Te Ohu Kaimoana meets with Māori Party over Kermadec Sanctuary

By Heta Gardiner

The Māori Party and Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM) met today to discuss the way forward for both parties after the recent contention regarding the Kermadecs.

The Māori Party stated they will go back to the table with National in the hope of finding some common ground on the issue, but will it be enough to stop TOKM from taking the government to court?

The Māori Party met with Te Ohu Kaimoana (TOKM) for the first time since TOKM director Ken Mair challenged the party to walk away from the government over the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says “We have achieved what we wanted. It's been halted for now and Te Ohu Kaimoana has the opportunity to go back to the table with the government. That is what we set out to do, and we achieved that.”

There will be a place at the table, but will TOKM want to sit down with the government?

TOKM wasn't available to speak on camera today, but did send a statement to Te Kāea saying:

“Te Ohu is open to resurrecting discussions with the Government, but they are going to have to show some serious movement in their position. Litigation that we have at present will be stayed.”

Flavell says “There isn't any point in going to court because there is no bill currently going through Parliament.”

However, Labour says the Māori Party is sitting on the fence.

Rino Tirikatene says, “The Māori Party can't have its cake and eat it too. They've been supporting this National Government for 8 years now. And here we have significant government policy running rough shot over Māori rights and now the Māori Party are trying to scurry around and try and make a deal.”

The government hasn't had any formal meetings with the Māori Party over this issue.