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Maori Party rules out alliance with Mana

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/07/2016

The Maori Party's co-leaders have ruled out an alliance with Hone Harawira's Mana Movement but say they're open to "a more cohesive relationship".

Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox issued their statement after the party's new president, Tukoroirangi Morgan, said he was meeting Mr Harawira in an attempt to heal a five-year-old rift.

Mr Harawira quit the party five years ago over its support agreement with National, and founded his own movement.

He resigned from parliament, fought a by-election and won.

Tentative reconciliation attempts came to nothing and Mr Harawira lost he Te Tai Tokerau seat to Labour's Kelvin Davis in the 2014 general election.

Mr Morgan was elected president of the Maori Party on Saturday and his apparent aim is for it to work with Mana in the run-up to next year's election, and not get in each other's way.

The Te Tai Tokerau vote was split in 2014 and Mr Morgan is pointing out that if the Maori Party had stood aside Mr Harawira could have won.

"There is currently no appetite for a formal alliance between the Maori and Mana parties," the co-leaders said in their joint statement.

"But there is an openness to a more cohesive relationship... the Maori Party has proven it can work with any party if it's in the best interests of Maori and the nation."

They say that under MMP parties can work together while remaining fully independent.

The co-leaders confirmed that Mr Morgan met Mr Harawira on Wednesday.

"His efforts have helped us advance what could be a very important relationship in the lead-up to the next election," they said.

"We want the same thing for our people and we can't afford to split the Maori vote."

After meeting Mr Morgan, Mr Harawira told RNZ that while it was early days their talk marked a good beginning.

Mr Harawira drifted into the political background after the 2014 election but came out of it last month, saying he would stand in Te Tai Tokerau next year.

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