Sharples expected to stand down

HAMISH RUTHERFORD AND TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 22:04 01/07/2013
Pita Sharples
Fairfax NZ
Pita Sharples

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Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is poised to stand down.

The Maori Party confirmed this evening Dr Sharples would be holding a press conference tomorrow morning to announce his decision about the leadership but would not say more.

Sharples has been under pressure for months to stand down after co-leader Tariana Turia made it clear she considered it was time for a change.

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell has challenged for the leadership but Dr Sharples has previously refused to stand aside.

Rumours started circulating this evening that Sharples was stepping down after the party's poor showing in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election. Division over the leadership was held partly to blame.

Flavell said tonight he had not spoken to Sharples but had received a number of calls suggesting the leadership was up in the air.

He did not know what was happening, however.

"Until I get any news I don't know what's happening. I haven't heard anything."

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