Maori Party serving the interests of the Corporate Brown Table
Maori Party must explain deference to Iwi Leaders Group, says lawyer
The Maori Party needs to explain why it is "kowtowing" to the Iwi Leaders Group which has become a de facto power force in national politics, activist Maori lawyer Annette Sykes says.
She is the keynote speaker for the Bruce Jesson Foundation's annual lecture tonight and is using her address to ask the party some hard questions.
An early supporter of the party, Ms Sykes says she's become critical of the influence the Iwi Leaders Group - chosen by the Iwi Leadership Forum and drawn from heads of runanga around the country - has had on policy development around issues such as the foreshore and seabed and emission's trading scheme.
Both laws provide outcomes that don't benefit Maori in any way, shape or form, but which the Iwi Leaders Group had a hand in shaping, Ms Sykes said.
"Why is it that the Maori Party changes its policy on every issue to meet the edicts of the Iwi Leaders Group, why are those MPs except one, Hone Harawira, constantly kowtowing to those policy preferences?"
The group, which included tribal runanga heads such as Tuku Morgan, Api Mahuika, Mark Solomon, Sonny Tau and Naida Glavish, was becoming a "one-stop shop" for policy development on a range of social, political and economic issues even though it had no mandate to do so.
So the suspicions that the Maori Party have merely become a front for Corporate Iwi is finally coming from within Maoridom. Why corporate Iwi interests should outweigh policy for poor Maori is something the Maori Party will have to try and defend in the 2011 election with Labour turning on the heat by having Shane Jones stand against Pita Sharples.
Hone is the only one who walks out of this with any honour, so he will maintain his seat up North but now real concerns are being voiced that the Maori Party are merely there for Corporate Iwi from within Maoridom, those Maori seats look a lot less sure.
Looks like that Mana enhancing relationship is more concerned with enhancing profits for those already doing fine.