The Māori Party and Mana Party have signed a historic agreement today to unite Māori politically.
Māori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan said the kawenata or agreement was a huge step forward for Māori in the lead up to the general elections.
"Today is an important day for the Māori nation because today is when the country's only two kaupapa Māori political parties unite to work tactically together in the best interests of our people," says Mr Morgan.
“This kawenata is a genuine response to the undeniable and growing call from whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori organisations around the country to collectivise our efforts to reclaim all the seats from Labour.
"Māori disunity gifted the Māori seats to Labour in 2014 and it’s time for us to bring all the seats home to kaupapa Māori parties so we can hold the balance of power in Parliament and ensure a strong voice in government, regardless of which major party rules.”
The kawenata is underpinned by two principles: Recognising the importance of unity and having mutual respect for each other.
Under the terms of the kawenata, the Māori Party will not stand a candidate in the Tai Tokerau electorate and Mana Party will not stand candidates in the other six Māori electorates.
Both parties will campaign for the party vote. The kawenata ends when voting in the general elections has closed.
Since 2009, the Māori Party has delivered more than $1 billion in funding for initiatives that benefit Māori.
“Māori must ask themselves just what 80 years of allegiance to Labour has bought them. The alliance grew out of necessity but it did not stop the last Labour Government from legislating another raupatu or confiscation through the Foreshore and Seabed Act,” says Mr Morgan.
Signatories to the kawenata from the Māori Party are president Tukoroirangi Morgan, co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox as well as the Tai Tokerau Māori Party electorate representative, Hinurewa Te Hau. Mana Party will be represented by their president Lisa McNab, co-leader Hone Harawira and kaumatua Joe Everitt.