Act party leader missing from Ratana celebrations
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Labour MP Peeni Henare and Greens co-leader Marama Davidson were both surprised today to hear ACT leader David Seymour was not coming to the Rātana Church celebrations.
“Auē! I haven’t heard that he wouldn’t be there. Even more surprising given he’s a boy of the North like myself as a daughter of the North,” Davidson said.
“He should have fronted up,” Henare told Te Ao News, though he conceded the hui-a-moto at Tūrangawaewae was “for our people to come together, for Māori people to come together” .
Henare pointed out Seymour did make public his interests to attend Rātana and Waitangi.
“He made clear that before that hui that Rātana would be his focus and so too would Waitangi. Well, he hasn’t shown up here.
“I think that’s indicative of the kind of agenda he, his party and this government are pushing.”
‘Of course he should have come’
Henare says they now look toward him coming to Waitangi and fronting up to his own people, of Ngāpuhi.
“Look, there will always be protests at Waitangi, and whānau have made it clear they want their voices heard, which is what we’re encouraging. Strong presence at the forum tent, which I’m really looking forward to, but it will put to the government of the day that Ngāpuhi in particular and all iwi Māori aren’t happy with their anti-Māori policy agenda.
“The job and challenge now for Ngāpuhi is to be very clear on what that message is as a unified Ngāpuhi to this government.”
Davidson says, “Of course he should have come! This is and always has been, one of the big political starts to every single political year.
“At the very least it’s about respecting the invitation and the call for all politicians to come and listen to the haukaīnga here at Rātana in te Ao Māori.”
“I think it’s not surprising but a sad indication that Seymour has chosen to disrespect that.”
“It is about understanding that no government should invisibilise the kōrero and debate that te Ao Māori is leading and are holding right now including at Waitangi.”
Hero image: Labour MP and former Defence Minister Peeni Henare today at the Ratana Church commemorations. Photo / Te Ao News