Willie Jackson hits back at Act’s alternative budget calling David Seymour a ‘useless Māori’

By Whatitiri Te Wake

The gloves were off today as Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson fired shots at Act leader David Seymour following his announcement that he would scrap Māori Development Ministry, Te Puni Kōkiri if Act were in government.

 “He is absolutely Māori, just maybe the most useless advocate for Māori we’ve ever seen.”

Seymour says Jackson missed an opportunity to explain why Te Puni Kōkiri was important but it resulted in a personal attack which Seymour said was a "shame".

“The fact he is not doing that confirms that we should get rid of it,” Seymour said.

Act’s alternative budget would see Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Arawhiti (Crown-Māori relations office), Ministry for Women and Ethnic minorities scrapped. Jackson said Seymour’s views we’re no different from ex-National/ACT leader Don Brash’s view.

'Worst advocate for Māori'

“You don’t deny anyone’s whakapapa but it doesn’t make them a great advocate for Māori does it?"

"He’s probably the worst advocate for Māori in terms of politics. I’ve never seen anyone like it."

Seymour says he is proud of his whakapapa Māori and wasn’t going to “stoop to getting involved with someone like that.”

Back in December, Seymour told Te Ao News he was on a journey of reclaiming his whakapapa to Ngāpuhi and Te Tai Tokerau.

“My family has been reconnecting since 1987 when my great-uncle discovered our whakapapa and over that time we’ve been gradually moving toward learning more about it.”