Bradford hits back at Maori Party

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 17:12 31/10/2011

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Mana's candidate for Waitakere Sue Bradford has hit back at Maori Party claims the party doesn't represent Maori because it has Pakeha candidates.

Mana has attracted several high-profile Pakeha including the former Green Party MP and veteran protestor turned United Union organiser John Minto who is standing in Epsom.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples told supporters at the party's campaign launch at the weekend that Mana only purported to stand for Maori.

"Rubbish. How can John Minto speak for you? Sue Bradford, how can she speak for kaupapa Maori?," he asked.

Speaking at a public meeting on disabilities issues in the Auckland suburb of Western Springs today, Bradford told the audience she wanted to explain why a "Pakeha like me" was standing for Mana.

Mana was a "Maori-led, Maori-focused political movement", she said.

It was led by Hone Harawira and Maori lawyer Annette Sykes and stood on a principle of upholding the Treaty of Waitangi as the constitutional basis for New Zealand.

"Mana also invites anyone to join Mana or to support it or to vote for it."

Mana wanted every New Zealander to have access to education, good health care and the things that made life full and valuable, Bradford said.

"No one should miss out because they are not rich or white or lucky.

"Everyone deserves a chance and Mana is there for everyone and that's why I'm in Mana," she said.

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