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Fury over NZ First's tactics

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/09/2016
NZ First Winston Peters. © Getty Images NZ First Winston Peters.

The Maori Party has lashed out at NZ First and cabinet ministers are seething over the way it has wrecked plans to pass five treaty settlement bills at a special sitting of parliament on Friday.

The plan has had to be scrapped because of a last minute decision by NZ First leader Winston Peters to oppose the bills, which means full debates and vote counts have to be taken.

More than 400 iwi members had made travel and accommodation plans so they could be in parliament for the historic event.

NZ First had previously agreed to allow the bills through their third readings, a formality, without opposition.

Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson on Tuesday accused NZ First of "appalling behaviour" and now Maori Party co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox have waded in.

"As a result of NZ First reneging on a decision, five iwi will not see legislation pass to settle historic Treaty of Waitangi claims," Mr Flavell said.

"I hang my head in shame that as a Member of Parliament, a member of the House of Representatives, that our people have had justice denied to them yet again because justice delayed to iwi is justice denied."

Mr Flavell says iwi representatives are thousands of dollars out of pocket.

"If that's not bad enough, these iwi have had to wait generations for settlement ... our people will not forget this."

Ms Fox says NZ First is pulling a stunt and showing its utter disrespect for Maori.

"What this clearly tells us is that our people cannot trust NZ First."

Mr Peters, who hasn't explained why his party at first agreed with the plan, says the bills need to be debated and shouldn't be rushed through.

The five bills have already been through full debates on their first reading, second reading and committee stages.

The NZ First leader has accused Mr Brownlee and Mr Finalyson of "hysterical behaviour" and says there's no reason the bills can't be passed under normal procedure.

Because the plan to pass has been scrapped, they will go back on parliament's agenda and Mr Brownlee says there might not be time to get them all through before the end of the year.

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