1 Nov 2014

Fox confirmed as Maori Party co-leader

7:24 pm on 1 November 2014

Maori Party list MP Marama Fox has been confirmed as the party's new female co-leader following the retirement of Tariana Turia.

Marama Fox (L) and Tariana Turia ahead of the Maori Party co-leader election

Maori Party MP Marama Fox and retired co-leader Tariana Turia at the party's annual general meeting. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

The party held its AGM near Whanganui this afternoon.

Ms Turia retired from Parliament at the 2014 general election and her seat was not retained by the party at the September poll.

Ms Fox came into Parliament as the party's first list MP, and would take over as co-leader alongside Te Ururoa Flavell.

She said she and Mr Flavell would have their work cut out for them raising issues for Maori which must be addressed.

"There's housing issues, there's poverty issues, there are the issues of greater employment and getting into economic benefit.

"But ultimately what I think we need to be changing is way we think about ourselves as a people and as a country as being value-added and as being a benefit, not a deficit."

Ms Fox said she fully supported the Maori Party's move to renew its relationship with National, which she said would benefit all New Zealanders, not just Maori.

The party's Hauraki-Waikato candidate, Susan Cullen was also elected as female vice president and Bayden Barber took over as male vice president following the retirement of Donna Gardiner and Ken Mair.

The party also voted to initiate a review of its election performance.

Dinner with PM sent 'wrong message

Meanwhile, a Maori Party fundraising dinner with the Prime Minister this year was criticised by a senior member of the party at the AGM.

At the dinner in April, the Maori Party invited 15 people to the $5000 a seat dinner in Auckland, promising the chance to chat confidentially with John Key.

Chair of Te Tai Hauauru electorate committee, Buff Matenga, told the AGM the dinner sent the wrong message - that a vote for National was a vote for Maori.

He says party members in the electorates were left in damage control mode.