Pita Sharples. Photo Getty
The Maori Party council will meet today to discuss a call
for co-leader Pita Sharples to stand down.
Dr Sharples confirmed today on his arrival at Ratana Pa near
Wanganui that Te Ururoa Flavell was vying for a leadership
He said he would not voluntarily step down and would wait for
the council to decide but said his electorate was backing
"At this stage I have quite a lot of support to stay on.''
Dr Sharples said both he and Mr Flavell wanted the council to
make a decision.
"Whether I carry on and keep continuity and my contacts,
which are many, or whether I step down now and allow for a
new person to come in - both have benefits.''
He wanted to stay on as Minister of Maori Affairs in the
A decision is expected to be announced this week at Ratana
celebrations, with a replacement for party co-leader Tariana
Turia also to be revealed.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira issued a statement this
morning saying he would be open to the idea of working with
the Maori Party to reinvigorate its leadership, which he
described as "old and tired''.
"Maoridom deserves the strong and vibrant leadership that
Mana can provide''.
He said he would work with the party on the condition it cut
ties with the National Party.
Dr Sharples said the parties operated on a different
platform, with the Maori Party making gains for Maori in
Government and the Mana Party making gains through political
He said it was too soon to be talking about a coalition
between the Maori Party and Mana but said a discussion was
"It's a bit silly to have two kind of Maori parties. If there
is a relationship it has to be talked through, but it
probably won't be as one party,'' he said.
Politicians began arriving at Ratana today for its annual
Prime Minister John Key, government ministers and the Labour
and Greens leaders will also attend the celebrations.