21 Sep 2017

Tongan Consulate denies royal endorsement of Maori Party

12:05 pm on 21 September 2017

Tonga's Consulate in Auckland has denied claims by Maori Party candidate Manase Lua that he was endorsed by King Tupou VI ahead of New Zealand's election on Saturday.

Manase Lua standing for Maori Party candidate 2017 in Maungakiekie

Manase Lua standing for Maori Party candidate 2017 in Maungakiekie Photo: One Pacific

Earlier this week the Maori Party confirmed that Maori King Tuheitia approached his Tongan counterpart to ask Tongans to provide a candidate.

It said Mr Lua, who is standing in the Maungakiekie electorate, had been blessed by the Royal Houses.

The statement raised concerns from the Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka who said seeking royal endorsements was dangerous.

However, Tongan Consul Stafford 'Aho says that no such endorsement occurred.

Maori Party President Tukoroirangi Morgan has said the royal endorsement is not his business, but the party wants to honour a desire by King Tuheitia to work with the Pacific community.

Six candidates from New Zealand's Pacific communities are standing in general seats for the Maori Party in the election.

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