Sharples: Maori Party in 'absolute chaos'

HAMISH RUTHERFORD IN GUANGZHOU
Last updated 13:57 08/04/2013

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Maori Party leader co-leader Pita Sharples has accused his colleague Te Ururoa Flavell of "blackmail" after threatening that he may leave the party if he is not co-leader before the next election.

Speaking in front of the Ritz-Carlton in Guangzhou where he is part of a major trade mission, Sharples reacted angrily to comments Flavell made on Radio Waatea, and admitted the party would have acted if its national body was not in "chaos".

"It disappoints me that he has been taking that stand, that he will resign if he's not leader, and not leader before the election," he said.

"It is a kind of blackmail.

"I just hope he stays and that I stay leader, anD he's there too because he's a good worker and his time will come.

"On the other hand it's not good for the Maori Party to have this kind of scrap in public, and it's just going on and on."

Sharples said party faithful were urging him not to give in to Flavell.

He said that "of course" it was a possibility that he and Flavell could be co-leaders, a matter he has discussed with the Waiariki MP directly.

"If we had a really strong national party they would do something about it instead of leaving it," Sharples said.

"It's come down to talking about the Maori Party's in absolute chaos. Well the parliamentary side isn't."

Sharples said the party had gained wins for Maori in the establishment of Whanau Ora, education and the retention of the Maori electorates.

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- The Dominion Post

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