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Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira claims Finance Minister Bill English is lying when he says most iwi do not back the Maori Council’s actions over water rights.
Speaking this weekend on TV3’s ‘The Nation, Mr Harawira said 99% of Maoridom was backing the Maori Council and their bid to take the government to court over the issue of ownership.
“When Bill English talks about Iwi, he’s not actually talking about the general Maori population, he’s talking about sitting down with maybe 20 people behind closed doors. Now that’s not public consultation, that’s doing deals,” he said.
“I know Iwi Leaders have spoken to me personally to say that they don’t agree with this deal.
“So when Iwi Leaders – when people purporting to represent the Iwi Leadership Group say all Iwi Leaders agree with it, it's a lie," the Mana MP claimed.
“So I think the best way to get these sorts of deals is the open and public ones, so that you can actually hear what people are saying.
“Not what you hear about afterwards behind closed doors.
“ I know for a fact that not all Iwi Leaders support the deal being offered by the Crown.”
He also said he had a difficulty with the Maori Party’s position on the Issue.
“They announced that they’re four square behind the New Zealand Maori Council on a Monday, then on the Tuesday the come out and say that they’ll accept the compromise. You have to be one or the other. It’s a matter of principle.”
He said the debate about shares was a “red herring” to the real issue about the recognition of Maori water rights.
Watch Rachel Smalley's interview with Hone Harawira here.