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Ed Sheeran

"Jellyfish" attack dead Hokianga leader

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Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones is calling out members of a Hokianga hapū who have attacked the role of the late Whetu Naera in the proposed Manea Footprints of Kupe cultural centre at Opononi.

Because he had discussed the project in 2014 with Mr Naera, Mr Jones flagged a conflict of interest and did not take part in the decision to grant it $4.6 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.

ACT leader David Seymour and National's Paul Goldsmith tried to make an issue of that, forcing a special debate in parliament, but Mr Jones' actions were supported by his Government colleagues.

He says emails from members of Ngāti Korokoro to Mr Seymour have emerged opposing the centre going up in their rohe and questioning Mr Naera's status as a rangatira and his financial track record.

He says korokoro means throat, and the email writers have a bone in theirs.

"My message to the Ngāti Korokoro dissidents is that the Ngāpuhi have a word, pūkarukaru, and it means a jellyfish where the bladder is full of air floating upside down. These jellyfish from the Hokianga, attacking the late Whetu Naera, spreading defamatory statements, need to cease," Mr Jones says.

He says the email writers need to say where they get their mandate to attack the good name of a Hokianga rangatira by feeding false information to the openly anti-Māori ACT Party leader.



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