Church Desperately Trying To Alter The FactsSocial Services, Work and Income
Church leaders are desperately trying to distance themselves from the concept of a separate Maori Parliament, despite last week saying it was Church policy, said the Hon Roger Sowry Minister of Social Services, Work and Income.
"At the Hikoi leaders' meeting with the Prime Minister and senior ministers on Wednesday, an hour of the hour-and-forty-minute meeting was taken up with their demands for Maori sovereignty."
Mr Sowry said at that meeting the Prime Minister repeatedly asked the Church leaders if the paper presented by Professor Whatatrangi Winiata represented the official policy of the Anglican Church - and the bishops and leaders from other churches categorically said it was.
"Now those same leaders appear (through a spokesperson who wasn't present at the meeting) to be backing away from these statements at full speed."
"The leaders must make clear whether the churches, through the Hikoi, are promoting two separate Parliaments in New Zealand. In the meeting with Government ministers they made perfectly clear they were seeking separate law-making and spending powers as a solution to society's ills.
"The Church willingly entered the political debate and should be prepared to publicly argue the separate governance and parliamentary system they privately supported last week," Mr Sowry said.
"They also need to explain why this important and contentious issue was not raised clearly during the Hikoi progress through New Zealand."