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No Place For "Mean-Spirited" Opposition To Flag; Harawira

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 17 NZPA - Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says there is no place for "mean-spririted opposition" to the Maori flag being prominently displayed on Waitangi Day.

Cabinet this week decided the tino rangatiratanga flag would be flown at significant sites controlled by the Government.

The decision followed a series of hui which Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples said recorded 80 percent support for that particular flag, used as a symbol for the party he co-leads.

Labour MP Shane Jones said the hui process was dictated by Mr Harawira and that he had picked the tino rangatiratanga flag and "foisted it on Prime Minister John Key".

Mr Jones said the flag was divisive and a "perpetuation of the Maori Party and their games at Waitangi".

But his leader Phil Goff said the flag looked good and he was comfortable with it being flown as an expression of Maori culture.

Mr Harawira said the flying of a Maori flag should be a cause for celebration, not mean-spirited opposition.

"Shane Jones opposes it because Phil Goff told him to, but his kids have been wearing it for the last ten years anyway, so his comments don't really count," he said.

"Sure, not everyone will like it, but then if you put the New Zealand flag up against the silver fern for a national flag, I bet a lot of people wouldn't choose the New Zealand flag either."

Mr Harawira said the "robust and independent" process of choosing which flag was run was undertaken by Te Puni Kokiri. He hoped the flag could fly at Waitangi.

Ngapuhi elder Kingi Taurua said this week the flag represented the Maori Party rather than Maori in general and he would not let it fly at Te Tii Marae in Waitangi.

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