National | Co-Governance

'Stop using Māori and race issues for political gain': King Tuheitia challenges politicians

Photo / File

King Tuheitia has challenged the country’s political leaders to stop using Māori and race issues for political gain.

The Kīngitanga delivered the message at the annual Koroneihana celebrations at Tūrangawaewae in Ngāruawāhia this week.

Kīngitanga Chief of Staff, Ngira Simmonds, says King Tuheitia challenged the political leaders to rise above populist rhetoric when discussing issues such as co-governance.

“The King believes our leaders need to step up in this time of great change and uncertainty," Simmonds said in a Kīngitanga statement Saturday.

“Aotearoa stands at a crossroad, and our leaders need to decide what path to take."

“Do we stay on the current path of growing inequality, poor education, severe health problems, youth suicide and runaway inflation?  Or do we choose a different path?” says Simmonds.

Ngira Simmonds.  Photo / File

"But most importantly, do our leaders have the courage to address iwi Māori issues without turning them into clickbait for political gain?"

Simmonds says it was a robust and fruitful discussion that would continue to inform political discussions and policy development.

The Kīngitanga is hopeful of more civil and mature discussions in the body politic, he says.