Wednesday, 3 February 2016

More from Waitangi

A perfect solution from Ngapuhi to the question of inviting John Key onto the marae on Waitangi day. He is invited  as per custom but if he wants to make any political speeches he can do so from a 'political' tent set up 150 meters away, in an event organised by Hone Harawira, attended by activists Jane Kelsey and Annette Sykes.

Perfect.

PM's political speech moved from marae building
Prime Minister John Key will be welcome to give a political speech at Waitangi, but at a distance from Te Tii Marae building, a kaumatua says.

3 February, 2016


John Key is escorted onto Te Tii Marae at Waitangi by Ngapuhi kuia Titewhai Harawira (R) and Ngati Whatua leader Naida Glavish.

Prime Minister John Key is escorted onto Te Tii Marae at Waitangi by Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Whātua leaders on 5 February 2015.    Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Te Tii Marae trustees met last night to discuss security for Mr Key, after deciding he would be invited to Waitangi despite overwhelming opposition from iwi leaders at a hui.

The leaders had voted 38-14 in favour of stopping Mr Key attending the marae because of his handling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Marae kaumatua and hui convener Rihari Dargaville told Morning Report Mr Key would not be able to give a political speech on the wharenui itself, but he will be able to do so at the political forum tent nearby.

"The Prime Minister will be invited - and we did not say he could not speak, but the marae is really to bring our manuhiri (guests) in like all the rest and simply have him speak there.

"But he will not be able to give a political rendition or a speech in our marae because this year matters are more at angst than any other time.

"There will be many, many people in Waitangi and therefore it is strongly suggested that the prime minister would address the nation of Ngāpuhi and others in a political tent 150 metres away from the marae."

Mr Dargaville said this year it was considered that if the Prime Minister spoke about the "enormous and wide" issues, and others were given the right of reply, it would take too much time.

He said former Prime Ministers Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley were the first two National prime ministers to express political issues in that forum.

Warning of large protests


Marae kaumatua and hui convener Rihari Dargaville said there would be more protesters this year than ever before - with a group of 15,000 people opposing the signing of the TPP expected from Auckland.

"That would be the biggest we've seen. I don't know where we are going to fit them."

He said people were looking for an opportunity to express their anger about the trade deal.

The marae had a responsibility to ensure the safety of the prime minister, Mr Dargaville said.

Tensions at Waitangi are not uncommon: in the past, Mr Key has been assaulted, shouted down and harangued by big crowds of protesters.
Waitangi Protesters Protesters gather at Waitangi on 5 February 2015.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Former Māori Affairs Minister and Ngāpuhi elder Dover Samuels said it was disappointing the vote on whether Mr Key should be invited to Waitangi wasn't binding but the marae trustees had made the right decision to let him come.

He believed the people of Ngāpuhi wanted to engage with Mr Key.

"I'd like to congratulate the trustees for seeing a bit of common sense in an invitation to our prime minister to address the issues."

The people at the hui were very emotional about the issue, Mr Samuels said.
Mr Key should come to Waitangi with his head held high to explain to Ngāpuhi where the government stood with regards to the TPP, he said.


Hone Harawira says Key welcome at Te Tii, but can only speak in tent

There's still no word from the Prime Minister's office whether he will be attending Waitangi Day events at the treaty's home in the Bay of Islands

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