King sacks board critic

KARLA AKUHATA
Last updated 13:00 07/12/2010

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A report detailing "excessive" spending by Tainui's executive board has led to its author being fired.

The Maori King has sacked a top Tainui figure for writing a report which claims spending by the tribe's executive board is out of control, but she is vowing to fight the move.

King Tuheitia sent out a statement yesterday confirming his decision to remove Tania Martin as the chairwoman of Tainui's tribal parliament, Te Kauhanganui.

But Mrs Martin said today the King's move was beyond his contitutional authority and she would be seeking legal advice.

Mrs Martin wrote a report alleging the board's spending was excessive and calling for a review into Te Arataura's performance.

The King has replaced Mrs Martin with the man who represents him on the executive board, Greg Miller.

"I have done so because her actions over the last week have rendered Te Kauhanganui dysfunctional and incapable of resolving the dispute she has created between Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura," King Tuheitia said.

When Mrs Martin was contacted by the Waikato Times this morning she said she would be investigating her options and would seek legal advice.

"The decision made yesterday is beyond constitutional authority. It is both regrettable and sad."

A close family friend, who asked not to be named, said the night before the report was tabled, on November 27, Mrs Martin was apparently visited by members of the tribe's executive board who asked her not to proceed with it.

She was asked to meet with the King but said she had to attend a medical appointment. A letter was then sent from the board ordering her to issue an apology and retract the report.

The King then met with Mrs Martin and some of the people of her marae, Hiiona, near Pirongia. He asked Hiiona to remove Mrs Martin as their Te Kauhanganui representative. After the marae declined King Tuheitia issued the press release.

King Tuheitia said he had appointed Judge Heta Hingston to conduct a review of the constitution and governance processes and an audit of the financial performance.

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- Waikato Times

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