaw a law that removed the right of Maori to go to court to test a property right - the Seabed and Foreshore Act.

"In doing so she took away a fundamental human right. Further to that, she supervised the biggest modern day confiscation of land from Maori and she refused to sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a document sponsored by the United Nations which she now wishes to head," he said.

"She also supervised the invasion of Maori communities in Taneatua and Ruatoki in the false belief that terrorism was rife.

"However, that has since proven to be a wild made-up dream. She as yet hasn't acknowledged these mistakes so, as a matter of principle, we cannot support her nomination," he said.

Mr Flavell said it wasn't about an apology, it was about a candidate for the world's top diplomatic posting displaying that she had the necessary respect and understanding of indigenous communities.

"We simply can't pretend history didn't happen," he said.

"We all make mistakes but if she has learnt from hers and is prepared to acknowledge them, we would review our position," he said.

But Mr Maxwell said the past should be put aside.

"For me I am very disappointed in the direction of the Maori Party not supporting Helen Clark. I think you should put all other things aside and think of what is best for New Zealand. I saw Helen's debate on TV and watched the whole lot and I was so proud of her and I think she has a good chance.

"Regardless whether it is Helen Clark or Jim Bolger, you get behind your people. We are only a goldfish in a big pond. She has got a good chance and I hope this doesn't jeopardise it in any way."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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