Labour leader Andrew Little this morning chastised the Māori Party for its deal with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party, and dismissed the Māori Party as ‘not kaupapa Māori’. We invited co-leader Marama Fox to respond and defend the Mana-Māori deal. Here is a transcript of her handwritten response (see below).
In my heart I believe that Andrew Little is a good man who wants what’s best for New Zealand, and if the Māori Party, and possibly Mana, are the difference between a National or Labour government then he will reach out to us. Of that I have no doubt.
We are interested in a progressive government that embraces kaupapa Māori models of practice as part of our nation’s unique identity. We aim to add value to our nation through addressing the inequity for Māori and Pasifika in this nation. With that comes sound public policy that benefits all while focusing on addressing disparity where Māori are disproportionately represented.
The deal with Mana is in response to our people who are over watching MPs fight each other. I’m not interested in getting into a war of words with Andrew Little about kaupapa Māori. We aim to walk our talk.
Working with Mana is responding to the tikanga of “kotahitanga” – we have a common enemy and it’s not each other. Our enemy is homelessness, it’s poverty of mind, hand and wairua, it is to address the burden of disparity.
Yesterday we signed an agreement with Mana to not fight each other and not split the vote. We seek to win back the Māori seats and win an independent Māori voice in parliament. We seek to advance our voice as social conscience for any government. I’m happy to put my record and the record of the Māori Party up any day of the week.
The Māori housing network has seen the establishment of papakāinga, where whānau are housed in close proximity, around the country. Hundreds of homes have been fixed, made warm dry and safe. We’ve ensured infrastructure grants for papakāinga include sewage, water, power, solar, driveways, etc – more whānau in affordable housing.
We’ve supplied iwi and hapu housing development, successfully influenced change in government policy to fix the holes in Social Development and Housing NZ policy. Whānau Ora, Te Mātāwai to lead revitalisation of te reo Māori, electoral participation, Land Wars recognition, Māori business development, the Whenua Māori Fund, Breakfast in Schools, Te Mana o Te Wai for fresh water, Pepi Pods, Computers in Schools, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, Māori history in schools … The list goes on and on, because we sit at the table, we can influence policy and budget spend.
We don’t agree with everything and we don’t win all the battles. But we are here and we do one thing every day, and that’s fight for the elimination of inequality for Māori and for all.