Te Pāti Māori comments: 'That kind of language isn't helpful'

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon he has called for calm across the House. Photo: RNZ
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon he has called for calm across the House. Photo: RNZ
Political parties have roundly criticised Te Pāti Māori for using words like 'extermination' and 'white supremacy' in the House.

Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, the MP for Te Tai Tokerau, accused the coalition government of having a "mission to exterminate Māori" during a general debate last week.

She also used the words "white supremacy" and "Pākehā supremacy" when criticising the repeal of section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

The Labour and Green parties also oppose this policy, but do not agree with Kapa-Kingi's choice of words.

"I myself would not use those words," Green MP Hūhana Lyndon said.

"That kind of language isn't helpful and it's certainly not language that I agree with," Labour leader Chris Hipkins said.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters posted on X after the debate, saying Kapa Kingi's accusations were ignorant and offensive.

ACT leader David Seymour described the comments as "disgraceful".

"This government, all three parties, have Māori members in Cabinet. It would be rather unusual if we were off to exterminate ourselves."

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said Kapa-Kingi's comments were out of line and inappropriate, and has called for calm across the House.

"Rhetoric needs to calm down big time across the whole of the political spectrum."

It's not the first time Luxon has called on political leaders to tone down their language - he did so in March after Peters compared co-governance with Nazi Germany's race-based theories.

Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. Photo: Supplied
Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. Photo: Supplied
But Te Pāti Māori is refusing to back down, with co-leader Rawiri Waititi describing Kapa Kingi's speech as "bang on".

"Many of the policy changes that this government is making absolutely makes us feel like there's huge extermination processes and policies of the very existence of tangata whenua in this country.

"So it was absolutely the right wording. It was a brilliant speech, and if you haven't already watched the whole speech I suggest you do that."

Kapa-Kingi repeated her comments about extermination on RNZ's Morning Report programme today, saying previous words she used like colonisation seemed to fall on deaf ears.

"If [extermination is] the word that has people sit up and take notice of what it feels like for our mokopuna and our whānau, what it sounds like, the tone of the discussion on a daily basis in the House.

"If that's the word that makes people have feelings, and it seems people are having feelings, then so be it."

When asked whether this was just a way to grab attention, she said it was about being able to describe their situation on their own terms.

Kapa-Kingi said Te Pāti Māori would not "sit quietly" while the coalition government repealed of section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

"[They would] not tolerate another act of oppression, another act of deculturation, which all ends up, equals, equals, equals, extermination."