NZ 'puppets for the USA' - Rawiri Waititi

By Peata Melbourne

Responding to the New Zealand government’s announcement to provide a relief fund of almost $4 million to Ukraine, Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi told Te Ao Mārama this had all come about through the politics of the USA, NATO and other countries.

“Are we puppets for America? Our actions say so. The Māori Party requested when this broke out to be like Sweden and Switzerland, to remain neutral.” Waititi said.

Both Switzerland and Sweden have donated humanitarian aid to Ukraine and in August Sweden donated around 500 million crowns ($78 Million NZD) of military support for Kyiv's efforts to repel its aggressor.

Quoting the words of the Ringatū religion founder Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki, Waititi says this is the new generation under the gospel and peace. He believes the country shouldn’t stick its nose into other peoples' business.

In sports, politicians, influencers, and sportsmen alike have responded to the Black Ferns' victory over England on the weekend making them the World Women’s Rugby champions by mandating pay parity. There is a 73% pay gap between the Black Ferns and All Blacks. Waititi put it down to a Pākehā way of thinking.

“Because Pākehā has run it for a long time and that's how Pākehā think - men are more important than women - Pākehā is more important than Māori that's how they think and this is the result. It's the same with [funding] Te Matatini and the Royal NZ Ballet.”

Rawiri Waititi discusses the political issues of the day.

Standing with Ngāti Awa

Talking about a proposed land development on a burial site in his electorate, the Waiariki MP made his stance clear to stand with Ngāti Awa and its fight against housing development at Ōpihi Whanaunga Kore in the Bay of Plenty region. The Whakatāne Council granted consent for a residential subdivision in early 2021, and Ngāti Awa has since fought them through the legal system so far to no avail.

“There's a burial ground there where their ancestors lie. My ancestors are also there in Ōpihi. I stand with Ngāti Awa. If they want to sit down and discuss the problems they're facing, I don't know where they all sit but what I say right now is we must hold on to our lands and protect our sacred spaces.”

The appeal from Ngāti Awa is scheduled to take place in the Environment Court next month and, failing a decision in their favour, bulldozers could be moving in as early as the other side of Christmas.