The Minister of Māori Development has issued a challenge to Labour’s Waiariki candidate amidst a Māori business delegation trip in Malaysia.
Minister Te Ururoa Flavell spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters from Malaysia about challenging Labour’s Tamati Coffey to an Iron Māori face-off.
He says, “That came out of comments made by some of Tamati's supporters saying that I may be over the hill, so to speak. I thought we should test that theory, hence the challenge.”
Flavell says, “I told him at the start that there was a deeper focus behind my challenge, which is to raise money for those families in Edgecumbe who were hit by last month's flooding.
The Minister says, “He wants a head-to-head confrontation, which is fine by me. However, I think there should be a physical aspect as well. That was that. He says the food of a leader is oratory, but I say the mark of a chief is walking the talk. That's why I challenged to him to cycle, swim and run, but he wants to debate instead.”
First time candidate for the Waiariki seat, Tamati Coffey, says his sister sparked the challenge from the Minister after taking her thoughts to Facebook.
He says, “I had to get to the bottom of it because I was unsure about where it had all come from.”
“Turns out it was my sister jumping to my defence on a thread from TVNZ.”
Coffey says his sister commented on the Facebook thread saying the Minister of Māori Development “should focus on being a koro”.
He suggests a debate as a lot of Māori land owners around the Waiariki still don’t know how Flavell’s Ture Whenua Māori Bill will work.
“So I thought instead of us going for a good run together. Let’s have a debate about some of the issues that really matter for our people,” says Coffey.
He says, “If we do this debate, if it goes ahead, then what we’ll do is charge $10 a ticket and maybe the proceeds from that can go to Edgecumbe if they want it.”
Flavell says, “I see no reason why we can't do both to raise funds for my constituents in the Waiariki.”