Topic: Australia

Support grows for Australian Aboriginal communities from Māori MPs

updated By Maiki Sherman
  • Wellington

Māori MPs have been writing to political parties in Australia in a bid to stop the closure of around 150 Aboriginal communities.  Over the past week Te Kāea was in Australia reporting on the issue, while back in Aotearoa, the Aboriginal communities have certainly gained a lot of support.

The Māori Party says the Australian Government is breaching the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a statement which is being directed at Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Party leader Te Ururoa Flavell says, "We do not condone or agree in anyway with the statements that he has made and the actions he is taking to push families out of their homelands, is the ultimate insult."

The Australian Government has decided to close about 150 remote communities, home to many Aboriginal people.  Flavell says the Māori Party intends on sending a letter to Tony Abbott.  

"We've already sent letters around NZ and we will soon be sending one to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Māori Party to say we absolutely do not agree with this."

The Labour Party is also showing its support by sending a letter urging the Australian Labour Party to advocate.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare says, "We will be speaking with the Australian Labour Party to get the ball rolling and I will soon be talking with the Australian High Commissioner here in Wellington to come and meet with us to discuss the matter."

Although Pita Paraone supports the Aboriginal people, he also has a warning, "It's okay for us as Māori to unite and support them, but at the end of the day this is a matter for the Australian Government."

That is precisely the thinking of Prime Minister John Key.  He says, "I just don't have a view on that sorry, I don't have any advice and it's Australian politics and I just shouldn't mander into it."

It's clear the issue won't be settled any time soon, either in Australia or NZ.

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