Maori Party will have a 'way forward'
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says the party will have a "way forward" tomorrow.
She and her colleagues needed to talk through what the future of the party was, she said.
"I'm very happy, I don't think I've ever been happier," she said of her own decision to stand down. She announced the move late last year but said she would stay on until the election.
Turia hoped after a few days of talking that the party could "come to an agreement about what's best in the interest of our people".
"It's very easy to be very individual, to be in Parliament talking about yourself and what's important to you but in the end it's the people that matter and they will speak."
On the possible merger with Mana, Turia said the Maori Party was lead by the people and not by a dictatorship.
"Somebody who purports to represent our people and to say that hes got to be the leader, no, no that's not how it works in our party. In fact when I read it I thought that Hone had started a comedy show to be frank."
Turia was certain that Mana could not win her Te Tai Hauaruru seat.
Co-leader Pita Sharples said he accepted that Te Ururoa Flavell was challenging his leadership but said the "vibes" would decide.
At Ratana Pa this morning, Sharples told reporters he would leave it to the people to decide whether he should stay as leader.
He acknowledged that Flavell was keen to lead the party and said it was fine that he was challenge for the position.
"But it's not my decision really," Sharples said.
"I'm available and I'm available to stand or not to stand, or to be leader or not to be leader, so I'll leave that in the hands of [the party's council]."
The Maori Party was expected to discuss its leadership and future plans this afternoon after attending celebrations at Ratana, near Whanganui, and unconfirmed reports suggest Flavell, the party's only other MP, could challenge Sharples for the leadership.
Sharples suggested today that even if he was replaced as leader he was likely to remain as Tamaki-Makaurau MP because that was for his own electorate committee to decide.
Despite saying recently that he wanted to remain as co-leader, Sharples would not rule out standing aside voluntarily.
"It may operate by the vibes of the people, and whichever way the vibe [goes] I will probably take it, because there are good arguments for both people," he said.
But for now he was keen to stay on.
"It's an interesting one, whether I carry on to keep continuity and my contacts, which are many, or whether I step down now and allow for a new person to come in, they both have benefits I think."
But he definitely wanted to stay on as Maori Affairs Minister because he had unfinished business.