Winston Peters backs Māori wardens

It's been a murky mess for the Maori Wardens after accusations of government interference by siphoning funding straight into the pocket of Te Puni Kokiri instead of going directly the Maori Council.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing the wardens and says these issues must be resolved before too much damage is caused to the Maori Warden image.

Maori wardens have a proud history dating back to 1860, but recent funding feuds are plaguing their progress forward.

Annually Maori wardens receive around $1 million in government funding but Winston Peters would like that to increase and says the wardens should be an independent authority governing them.

Last week an urgent three day tribunal hearing was called in Wellington after accusations that the Crown was diverting funds to Te Puni Kokiri instead of directly to the Maori Council.

Currently the Government is reviewing the Maori Community Development Act, it's this act that gives the Maori Council responsibility for the wardens including management of funds.

Whatever the outcome of the review, one thing is apparent, the wardens need stability in their governance structure if they are to continue doing their job safely.