National MPs are standing firm in their support of leader Judith Collins despite mounting criticism over how she is challenging the government's efforts to create co-governance models with Māori.
Her use of words, such as 'separatist' and 'segregation' to describe Labour working with Māori and iwi, are being described as racist and inciting.
Her stance follows major health reform plans that include establishing a Māori health authority. a leaked Māori report on the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples yet to be taken to the cabinet and allegations that Ngāi Tahu will be taking a 50% ownership stake of Three-Waters assets from councils throughout the South Island.
National MPs spoken to today believe that any notion of racism by their leader is wrong. Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says, "I think New Zealanders have an interest in whether it's water, local government, whether it's all these other issues which are being asked, I think, is very important."
MP Nicola Willis: "Judith Collins has set out very clear thinking about the Treaty of Waitangi, its place in New Zealand, and she has challenged the Prime Minister [Jacinda Ardern] to rule out segregation, and I think it is fair for her to ask those challenging questions,"
And MP Matt Doocey: "I think the He Puapua report feeds into where they want to go, and I think around co-governance there are some real concerns, and I think we should be asking those questions."