Labour list MP David Parker took a potshot at the Government
and Dunedin-based Cabinet minister Michael Woodhouse at
Waitangi Day commemorations at Otakou marae yesterday.
Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, he criticised the
Government for having no representative at ''the only
pan-South Island celebration of the Treaty''.
''A few years ago, they didn't turn up in Bluff either, which
was disgraceful on that occasion, too.''
A spokesman for Mr Woodhouse said he was unable to attend the
event as he was at ''the national Waitangi Day events at
Waitangi [yesterday morning] before heading to Australia on
ministerial business with the prime minister''.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, who on Wednesday became the
first female political leader to speak at Te Tii marae at
Waitangi, told the ODT the commemorations at Otakou
were similar in spirit to those at Waitangi.
''There is a strong focus on protest at Waitangi, but
actually it is just like here - hundreds and hundreds of
people come to talk about the issues and wanting to have fun
At a local level, she was pleased the Dunedin City Council
was leading the expanding relationship between the community
and Ngai Tahu.
That sentiment was echoed by the two Dunedin electorate
Labour MPs, Clare Curran and David Clark, who both opted to
celebrate Waitangi Day in Dunedin.
''This is one of the most important events on the calendar,
when Waitangi is in Dunedin at Otakou marae and an absolutely
priority for me,'' Ms Curran said.