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Maori Party will attend national hui on water rights

Published: 7:37AM Thursday September 06, 2012 Source: ONE News

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has confirmed he will attend a national hui into water rights.

Earlier the party was accused by Mana Party leader Hone Harawira of following Prime Minister John Key's decision to not attend the hui.

But Sharples' co-leader Tariana Turia denies Key told Maori Party members not to attend and said she feels "very resentful" and found the comments by Harawira "extremely insulting and derogatory".

"He's not only talking about me, he's talking about my ancestors, he's talking about my family, the people who I belong to," she said.

This morning Harawira used social media to launch a scathing attack on the Maori Party and the Prime Minister's handling of the sale of state assets in relation to Maori water rights.

A post appeared on his Facebook page this morning saying: "Time John Key realised a few home truths like (1) he can tell his little house n*****s what to do, but (2) the rest of us don't give a s*** for him or his opinions!"

The comments have now been deleted and Harawira told TVNZ's Te Karere programme they were not aimed at Maori Party MPs.

Harawira says the Government's rejection of the tribunal's recommendation to hold the national hui would not stop Maori from holding one.

The post on Facebook page had said: "Notice how John Key says none of his Maori MPs are allowed to go to the National Maori Hui on Water ... and two minutes later Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples say that they're not going.

"Not hard to see who's the REAL leader of the Maori Party."

"Oh yeah, and Mr Prime Minister ... when you say that there won't be a national hui on water, please understand that if we want a national hui we're going to have one. OK? And when you say you're not coming, please note ... nobody invited you anyway!!," Harawira commented on Facebook.

King Tuheitia called the hui, just days after the Government rejected calls for one from the Waitangi Tribunal.

It followed the Prime Minister's announcement that the sale of Mighty River Power will be delayed until March next year.

Harawira's post had said he would not be surprised if the Maori Party co-leaders backtrack on the decision.

"What's the bet that Tari and Pete cop so much flak from Maori for saying that they're not going to the hui on water - that they find some reason to change their mind and say they're gonna go now (or send Te Ururoa).

"Knowing how the Maori Party works, they'll have to clear it with John Key first though ... but if they come I'll still be happy to see them - they need to see how p***** off everyone is with these asset sales."

The Government has rejected most of the Tribunal's recommendations, and will not negotiate a "national" settlement on water rights, instead preferring to do deals iwi by iwi.

Key has said the Government will spend five weeks consulting with iwi over the shares-plus option but has said the Government is unlikely to change its position.

The decision comes after the Waitangi Tribunal ruled the move to float part of the SOE without taking Maori water rights into consideration would be a breach of the treaty.

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