National | Debate

Racial disharmony real agenda behind Nats' attack on He Puapua

National is challenging the government on its consideration of the He Puapua report. Although the government hasn't adopted the report, former Māori Party leader John Tamihere says National's Judith Collins is stoking the fire of racial disharmony.

"It's purposeful, it's cunning and it's conniving politics. We talk about rights, they talk about race."

"She represents white privilege and entitlement. We are talking about a rights debate, and she is talking about a race debate."

National deputy leader Dr Shane Reti is challenging the government to bring the issue out into the open so all New Zealanders can see what is happening.

"It shouldn't be a conversation just for the Labour government, it shouldn't be a conversation between Willie Jackson and Jacinda Ardern. All New Zealanders should have a conversation on what the future of New Zealand looks like."

National has been challenging the government in Parliament for months on He Puapua, which has seen the Māori Party confront National over what it claims is racist attacks on Māori.

In 2010, the National government, with Māori Party support, signed up to the United Nations Declaration of Independence on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. N other action was taken until the Labour-NZ First Greens Coalition agreed to examine what implementing the declaration could mean. He Puapua is the discussion paper that eventuated.

It was filed away by that coalition government and only resurfaced earlier this year when Nationa obtained a leaked copy of it.

National is concerned Labour is starting to implement He Puapua behind closed doors.

"So, it's unfortunate that this is a race issue. It's more of a discussion around what New Zealand might look like and what the interface with several different ethnic groups including tangata whenua could be," Reti says.