NZ Deputy Leader Decries ‘Separatist Hate-Filled’ Speech by Māori Party MP

Winston Peters has condemned a speech by a Māori Party MP that claimed the government intended to ‘exterminate Māori.’

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters—and leader of one of the three government coalition parties, New Zealand First—has condemned a speech by a Māori Party MP that accused the government of intending to “exterminate Māori.”

Speaking in the General Debate on May 1, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, who represents the Māori electorate of Te Tai Tokerau, began her speech by saying “No matter my words today, the government will not waver in its mission to exterminate Māori.”

In an X post yesterday, Mr. Peters—who is of Scots and Māori ancestry—characterised the accusation as an “ignorant and offensive,” adding that it left “little to the imagination about the mindset of Kapa-Kingi, her party, and the rest of her fellow cultural travellers—she doesn’t care about what she said, how offensive it is, or how bereft of fact it is.”

Ms. Kapa-Kingi was speaking about the government’s intention to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act. That clause requires Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry for Children and Young People) to act in a way that acknowledges the importance of family connection and genealogy when placing young people in state care with foster families.

Involuntary ‘Uplifts’ of Children are Controversial

While intended to ensure any child is, where possible, placed with family members, the clause has had the unintended consequences of having Māori children, long settled with non-Māori foster parents, removed against their wishes and rehomed with family.

A review in 2020 by the Ombudsman found Oranga Tamariki to be a “weak, disconnected, and unfit” agency.

Subsequently, the former Labour government said in 2021 that it would end the policy of “uplifts,” but instead, they increased in number.

A day after the Ombudsman review was released, the agency’s Chief Executive Gráinne Moss appeared before the Tribunal and admitted “we have created harm.”

Te Tai Tokerua MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. (Courtesy Te Pati Māori)
Te Tai Tokerua MP Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. (Courtesy Te Pati Māori)

The online news site Newsroom undertook an in-depth investigation into the policy, but the government blocked its report from release for three years due to court action, and it has only recently been made available for public viewing.

The Waitangi Tribunal strongly criticised the repeal of Section 7AA. It released an urgent report saying it would cause “actual harm” to vulnerable children.

The Tribunal went on to summon Children’s Minister Karen Chhour, who refused to appear. A judicial review upheld the summons, but the High Court subsequently overturned it.

The government is proceeding with the repeal, with emotions running high on both sides of the debate.

Foster Care First Step to Institutionalisation, Māori Party claims

Ms. Kapa-Kingi was a social worker in the 1980s when a report was published promising better consultation and outcomes for Māori on social issues.

But she said the “direct Māori involvement in social welfare policy practices to improve Māori social outcomes for Māori have merely remained on paper” and the high proportion of Māori in juvenile detention and prison was due to so many Māori children having been taken into care and “stripped away from their cultural matrix.”

But Mr. Peters said she was “either dangerously ignorant or she believes what she said is true. The most frightening thing is its probably both.”

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters speaks at the "Save Tiwai" public meeting held at the Invercargill Workingmen's Club in Invercargill, New Zealan, on July 24, 2020. (Dianne Manson/Getty Images)
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters speaks at the “Save Tiwai” public meeting held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club in Invercargill, New Zealan, on July 24, 2020. (Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

He did not advance any statistics to counter her claim, but instead pointed out that the Māori Party did not represent all Māori.

“By [their] own proclamations, the number of Māori in New Zealand total anywhere up to 20 percent of the population,” he said.

“So why do they think their three percent party vote allows them to speak on behalf of all Māori? It doesn’t.

“Just because the Māori Party arrogantly choose to walk into parliament with Huia feathers on their heads and use every speech to repeat ‘colonisation,’ ‘oppression,’ and ‘white man’s guilt,’ doesn’t give them a claim to speak on behalf of Māori—nor do the majority of Māori want them to.”

He pointed out that the coalition government’s Cabinet has the highest number of Māori in history.

“Great Māori leaders of the past like [James] Carroll, [Apirana] Ngata, [Māui] Pomare, and [Peter] Buck believed in representing all Māori across New Zealand with a pan-Māori view—working together with all New Zealanders,” Mr. Peters said.

“The Māori Party today are saying ‘if you are Māori and don’t think like us you aren’t really Māori.’”

Media at Fault: Peters

Characterising the Māori Party as “cultural Marxists,” Mr. Peters said Ms. Kapa-Kingi’s speech showed they were “down the race-based rabbit hole.”

And the media, he claimed, “have let them get away with it.”

“Kapa-Kingi accuses the government of wanting to ‘exterminate Māori’ … saying the government has theories of ‘white supremacy,’ that the government is saying ‘we should all be white people,’ and government policy is because of ‘racism and Pakeha [white New Zealanders] supremacy.’

“Mainstream media reaction: Zero.

“The fact is the Māori Party doesn’t care what they say or how they say it—not least of which is because they get away with it.”


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