Criticism, challenges, promises and jokes at Rātana

By Heta Gardiner

Criticism, challenges, promises and a few jokes were given as New Zealand First, Labour and the Greens were welcomed on to Rātana Pā today.

Unity was the theme in yesterday's welcome, but today was a different story.

Gareth Morgan from the Opportunities party said, “I cannot understand why Māoridom don't stand up and call Winston out for what he is! Nothing more than an Uncle Tom for envoy of Kiwi not Iwi cringe.”

Morgan was taking aim at New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. He challenged him on his track record in Parliament and according to Morgan undermines the treaty and disadvantages Māori.

But the New Zealand First leader Winston Peters didn't take the insults lying down.

“Sorry for laughing. It's just that it's been a Long time since I've been ravaged by a toothless sheep. He tells you, you need an upper house, when 75% of Māori just want a house.”

Labour and the Greens preferred to focus on more important issues.

“New Zealand is in the middle of a housing crisis,” said Labour leader Andrew Little.

“We will field more Māori Candidates in more Māori seats then even before,” said James Shaw from the Greens.

But if you ask Winston, it is very clear to him who won the war of words.

“It was me hands down! Ask the crowd.”

Labour MP Kelvin Davis said, “Well, if we didn't know it was an election year, we do now.”