Tuesday August 22, 2017   Last updated 01:42AM

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Iwi chair backs Maori Party run

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Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngahiwi Tomoana says he’s chairing Marama Fox’s campaign team because he wants to keep an independent Maori voice in parliament.

Mr Tomoana’s backing of the Maori Party’s Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate could be seen as a snub to the incumbent, Labour’s Meka Whaitiri, who worked for Ngati Kahungunu Inc before she went to parliament.

But he says the snub actually came from Labour for leaving Ms Whaitiri off its list - a decision actually made by the Maori seat MPs themselves.

He says the presence of the Maori Party in Government for the past nine years has changed New Zealand politics and opened doors for Maori in terms of social issues, and economic development.

"I’ve never seen so much engagement between Maori, Iwi and Crown and cabinet than I have in the last 5 years. I think this is just an evolving model we're just scratching the potential of our country let alone us as Maori as a political economic and social force in this country," he says.

Ngahiwi Tomoana says he’s keen to see progress continue whichever Government is in power.



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