Thursday, 4 February 2016

John Key U-turns on visit to Waitangi

The elders of te Tii marae in Waitangi made it quite clear that John Key, if he wanted to address the marae he could do it in a tent 150 meters from the meeting house but was not welcome to make a political statement at the powhiri where there was no right of reply.

Last night he said he was going and he would speak 'no matter what'

Now he's trying to sow confusion again and using the NZ Herald to help him.

Key is not under a 'gagging order' but he is afraid at turning up to an event organised by Hone Harawira where he will have to confront the critics like Jane Kelsey directly

PM slams 'Mickey Mouse' marae behaviour

4 February, 201

The "mickey mouse" behaviour of marae trustees is putting Prime Minister John Key's attendance at Waitangi tomorrow in doubt, he says.

Mr Key said he had received contradictory messages from Te Tii Marae trustees about whether or not he would be able to speak at the marae. He has said he would not go if he could not speak.

Prime Minister John Key being welcomed onto Te Tii MaraePrime Minister John Key being welcomed on to Te Tii Marae last year. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Key said the marae chairman had repeatedly guaranteed him he would be able to speak, but his office received a letter last night saying he could not.

Read the letter from Te Tii marae trustees to the Prime Minister here:

Mr Key said the behaviour of the marae trustees had been "terribly confusing".

"Well it's a little bit frustrating because it all looks completely Mickey Mouse if you ask me, but the Mickey Mouse-ness of it is all sitting on their side," he said.

"We won't be going unless we can speak in the whare and we are free to say what we like. We're not going to turn up at Waitangi with a bunch of protesters yelling out and saying things which are not right and somehow go on to Te Tii Marae with a gagging order - that's not the way it operates, it's a place for an exchange of dialogue, an exchange of views," Mr Key said.

"I'm absolutely crystal clear about the government's position and what actually TPP means both for the Maori economy and the impact on the treaty - which by the way is non-existent - but I'm not going there with a gagging order."

Mr Key said he was seeking a final clarification from the marae on whether or not he could speak.

"Well we've sent them a letter this afternoon, as I understand it, it has been delivered and in the end the letter says look here are the terms, this is what you told us - just tell us whether it's on or off."

Read the letter from the Office of the Prime Minister to the trustees here:

GG arrives at Waitangi amid heightened security

Security at Waitangi has been elevated this year but the police had their first official run through earlier today with no incident.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine arrived at midday and were escorted on to the marae by elder Titewhai Harawira.

The powhiri for the Governor-General was held up by nearly an our.

Earlier, a lone motorcyclist broke the police road block and attempted to ride along the foreshore of the marae but was stopped by police and taken away.

About 40 navy seamen came to attention as the Governor-General's motorcade finally arrived and the group were swiftly moved inside the marae.

A small group of protesters stood at the end of the cordon flying Declaration of Independence flags while a wero, or challenge, was laid before Sir Jerry Mateparae inside the marae.

For the first time the road adjacent to the marae has been cordoned off, including access for media.

PM decides he won't go to Waitangi this year

Here's the NZ Herald on the matter

John Key throws Waitangi visit in doubt as he calls Te Tii Marae group 'Mickey Mouse'

John Key says he wont go to Te Tii marae tomorrow if he is under a new gagging order

John Key says he wont go to Te Tii marae tomorrow if he is under a new gagging order. Photo / Getty
John Key says he wont go to Te Tii marae tomorrow if he is under a new gagging order. Photo / Getty
Prime Minister John Key says the organisation at Te Tii Marae is "Mickey Mouse" and he won't go there tomorrow if he is under a new gagging order.
He has now been told he could not discuss politics in the whare and that the best place to talks about political issues would be in Hone Harawira's tent.
"I am not going there with a gagging order and I am not going there if I can't speak on the marae," he told reporters after todays' TPP signing.
"It's a little bit frustrating because it's all Mickey Mouse if you ask me, but the Mickey Mouse-ness of it is sitting on their side, I'm sorry."
Mr Key said the new conditions arrived in a letter to his office last night.
That followed an earlier invitation from the marae trustees that said he could speak on the same conditions as before- inside the whare and without restrictions on what he talked about.
His staff contacted the marae to double check the conditions and had been assured they were unchanged.
"I am not going to go to Waitangi with a bunch of protesters yelling and saying things which are not right and somehow go onto Te Tii Marae with a gagging order.
"That is not the way it operates.
"It is a place for an exchange of dialogue and an exchange of views. I am more than happy to have an exchange of views.
"I am absolutely clear about the Government position and what TPP means to the Maori economy and its impact on the Treaty." That impact, he added was "non-existent"
He said if was not allowed to speak inside the whare, the same thing would happen as two years ago: when he started to speak outside, protesters jumped the fence and started shouting with megaphones.
Mr Key said his office had sent another letter to Te Tii trustees this afternoon pointing out that the new letter differed from what they had originally said.
"The letter said 'here are terms, this is what you told us, just tell us if it's on or off.'"
He had yet decided whether he would go to Waitangi and skip Te Tii Marae or skip everything.
"The advice we have had from our Maori protocol people is that correct tikanga is to go to the local marae. If you don't do that, you don't go."
He said he had always gone to Te Tii from a basis of respect.
"The reason we go there is to pay respect to the fact that the treaty was at least in part was signed there, that that is the historic place. We go there and have a good exchange of dialogue.
"I've honoured a commitment to go there so we're either all in or all-out aren't we?"
He said he would finally make up his mind depending on the response he got from this afternoon's letter his office had sent.
The trustees' debate about the Prime Minister's visit to the marae has centred around opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade deal which was signed today in Auckland
The marae originally voted not to invite Mr Key at all.
There was some debate about whether to set a condition that he attend but not speak, and then it was suggested he attend but speak only at a political forum being chaired by Mr Harawira, a former Te Tai Tokerau MP
But when the formal invitation was issued, it was on the same basis as past visits, that he could speak in the whare.
Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua said that if the Prime Minister did not show up at Waitangi tomorrow it would be "no big loss".
He said a new letter was sent to Mr Key's office last night because marae trustees were angry about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and did not want it to be raised on the marae.
"He was told that there would be no politics on the marae ... We didn't want women and men yelling and screaming if he made a statement about [the TPP].
"The time for Mr Key to make a statement about the TPP is not tomorrow, not the next day, but months ago. It is not after he signs it."
He said there was clearly some division amongst the trustees about whether to let Mr Key speak tomorrow, and this was why different messages had been sent to Mr Key's office over the course of the week.
The Ngapuhi elder dismissed Mr Key's "Mickey Mouse" comments, saying he could "say whatever he wants".
Ngapuhi co-chairman Rudy Taylor said he was surprised Mr Key's speaking rights had been revoked.
"It's not coming from our end," he said. "My kaumatua is adamant that he wants to powhiri the Prime Minister on."
Mr Taylor said he would be speaking to trustees this afternoon to try to salvage the situation.
"The trustees will be devastated if the Prime Minister cannot carry out his duties," he said. "He will not be gagged."

BREAKING : After massive show of Force – John Key too frightened to go to Waitangi Day

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