In the face of growing criticism from opposition parties, Labour leader Chris Hipkins launched a forceful defence of his government’s co-governance initiatives during a campaign launch at Nga Whare Waatea Marae Saturday.
Hipkins highlighted the successes borne from the “by Māori, for Māori, with Maori” approach, which he said had advanced sectors like housing, health, and education.
“Our commitment to a joint venture with Māori is unwavering,” he said.
“The accomplishments of the past six years showcase what’s possible, and we’re confident about achieving even more in the years ahead.”
Labour introduced 15 Māori candidates, three of whom are vying for Māori seats for the first time. Among them are Soraya Peke-Mason, Cushla Tangaere-Manuel, and Toni Boynton.
A NZ Herald poll-of-polls last week suggested a potential coalition between National and Act as a probable outcome for October’s general election.
He Puapua zenith
Both parties have been vocal critics of Labour’s co-governance initiatives, especially the Three Waters reforms, asserting that such policies challenge the democratic principle of ‘one person, one vote’.
The debate around implementing tino rangatiratanga reached its zenith under former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, especially after the leak of the government’s He Puapua report.
The report was commissioned to guide the government on enacting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – a UN agreement which the National, ACT, and Te Pāti Māori coalition had signed back in 2010.
In an exit interview with teaomaori.news published earlier this year, Ardern said, “You know, you’ve got to be able to sleep at night, knowing that you’ve done your best and you’ve done what you’ve believed is right.”
On article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, she added, “We haven’t been perfect. But I am comfortable with what we’ve tried to do to make sure that we are fulfilling our obligations as the Crown, that we’re fulfilling our Treaty obligations.”
National and Act remain resolute in their pledge to overturn the Three Waters reforms should they form a government on October 14.