Sharples won't give up leadership

Last updated 05:00 18/01/2013

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Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has thrown down the gauntlet and vowed to stay on as leader, despite internal pressure to step aside.

Co-leader Tariana Turia is quitting Parliament at the 2014 election and suggested Dr Sharples do the same. She wanted the party's only other MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, to take over the leadership.

Mr Flavell said he would be "comfortable" stepping up if there was an opening, but did not want to be the party's only MP.

Dr Sharples previously said he would stand in his Tamaki Makaurau electorate in 2014.

Now he has said he will not stand down as leader. His supporters wanted him to stay on and so he would, he told Te Kaea. "So my intention is to remain as party co-leader. Te Ururoa will have his time eventually."

The party may also opt to do away with the requirement for a male and female co-leader. The final plan on how to elect new leaders and who they should be will be finalised among party members during the annual celebrations of the Ratana Church next week.

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- Fairfax Media

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