Act List MP Gets it Wrong - Again!

  • Tau Henare
Maori Affairs

"Once again the rotund little tattler from Act has got his facts wrong," the Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Tau Henare, said today of statements made by Act list MP Rodney Hide.

The MP had accused Mr Henare of calling off a planned trip overseas to repatriate moko mokai and taonga Maori because British authorities had cast doubt over the ethnicity of a Maori head exhumed in Liverpool recently.

"Foreign Affairs confirmed with me last Friday that tests were still being conducted to authenticate the ethnicity of the head exhumed in Liverpool.

"Our communications to date with the museum involved, through the British High Commission, indicated the 'balance of probability' is that the head is Maori, but tests would continue," said Mr Henare.

"No timeframe had been offered as to when the test results would be known. On the other hand, the museum had been saying from day one through the commission that a result would be known in a couple of weeks."

Mr Henare denied the suggestion he had used Rau Williams' predicament for political gain.

"I know it's hard for the media, for the perpetuators of porkies like Mr Hide to get into their heads and hearts, but Rau Williams is a constituent of mine and he deserves whatever support I can give him.

"New Zealand First's constitution says constituents first; I don't believe I've done anything my fellow NZF colleagues wouldn't have if they were in the same predicament," he said.

"I certainly don't think my statements last week jeopardised the Coalition. If anything it's put a humane face to the Government and strengthened the resolve of the people who put us there, the constituents, so they know we are touchable."