One of the Maori Party's electorate chairs has criticised the party's use of Prime Minister John Key and former Prime Minister, Dame Jenny Shipley for fundraising dinners.

Speaking at the party's annual general meeting in Whanganui today, Te Tai Hauauru chair Buff Matenga said it sent the wrong message to Maori voters.

"Although significant amounts were raised to support our election efforts this does send the wrong message to our people."

He said it gave the Maori Party's rivals ammunition to run the line that a vote for the Maori Party was a vote for National.


"These tags sent the wrong messages to our people and those of us who spent copious amounts of time relaying the kaupapa of our party to members were consequently left in damage control. Not a good look. Media and other political parties had a ball."

The dinner with the Prime Minister was at the prestigious Northern Club in Auckland and was attended by Mrs Turia, who was then Maori Party co-leader and MP for Te Tai Hauauru.

The dinner attended by Dame Jenny was not previously known about.

A party spokeswoman confirmed she had attended a dinner the National Party had offered to hold as a fundraiser for the Maori Party before the election. The Prime Minister had not attended the same dinner, which National figures offered to hold to pay tribute for the retiring MPs, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.

Mr Matenga's report was also critical of communication by the Maori Party's governing National Council, saying electorates were usually only told of decisions at short notice when they were required to sign off on them.

He also voiced "no confidence" in the party's general manager Norm McKenzie - who was not at the meeting but has strong support from Party President Naida Glavish.

He said the electorate committee was "gutted" that the Te Tai Hauauru seat had gone to Labour after Tariana Turia held it for so long. He questioned the commitment the party members had - saying it was strong in some areas but appeared to have neglected others including the critical Porirua.

The party is conducting a partial post mortem of its campaign this weekend. It will consider remits including one calling for an in-depth review of the election campaign processes and another for all of the leadership teams, including senior party officials, to be reviewed and have their positions put up for re-election.


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