14 Dec 2012

Maori Party co-leader to step down in 2014

7:59 pm on 14 December 2012

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia does not believe her decision to leave Parliament will have a negative effect on the party.

Mrs Turia has confirmed she will not seek re-election at the end of this parliamentary term.

Mrs Turia entered Parliament as a Labour MP in 1996, but left the party in 2004 over the foreshore and seabed legislation and formed the Maori Party.

She said that after giving it serious thought she has made the decision with her family not to seek re-election in 2014.

Mrs Turia said she has signalled early that she will step down so the party can prepare for her departure and put a succession plan in place.

She believes the party will continue to grow in strength. "Whoever comes in, I think that everybody brings something different, and that's good, that can only be good."

Mrs Turia's parliamentary colleagues, co-leader Pita Sharples and MP Te Ururoa Flavell, say they understand and support her decision, though with regret.

Mr Flavell says her departure will be a big loss to the party, as she has been an inspiring leader for Maori.

He says his position will also be considered when the party comes together next year to choose candidates for 2014.